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Mission Statement

Girl with Kitten The goal of Trillium is to develop a curriculum, which combines the cutting edge approach to Deaf education with the Waldorf philosophy of teaching through "Head, Hands and Heart", and to make this excellent and innovative education available to children of the Deaf community and their families. The three components of Trillium are:

1.  Research and development of a Waldorf based curriculum for Deaf children, which can be internationally applied within Waldorf schools as well as other private and public school settings. This includes consultation services for Deaf children in Waldorf settings or to Deaf educators interested in applying Waldorf educational philosophies in their classrooms. Also included are Waldorf teacher training opportunities for Deaf educators.

2.  Support of the Deaf community through exposure of a larger community to Deaf cultural events, Deaf performing arts and American Sign Language (ASL). This includes ASL storytellings, Deaf Culture Evening, ASL summer camp, and ASL instruction.

3.  Development of a bilingual-bicultural Deaf Community Waldorf School using the above developed curriculum and extensive exposure to Deaf role models and Deaf culture. This currently includes the bilingual-bicultural integrated mixed age kindergarten program. A program for children in the grades is being developed. Also included are opportunities for parent education.

Laughing Woman The three populations intended to be directly served by Trillium are:

1. Deaf and Hard of hearing children (DHH)
2. Children of Deaf Adults (CODA)
3. Siblings and friends of Deaf children and the larger community.

We hope that this program will be able to move forward to create a bridge between historically polarized factions of both communities and offer an alternative to families who otherwise might feel compelled to send their child away to a residential school for the Deaf in order to provide the exposure to culture, community and communication so essential to the development of Deaf children. We hope to bring to all the children a living example of what it means to be a World Citizen in reaching out and striving to better understand and meet the language, cultural and personal needs of a larger and more diverse community.

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Deaf Community Waldorf School

Group of Women Waldorf Education is the fastest growing form of private education. Now it is moving into the public system as well through the Charter School movement. Why? Because it is beautiful! And because it works! Waldorf education teaches through head, heart and hands using drama, storytelling, art and movement. Fun? You bet! And Waldorf graduates are getting into the best colleges with SAT scores well above the national average! Why shouldn't Deaf children have access to this innovative educational philosophy?

Part of Trillium's dream is to access Waldorf Education for the Deaf Community, Deaf children and Deaf educators. We have named this impulse the Deaf Community Waldorf School. For the last three years Trillium has been instrumental in the development of a bilingual-bicultural Waldorf mixed age integrated kindergarten in Sebastopol, California under the directorship of Victoria Lester. This very successful, integrated program has a Deaf teacher, and a Hearing teacher side by side in the classroom creating a truly accessible program. The most heartwarming is to see the children learn to sign, learn to communicate and learn to live together in the world without the barriers of prejudice.

Children Eating This year we continue to actively pursue the development of a similar program, which would continue, into the grades. We welcome individuals, educators, parents and children who would be interested in being involved in the continued evolution of this program. By the way, Sebastopol is one of the best places on Earth, set in the heart of wine country, just minutes away from the Pacific Ocean or the majestic redwood forests. Come visit us!

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Two Children Signing Did you know ASL is recognized as a true language satisfying the "Foreign Language" requirement for many colleges and universities including the University of California (UC) system?

ASL is a beautiful language and it is fun to learn.
ASL is a natural, accessible language for Deaf people.
Children can learn to sign before they learn to talk! Hearing children too!
ASL can help many children who are having difficulties with reading and spelling.
ASL is great for hearing people too! You can use it to talk across a crowded room or to people in another car or in places where you need to be very quiet. You can also use it to communicate with Deaf people.

Trillium Deaf Program encourages the early use of ASL for Deaf children and their families and friends. Even children destined for cochlear implantation can benefit from accessible communication while they await their surgery. When a mother holds her new baby and looks into it's eyes, she says "You are so beautiful! I love you!" Deaf babies can't hear those words but with sign language the mother can communicate her feelings and much, much more. The development of a true language base is essential for normal cognitive development of all children. ASL gives Deaf children a visually accessible language.

Trillium offers ASL classes to hearing students both within the school day and as an after school program. We also offer an ASL summer camp led by Deaf teachers. Students work with ASL through storytelling, drama, poetry and games. These programs have been heartwarming proof that education and exposure allows children to bridge the gap between Deaf and Hearing cultures. By the end of camp, the Deaf teachers have become respected role models and cherished friends.

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