Posted by: Tracy Barsamian Ventola | August 29, 2012

OFF KLTR JOURNEY TO WALDORF: THE SOLUTION! (part 4 of a 4-part series)

Two Guangxi Sistas Wearing Treasures from 2011 Holiday Fair at the Waldorf School

I went to information sessions at two different Waldorf schools before really seriously bringing up the idea to my dear, hardworking, highly-money-conscious husband.  I think that he was pretty much humoring me when he agreed to go to an open house and the school’s holiday fair.  But by the time we got to the interview, he was starting to see what I felt so strongly:  we’d found the right place for our little girl!

Rob went to the Waldorf School early one morning for an information session.  He thought it was fine.  But so were the public schools in our town!  And then we went to the Waldorf School’s holiday festival.  We watched a student performance and were blown away with the eight graders’ poise and confidence on stage.  We watched our daughter entranced by a magical puppet show performed by the early childhood faculty.  We observed our daughter wholly engaged in making a beautiful candlestick out of all natural materials.  And then something truly amazing happened:  we bumped into a colleague of Rob’s!  Rob works in financial services.  Waldorf is not exactly a mainstream school.  They don’t teach children to read until the second grade, the school only offers part-day kindergarten and first graders finish their school day a little earlier than the older children.  And here’s a big one:  they have a strict media policy.  The policy is as follows:  no media.  So understandably, Rob really struggled with the idea of signing on for this school with such an alternative philosophy.  But Rob’s colleague, Miguel was there.  He sent his two boys there.  He was on the school’s board of directors!  This was a huge game changer for Rob.  It made the school a lot safer.  Someone that he knew and respected entrusted the school with his children’s education.  HUGE!

After saying goodbye to Miguel at the holiday fair, we moved on to the quiet area in the school’s nursery building.  We just wanted to get to see inside a real classroom!  But Keira was really taken with the space, so we stayed.  Keira really seemed to relax in this beautiful classroom.  It was so opposite from her preschool classroom that was packed with stimulating, educational materials.  This Waldorf classroom was pink.  It had only a few beautiful toys.  It was so peaceful that Keira was able to physically relax into the space.  For months, Keira had only wanting to be in our house.  Not at school.  Not at the park.  Not at the zoo.  Not outside for a walk or a bike ride.  IN OUR HOUSE.  And she played in that classroom for over an hour.  Rob and I were ready to leave.  But she wanted to stay.  This was an amazing thing for us to watch.  I was ready to sign the tuition check.  Rob was too, though he wasn’t ready to say it out loud.

And finally, we had our family interview.  It was a cold and snowy day and we were traveling on Rt. 95 and Rt. 2 in near white-out conditions.  Rob had taken the day off from work in order to attend the interview (the attendance of all three of us was mandatory), so he wanted to make the trip that day in order to avoid having to take another day off.  I was willing to risk our lives because I was a woman with a mission:  to send my daughter to the Waldorf School!  At the interview, we met Wendy (who would become Keira’s kindergarten teacher).  Keira did not say one single word to Wendy at the interview.  Wendy asked her questions and Keira just stared directly at her.  I apologized for Keira not answering her questions, but Wendy was unfazed.  She told me something to the effect of, “She’s talking to me with her eyes”.  At the end of the interview, I took Keira to the bathroom and Rob was talking with Miss Wendy in private.  Wendy asked him if Keira ever become violent.  What?  How had this woman discovered our family’s deepest, darkest secret without our kid even saying a word?!  Rob confirmed her suspicion (frankly, I’m not sure that I would have been so brave).  And she was again unfazed.  She said that kids who are so nonverbal often resort to their fists to get their points across.  And so on that snowy day, we were sold.  Sold on Miss Wendy.  And sold on the Lexington Waldorf School.  And we put our Sharon house on the market and started our search for a new house near the school.

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Responses

  1. I would say that talking to Ms. Wendy was what put me over the top. She simply “got” Keira from a brief interview. I feel that she understood her more after a 1 hour meeting than her pre-school teachers did after an entire year. She is an amazing teacher and Keira loves her dearly.


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