I have been a research scientist for nearly twenty years, and I have found that it is not enough to be smart: In science, the competitive edge often comes from that creative spark, imagination, and, increasingly, ability for collaborative work across disciplines. Waldorf education instills all these qualities in my children, which will stand them in good stead whether or not they choose careers in science.
All three of my children have a deep aesthetic sensibility and a capacity for working with others that amazes me. They have completely avoided the frenzied insecurities of middle school—they are just comfortable in their own skin, unafraid to explore their passions and share what they care about.
When I realized how integrated the curriculum was—art, poetry, math, music, and physics, all in the physics lesson—I was impressed, and I knew I wanted my child to have that sort of education. In my professional life I had always found myself working in the cracks, between disciplines, and across organizations, and I did not find that the compartmentalization of my education served me well for that.
Every day at the Waldorf School of Princeton brings hard work for the body, mind, and spirit that is scaffolded by and commingled with poetry, music, art, and storytelling. We are grateful to the Waldorf School of Princeton for providing a rich and nourishing environment for our daughter. We feel blessed to be part of a community of parents that recognize and support the beauty and mystery of development as it unfolds authentically and with grace.
With Waldorf education, the only way to know if you will like it is to try it. There is nothing else out there like it. I love the holistic aspect of it and that it strives to create individuals who reach their full potential—not just intellectually—but completely (and joyfully with an enthusiasm for life). I also appreciate the guidance and resources at the school that allow and encourage parents to grow as individuals along with our children.
One of the simplest and best explanations for the curriculum was given to me by class teacher David Heberlein when I was trying to understand the point of giving so much time and care to each little detail. He told me simply,to preserve the imagination.The imaginative muscle can't be used if it's busy decoding words or memorizing things by rote. This explained quite poignantly for me why a standard education seems designed for failure: How can you teach children to be original thinkers if their imagination gets so little use that it eventually disappears altogether?
In my fourteen years of teaching history to high school students, I’ve noticed that Waldorf students are different. They’ve been among my best students, and they always stand out for their genuine curiosity about the world and their strong will, which enables them to get deeper and see more complexity. By asking a few of my best students over there they had gone to school before Lawrenceville, I learned the thing they had in common was Waldorf.