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Parents at the Madrona School, an AWSNA Member school on Bainbridge Island, WA., have written an open letter of gratitude to the faculty and staff of their school.

The letter, according to parent, Anika Binnendijk, “sought to express our gratitude for all that the school has done - including conducting much of its education outdoors - to offer safe and effective in-person education to our children.  In the letter we try to capture the magic of Waldorf and outdoor experiential learning, and how much it has meant for our families during this difficult year.”

We hope you’ll enjoy this letter of warmth and gratitude written to the Madrona School faculty and administration. 

Each morning our children join you, tumbling from cars, minivans, scooters, and bikes for a warm greeting and temperature check.  Jackets zipped, hands scrubbed, they enter a world where we know they will be cherished and guided. 

A little over a year ago, few could imagine the gratitude that might surge at the simple act of dropping off a child at school.  Then, as a scourge upended life, parents and teachers alike were filled with uncertainty.  Together – creatively, courageously – you built a path to safe and joyful in-person education for our children, from the tiniest Huckleberry to the orchestral titans of the middle school. 

You drew from a deep well to accomplish this.  Madrona’s connection to the natural world has infused all that the school has accomplished this year.  The children navigate social and emotional discoveries in the fresh air of the schoolyard, or the beaches and forests of the island.  They absorb the art of storytelling beneath trees and brush up on multiplication tables between harbor walks, learning and movement entwined.  Outdoors or in, you lead them through the historical narratives, epic tales and physics principles that form the substratum for a lifetime of inquiry. 

During the course of their day with you, our children’s senses come alive.  The scent of a beeswax sculpture or hand-formed loaves baking outside defines their weekly rhythm.  They drink in the poetry of the Spanish language, and float notes across campus from violins and cellos. 

When school is done, our children bounce from your gate, smiling and strong.  They don’t seem to notice if it’s raining. 

At home they reenact games they have learned and share myths and songs, the connective tissue of their day. They proudly wield works of woodcraft.  The art that adorns our walls reveals maturity and dexterity that can sometimes surprise.  Skills you imparted will journey on with them, fueling confidence in their connection with the world and ability to contribute to it. 

Perhaps most important this year are the things you protected.  In this impossible time, Madrona School has been a bulwark of curiosity, wonder and joy.  Our children are laughing, and learning so much.     

Realizing the vision you laid out has taken flexibility and incredible care, as well as some measure of personal risk.   

For all that you have given our children this year, we thank you. 

With admiration, 
Madrona School parents

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