Transitioning from public school to Waldorf Kindergarten: A Parent Perspective

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My daughter, Taylor, started off kindergarten in a traditional public school. My husband and I had done our research, and we were in one of the best rated school districts in the Seattle area. We thought we were set up for the perfect school experience for our children. The year started off okay with her meeting new friends and getting to know her teacher, but it quickly turned to frustration.

She was constantly rushed. She would come home from school starving with not even half of her lunch eaten. When I asked, she would tell me she didn’t have time to eat it. Her class had 23 minutes to eat lunch, including making their way to and from the cafeteria. She didn’t go outside for recess when it was raining and, in Seattle, it is always raining. She started to not like reading books at bedtime because she didn’t want anything to do with reading. She was being asked to write stories before she really knew how to sound out words. She often came home with unfinished art projects and notes from her teacher about how she had “another break down” when she didn’t have time to finish. She would come home so discouraged every day. She loved the social aspect, but hated school!

“She started to not like reading books at bedtime because she didn’t want anything to do with reading.”

Then our family went through a huge transition. I lost my job, and my husband found a great job in St. Louis. We packed up, moved halfway across the country (on Christmas Eve….), and worried constantly about pulling our 5 year old out of school in the middle of year. She was already struggling so much. We HATED to throw even more at her. Lucky for us, I found The Waldorf School of St. Louis! We knew very little about Waldorf education (other than a distant friend’s children attending a school in Oregon), and found the school through Google. The more I learned, the more excited I was. It almost sounded too good to be true!

“She is enjoying being a kid again…”

Taylor started in January, and has had the last several months to reset and remember how to be a kid. She has been climbing trees, playing in dirt, working on art projects, and falling back in love with learning and discovering on her own terms. She may not be able to read or write a ton, but neither could I at that age. That will all come in time, when she is developmentally ready. She has started asking to read books again, and sitting with her younger brother and reading (or making up stories to go with the pictures on the page) to him. She is enjoying being a kid again, and I am enjoying watching my happy, little girl grow in ways that I didn’t think possible a few short months ago.

– Katie, parent of Taylor in Kindergarten