Dear Waldorf education,
I know our pairing seems like a no-brainer. I live in a community based off the philosophical teachings of the same man who founded Waldorf education. So clearly sending my children to a campus that mimics the rhythms and reverence that I try to create at home would be a natural steppingstone for my offspring.
Yet when I walk through the classroom that now takes center stage in my sons day, I am filled with the joy that has been unbeknownst to me till this point. That the colors of the wall have been picked with intention, the toys have been handmade and infused with the love from their crafters, and that the food that the children help prepare each day will be locally sourced and organic, giving them the nourishment they need to learn through play all day long.
Yet it goes so far beyond that. I was explaining Waldorf education to a friend the other day, about how parents go in for workdays, commit to reading materials to further their own understanding about the curriculums, how they volunteer during festivals to create a magical environment for the children. She commented on how it was like a cooperative. At the time I said yes, however on reflecting on it that really makes sense to me. That it is a cooperative, instead of selling food at a reduced cost we are all working together to provide our children an exceptional education. That by each parent contributing what they can they are providing a better education for every other student in that school, and that is our commitment to each other when we enroll our children in a Waldorf school.
Beyond all of thatI love that children stay in the same class with the same teacher during their grade school years. That teacher then receives training each summer to be able to provide the curriculum necessary for the following year. That class trips are taken with parents for overnights to help solidify bonds. That we’re not just creating a classroom we’re creating a family.
I know that the private school just sounds pretentious, but I believe it is worth the sacrifice. Worth the hours driven, lunches packed, volunteer hours spent. Because when my child does not want to leave school at the end of the day or asks when the weekend is over so they can please go back to school I know I have made the right choice. It’s worth the hours spent working to secure this future for them. Worth a staycation or fewer dinners out so that the funds are available. Worth every cake baked for a school fundraiser.
I know that as the kids get older the class size will start to dwindle as people start to disagree with a slower-paced pedagogy, but I promise to be their by your side. Fighting on your behalf to educate my parental cohort. Assure them that we are on to something great here.
What a privilege for me to meet my peers as well. Other parents trying to offer their children something different than mainstreamed society. A nature-based, hands on education system. Parents that are also willing to put in the hard work to co-create a school for our children. People that will strive to hold my children high as I will do for theirs.
Thank you for giving my child a safe place in this world. A place where their differences will be celebrated. Where one kind of learning doesn’t dominate those who integrate knowledge in a different way. For making yourself financially viable for those who may not be able to attend otherwise. For helping to shape a different kind of person, the kind of person who will be able to look at the world with a new perspective and help to create new solutions to existing problems.
Your forever admirer,