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Maechy Speaks What is Waldorf? Part One


“Receive the children in reverence, educate them in love, and send them forth in freedom”
~ Rudlof Steiner

Spring break brought a week of mushy brain, and now it’s Friday, and I’m feeling stumped
about what to blog about. Then it hit me – what do families new to Waldorf want to know
most? Or maybe even those who have been around for a while? What is Waldorf? Or better
yet, who is Waldorf? Before we delve into answering that question let me give you a little history of how Waldorf
came to be. (a condensed version)

On February 27, 1861, Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner was born in Murakirály, which is now
modern-day Donji Kraljevec, Croatia. At the age of nine Rudolf Steiner claimed to have seen the
spirit of his aunt who had passed away, but at the time no one in the family knew of her death.
From that point on Rudolf Steiner had many spiritual experiences which made him the man that
he became, a writer, philosopher, clairvoyant, social reformer, architect, and father of
biodynamic agriculture. (Pesticide and chemical-free farming, using live soil as opposed to dead
soil, wow! Like that should ever be an option!!)

In 1919 Stuttgart Germany, Rudolf Steiner was asked to establish a school for the children of
the workers at the Waldorf Astoria Cigarette Company, die Freie Waldorfschule. Thus, his ideas
formed the foundation for what we know today as the Waldorf Schools. In 1928 the first US
Waldorf school opened in New York City. (my home town) Today there are more than 1000
schools in over 60 countries.

Now that brings us back to the question, WHO OR WHAT is Waldorf?
If you go online, you will read the Waldorf education introduction; teaching the child from the
inside out, and integrating the physical, spiritual, and mental bodies of the child. Blah, blah,
blah. But I would like to take this a step deeper, what does all of this mean? How does Waldorf
education differ from other non-Waldorf schools? For me, the Waldorf system is more than just
a curriculum unlike non-WS’s, it does not teach to a test nor does its financial health depend on
making AYP. (Adequate Yearly Progress) I could go down a rabbit hole but I won’t.

In my opinion, because of this freedom of not having to “teach to a test,” the teachers can truly
focus on the “whole child.” To have our children in an environment where imagination is
encouraged and individuality is embraced while remembering that we are and will always be
part of a greater spiritual body is priceless. Waldorf schools are a way of life that is steeped in
ritual and tradition. I am a big believer, that to know where we are going, we need to know
where we have been. It is a deep knowing that one never stands alone. It is a meal for your
family during difficult times, a last-minute “Hey can you pick the kiddos up for me today” It is
also the pride in our hearts when we observe our children developing into free-thinkers and
that they find cruelty offensive. Where words like loyalty, selflessness, humility, tolerance, duty,
and courage are what create the what, which in turn creates the who, us, the community of
So, let’s celebrate our community and ourselves and continue to be kind and accepting of one
another without judgment, after all, that is the Waldorf way.

Thank you to all of the teachers and staff who see our children not just as students but as an
extension of themselves. After all, they are our future.

“Receive the children in reverence, educate them in love, and send them forth in freedom”
 ~ Rudlof Steiner

“Maechy, Speak,”  is a blog series written by MWS Parent Patricia Forestal-Ortiz. Patricia is mom to Earth, 7th grade, Elu, 6 th grade, Everliegh, 5th grade and grandma, AKA “Sugamama” to Kai, 2nd grade.

Whether you are looking for inspiration, guidance or just a positive pick-me-up, this blog has got you covered.  Patricia’s name holds a special connection to her maternal grandmother, Mercedes, affectionately known as Maechy. Through “Maechy, Speak,” Patricia honors her grandmother’s legacy and wisdom, carrying forth her spirit and teachings in a heartfelt tribute. Join Patricia Maechy Forestal-Ortiz every Monday starting March 11th for an incredible journey of growth, inspiration, and positivity along with a few tips on how to be the best version of you! Check it out and let your spirit soar!