Q&A with Hartsbrook Parent Leah KentWhat initially drew you to Waldorf Education for your child?

My younger sister attended the East Bay Waldorf School in California and had an incredibly positive experience there. She’d been moved up a grade in public school because of her high testing scores, but socially and emotionally she wasn’t fitting into that environment.

In search of an alternative, my parents selected Waldorf in large part because of their ability to keep her centered with her age group while still meeting her intellectual curiosity.

Even as a sibling, and not a student, I was completely taken in by the nourishing environment of the school and could tell that there was something special about what was unfolding there.

I was particularly intrigued by the beautiful chalkboards, handmade knitting needles, Greek Games event, and watching my sister flourish after struggling so much.

I think I decided right then, at about age 15, that I’d be sending my future children to a Waldorf school.

How has the Early Childhood program served your children?

Both of my children have been so beautifully nurtured by the Early Childhood and Cricket on the Hearth programs.

My son expresses a sense of ease and delight in the world around him that I think is a reflection of the time he spends with his teachers and classmates at Hartsbrook.

One of the most striking things I’ve seen is how naturally his interest in the world around him is developing within the warmth and rhythm of the Waldorf play-based approach.

It’s as though his curiosity is just bubbling up from within! He has simply started doing math and demonstrating his interest in letters, writing, and reading, even though no one at home or school is “teaching” it to him. I honestly had no idea education could be so natural and effortless.

How have the principles of Waldorf education impacted your parenting?

There is so much support available from the teaching community as well as the events and workshops offered by the school. I participated in the Simplicity Parenting series, led by fellow parent Janet Lynch, in our first year at Hartsbrook. That experience gave me a lot of tools and support to cultivate a sense of rhythm in our days and in the physical space at home.

Both my sons’ teachers are always available to answer my questions and I have received so much wisdom and guidance in those conversations. I have absolutely learned how to communicate with my children in a way that lets me really meet them where they are and feel connected to them with warmth.

I’ve also learned a lot about the value of creating healthy boundaries with our children and I’ve become so much more confident and peaceful as a result of gaining more comfort with that important element of parenting.

Would you recommend this program to other parents seeking an early childhood program?

I highly recommend the Hartsbrook Waldorf early childhood education! I have felt so embraced and nurtured by the entire school community and my children have truly blossomed here. I love how much time the children spend in nature and how they learn to care for one another in the warm, home-like environment in their classrooms.

What is your child’s favorite part of his or her day?

This seems to change from day to day but I know that my son loves circle time because he comes home and recreates the songs, verses, and games he plays. And of course, he relishes his time in the play yard or on walks to Cricket Wood or Bunny Rabbit Hollow, which I can always tell based on how muddy his mittens and boots are.