Meet the Sorensen Family! They are from Lino Lakes, about 20 minutes north of Minnesota Waldorf School (MWS). They have been at MWS since fall 2021, and currently have a five year old in Kindergarten. Their twin four year olds will also be starting Kindergarten at MWS this fall when their oldest moves to 1st grade. They plan on being at Waldorf all the way through 8th grade.
What qualities were you looking for in a School?
We were looking for a school experience that would focus more broadly on not just the intellectual or academic part of education, but also helping our kids grow into well-rounded, happy, healthy, and kind humans in the world. The reason we even looked outside our local school district to start was that our oldest kiddo has very high energy and is always on the move. Our local school district only gives 20 minutes of recess at lunch in a 7 hour day for all of elementary, including Kindergarten. I knew that wouldn’t work for him.
How have your experiences with other schools been different?
After having been at both large chain daycare centers and small ones we noticed that a school where we could really partner with the teachers and staff felt like a better fit for us. We also noticed how much happier and relaxed our kids were in smaller, more holistic environments as compared to the centers where academics and worksheets were being introduced to them at three years old.
What brought your family to the Minnesota Waldorf School?
Once we heard about MWS, we first talked to a few parents who sent their kids to other Waldorf schools to learn more about Waldorf. When we went on a tour of MWS, we really appreciated the 8-acre campus and beauty of the classrooms, but the magic really came as we dug in more. A school where kids learn music and a second language right from the start, have hands-on experiential learning, and art and movement aren’t just subjects but are integrated into how kids learn stood out to both of us. We also really value the intentionality behind what is taught at which ages and how the teachers connect that to the child’s developmental stages.
My husband specifically liked that our kids will have one teacher for all the grades, and the small class sizes. I specifically was drawn to the value placed on whole-brain development as a foundation for learning. What really sold it though was when we visited with our kids and our oldest, who’d visited multiple pretty great schools, ran over to us and said “I want this to be my school! Can I go here?!”
What has been your family’s favorite part of the school and your child’s experience?
As parents, the community of families, the festivals that connect us and our children to the cycles of nature, and the value placed on arts AND classical subjects has been wonderful. In a non-academic, play-based kindergarten, our oldest has had his biggest jump in self-driven interest and awareness of math and reading skills.
We also believe it takes a village, and it feels like we found a place that is more than a school. MWS is a place where the teachers and staff see and support all kids for the individuals they are, where the teachers are not just educators but trusted adults who are helping to bring our kids up as happy, smart, and open-minded individuals in the world.
But most importantly, our kiddo has never been more at ease, happy, and confident.
What would you tell another family considering MWS?
Definitely take a tour or visit – you can feel the sense of calm, happiness, and warmth around the entire school. Also, we can share that we had a few mental hurdles to cross – that’s okay. One was philosophically – we both went to public schools, and we just assumed that we would send our kids to our local school too. Also, cost was a big consideration, and honestly took us some time to get on board with. What it really came down to for us as we looked into all our options, was realizing we felt this was an investment in not just what our kids will learn but who our kids will become as people. We felt this school would provide our kids with the strongest possible foundation they could get, and that is the best investment in their future we can make and feels totally worth it to us.