Posted by: Alex Borders | September 30, 2010

Waldorf Education Unique yet Universal


Thursday 30th September

Local website HillontheAvenue.com is running a feature about Pre-School Open Houses. Photographer from HillontheAvenue, Mark Register, visited WSP last week and took some beautiful pictures of our students.  Visit http://hillontheavenue.com/ to read the article and to see our students. Here is a picture taken by Mark of 4th Grade student, Jordan.

Today another opportunity presented itself to contribute to a local website.  The Mount Airy Parents Network (MAPN) is running a discussion about local school search.  I was invited into the conversation and here is what I had to say, (with a little light editing to suit the change in forum):

Waldorf schools are unique and I would encourage anybody contemplating a Waldorf Education for their child to visit their local Waldorf school. The Waldorf School of Philadelphia will be different from the Rudolph Steiner School in New York and from the Waldorf inspired home based program.  Each Waldorf school is unique yet universal.  There are characteristics of each grade which create a common thread between Waldorf schools.  However each group of children, teacher, parent body and faculty body will be different and therefore the spirit of each Waldorf school will be different.

The Waldorf School of Philadelphia is an academic, urban school with a greatly involved parent body and a diversity that grows year upon year, reflecting the neighborhood in which we are located.  Schools today can drain children of their natural creativity and curiosity by the time they reach high school.  The Waldorf School of Philadelphia takes a different approach; the school fuels creativity.  The teaching methods at WSP develop independent and critical thinking skills that result in a lifelong love of learning.  At WSP childhood is understood, cherished and appreciated.  The teachers allow the children to unfold and awaken gradually, all the while nurturing and strengthening their imagination and intelligence.  The curriculum in the grade school, especially the middle school, is as rigorous as you would find in any of the top private schools in the city.  Our students are accepted into high school of their choosing.  The vast majority choose Central High School where they tend towards acceptance into the MG programs.  We also have students continuing their education at Germantown Friends, Friends Select, Penn Charter and The Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts.  It has been said by their parents and by their high school teachers that transitioning has not a problem for our students.  These are kids who have been provided with the experience at WSP of being well grounded, socially adaptable and academically well prepared. Our students thrive.

We are the school that teaches knitting along with physics, wood work along with math and circus arts along with chemistry.  We do not teach only to the left side of the brain but to the right and to the whole entire being.  We do not decide early on whether a student is gifted in math and terrible at music.  We teach perseverance and critical, independent thinking.  Our students try and keep on trying.  Our students are true renaissance people.  It is never a question of “am I good at music or not?” rather it is a question of “what sort of musician am I?” It is for this good reason that our students learn to explore all aspects of education and what it means to be human.  Isn’t that much more interesting than deciding early on what you are good at and what you are not?

For more on the topic of local schools follow the thread by asking to join MAPN or alternatively, please consider leaving a comment on this blog.  It’d be nice to hear from you.

Alex Borders – Director of Admissions, The Waldorf School of Philadelphia

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