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Curiosity, Collaboration, and Imagination

A Letter from our Head of School


The Waldorf School of Pittsburgh started as a seed planted by thirteen families in 1991 with an imagination and will for there to be a Waldorf School in Pittsburgh to educate head, heart, and hands. With tremendous effort, it took two years to open the first kindergarten in 1993.


In our thirtieth year as a Waldorf School, our school has grown from kindergarten to offering programming for ages 18 months through eighth grade. In addition to imagination, we value collaboration, holism, empathy, curiosity, diversity, and truth, beauty, and goodness. By embracing these values, it is our mission to foster each child’s capacity to become an independent thinking, compassionate, courageous, and purposeful human being. We continue to educate the whole child.


In this month’s newsletter, we highlight our students’ curiosity, collaboration, and imagination.


Traditionally at the end of February, grades 6–8 gather for our annual Science Fair. Our approach to science is phenomenological. Rather than starting with a hypothesis to test, we begin with a question or a wondering and have students observe what happens. This allows them to let go of preconceived notions and observe the phenomena before them. Students’ questions are the basis of their science projects. This year, examples of these questions included: How clean and safe is water to drink around the Pittsburgh area?, How do audience reactions affect performance? and What is the effect of technology use before bed? Working in small groups, students developed their own research and reported their findings to the middle school student body and families, and received feedback from a team of judges who awarded projects based on Outstanding Concept, Excellent Visual Presentation, Validation of Wondering, Excellent Spoken Presentation, Conduct of Experiment, and Honorable Mention. I was impressed with the growth I saw in each group as I watched their wonderings lead to conclusions and usually more wonderings.


Our elementary and middle school Interscholastic Reading Club competed in their respective competitions this week. Our elementary school reading club traveled to compete against approximately one hundred other teams. WSP’s Page Turners received a first place ribbon and our middle school team, WSP Literary Legends, competing for their first year, received a third place ribbon. Having attended these competitions in previous years, I recall the thrill of watching our students’ collaboration in action. In preparation, they read 30–40 books and then work together to answer questions based on their memory of what they read. If a question is not asked clearly or if they disagree with the answer, they can challenge it. Our students hold their own with poise and confidence.


Sometimes people are surprised at a Waldorf School’s success in a reading competition given our purposefully patient approach to literacy, but it does not surprise us. Storytelling is a significant part of our curriculum and lays the foundation for a lifelong appreciation for the power of story (also key to developing will and empathy). In an age where organizations are looking for people with more imagination, WSP students who are inquisitive, collaborate regularly, and who have strong imaginations will be well prepared for their futures.


Kirsten Christopherson-Clark

Head of School

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