Describe what first comes to mind when you think back on your years at the Cincinnati Waldorf School (CWS).
Small classes. Strings, choir, handwork, woodwork, eurythmy. The block system. A wide variety of learning material. Dog sledding.
How did CWS prepare you for high school?
I was pretty well prepared for high school, it was a little bit hard going from such a small class (only 5 people) to such a large one (200 people). CWS taught me the value of learning for the sake of learning, not just the grades.
How could CWS have better prepared you for high school?
I think a little more focus on science would have been helpful – learning the scientific method, and how to draw up a lab report. also knowing not only how to write an es- say, but the different components of an essay; intro, thesis, body, conclusion. I knew how to write an essay with all these aspects but I did not know what they were called which led to much confusion when I first came across these terms freshman year.
What do you feel was unique about your Waldorf education?
All the “special subjects” were unique, as well as the block system. Not to mention the incredible 8th grade class trip to boundary waters Minnesota where I got to go on a dog sledding expedition. Also my teachers and friends were like my family at Waldorf – everyone was on a first name basis.
How was your imagination and curiosity affected by your time spent at CWS?
At CWS, I picked up the violin in 3rd grade and I haven’t put it down since. Learning to play an instrument, sing, knit, carve wood, and dance enhanced my imagination and curiosity. In high school, a simple presentation became a full blown art project, and my ability to look at problems from many different angles helped me to come up with solutions and better understand the material being presented.
What have you gained from your Waldorf education (emotionally, intellectually, spiritually)?
I feel that I gained a well rounded education at CWS. All throughout high school I maintained a very high GPA (over 4.0). I believe that I did so well in school because I was able to look at presented material in more than just a strictly academic sense. I did exceptionally well on all the AP classes I took gaining a total of 35 college credits. This meant that I was able to enter my freshman year in college with a sophomore status. Emotionally, the skills I learned in my special subject classes at CWS have helped me ward off stress. All throughout high school, I worked on an enormous handwork project – a crocheted afghan. Whenever I was feeling stressed or overwhelmed by the homework load I would take a break, crochet a couple of rows, and go back to work with my mind clear.
Have you maintained any important relationships made through CWS? Please tell us about them.
When you are in a class with the same 20 or so people for multiple years, it is hard not to form lasting relationships. I still keep in touch with people from my original first grade class, and Janela Harris (the only other girl from my first grade class to make it all the way to eighth grade) is one of my very closest friends. Over the summer I traveled to Iceland and France with Janela and her mom (Jodi Harris – also my 7th and 8th grade teacher). The trip was a blast and something I will never forget. I do not doubt that I will remain close friends with Janela throughout my entire life.
Tell us what you’re doing now.
I am attending Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, CO. I am double majoring in Biology and Equine Science.
As our 8th grade classes grow larger and the Cincinnati Waldorf School sends more students off to high school each year, we have refined our curriculum as necessary to be certain our students are well prepared for high school. Study skills and test-taking strategies are now part of our Upper Grades curriculum. CWS has incorporated an introduction to the scientific method, lab equipment and reports into its 8th grade science blocks. The vocabulary of expository essays is also used much more frequently now. ~Jodi Harris, CWS Upper Grades Teacher