My son is a thinker and a dreamer. When he was a very small child, I could see that he would need a different kind of school, a school that accepted his quiet nature, a school where his individual gifts would be recognized rather than standardized. Honestly, I didn’t believe a place like this existed…until I found Golden Valley Charter School, a K-8 public charter school inspired by Waldorf education.
I found Golden Valley after an exhaustive search. The school had just opened, and there were approximately 40 students in attendance. We applied and were put on a Waiting List. The week before school started, he was invited into Kindergarten. I took the space immediately!
Since then, the school has grown to 420 students. My son, Harrison, has been transformed by this education and my whole family has found community. My husband served on the Board of Trustees, and once Harrison was in 4th grade, I started working again—as the School Secretary for Golden Valley. I am now the Enrollment/Communications Coordinator, and Harrison attends high school at the George Washington Carver School of Arts and Science (the first Waldorf-inspired charter high school in the state). He recently earned his black sash in Kung Fu, and we will be visiting colleges this summer. The only challenge his has with the idea of college is that he is interested in too many things! His Waldorf-inspired charter education has created a well-rounded, confident young man.
Just this past Saturday, we attended the May Day Festival at Golden Valley. Harrison’s Kindergarten teacher is retiring, and she was going to be at the festival to say farewell to all her past students. He made a special point of attending to see her and to visit with his former class teachers. His affection runs deep for this place and these people. I cannot say I ever desired to return to the giant, impersonal public schools I attended. I was a quiet girl just like my son, and although I did well academically, I never felt connected. If only Waldorf-inspired charter schools existed when I was a child!
It is essential that charter schools continue and grow in number. Parents need to have the opportunity to find the right fit for their child. We are entering a future that is vastly different from the world our parents grew up in. Our children cannot count on working at the same, secure job for 30 years and then receiving a pension. They will need to have the capacities for original thought and innovation if they are to thrive. Most importantly, they need to have the capacity to form and keep relationships. Waldorf education, more than anything else, gives children the skills to relate to other human beings, to find compassion for all and to serve humanity.