“The more you think of taking part, of interesting yourselves in what is to happen in the Waldorf School, the better the faculty will succeed in working in unity with you for the betterment and blessing of your children, and thus for the whole of future humanity.”
–Rudolf Steiner to the prospective parents of the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart, Germany, 1919
Our Parents: Keya and Robert Biswas-Diener
When parents enroll their children in a Waldorf school, they are doing more than simply sending their children off for an education. Rather, they are making a conscious decision to entrust their children to a collaborative community created to support the individual path of students. Steiner’s educational philosophy holds the view that nurturing the will in early childhood through creative play, embracing the feeling life of the grade school child by developing empathy through storytelling, and supporting the creative thought processes of the adolescent through the expertise of the teacher in their subject are fundamental to the success of Waldorf education. In these ways, the education supports them in becoming strong adults ready to meet life as it is.
Keya and Robert Biswas-Diener have a 12th grade son, Jedi, and alumna daughter, Jayanti. They have been with the Portland Waldorf community for fifteen years and understand well the long-term goals of the education. As Robert notes, “Waldorf walks the talk. It is jaw-droppingly impressive that the teachers have the ability to understand the unique value of each child and then implement this understanding through policy and accommodation of personal situations.” He particularly appreciates the ways that this individual attention supports the student’s ability to make choices in their life after high school.
It is not just the individualized relationship between teacher and student that is so meaningful—but also the personal connection between teachers and parents. Keya in particular experiences the value of teachers committed to understanding and relating to the family. “Good relationships constitute a good education. The teachers work well with being questioned and challenged. I am also willing to be challenged. There is value in putting your discomfort on the shelf.” The “high level of trust” between teachers and students and teachers and parents is one of the defining experiences of her fifteen years in this community.
By braiding together teachers, students and parents in these ways, Portland Waldorf School creates a strong and dynamic community that not only supports our students in becoming thoughtful, empathic and creative individuals, but also works to affect meaningful change in the world.
We applaud our parents for their interest and willingness to collaborate with teachers and school in the education of their child. And we hope that you will support the ongoing work of Portland Waldorf School by a generous contribution to this year’s Community Development Campaign. Thank you!