Light, Reflection, and Diversity by Kat McFee, Lower School Administrator

As we enter the most reflective time of the year, conversations about our landmark 60th and 100th year turn toward the relationship between our inner life and the encounters we have in the greater world. The crossing point between summer and autumn found our faculty and staff envisioning, shaping and carrying out the Wonder to Wisdom event to celebrate this landmark year with mirth and high spirits. Our spring auction will invite renewal and celebration of the many good deeds, people and experiences that have made Sacramento Waldorf School into what it is today. On the threshold of winter, we find the qualities of reverence, reflection and reunion. During this more contemplative season of the year we recognize deeper themes of growth and development in our school.

One of these central themes is diversity. From afar, we observe the planning of our June 2020 AWSNA Educational Innovation Summit. This event is emerging from the inspiration of a circle of educational leaders who have masterfully integrated the wisdom of Waldorf education into multicultural global citizenry. During this season we pause to consider what areas we are blind to, what gifts lay dormant and what areas of genius in our education requires careful tending in order to steward our mission into the future.

Throughout the campus a wide array of cultural expressions arise as our faculty bring stories, songs, verses and experiences from around the world to their December lessons. Between November 1 and January 15 there are approximately 30 holidays celebrated around the world, nearly all with light as a central symbol. Exploring winter festivals from around the world, at school and at home, provide us with the opportunity to engage with mindful, deliberate interest into the global experience with a celebratory mood that lives so naturally in childhood.

Tabor Martinsen, SWS alum (2011) and Recruiter and Diversity Program Specialist at Facebook, is on the frontier of diversity work. He tells of the vast increase in awareness and collaboration during his company’s ‘diversity bootcamp’ when his team explored far-reaching varieties of diversity and found unexpected universal truths. Humanity steps into its essential work when it finds comfort in similarities and lets interest bind our differences together.

Decades ago I taught in a highly creative, academically rigorous school that was closely associated with a neighboring university. Visitors consistently commented on the prevalence of smiles in our school community. During school events the languages and relationships of people from 35 different countries wove through the campus. Notes of gratitude from former students continue to arrive. These now 30-somethings recognize the significant role that encounters with people and ideas from around the globe played in developing the quality and success of their adult lives, professionally and socially.

The passing smiles and faces and friendly greetings of our Sacramento Waldorf School students, parents, faculty and staff often remind me of this joyous sea of educational excellence from my professional yesteryear. Our campus diversity is growing naturally or perhaps the growth is cultivated by the deliberate steps we are taking to develop our cultural competency in small and large ways.

We are not only on the threshold of winter, but also on the threshold of what Sacramento Waldorf School will become as we steward our mission into the future. At this reflective time of year, we tap into the wisdom of our oneness, imagining the children around the world in their many translations of celebrating the return or sustaining force of the light.

“If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person. If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house. If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.”

~ Chinese Proverb