October 2022 Newsletter

Joyce Little Whiteman with Class
Greetings from the Lakota Waldorf School!

Already, we are in the middle of fall with all the excitement the season has to offer! We welcomed forty students at the beginning of the school year, and we still have new students joining us almost every week.

We have been busy celebrating the many festivities of fall and we are looking forward to all the new school year has to offer!

The School Year is Off to an Energetic Start

When our school year started, our tribal Covid chart was on the alarming level of red, but luckily the situation has calmed down to the safer level of green. 

We are excited to have in-person classes and have started the new school year with a lot of energy!  We celebrated the fall season and the start of the school year with many festivities, including Michaelmas, Paha Sapa Wacipi (the Black Hills Pow Wow), and pumpkin carving. 

New Class Offerings

The Lakota Waldorf School is excited to offer a new movement class this year. Eurythmy means harmonious movement, which the students have been practicing together. Each grade joins Raven, the eurythmy teacher, twice a week and practices exercises for balance, coordination, and grace. Additionally, there is choreographed movement to live music and spoken poetry.


A unique aspect of this class is that speech sounds and elements of music are made visible through arm, hand, and foot gestures, as well as movement through space. 

The third and fourth-grade students are moving to this poem:

“In beauty before me I walk, 
In beauty behind me I walk, 
In beauty above me I walk, 
In beauty below me I walk, 
In beauty all around me I walk, 
It is finished in beauty.”

Enjoying the Natural Beauty and Bounty of the Pine Ridge Reservation 

Last school year, in the fall of 2021 and spring of 2022, we received a grant to plant thirty-five fruit trees and one hundred fruit shrubs on the school’s property. We installed a drip system to keep our trees and shrubs watered over the dry South Dakota summer, and they recently produced their first fruits!

There were only a few in this first year, but the joy was great, and we look forward to nurturing these trees and shrubs over many years.

Here on the Pine Ridge Reservation, we have very few forms of entertainment. There are hardly any restaurants, and we generally have to drive a long distance wherever we go.
What we do have, however, is the land. The school owns forty acres of beautiful, wild, peaceful land where the children can play and run around with no fear, no traffic, and no worries.

We can play sports, do theater, garden, or do anything else we can think of on this land. There is no disruption except a few wild dogs, some cattle, and horses that escaped from a pasture. This freedom is a huge gift and blessing that we appreciate daily.

Projects like planting fruit trees and our ongoing construction are helping to enrich this beautiful land for our school and our students.

We hope to continue this growth in the future with more trees and shrubs and campus development projects!

An Update on Construction

Our construction has experienced some delays. The completion of the building is now expected to be closer to February 2023. We will keep you posted.

Many thanks to everyone who has contributed and donated toward this construction project, bringing the dream of our own school building a bit closer! Our fundraising efforts are still ongoing and we as for your continued support.

Meet Our Staff

The Lakota Waldorf School is blessed with many great teachers and staff members! We would love for you to get to know our team a little better, so with every newsletter, we would like to introduce one member of our staff. Today, we are introducing Joyce, our Lakota Language Teacher.

My name is Joyce Little Whiteman, and I have been here at the Lakota Waldorf School since 2006. I started as a board member involved only in meetings but soon became more involved at the school. In 2009-2010, we talked about starting the first grade and began interviewing teachers. We hired one, but the teacher never showed up when school started. I stepped in and worked with the class, just until we found a teacher. Well, we never found a teacher, so I stayed in first grade with the eight students we had. I went through a lot of training with many loving and caring Waldorf mentors, and I had the opportunity to visit some great Waldorf schools.

The following school year, 2010-2011, we started the second-grade class, and I continued with the students. I was learning alongside students, which I thought was fun. In the year 2011, a kindergarten mentor came in the summer to do a training with the teachers, and I asked if I could join them. I liked the circle verses and songs they were learning, and the mentor saw how much I enjoyed doing this. They moved the kindergarten teacher to first grade, and I came to the kindergarten. I stayed there for five years, from 2011 to 2016, then took a break from 2016 to 2018.

In November 2018, I saw the school was advertising for a Lakota language teacher, so I applied and was hired. In January 2019, I started as the school’s Lakota language teacher, working with students from kindergarten to eighth grade. Then in the fall of 2021, we received a grant from the Administration for Native Americans, allowing us to hire a second Lakota Language teacher. He teaches the upper grades, and I teach kindergarten, first, and second grade. I love working with younger students. I still participate in our in-house teacher training, the Academy for Indigenous Waldorf Pedagogy. I so appreciate this opportunity for continued professional development and the ability to bring Waldorf methodology into the Lakota community.

Lakota Waldorf School Faculty 2022-2023
First row from left to right: Alex Hunter (3-4 grade), Raven Garland (1-2 grade and Eurythmy), Joyce Little Whiteman (Lakota language), Fallen Sorbel (Early childhood), Melia Anthony (Early childhood assistant), Santee Witt (Lakota culture). Second row from left to right: Caroline Stadnick (5-8 grade), Esperanza Montileaux (teacher’s assistant), Didier DuPont (Lakota language).

Here are three ways to make a gift:

  1. Use our website’s DONATE page (with PayPal Option)
  2. Visit our GO FUND ME page.
  3. Send a CHECK made to “Lakota Waldorf School” to P.O. Box 527, Three Mile Creek Road, Kyle, SD 57752

Please know that your gift – no matter the size – will help us to transform the lives and future of Lakota students living on one of the poorest Indian reservations in the United States. 

Pilauŋyayapi! (We thank you all) 

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