Meet Cyrus and Elijah Wiley from the Tucson Waldorf School (TWS). The boys are currently in 8th and 7th grade and have been at the school since preschool.
A couple of years before finding TWS the family had a life-changing event that left their mom paralyzed from the waist down. April Wiley and Cyrus, who was 11 months old at the time, were in a car accident when April was pregnant with Elijah. Michael, the father, was the only one out of the family not involved in the accident. It was a single car accident caused by a tire blowout and the vehicle was unrecognizable after the accident. Prior to this happening, the parents had planned to homeschool the boys but with the change in circumstances came to a shift in their plans. The Wiley’s set out to find a loving “trauma-informed” school to support the boys during the family’s grieving process while fostering their educational needs. From the family’s point of view, they were hoping to find a school with a nurturing learning environment and people in the community they felt they could trust. In the family’s opinion, The Tucson Waldorf School checked all the boxes and looked like an extension of the environment they wanted to create beyond their home.
The family started with enrolling Cyrus then a year later enrolled Elijah to the program as well as they wanted both boys to experience new kind of friendships outside of the home but together. The family liked the idea of the teachers staying with the boys for their entire early and middle grade educational journey. “We loved that each class would come to know each other so well that it would be like a family,” said the father, Michael.
From the Wiley Family about the support, they have received from the Arizona Leadership Foundation and how happy they are to be at Tucson Waldorf School: What I can say is, year after year, we have been immensely grateful for the opportunity to apply for and receive the Arizona Leadership Foundation scholarship. It took a weight off our shoulders, and we never had to worry about our boys because we knew they were in great hands. They were always happy to go to school, and that meant the world to us. Now, they are confident, resilient, compassionate, adaptable, clever, and risk-taking boys who have healthy relationships with all their teachers/mentors and peers and love to learn and try new things.
The community itself embraced us immediately, offered help and support when needed, and went above and beyond to ensure we were cared for and included. When we joined TWS, we felt like we had found ‘our people’ and it opened a world of opportunity for us to learn and grow as a family. We love that Tucson Waldorf School, and Waldorf education helps students discover their capacities by providing opportunities to learn their subject matters through multiple modalities. They accomplish this through art, music, theater, movement, experience, projects, and writing and illustrating textbooks, called Main Lesson Books. All of which support the subjects they are learning. Other examples of these capacities are life and outdoor skills such as cooking, baking, sewing, knitting, building, gardening, hiking, camping, survival skills, teamwork, woodworking, business math, self-care, empathy, compassion, and more.
My favorite subjects are Spanish, algebra, physics, and movement (PE). I enjoy our Archery Club and playing Ultimate Frisbee. At the medieval games (school event in 5th and 6th grade), I won first place in the ‘test of endurance’-stave fencing, and I performed a fire juggling act for the Royal Court with my classmates, which took months to learn and practice.
My favorite subjects are Spanish, math, physics, and art. I also enjoy Archery Club and Ultimate Frisbee. At my medieval games, I won 2nd place in Quarterstaff Fencing and 1st place in target archery and the javelin throw and was honored with the Queen’s choice award for endurance and positive sportsmanship.
About Tucson Waldorf School:
For over twenty-five years Tucson Waldorf School has served parents and children from their newborn years through Grade 8 with an education that fosters academic engagement and joy in learning. TWS offers an outstanding classical education, presented with care and an ethic of beauty, while at the same time nurturing family life and developing social and environmental awareness. Everything done at Tucson Waldorf School is in support of the wonderful children who learn and and thrive here.