Prairie Moon Fair
Prairie Moon Waldorf School's annual autumn fair will be Nov. 22 at Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H.
Unique eco-friendly toys made from materials such as wood, cotton, silk and beeswax will be sold from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In addition, there will be hand-crafted goods created by the school's parent-led Fiber Arts Guild. Adult books on parenting, Waldorf and environmental education will be available along with children's picture books. Throughout the event people can bid on pieces created by local artists.
A live auction will be from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. There will be a $5 entrance fee for wine, hors d'oeuvres and desserts.
The roots to Prairie Moon Waldorf School sprouted in 2001 and continue to grow today.
Like most of the 142 Waldorf Schools in the United States, Prairie Moon began as a small cooperative effort among parents passionate about the unique curriculum.
"I'm really thrilled," said Monika Eichler, program assistant in the KU School of Social Welfare and former Prairie Moon school board member. She was influential in the beginnings of the school.
"Whenever I walk into the school, I think four, five years ago, this was just a dream. I'm really quite moved by it."
Waldorf education was developed by Rudolf Steiner in 1919. The curriculum emphasizes creativity, movement, spirituality, social awareness and a connection with the Earth. Mary Veerkamp, Prairie Moon's administrator, said Waldorf schools are a fast-growing alternative education around the world.
The nonsectarian, nonprofit school opened in September 2005 with 12 children in a mixed-age kindergarten class in what used to be the Grant Community Building, 1853 E. 1600 Road.
In addition to the kindergarten class, it opened a combined first- and second-grade class the next year. The class, which added 17 children, was taught by Bret Schacht.
Like most Waldorf schools, the teacher stays with the same children through the eighth grade.
A longtime Kansas public school teacher, Kathy Farwell, joined Prairie Moon last year as a teacher after enrolling her son in the school and volunteering there.
"What really was a draw for me in Waldorf schools was that all the curriculum decisions, although we have a nationally guided curriculum, they are made by the people who teach the children," Farwell said.
This year, 44 students are attending the school that provides an early childhood development class, kindergarten class and classes for first through fourth grades. They also hired a part-time enrollment coordinator to continue recruitment efforts.
Since joining the school full time in 2006, Veerkamp said she has made it her mission to make the presence of Prairie Moon known in Lawrence.
"I think this is a great community, and I think that Waldorf education and the ideals of people who live in Lawrence match very well," she said.
While the school is still in its infancy, Veerkamp said, she'd like to see the school add several more teachers and offer classes through eighth grade.
Lawrence parents have begun to take notice of Prairie Moon.
"We are absolutely thrilled that it's available here," Amy Stevenson said. Her son, Julian, 7, started at the school during its opening year. "I'd like to see more families come on board. It's just grown beautifully."