Testimonials from Teachers and School Parents
I just wanted to let you know that I think the Christopherus Curriculum is outstanding and we are so enjoying it. I am especially very appreciative of all the effort and extras you have put into the manual.
As a teacher who is charged with the responsibility to teach fourth grade students, there is possibly no better resource than the Christopherus Fourth Grade Curriculum.
I would highly recommend this Steiner/Waldorf based curriculum because it has many elements that make it an outstanding resource. The teachers’ notes and lesson plans will also make integrating of the resource into the existing school curriculum much easier. The whole curriculum is teacher friendly, easy to navigate and picks up on all they key main lesson topics of fourth grade in aSteiner School. It is also reassuring as a teacher to know that this resource has been used by many Steiner/Waldorf teachers in Western Australia.
The Christopherus Fourth Grade Curriculum gets to the heart in a wonderful way, both through the main lesson material, and through the carefully thought out activities which creatively introduce the children to the fascinating world in which we live. It is a curriculum which is rich with ideas, but at the same time acts as a catalyst for the teacher, inspiring further investigation and sparking fresh ideas.
Helena Trainer, 3rd and 4th Grade Teacher, Golden Hill Steiner School, Australia
For us at Escuela Caracol, the Christopherus curriculum materials have been fundamental guides for our teachers. They are filled with clear and practical indications that are easily adapted to a variety of contexts. Though written for homeschooling, the academic curriculum translates directly to most classroom situations, and the recommended activities are living and easy to put into practice in a classroom. The general advice and pedagogical discussion is down-to-earth and exceedingly valuable in supporting and working with parents. When an idea or activity is not feasible in a classroom, it still serves as a great suggestion for follow-up at home and encourages parental involvement. Donna Simmons has created a virtual treasure trove of curriculum materials that are a vital resource in any educational context.
Joshua Wilson, Founder and Director of Escuela Caracol in Guatemala
In the winter of 2008 I felt strongly that my 8th grade students needed the experience of a different adult standing before them as a main lesson teacher. Donna Simmons was the first person that came to mind. I was aware of and impressed with the teaching and mentoring work she had done at the Youth Initiative High School. Her colleagues and students described her as a teacher that genuinely enjoyed working with adolescents, a person who understood and respected the learning process of the adolescent….I observed Donna working with the class and was impressed by her ability to establish a warm, energetic and inquisitive learning environment early on…I was impressed by the thought-provoking dialogue and discussions that Donna directed with the class. I asked one of my students what made Donna’s lessons so interesting. The following is a paraphrase of the answer I received from a young woman in my class: Donna asks the right questions to draw out what we already know and are interested in about the topic and then she uses our knowledge and interests to take us deeper. These are clearly the comments of a young person that felt met, understood and challenged by the adult standing before her as a teacher…As a teacher I found observing Donna’s teaching style to be very helpful and inspiring. I also found our personal conversations and review of the lessons to be very informative. I was impressed by the keen observations Donna made about some of my students. She has a talent for recognizing the different learning styles of students and adapting her lessons and interactions with individuals to best meet their needs.
Christiane Babb, Class Teacher and Former Faculty Chair, Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School
I worked closely with Donna as a colleague and I can say that I learned a great deal from her about teaching and mentoring young people. She is an educator with profound experience and insight and she played a critical role in the development of our school…Her classes consistently received very positive evaluations from students and parents and the work the students created in her classes was rich, beautiful and extensive. She formed a close bond with many of her students that extended beyond the classroom and enriched the life of the school overall. Donna’s service was particularly important and profound in the cases of several students with special challenges, either from learning disabilities or problems outside of school. Donna’s experience and character allowed her to have a major impact on the lives of these students and allowed YIHS to serve these students beyond the ordinary capacity of a small school like ours.
Jacob Hundt, Program Director, Youth Initiative High School
Ms. Simmons educates beyond expectation by taking extra time to nurture individuals as she forms bonds of mutual trust. She displays insightfulness as well as an ability to reach out to/build relationships with troubled/challenged youth. I count my son among such youth, and appreciate her mentoring him these past years…throughout his time in high school, she voiced clear and concise ways to help resolve many conflicts and stresses. Over the course of the 3 1/2 years that she worked with my son, Donna shared a contagious enthusiasm for learning and achievement. My son has very evidently benefited from her tutelage and I continue to be grateful for her involvement.
Antoinette Schneeberg, Viroqua WI
Thank you so much for the wonderful class that you constructed and produced for G. and her classmates this year. She really enjoyed working with you and it is obvious that she learned a lot. I was grateful for the consistent high standards you set for the class in both content and behavior, and I saw G. really strive to meet your expectations. She also appreciated your warmth and humor, and felt supported and encouraged to do better, even when she did not do her absolute best on the first round. Thank you for everything, your class has been a real gift this year and we will miss you next year.
Imagine a mother who is an avid reader, a first daughter who can’t put a book down and a second daughter poised to run in the opposite direction when asked to read. After B’s freshman year struggling with the reading load between main lesson blocks and other subjects, we felt she needed some additional skills in this area. Last summer, we asked Donna to work with Brenna to enhance her reading skills and evaluate her reading comprehension. Donna demonstrated skimming skills and other reading strategies (change this terminology as needed here) for B. After practicing for weeks while completing the book “Cry, the Beloved Country” Donna asked B to write a few short essays
to help determine B’s comprehension skills. B felt she benefited from these skimming skills so she could move through the reading assignments at a quicker pace, take notes, and still comprehend the material. As a sophomore, B feels more equipped to handle reading assignments from multiple subjects without getting stressed. Donna brings an easy-going presence when working with teenagers and plenty of humor. This doesn’t mean that B loves to read now, only she has improved reading skills to make homework less stressful.