Glen Brook’s mission is to nurture a sense of personal responsibility for the world around us – our personal living spaces, our towns and cities, and the natural environment as a whole. At the core of all our activities is a belief in the inherent need in the human spirit to connect with one another and the natural world through work and play; to work creatively for both artistic pleasure and to solve problems of social importance; and to project a sense of compassion and responsibility toward all living things.
Glen Brook’s diverse programs encourage this mission in numerous ways:
through arts and music; through outdoor adventure and exploration; and through the daily care of a small farm in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire. Our programs strive for the care of our resources in ways both large and small: the health of our forests, fields, and waters is as important as the orderliness of our broom closets; the respect we afford one another is as vital as the wholesomeness of the food we eat. In all that we do, we aim to leave the world a little better than the way we found it.
"Glen Brook should be a place of archetypal experiences, giving every student a truer glimpse of what he or she is living for. There must be a quietness where students come to the realization of themselves and where they can find intuitions of their destiny."
- John Gardner
Camp Glen Brook follows the educational aims and goals advocated by the philosopher and educator Rudolf Steiner and carried out by many Waldorf schools throughout the world. The summer camp weaves together many principles of Waldorf education within a traditional New England summer camp program.
Camp Glen Brook is non-sectarian and families of all faiths are welcome. Our philosophy acknowledges an underlying spiritual foundation of the world and we accept that each of us has a spiritual core to be recognized and nurtured. We begin each meal with a singing or spoken grace and all campers and staff attend a 30-minute weekly (nondenominational) service of offering and thanksgiving. The staff at Camp Glen Brook are open to working with parents to meet their children's special religious needs.
The Waldorf Philosophy at Glen Brook
by Tom Braden
In August 1919, Rudolf Steiner addressed a group of parents prospectively interested in sending their children to his new “Waldorf” school. He said that children in the coming century would need never-seen-before skills to navigate the complex world that was emerging from industrialized societies.
“For the future, we expect a social structure much different from the one of the present,” he said. “We look lovingly at our children, at the next generation. And we, particularly those who are parents, often have misgivings in our hearts.” Will our children, he asked, be “capable of contributing to the formation of society” and achieve a more “humane existence” than earlier generations?
At Glen Brook we’re often asked how Waldorf education weaves through the program, as we say in our tag line. Steiner — and other great educators before and since — suggest that the way to begin to answer this question is to develop activities that enhance human interaction and connections, build programs that foster care, love and service to others. That’s one reason why Glen Brook (and Waldorf schools) have a no-media policy up to age 14 —computers, electronic games and iPods separate and isolate people.
The three tenets of Waldorf are thinking, feeling, and willing (doing). Waldorf education nourishes the development of a balanced, well-rounded person through the active engagement of head, heart and hands. This is as true in a school as it is in the less academic setting of camp. We stress the arts because they encourage creativity. We share stories because they feed the imagination. (We teach main lessons during the school year because they encourage thinking and curiosity about the world.) We take campers into the outdoors to make them joyful, comfortable, and knowledgeable about nature and our planet. We have crafts and woodworking, canoeing and swimming, camping and hiking because they engage the will. These activities, led by an enthusiastic and experienced staff, make Glen Brook the ideal atmosphere for nourishing children to become responsible and engaged citizens of this increasingly complex world.
Tom Braden, a Waldorf teacher for almost 30 years, worked at Glen Brook from 1981 until his death in 2011.