Interview #1 - Laura Richwood Waldorf Journey started in 2007
DescriptionAfter her 14-year journey the heartfelt story of how Laura Richwood found the school of her dreams for her daughter. She describes Waldorf Education as teaching students how to be human beings and find their purpose in life.
StoryCorps uses Google Cloud Speech-to-Text and Natural Language API to provide machine-generated transcripts. Transcripts have not been checked for accuracy and may contain errors. Learn more about our FAQs through our Help Center or do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions.
00:00 Hi, this is Liza Ferraro. I'm here at the Waldorf School of San Diego. And today is Wednesday, the 7th of August 2019. I'm sitting here speaking with Laura, Richwood today. She's the parent here at our school. I'm also here with Julie joints, and she's the admissions director for our school. Laura. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you. Julie lore. I want to ask you a big fan of the burning question. How did you find Waldorf education? I knew that I did not want public school for my daughter as a professional sign language interpreter. I had seen a lot of what, the fruits of public education bra. And I knew I did not want that for my child, and so I was invested in home school when my daughter was about 2 weeks. When do Homeschool Group. And one of the women in that Homeschool Group, approached me one day and said, he know you and I should start a Waldorf School because with your artistic ability in your creativity and my animal husbandry and farming. We could really put a water school together, and it was up in Riverside County weather.
01:00 I have a lot of school and she said, they could really use a water School up here, and I was like, lettuce salad and so I did that. But by that time, my daughter was five and I googled Waldorf education and I was over. I was struck by all the ways than one occasion with everything. I wanted for my daughter. I chose home school because I wanted art literature language, music dance theatrics. I wanted all the things that mean a really good education. And a year, after year. I had seen the piano taken out of the classroom and then the music class cut. And then there was no more art anymore. And there was no more language. You got a couple of years of language in junior high. That was it and I was like, no. I want so much more for my daughter and when I read all the things that Waldorf education had at the San Diego, just in general, but also at the San Diego Waldorf School,
02:00 Was like that. I want that. I want that. I want that, I want that. And I also knew that because of my daughter's temperament being in a classroom with other students and especially with another teacher, other than me would probably benefit her more. And so, I called up the Waldorf School of San Diego and it just so happened. I got on the phone with Julie, joins him and I know this is what I love to tell the story. And Julie said, oh, well I said, I'm sure you probably have a waiting list soundtrack. We don't have a waiting list at this time. I'm like really and then what year was this was in 2008?
02:34 This is in 2007, 2007. My daughter was turning six that year. It was in the late. It was in the fall. Actually. She probably already turned 6 and I said, oh, you don't have a waiting list. Well, I don't know if that we could afford the tuition because, you know, we don't make it. We have a very generous at 88 and for whatever the 80s, even if you own your own, you should come in and we can talk about it. And I was just like this weekend. Why don't you come on down and check it out and such a nice introduction, isn't it? The water school on the Harvest Fare in the second? Okay. Well if it's really hope, he and awful, we won't stay.
03:27 At that time, my husband at that time had wanted our daughter to have more socialization. So he had to insist that we put her in a charter school 2 days a week and the charter school with K one and two clas combined which was developmentally so wrong for her and the and the playground was the parking lot. So that for the Harvest Fare we saw the kindergarten yard with children running around with wheelbarrows and climbing trees and there was all these grass in your pocket. Lady walking around with everybody was beautiful at there. Was they were making apple cider by hand with this press thing in the front when we first walked in and we were just like
04:14 And I said to my daughter, this is going to be your school. And she said, this is a school at 7. This is my favorite part. We were standing in the face, painting line was really long and slow because there's only two people face paint. And we happened to get in line right behind third grader, by the name of recent violin school here. Now, we're thinking about all you'll love it. I have this, we have that, you learn how to walk on stilts. You learn what you learn, how to juggle and we do all this wonderful artwork and he just started doing his little sales pitch on Walter school. He was so fantastic. And he was so welcoming and all, you're just going to be so happy here. I was stayed all day at the end of the day.
05:05 He came running up to me and people were leaving. And he said, where's my mommy? And, and of course, I had no idea who his mom was. And at the moment, I thought this child feels so safe in this community. Everybody knows who his mom is. Yeah. I want my daughter to be in a community where everybody knows who she is, and she knows who everybody's mom is incredible. I mean, it gives me goosebumps. The nice thing about Reese Wallin is he's now a alumni and he still does that when he meets people have our school in such a beautiful but organic way. I know something. That's true to him Chattanooga. I mean you really can't and so it's pretty impressive. Wow. It's really inspiring to hear your story. I have Goosebumps.
06:05 Better than people really would be curious to know, is what keeps you invested in this education cuz your daughter is not going into what grade she's going to be a senior next year. We did two years of kindergarten self. 14 years are what keeps me coming while the philosophy for one thing. I heard Bonnie hold and who was her pedagogical director say on an interview one time at Water School. We teach the children. What it means to be a human being. I want to talk about Waldorf School two, other people. I talked about how we teach people what it means to be a human being, which means to understand the beauty of nature, to understand the responsibility of taking care of the planet to understand their connection with each other, to understand the love of learning, which other species don't have to be able to continue to think create.
07:05 Playing outside the box which other species down has had to choose the direction of their life and what I say, but Waldorf is the child comes to the Waldorf School and we teach them we'd show them what their purpose is every child, born for a purpose, and it's up to the school to help them find out what their purpose is, and that's what Waldorf education does. And so, that's why we keep coming back. My daughter has had her her struggle. She didn't really learn to read until 6th grade. She didn't, she wasn't able to read and at the Waldorf School didn't stigmatize that it was like, it's just a developmental process. Every child, learns at their own pace. She wasn't taking pull out into special reading classes, put in the dumps group. Like, I've seen it public school and other kids in her class, which is free to her. And then in in 6th grade, that was the racy novel. That was going around the classroom that everybody had to be like, hitting in the cubby in there to death, and she didn't want anybody reading it to her. We had already read every Harry Potter.
08:04 Black Beauty. We knew it was, it was a private in her bedroom and she was like, I'm not going to and by that time she had reading tutoring, but she just did not want to learn to read. And when we had her says, she's like, they told me your daughter's, nothing wrong with her. She does not want to learn to read and yeah, she just didn't want to grow up. She didn't want to learn until she was ready. And then she did it. And then Sheila and then she's like, I read it. The thing that I've observed over the years, especially with students, who may be our little later to bloom a little later to Blossom, is that they then take up a reading with such zest because they weren't stigmatized and we didn't make them feel less than that. We waited until they were ready and gave them the tools that they need. So that when they were
09:04 It's like the light bulb comes on and then they just assume my dog back and read all the classics that we read to her earlier. You know, she wanted to read them for herself and she's my ex-husband was not on board with the education. He was reading to her and she's so grateful that we read all this wonderful literature to her because now she loves literature and now at the end of her journey and she's come out so fantastic. He goes to the town hall meeting and talks about the benefits of red was quite. It was quite appropriate. It was really really wrong with gaps in her knowledge. She doesn't know north south east and west at 5. She knows how to shake hands and make eye contact. They start that in kindergarten. She knows how to ask leading questions. She knows how to explain something. She was asking to public school children. The girls in her grade to two girls in chess Center, to explain this directions to her, and they knew how to do it, but they could.
10:04 Not explain it to know how to explain things. One of the other people often make is that they're really good at multi-step directions. Which again, I think is maybe a bit of a lost art, you know, if you say to someone okay, we're in the garden. You going to go to the garden shed, get a rake. You're going to go down to the third bed. You going to, you going to break that bad? I'm come back to me. The kids off. They go. It's not where, where am I going? What am I getting? Where is the garden shed? Is there a lock? Like, what kind of way and which band was I going to appointment? It's not that get on with it. And if they, if they forget along the way, the last, their friends, or they'll, they'll figure it out problem-solving. I think it's one of those great skills that these kids from years of doing, right? And I had before we came to the high school. I went to see a panel at the high school. It was high school students, cuz I wasn't sure if we were going to go on to the high school or not. It seems so dinky and so small.
11:04 Been with the same people, all these years, the same group at 12 or whatever all the way since kindergarten, and when the high school students, on the panel talked about their experience. I asked him the question. Do you ever feel like it's too small? And they were unanimously. Know, these are, we are siblings. These are, these are my family and its it, that has come to pass for my daughter to see if sometimes feels like her pool is too small, but she has life-long friend as an only child. She doesn't have siblings. She has lifelong friends. That are, like, siblings that have known her since she was fine. And she's no, no. No, this is deep value. Their, I think to that friendship. And I think if you talk to people about their High School experience, for example, what is it? They remember, you know, for most of us unless we mathematician when we're not remembering trigonometry, you know, unless we're scientists were not really remembering some deep, you know, chemical analysis. Remembering is the relationships, we fauns, I think.
12:04 And those pair relationships is so important when they're healthy and the trips, like the eighth grade trip was her amazing experience. I mean on a trip, every single year, every year and every, every trip was like, had a special place in her heart for the, especially the 8th grade trip. And then last year, the Costa Rica trip. So the release date for me is amazing experiences, you know, that the class will go have fun with you and then they go off to college and they still keep in touch. When one is on the east coast and one is in Orange County or was lovely to see the kids come back to the lowest school and see their Early Childhood teacher and run over and give them a hug when they were big teenager with a beard.
13:04 Super excited that you were our first interview and we get to hopefully do this with many other parents so I can talk about all day long and I just I could I could just keep talking until I just love it. I left the model. I love everything about my daughter's, not so sure. But I I believe the children are chosen. Choose Waldorf that they're born to choose welder and I told my my daughter and upset everybody who'll, listen. I'm, I took the responsibility of Waldorf education very seriously because I do believe children choose it, and when my husband wasn't going to continue to be married to me, if she stayed at the Waldorf School. It was like, I chose the Waldorf School and it is, all right, in the end, but it's like, I know I wanted my daughter to be a lifelong learner and did not want her to burn out by the time she got to high school and whatever she doesn't call, it just going to be on her. But it's like she's she's a lifelong learner now.
13:58 Wonderful and a lifelong Waldorf student. She'll always have a family here right now. Thank you so much. Thank you.