When seventh-grader, Maia heard about a writing competition organized by the Children’s Scholarship Fund of Philadelphia, she jumped at the chance to submit her essay about what makes the Waldorf School of Philadelphia unique and why she is so proud of being a Philly Waldorf student.

Why I Love Philly Waldorf by Maia, 7th-grade student

I transferred to the Waldorf School of Philadelphia in fifth grade, after winning the Children’s Scholarship Fund lottery. Before that, I went to the best public and charter schools that my mom could find, but she always wished we could afford for me to go to the Waldorf School like my older sister had until she graduated and went on to George School. Even though we all knew what a special place the Waldorf School was, I was very nervous about transferring there for middle school because I knew I didn’t know how to do a lot of the things Waldorf kids did. For example, when I visited the school by fourth grade, the kids had already learned to knit, write in cursive, play an instrument, walk across a balance beam, and model with clay. I’ve always been kind of klutzy, and the closest thing I could do to clay modeling was cutting out shapes with Play Dough!

“The kids were friendly and kind, and the teachers were very patient with me.”

In the beginning, I was scared that I would never catch up, but as it turned out, I didn’t have anything to worry about. The kids were friendly and kind, and the teachers were very patient with me. Everyone was really helpful and now I know how to do most of the things my classmates learned before, and I pick up the new stuff as fast or faster than many of them do. Besides all of the regular stuff kids learn in middle school, at the Waldorf School I’ve also knitted a pair of socks, handcrafted a doll dressed with clothes that I designed and made from scratch, carved a wooden serving spoon, and learned to read sheet music. And after only a couple of years at Waldorf, I was invited to play cello in the Settlement Music School youth orchestra. I know all of this is possible because the Waldorf School isn’t just about textbooks and test prep, and I’m very proud of all of the other things I’m learning as a student there.

I love the combination of learning new things and creating works of art!

Besides learning different things, at the Waldorf School of Philadelphia, we also learn in different ways. During the year, we have “blocks” – several weeks when we focus on a certain time,  place or thing. While we study, we make morning lesson books with drawings and writings about the subject we’re studying. These lesson books are great practice for writing reports and essays, but they are also really fun for me to make because I love the combination of learning new things and creating works of art! I also love how learning comes to life at the Waldorf School.

For example, when we studied the ancient Greeks, we competed against other Waldorf schools in the Fifth Grade Pentathlon. And at the end of our block on the Egyptians, we had a traditional feast in the classroom where we laid around in “togas” and ate figs, lentils, and other traditional foods. During the geology block, we went hiking at Ringing Rocks, and looked for Wissahickon schist. This year, we hosted a Renaissance Faire, where we dressed up in period costumes, sold food and handcrafts, and performed skits and traditional circus acts, as well. I think this way of learning is very unique, and it’s just one more reason why I love being a student at the Waldorf School.

Finally, I love my teachers A LOT! They teach us very well but also joke around sometimes. This makes class really fun! I love that at the Waldorf School, kids stay with the same teacher for many years (sometimes from first to eighth grade!), so the teachers know us really well and truly care for us. They take the time to learn our strengths and weaknesses and help us with them. I would even go as far as to say that they love us.

I’m really happy to be a part of such a unique and special place. And I am grateful to my mom, the Children’s Scholarship Fund and the Waldorf School of Philadelphia for making it possible for me to study there.

Written by Maia, 7th Grade Student at the Waldorf School of Philadelphia

Read more about transferring to the Waldorf School of Philadelphia on our blog, Loving Learning.