Written by SWS Mandarin Teacher, Hui-Ling Singer.

It has been more than three years since COVID-19 began and, finally, this summer I felt safe enough to travel overseas again. I took my daughter, Joy, back to Taiwan to visit my family for three weeks in June. While we were there, I took the opportunity to visit one of the Waldorf Schools in Kaohsiung, my hometown.  

It was a rainy day on Thursday, June 15. The temperature was hot and humid. My sister gave me a ride to Kuang-He Waldorf School. From a distance, the school looked like any regular school in Taiwan. Nothing special. I wasn’t quite sure if I was in the right place. As I walked closer, I saw the name of the school and little children playing in a circle near the entrance. They reminded me of our 1st graders and I knew I was where I was supposed to be.   

Kuang-He Waldorf School was established in the fall of 2012. The school has added one more grade each year and this coming fall, it will have all twelve grades plus a new parent and child class. The school is expanding. Kuang-He Waldorf School is the first Waldorf School in Southern Taiwan that teaches high school levels. The school has about 80 families right now with an average of 10 students per grade. The 8th grade has the most students with 16 total. The class that I observed was 5th grade which had 11 students that day, 7 boys and 4 girls. 

For foreign language learning, English is taught from 1st grade to 12th grade. In 1st grade, it’s only 15 minutes per class during the morning circle time twice a week. Beginning in 2nd grade, English is 45 minutes long and is taught twice a week. From 3rd grade to 6th grade, English is taught three times a week, and 7th grade and up, four times a week. In high school, which is from 10th grade to 12th grade, English class is 50 minutes long. Besides English, students in 5th and 6th grade will take Japanese for half a year during club time. In 7th grade, students will choose either Japanese or French for two years. In 10th grade, students will choose either German or Russian for another two years.  

I’m super excited about the connection made this summer between our school and Kuang-He Waldorf School in Taiwan. One of my goals for this visit was to find pen pals for my students. The teacher Li-Ru Fu, who was with me the whole time, will be the class teacher for 7th grade this coming school year. She was very happy to hear my idea about pen pals. After a short discussion, we have decided to start with two classes: our 8th grade will pair with their 7th grade and our 5th grade with their 6th grade.  

Kuang-He Waldorf School doesn’t have its own school building yet. It is currently renting a part of the campus from the He-Chun Institute of Technology which is no longer in operation. The spirit of Waldorf education lives out loud through the colors of the walls no matter where you are in the world. As I was touring around, I could see clearly where the old institute ended and where Kuan-He Waldorf School began. Teacher Fu told me that their dream is to someday build their own school in the center of the city. May their dream come true!