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The Anneliese Child

Answers to Parents’ Most Frequently
Asked Questions

What is Anneliese Schools’ educational and teaching approach?
Anneliese Schools is a humanitarian-based organization that values and encourages the intellectual, emotional and creative potential of each child.  We are aligned with the theory of Multiple Intelligences, which recognizes distinct intelligent domains: linguistic, mathematical, musical, intra-personal, interpersonal, visual, kinesthetic, naturalist and existentialist. The theory proposes that every human being is capable of developing and stretching these intelligences if given optimal learning conditions. Students are given many opportunities to express and apply their intelligences, both in the formal academic program as well as through projects, performances and other extra-curricular activities.

What defines Anneliese Schools?
Anneliese Schools can be defined by their fierce loyalty and dedication to a child’s whole development, which includes the intellect, the spirit, the physical and the creative domains. We place our students in an environment of beauty, vitality and sincerity and treat them with great respect, love and dignity.

Values are the driving force of the Anneliese Schools education. Anneliese Schools identifies three values: Love, Freedom and Self-Discipline, as the cornerstone of our educational practice.  As a trio, these values define the essential style of Anneliese Schools: liberal, imaginative, colorful, exuberant, but also maintaining a sense of routine, orderliness and respect.  These values are fully interdependent. For example, one cannot enjoy freedom without self-discipline, and one cannot teach self-discipline without love.

Does your curriculum follow state standards?
State standards are used as a guideline, and we touch upon all major state-standard subjects and concepts. Our commitment to having outstanding programs sometimes leads us to adopt National curriculum, and at other times, international curriculum, which exceed the state standards. Our priority is to deliver curriculum that stimulates active learning, reaches multiple intelligences, encourages open-ended inquiry and offers opportunities for project-based learning. The following explains our criteria for choosing a curriculum:

  1. The curriculum is philosophically in line with our methodology for teaching children, as well as the current best practices in teaching.
  2. The curriculum promotes high academic standards, deep learning and independent thinking.
  3. The curriculum lends itself to integrated learning, and has a hands-on, practical component.
  4. The curriculum materials are easy to interface with, and facilitate student engagement.
  5. The curriculum stimulates our students’ curiosity and interest.

Are all of your teachers credentialed?
All of our grade school teachers have either a Bachelors or a Masters degree and most of our teachers are credentialed or currently pursuing a teaching credentials. Our specialty teachers of music, arts and physical education are not necessarily credentialed, but are experts in their field with a talent and passion for teaching.  What is most important is that our teachers have and express a gift for teaching and inspiring children.

How well do Anneliese Schools students perform when they transition to other schools?
Our students transition to both public and private schools and typically do extremely well both academically and socially. Anneliese Schools students are noted for being compassionate, high-achieving, self-confident and sensitive scholars. Our teachers use both National and State standards as a measuring tool for progress. Many children exceed their “grade level” at Anneliese Schools because we offer challenging and enriching curriculum. We teach a curriculum that follows the logical progression of a child’s individual intellectual development, while teaching students the requisite skills and concepts needed for higher education.

What if my child is not reading well?
Research from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reveals that reading is not automatically developed, but is a learned skill. When a child learns to read is not a reflection of his innate and natural intelligence, but rather when they are developmentally ready to be introduced to this new skill.

It is important not to force children to read or expect them to embrace reading before they are ready. What is important is not whether children learn to read at 5, 6, or 7 years old, but whether they view it joyfully. Reading can be seen as a progression that has room for individuality.
If your child is not showing a great interest in reading, recognize that they may simply be enjoying the creative world of their own mind. They may instead wish to explore and see life through their own eyes, as their own creation, rather than through the lens of what books may prescribe. During pre-literacy, children have more freedom to see and think about the world themselves. Be aware that reading does not indicate innate intellectual capacity or “smartness,” but rather is a taught skill. With this perspective, you can celebrate your child’s current interests and strengths, while at the same time trust that they will learn to read and master the necessary skill of reading in due time.

Do you assess children for learning difficulties?
As there are many kinds of intelligences, and all children learn at a different pace, we believe it is important to avoid labeling children ‘ahead’ or ‘behind.’ If a child has not achieved certain skills by a particular time, it may simply be an issue of readiness, and often just allowing the child to develop the skill when they are ready is all that is needed. In a world of labels it is easy to want to jump to conclusions about our children, but we believe that it is more beneficial to view each child based on their unique set of talents.

However, if we identify that your child is having continued, unresolved difficulty in certain areas, we will initiate contact with you to discuss a one-on-one interactive assessment to determine their ability levels in different subjects. Based on this, we will then make concrete recommendations to parents that can be taken to support the child in learning.

What makes Anneliese Schools different from Montessori & Waldorf?
Anneliese Schimmelpfennig intensively studied the teaching philosophies of both Maria Montessori, founder of Montessori education, and Rudolf Steiner, founder of the Waldorf Schools, and incorporated into our schools the aspects of these models with which she resonated. However, Anneliese Schools differs from both Montessori and Waldorf education. The Montessori Method involves the repetition of pre-designed learning activities to teach children new skills. Anneliese prefers to offer children learning experiences that cultivate a child’s inner creativity, and do not prescribe a pre-determined outcome. While Montessori manipulatives are designed to guide a child’s mind towards a specific conclusion or answer, Anneliese Schools believe that manipulatives and toys should be used for creative play, and should encourage open-ended exploration.

Anneliese Schools shares Waldorf Schools’ philosophy of celebrating every child's unique qualities, and cultivating a child's creative strengths. Although Anneliese Schools encourage our students to explore their own spirituality, Steiner schools are founded on a specific spiritual belief system that Waldorf trained teachers are familiar with and may use in the classroom. Unlike Waldorf education, where children remain with the same teacher as they move up through the grades, children at Anneliese Schools have a new teacher each year, and are therefore exposed to a variety of teaching styles throughout the course of their education.