Kim Raymond Celebrates Her Retirement from 33 Years of Waldorf Teaching
Kim Raymond, esteemed Waldorf teacher of 33 years, will retire from Haleakala Waldorf School on June 1, 2018 and will be commemorated with a large celebration on Waxman Field of the Kula campus from 12:45 – 2:30pm. Well loved by the community, students, alumni, colleagues and friends are expected to shower her with their well wishes, memories, and photos related to her rich and long-standing career.
Kim, a Kula resident, mother of four and grandmother of nine current waldorf students, began teaching kindergarten at Haleakala Waldorf School in August 2000 after teaching at Sacramento Waldorf School for ten years and Westside Waldorf School in Los Angeles, CA for five years. She completed her Waldorf Teacher Training at Rudolf Steiner College in 1978 and has since taught classes there for teachers in training. Kim obtained her Child Development Associate Credential in 2004. She has directed the Lifeways trainings in Hawaii, has studied in Budapest, Hungary at the Emi Pikler Institute whose impulse is at the foundation of R.I.E. (Respectful Infant Edu-caring), and is a registered doula. She has served in the leadership of the Waldorf movement for many years with terms as Regional Representative for the Hawaiian Islands for the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America (WECAN), and as Delegate and Regional Representative for Hawaii and Southern California for the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA).
Kim was first drawn to Waldorf education when her first daughter was six months old. She was reading extensively about various educational methods and was profoundly affected by one of Rudolf Steiner’s many books: Education Towards Freedom. Kim said, “When I read that book, it was if it articulated my own intuitive thinking. It was Steiner’s description of a holistic education, that is developmentally based, and has a spiritual component that was so compelling.” She soon discovered the Sacramento Waldorf School and her longtime mentor Peggy Allesandri. She was at the opening of Rudolf Steiner College in 1976 and remarked, “It was as if I was hit by a thunder bolt!” and was soon enrolled in the College’s first Waldorf teacher training program and was in its first graduating class.
Anthroposophy, the philosophical basis of Waldorf education, is the study of the universal human being, which is why its principles make it so all-encompassing and inclusive. Kim credits her commitment to the movement to its vastness.
“It is such a rich education – you never stop learning, ever! I just love what I do. I feel so blessed to have had this work as my vocation.”
Kim has been committed to all aspects of the education, including the spiritual side, which she sees as inherent to successful teaching. She engages in an active meditative life that includes daily practices such as “rukshau” which is a thorough reflection and review of one’s day every evening.
Kim has been the lead teacher in the Haleakala Waldorf I’iwi Preschool classroom since 2009 and has also led their unique Pulama Parent & Child program for families of young children that covers an in-depth exploration of current parenting topics such as motor development, care and protection of the senses, creating rhythm and routine, health, nutrition, warmth, and sleep. In these 9-14 week sessions, parents develop skills of observation to deepen their intuitive knowledge and identify what is needed for their child.
Kim said, “Parenting is a journey, a path of transformation, for which we are rarely ever fully prepared.” She believes in Gandhi’s famous statement that we must be the change we want to see in the world. “Whenever you are working on anything with your child, you have to look within and realize that it’s about self-development. You have to embody the principle you are trying to teach first. Parenting is a huge mirror of self-reflection.”
One of her primary goals in her parent education is to help parents to feel welcome and know they are in a supportive community of like-minded individuals who are sharing the common experience of raising young children with all of its ups and downs.
For many Maui parents, “Ms. Kim” has been like a second mother as she has guided them on their parenting journey, and like a second grandmother to their children with the home-like environment she creates in her classroom. Raymond’s classroom nurtures all of the senses (Waldorf education identifies 12 in total). The smell of a freshly baked bread or cake meets you before you enter the door. It blends with the fragrance of freshly picked flowers and beeswax as the sound of Raymond’s beautiful singing voice greets each child. Their feet interact with the natural fibers of the wool carpet as they move towards the wooden toys, play silks, and lavender-filled heavy baby dolls, and the pure colors of the lazured walls and floral prints of the soft pillows and cushions delight the eyes. The joy and calm of these media-free children in their imaginative play is palpable. Parents sip healing sweet rose tea out of one of Kim’s antique china tea cups while they await their child’s birthday celebration, and breathe a sigh of contentment and relief – they are home. All is well.
In addition to her extensive teaching experience, Kim offers a love of children, their parents, community life, and festivals. Some of her favorite memories at Haleakala Waldorf School are of their glorious Michealmas and May Day Festivals. “The current Michealmas pageant gives such a fantastic glimpse of each class and the developmentally appropriate curriculum of the school,” Kim stated.
Not surprisingly, Kim will miss the daily contact with the parents and children the most. She said, “To be able to answer someone’s questions, and to be able to put my hand on someone’s shoulder and watch them relax as I say ‘this too shall pass’ or ‘today’s a new day,’ were some of the most rewarding moments.”
She hopes to continue working with new families in their homes as a mentor and consultant, and to bring her wisdom of all the many stages she has lived through – new mother, grandmother, teacher and friend, as well as all of her practical knowledge of Waldorf and Simplicity Parenting principles. “I am now asking myself, ‘How can I be of service next?’ and I know the answer will come,” she said.
Kim’s immediate retirement plans are to place more focus on her and her husband’s health, to travel to see friends and family in other parts of the world, and to add on to their small Kula cabin to create more space for their large family to visit.
Waldorf education is designed to educate the whole child, physically, emotionally and academically with specific learning strategies for each stage of a child’s development. By awakening the physical, behavioral, emotional, cognitive, social, and spiritual aspects of each individual, both creative and analytic thinking are fostered. Waldorf education began 100 years ago when anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner founded the first school in Stuttgart, Germany. It was the first school in Germany to serve children from all social classes, genders, abilities and interests and became a model for the first Waldorf school in the UK in 1925 and the first in the US in 1928. There are now over 1,000 independent Waldorf schools worldwide.
The Pulama Parent-Child program will continue in the 2018-19 school year and will be enrolling students throughout the summer months. For a preview, the school offers bi-monthly Stay & Play programs where parents and their children can experience a morning of early childhood Waldorf education for free. Advance reservations are required as these sessions fill quickly. The next Stay & Play is Saturday June 16, 2018 from 8:45 – 10:30am at the HWS Kula Campus. For more information about Kim’s upcoming Celebration or Haleakala Waldorf School’s programs, call 808-878-2511, visit waldorfmaui.org or visit the HWS Facebook and Instagram pages.