I am part of an amazing, ‘weird’ family. I grew up in Mexico, spoke English at home (to my mothers credit), and had two very strong spiritual traditions in the family. My mother has always been involved with Sufism and my father is a Budhist teacher. So, while most of my friends went to catholic school on Sundays I got to learn about totally different paths in life.
I was introduced to Waldorf schooling by actually having one when I was growing up, so let me get straight to the point: having a Waldorf Education while growing up was nothing short of amazing, I would do it all over again. I had never really questioned my schooling or thought about what a different schooling might have been like until I became a teacher and taught in foreign countries with different systems.
I remember my primary school years to be full of fun, I played the recorder, learned arts and crafts, could explore my creative side, loved learning all about history and was always in a colorful classroom. My students are in a basic white classroom and have traditional exams. There is no story telling, no painting, some of them are incredibly stressed out-and they are only 7 years old! AS a teacher in a traditional school, I am not encouraged to teach in a creative way or be to ‘out of the box’ it has taught me to also have an internal structure that must be maintained as opposed to the freedom I can experience in other aspects of my life. This is not to say that one is better than the other, I only wish to express that this brought a great amount of appreciation of the fact that I was able to be a kid during my childhood.
A few people I have met are worried that if they put their children through Waldorf Schooling they might have great difficulty in adjusting to more traditional schools later on. My family, in particular, was ‘weird’ compared to most of my friends. I must say that my mother did an amazing job with home education! We spoke a different language at home, read instead of watching tv, had normal dolls instead of Barbies and were encouraged to express ourselves artistically and practice sports. Both my brother and I then transferred to more traditional schools and adjusted very well. I went to attend Standford University and my brother went to USC. It was actually an easy adjustment to make.
Once again, I would like to stress how much I enjoyed going to a Waldorf School, it taught me to explore my inner resources and placed an emphasis on experience and learning through understanding. Last but not least, much gratitude to my amazing mom who went to the trouble of making sure it was done right.
By Casandra Gally