Learning world languages is a vital piece of Waldorf education. Waldorf students begin learning two languages in 1st grade. Here at Susquehanna Waldorf School, one of the languages our 1st through 8th grade students are learning is Mandarin.

Our students begin learning Mandarin in 1st and 2nd grades through oral storytelling, song, and movement. By the 3rd grade, they begin learning to write Mandarin.

Our class 3 students have loved to write Chinese characters on the chalkboard since they were in the 2nd grade. They often bring characters they find on soy sauce bottles or a Chinese book. “I’m impressed by their ability to write the characters without being taught how to write them first,” says Hui-Ling Singer, our Mandarin teacher.

Our class 6 students just finished a 12 day imaginary trip to China. On Day 6, the students visited the panda reserve in Chengdu. The students learned Chinese paper cutting and how to make a panda.

In Waldorf education, we don’t just teach a language, we teach culture; which helps our students develop empathy and understanding of different ways of being around the world.