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Living Thinking in a Waldorf-Inspired Environment

In the lower school, learning emphasizes the development of strong volition and emotional intelligence. After this, the ground is laid for living thinking to be developed in ages 14 – 18. In these latter years, we guide students to phenomenologically observe the world and develop clear perception. Students are then in a position to uniquely conceptualize the content of their own living experience. Living thinking is a generative process in which students discover new insights by finding patterns and relationships in the world. This manner of thinking leads to deep understanding, groundbreaking ideas, creative activity, and considerate actions, impossible to achieve by simply memorizing facts. 

Evolution of Consciousness


This approach to education places development within the context of an evolution of consciousness. During infancy and the early years of childhood, children are deeply connected to the world around them—parents, peers, and the rhythms of the natural world. At a certain age, typically between 9 and 11 years old, each child goes through a separation process in which they begin to experience the difference between the world around them and the world within them. This can be a painful time, but also very fruitful, as this distinction between self and world lays the ground for individuation. This budding consciousness-of-self develops further through adolescence.


Ideally, during ages 14-18, young adults strengthen their sense of self and upon graduation are ready to claim their rightful place in the world. They reconnect with the world, spiraling back to the sense of wholeness felt in their early years, but now with awakened capacities for clarity of thought, depth of feeling, individual presence, and moral action. There are unique perspectives and capacities that are only possible at each stage of development, and each unfolding stage depends on the prior stage as the foundation of its next step into the future. 

One can regard this developmental process (which takes place across a single life span) as a repetition of the developmental process which the historical culture has traversed as a whole, revealing the dynamic holism of human development. This evolution of consciousness is a fundamental curricular and pedagogical principle. 

Taking the evolution of consciousness as a curricular principle means that we organize our curriculum in such a way that ideas, art forms, scientific discoveries, cosmological theories, inventions, technologies, political systems, and religious developments are presented holistically within the historical context in which they emerged. Taking the evolution of consciousness as a pedagogical principle means that we strive to match the stages of cultural evolution with the stage of cognitive development where we find the child or adolescent. 



This manner of unfolding the seeds of earlier development into the substance of higher cognitive development treats human development as a living process of metamorphosis, not a mechanical or digital process of information transfer or ideological replication. Curriculum and instruction embody the principle of metamorphosis in the very rhythms and methods of learning, transforming the learning of prior years into new perspectives and capacities of the future. 

Our Unique School Day


Each student is guided through the four years by a personal mentor from our faculty. As the students develop their moral and social sense, and as they begin to demonstrate and exercise leadership skills, they are given opportunities to make an impact on the community around them. Through projects and volunteer engagements students are prepared to contribute to society for years to come.

Example of An Organic and Seasonal Schedule: 


  • Morning Lesson Blocks 

    • Often integrate with the practical/vocational or fine arts in the afternoon 

    • Take a Living Thinking/Evolution of Consciousness approach 

    • Can be interdisciplinary/collaborative 

    • Can take any amount of time as needed 

    • Potentized experiences of various fields of interest (History, Computer Science, Civics, Sciences, Cultural Geography, etc) 

  • Academic Skills/Academic Mentoring 

    • ​Math sequence (Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, etc.) 

    • Humanities and Literature sequence (Reading and Writing, Poetics, The Epic, etc) 


  • Practical/Vocational Skills (Mechanics, Carpentry, Gardening, etc) 

  • Fine Arts (Painting, Choir, Sculpture, Drama, etc) 

  • Foreign Language (Spanish) 

  • Movement and Games 

  • Rhythmic Will Work 

  • Independent Studies/Pursuits 

  • Partnerships (for students in the Upper Grades) 

    • Running Start/Public School Classes 

    • Learning Centers/Other Programs 

    • Internships/Practicums 

Photo courtesy of Sasha Clement © All rights reserved. 

Academic Model


ECS offers two enrollment options. In both cases, students experience the same teachers, courses, peer cohort, and school day. But, there are administrative differences that make a difference: 

  • You can enroll with us as a Homeschool Enrichment Program.

By sending your students to our program in this framework, you will be participating in “home-based instruction,” (in other words, you will be home-schoolers or unschoolers, whichever term you prefer). This does not mean that the education always must take place in the literal home, nor does it mean that the parents are the only ones who can contribute to the student’s educational experience.


Our learning community and Home School Enrichment Program for Ages 14-18 will provide your child with a cohort of peers, teachers, tutors, daily classes, and a wide range of educational experiences, both traditional classroom-based and non-traditional/immersive. We will work with students to create a portfolio and demonstrations of their work and accomplishments and provide administrative services and education to support your new self-conception and empowerment as home-schooling parents.


In this framework, everything the student takes up in life, including their work with as well as educational experiences independently organized by the family (private music lessons, field trips, etc,) can all count toward meeting educational requirements.


  • You can enroll with us as a satellite school of Independence High School (IHS).

IHS is a WA state-approved high school, and we have a partnership with them that allows for the work done in our program to receive official credits, transcripts, and, if all graduation requirements are met, a WA state-approved high school diploma from IHS. In this format, the student is enrolled as a private school student, and the extra administrative cost after tuition for receiving credits and transcripts is $600 per year. 


This structure allows us to remain fluid and flexible with our programming, and able to be more responsive to evolving educational imperatives. We also imagine that in this model, students in the upper grades would be able to take advantage of internship experiences, courses through Running Start, or other hybrid arrangements to further individuate their life-path. 

All students are supported by an excellent faculty, including an advisor who works closely with them to help them take their next steps and cultivate an excellent portfolio of work. 

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