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  • 9200 Fair Oaks Blvd, Fair Oaks, CA 95628
  • 916.963.4000

Meristem

 

Meristem is the only program of its kind in the United States and shares the campus and dorms of Rudolf Steiner College. It offers 3‐year day and residential programs for young adults (18 and older) on the autism spectrum by helping them develop practical life skills, increased social capacity, and transition to work and independence.  

The practices of Rudolf Steiner College and Meristem intersect and complement each other in a unique way. Because of the Waldorf educational emphasis on individual creativity and expression, on the value of hands-on work and crafts, and the important role of nature, the environment, and biodynamic agriculture, both conceptual and practical links emerge between the education of all children and youth and the education and training of children and youth with educational disabilities.

A central focus of the Meristem method entails preparing students for life after graduation. The program uses practical arts and transformative movement in a highly personalized way. Students represent a broad spectrum of abilities, and the offerings are individualized for every level of functioning and interest.

The transition-to-work program develops vocational skills through work experience. For example, students might make and sell crafts, grow and sell food from the biodynamic farm, work in the campus café, bookstore, or have other on-site opportunities. With the emphasis on community life, the organization also seeks opportunities to partner with local businesses for work placements and internships, and helps graduates to find work in the community or to enter college.

Core program components include:

Transformative movement Carpentry and woodwork
Digital media Independent living skills
Culinary arts and nutrition Farm and animal care
Equine therapy Textiles, jewelry, and metal work
Sustainable agriculture Filmmaking & photography

            

       

       

      

 

 

As a result, the high level of resonance and vibrancy between Rudolf Steiner College and Meristem on a shared campus is synergistic, and also opens the door for the development of initiatives in preschool child development, holistic health care, research in childhood development, Waldorf­-related pedagogies, autism and other disabilities of children and youth, etc.

Background

Autism on the Rise
About 1 % of the world population has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), today one in sixty-eight or 3.5 million Americans, with a recent doubling rate of 10 years, making ASD the fastest-growing developmental disability in America. Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by two-thirds with early diagnosis and intervention. Quality early intervention offers the opportunity for those served to progress to greater independence, further education, employment, fruitful contributing adult Iives.

Meristem’s Inspiration
Heavily influencing the partnership between Rudolf Steiner College and Meristem is Ruskin Mill Trust (RMT), a remarkable British organization. RMT was established in 1984 to advance the education of young people with learning difficulties and/or behavioral problems or special educational needs through training in the areas of arts, crafts, agriculture and environmental sciences, with particular reference being given to the insights of Rudolf Steiner, John Ruskin, and William Morris.

Through “doing,” students get immediate and objective feedback from the process and develop capacity for self-leadership and a sense of accomplishment. Working with tutors and fellow students, social skills flourish as a byproduct of the process. More than 70 percent of graduates transition into higher education, vocational training, or employment.

The "practical skills therapeutic education method" developed over nearly 30 years by the RMT resonates with the care methods of Rudolf Steiner College, Waldorf schools, and Meristem.

For more information

Visit www.meristem.pro or call (916) 963-1000