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Sunday With Sarah, Waldorf Education

Does Waldorf Education Prepare Students for College?


This week, for the first time, I’ve invited a guest to join me on Sunday With Sarah

Meet my son William!

William and I have just returned from visiting colleges out west, and I asked William, who received a Waldorf education from nursery through 8th grade, to share his thoughts on how his education has helped prepare him for high school and college.

Many parents are attracted to Waldorf education when their children are young, but as their children get older, they fear that the education is not rigorous enough to prepare them for high school or to help them get into a competitive college. We’re here to dispel some of those myths!

Click to view the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America referenced in the video and compiled by the Research Institute of Waldorf Education.

Do you have questions specifically for William? Or about the topic in general? Leave your questions here, and we’ll do our best to address all of them.

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  • Reply Heather May 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Thank you for ‘Sundays with Sarah’ ~ I enjoy your weekly posts so very much. Living in southern CA, I know what an honor it is to be accepted in any capacity to USC. Congratulations to William ~ should he choose to enroll, he’ll have the experience of a lifetime! Blessing to your family.

  • Reply Marias May 5, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks Sarah and William! It’s great to get opinions and insight into the future. When you are working with your children and their education potential in a way that is uncommon you sometimes question if it will all pan out! Today’s blog post sure adds to my confidence and that helps inspire and motivate me to keep up our home schooling method which is Waldorf inspired. In the past we were part of a waldorf inspired charter school community in California and some local public high school teachers spoke to a group of parents from our school and they all agreed that the Waldorf taught students that were part of their classes over the years were without a doubt a noticeably different type of person and type of student in a positive way. The students behavior towards teachers and other students was unique and admirable. The students showed an enjoyment in the learning that was an exception to the majority of students from their teaching careers and these students were enjoyable to work with and to have in their classrooms. These opinions have really stuck with me and they drive home the importance of an education that inspires a love for learning.

    • Reply William July 10, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      Hi Maria,

      William here.
      A love of learning is absolutely the most important thing for your child to have, in my opinion. If you can help him or her to understand why he or she is learning what might seem like boring stuff, and give him or her as many opportunities as possible to pursue individual interests that he or she is clearly passionate about, you’ve done a great job. Homeschooling is a great way to create this atmosphere, and I wish you and your child(ren?) a great experience!

  • Reply Sarah Baldwin May 5, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Thank you, Heather. It’s funny — here on the east coast, most people aren’t familiar with USC and assume it’s a state school. William was born in Los Angeles, but we left when he was 18 months old. It’s interesting how strong his desire has been to go to college in California. I wish he wasn’t going to be so far away. I’ll miss him terribly!

  • Reply amy w May 5, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    What a well-spoken young man you have raised. Thank you to him for sharing his thoughts on Waldorf schooling.

  • Reply Dawn May 5, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Hello Sarah and William,
    I have a son that is in his Kindergarten year at Waldorf. And while we do not believe in screen time for him at this young age, I would like to have him exposed to writing computer code later on in his education. At age did William get introduced to this, and was it through Waldorf, on his own, or through his high school?
    I’m looking for age appropriate exposure that fits with his Waldorf education. As of now his school does not offer computer science, so we may have to do it on our own down the road.
    Thanks, and best of luck to William!

    • Reply William July 10, 2013 at 2:16 pm

      Hi Dawn, William here.

      I wasn’t really introduced to the basics of programming at school. Since Waldorf schools discourage screen time for children, there weren’t any classes related to the subject. My high school didn’t provide them either, as there were just a little over twenty students, which made specialized classes like computer science very expensive and difficult to execute. I first began really exploring the subject around the end of my sophomore year, mostly using online resources (two very good, free introductions to the subject are “Learn Python The Hard Way” by Zed Shaw and “Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs” by Hal Abelson). SICP is especially good, and really helps with seeing programming as a way of thinking about processes in general instead of just “how to make computer programs”.

      It’s really great to see parents wanting to get their kids involved with coding early on. I’m obviously no expert in child development, but I think it would be really beneficial to teach your kid about computers and CS when he begins to show interest. Starting with the basics of how computer hardware works and progressing to programming would be a great way to go about it in my opinion. I’ve heard of Waldorf schools that teach children how to disassemble and reassemble a computer, teaching students how computers work before students actually begin using them, which seems like a really fantastic way to go about teaching the importance and power of such a ubiquitous tool.

      Best of luck!

    • Reply William July 10, 2013 at 2:18 pm

      One more thing — in a design class taught at my high school, I did have the opportunity to create circuits with and program for a small chip called Arduino. These came out a few years ago and allow those interested in electrical engineering and CS to play around and learn a lot.

  • Reply Kate May 6, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Sarah and William, this was such a great video. I have two very young children, and as we consider various options for (more formal) education for them, it’s wonderful to have in mind William’s firsthand experience. What an articulate, thoughtful young man. Thank you both!

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