A couple of weekends ago we were fortunate to have our friends two daughters stay with us overnight. They have attended a Waldorf School since Preschool and are two quite remarkable young ladies. Polite, kind, wonderful with Katie and a couple of the brightest kids I have ever met. Both of their parents are intelligent as well, but I really think that they are a shining example of what a Waldorf education can be for somebody.
Sophie age 12 spent some time with us describing her experience of Waldorf. One of the things that she said was that they memorize the stories about the topics they are learning about. She mentioned multiple subjects, physics, Greek Mythology, Creation stories from various religions, etc. etc. It really made me think about my public education and how little I can remember and why that is. I think it stems from the memorization of things, testing, and then not building upon them. Nothing flowed together so once you proved that you memorized it, then it could be forgotten and onto the next topic. My understanding of Waldorf is that as they are learning and memorizing the stories they flow together and are interconnected. It is also all done at along with the developmental age of the child wherever they may be not just their age.
I was surprised that as we wound down for the evening and the girls were coloring with Katie that Emma, age 10 was reading a book that I recently had read, “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen. A 350 page novel. Any concerns about Waldorf kids not learning to read soon enough just got blown out of my radar as an issue at all.
Some of the other things they are learning to do or have learned are handcrafts. They’ve carved their own spoons out of wooden blocks, which must of taught them a great deal of patience but also could be a great metaphor for how your decisions shape your life. They know how to knit, crochet, embroidery, draw, and they are learning to play the violin and the piano. They both learned to speak Spanish in the 3rd Grade.
I just can’t help to think, “Wow how lucky is any child to be able to attend a Waldorf School? I really hope that we get to have the experience of Katie attending. I think she would just flourish going there. I know I would have.