New School Practices Unique Teaching Method

By KBJR News 1

September 14, 2012 Updated Sep 14, 2012 at 10:22 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northlands NewsCenter)-- There is one Northland school bucking the trend of smart boards and computers this year. Spirit of the Lake is a private community school, located on the outskirts of Duluth, utilizing a teaching method rare to the area.

It's hidden on Howard Gnesen Road, where younger students spend more time outside, playing.

"The curriculum is more bountiful and rich in the older years and in the younger years is guided by play," said Laurel Hyvonen, who helps out with the school.

Spirit of the Lake opened its doors this year in the old Gnesen School, teaching students using the Waldorf Method.

"Educating the child's mind, heart, and hands so that what they are learning they get to be inspired mind and integrate into a set of life skills," said Hyvonen.

The system breaks free from the usual public school system, ditching smart boards for chalk boards, baking snacks instead of standing in a cafeteria line, and teaching students in a unique way.

"Which is really a holistic approach to education incorporating all of the subjects into what the children are doing everyday...they are really drawn to the hands on approach I bring in the classroom. The kids are rarely sitting still for more than 15 minutes at a time," said 1st Grade Teacher Elaine Schmid.

While the Waldorf Method has received some criticism, those managing Spirit of the Lake say this system is picking up speed worldwide.

"I think you're going to get that criticism and at the same time, as it's the most popular education movement in the world right now I think that criticism will subside."

Parents and teachers are hoping this movement will catch on, right here, in the Northland.