April 29, 2014
We are full of pride and joy this week with the accomplishments of our sixteen year old grandson, Nathan. He not only won second in mountain biking for all the high school teams in Northern California, but also just won the second round of the area Rotary Clubs’ Young Musicians competition with a beautifully played Vivaldi piece on his violin and will go to the finals in Reno soon. He is also a good student and a fine young man currently attending a large public school after graduating from Cedar Springs Waldorf School where my destiny called me to be the founding teacher in 1989.
I have to smile. In my many years in Waldorf education I have seen skeptics come and see our beautiful kindergartens, the nurturing teachers, the children in self directed play and lack of media equipment in the classrooms and ask, “Nice, but how will they do in the ‘real’ world?”
It is hard for some to comprehend that an unhurried education that is developmentally age appropriate, does not push and stress the young child with testing, that allows hours of creative empowering free play in kindergarten, that engages the young person in imaginative work and hands on real life practical experience and effort, can actually prepare them for today’s world. But it does indeed prepare them -for life. In Waldorf education we honor their individuality, their right to a full childhood, give them support to be a fully ‘human’ being and the deep values that go with that, and watch them thrive in awakening in natural time to the world and their destiny in it. As one graduate declared, “Our education gives us courage to make wise choices in the ‘real’ world.
The education does not guarantee results, for every young person and their families have different life stories. But so many do so well, we have to say when asked, “How do they do in the ‘real’ world?” Just fine, folks. Highly valued for their social skills, love of learning, capacity for self directed thinking and feeling a natural right to engage in life at all levels of achievement: academics, sports, music, beautiful literature and writing and all the arts, more often than not, they choose to dedicate themselves to making this world a better place with their gifts. We owe so much to Rudolf Steiner whose profound wisdom in human development and spiritual view of life lies behind this powerful education for our time.