Hear from a family who made the switch from a Montessori school to a Waldorf School in their child’s 3rd-grade year

“After 5 years of Montessori education, we started looking for other options when our oldest child was around 8 years old and our youngest was in kindergarten. We couldn’t really define it at the time, but we knew something was missing from our eldest child’s education. We wished for him to be more engaged and excited about what he was learning. We wanted to see that “spark” alive when we picked him up from school. Our child is very social, and we found that the constant “independent” work left him feeling lonely and isolated. Montessori classes are grouped into three grades, and we felt that the level of education wasn’t matched with his developmental needs. We sought alternatives and toured Susquehanna Waldorf School. We hadn’t considered the Waldorf school before because we perceived it to be a distance from Lancaster. After taking a private tour of the school, we realized it was exactly what we were looking for. I liked that the classes were individual grades with a focus on the developmental needs of children of similar ages. In stark contrast to independent work, most of the subjects were explored and discussed as a group. It was not just the classwork that felt more communal; I instantly saw a broader sense of community among the parents. I was impressed by organized cultural events and the opportunities to be engaged with the school community as a parent. Being in the marketing world, the term “experiential” was something I understood, and when it was explained that Waldorf takes an experiential approach to education, I wished I had discovered Susquehanna Waldorf School sooner. During my tour, I saw how subjects are integrated. There was a class painting a portrait during an Algebra lesson during my tour, and when I asked about it, they explained that they were learning about the inventor of Algebra. I was impressed that so much thought was put into the subject of algebra that both history and art were incorporated into the lesson. It felt like an enriching experience. We enrolled our 3rd grader and our kindergartener for the upcoming year. We noticed a big difference in our kindergartener's experience compared to our first child. The main difference was the amount of outdoor time. We didn’t realize how much of a “forest school” the kindergarten program was, but we were happy with the surprise. Being outside in all weather was a real gift for our youngest child and helped to encourage our family to make time for more outdoor activities in our everyday lives, too. The second big difference was the amount of parent education. Parent education exists in all grades, but we felt like we received essential foundational support from the kindergarten teachers. My husband and I both say that that experience helped us to become better parents. We’ve been at SWS for five years now and are so grateful we made the switch. Understanding that every child is different and may respond differently to these two environments, Waldorf was the right fit for our children. The spark we wanted back is alive for both of our children, and we’re constantly impressed by the depth of education they are receiving at this special place.”

NatalieRauch, SWS Parents

After living away for thirteen years, we decided to move back to our hometown. Susquehanna Waldorf School provided us with comfort, support, and a sense of family during a very difficult time in our life. SWS is the very best decision we could have made for our family- our children are finally happy to go to school every day!

- Natalie Rauch, SWS parent- Grades 1 & 2

The Carlisles, SWS Parents

When I first walked through the entrance to the Waldorf School, I felt at home. I knew my daughters would be cared for. And I was right. They have learned, grown and matured into the young women they are today. Their maturation and growth (spiritually, emotionally and intellectually) is partly the result of a curriculum focused on the child’s developmental readiness. Couple the curriculum with small classes and a loving family spirit via their teachers, they learn how to cooperate as they make decisions, yet are able to compete when needed. Waldorf education has enabled my children to embrace the wholeness of who they are. Dare I ask for more—maybe a high school?

- The Carlisle’s, SWS parents

Frank and Jessica Meyer

We want our daughter to grow up to be a woman of strong mind, body and soul. Waldorf education teaches excellence in academics, richness in the arts and music, respect of our natural world and reverence for our fellow mankind. Waldorf teachers make learning come alive both mentally and physically. Social skills take hold so that our children flourish. This profound Waldorf education will serve our daughter for a lifetime--our gift to our child.