By Dave Schilling, PCWS Parent
I had not heard of Waldorf education until we lived in Monterey, CA, about six years ago, where I was attending the Naval Postgraduate School. We met another military couple there who had a son the same age as our daughter. The father was a Navy officer also attending the school and our wives became friends and met frequently for play dates with the kids. The mother was very much into Waldorf education and often spoke of it. The thing that struck me was the artistic and holistic approach to education as well as the idea of learning through play and exploration.
In my own experience I started out in a parochial Lutheran school until 6th grade, which was less than a positive experience. In 7th grade I was moved to an independent private school for middle and high school, but struggled to catch up from what I had missed from the previous school. However, I felt very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to attend the school I did and I knew that I wanted to provide the same opportunity to my children. To discover Waldorf education was an added bonus.
So, when it came time for us to move to D.C., one of the first things we did was research where the Waldorf schools were, and were thrilled when we found PCWS, and enrolled our daughter immediately.
That was the reason we chose Waldorf education, but there is much more to the story of why we stay and will continue as long as possible.
For my own part, Waldorf education is everything I wished my educational experience would have been, especially in my elementary years. The manner and care that is put into the curriculum is exquisite. The way in which the children are taught in a manner that is much better suited to their learning style is priceless. There has never been a day when either of my children was not absolutely excited about going to school. For them, it is not a tedious workplace where they must suffer through hours of lecture and memorization of dates and facts, but it truly is a place of wonder and discovery where the children learn according to their nature. This approach promotes a much greater retention of knowledge than any conventional academic process.
Somewhere along the way, the U.S. academic system got off track and the art of learning was lost and gave way to a system of training children to take tests. This is neither beneficial for the child nor beneficial for society as a whole, for that child will lack the life skills that are so desperately needed in adulthood.
I am excited to see my children excited about school and learning and am consistently amazed at the things they learn and accomplish. From writing to painting to handwork, there has not been one instance where I wasn’t absolutely thrilled with what my children were doing. And I am even more excited about the future and what is coming next. There is no doubt in my mind that the skills they are learning today will allow them to be productive and fruitful adults. There will be no limit to what they can accomplish because they have learned from the very start to imagine the possibilities and not be constrained by conventional walls.