Our Commitment to Diversity
It is a fundamental goal of our school and Waldorf education to bring students to an understanding and experience of our common humanity. Working within a multicultural curriculum, our faculty strive to reflect the diversity of our world in the classroom. This includes drawing upon the lived experiences and histories of the students in the class, as well as introducing practices, people, places, and ideas that may be less familiar.
As educators, we are committed to identifying, acknowledging, and unpacking our own biases. We strive to grapple with and overcome prejudice in all its forms. Our faculty work to cultivate a space of respect and provide a supportive and nourishing educational environment for all our students. As part of our commitment to inclusion, diversity, and equity, the school has formed the Waldorf Inclusion Diversity Equity Committee (WIDE). The goal of this committee is to support diversity, equity, and inclusion at every level of our communal life as a school. The WIDE Committee is open to all, and its leadership has faculty, board, and parent representation.
Waldorf education began as a single school over 100 years ago in Germany and has grown to more than 1,000 schools in over 70 countries. While the pedagogy evolved from the founder Rudolf Steiner’s writings, we, as a school, expressly reject and oppose Steiner’s early depictions of religious and racial hierarchy. Berkeley Rose Waldorf School is a member of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) and we stand together with the organization in upholding the critical importance of diversity, equity and inclusion and denouncing all statements or indications made by Rudolf Steiner that contradict those values. AWSNA’s Statement of Inclusion and Equity is as follows,
The Association of Waldorf Schools of North America recognizes the historic and ongoing impact of racism on our continent and the injustice and discrimination faced by Black, Indigenous and People of Color. We understand that inclusivity and equity is a journey of both moral and educational imperative. As such, we take seriously our responsibility to bear witness to what is happening in the world, to center the voices of color in racial justice work, to change the course of inequities, and to identify and break down structural racism in all forms where it exists, particularly in Waldorf education.
Waldorf education espouses principles of respect for human dignity. Any narratives or indications made by Rudolf Steiner that are in contradiction to these principles are not the basis for Waldorf education and we unequivocally denounce such statements.
We know that we have far to go as an association and as individuals in our understanding of racial oppression and social justice. Advancing the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is one of the compelling forces behind AWSNA’s strategic priorities. These priorities make equity and inclusion central to our work and aim to bring us closer to the world that we want for our youth.
In honoring individuals and building community, we’d like to express our clear and unwavering support of our LGBTQ+ and gender diverse students, staff and family members. By this we mean all people deserve to feel welcome at the school, including those who identify as LGBTQ and those who come from LGBTQ+ families. We understand that LGBTQ+ inclusion and visibility benefits us all by fostering our ability to empathize, connect, and collaborate as a diverse community, encouraging respect for all.
The Waldorf School movement is not part of any religious institution. Admission to the Berkeley Rose Waldorf School is open to everyone, without regard to race, gender, sexuality, religion, national origin, or ethnicity. We acknowledge that as a private institution, there are barriers that can prevent families from accessing our school. Our goal is to work with families to make the school accessible; over half of families at Berkeley Rose receive some level of financial aid. With an eye on social and cultural obstacles, through investigation, action and outreach, we hope to continually grow our school to reflect and integrate with our greater community.