The senior year at a Waldorf school is designed to be a synthesis of the students’ education and a preparation for their next step in life whether it be college studies or professional life. A highlight of the senior year at Kimberton Waldorf School is the Senior Project. The Senior Project is an opportunity for students to show personal initiative and independence in a study or work of their choice. Students must design a project that includes a research component, artistic or practical component and stretches their abilities mentally, physically and/or emotionally. Teachers step back while the students work under the guidance of a mentor. This creates a space for growth toward academic freedom.
Mirabelle Kunz is a senior at Kimberton Waldorf School. Mirabelle has been working on designing and creating a line of clothes that highlights her love of fashion and is full of color and texture. “I chose to make a clothing collection because I am interested in studying fashion design. My goal is to present my collection by holding a fashion show in the spring.” As part of her preparation for her senior project presentation, Mirabelle recently did a photo shoot in New York City to highlight her clothing line. “I planned a photo shoot to take pictures of my collection that I can now use in my college portfolio. I like fashion design because I enjoy the individuality that clothing can give a person!” Mirabelle hopes to study fashion design in New York City in the fall.
Past senior projects at Kimberton Waldorf School have included photography exhibits, pottery collections, mastering a foreign language, dance, building a 3-D printer, creating mobile phone apps, music and art. 2016 graduate, Hannah Wolfram flipped a house for her senior project. After purchasing a house in need of repair, Wolfram spent every weekend and holiday working on the house. Hannah worked to repair a leaky roof, replaced the kitchen and bathroom, updated electrical and plumbing, dry walled, sanded floors and painted. Learning the importance of budgets, timelines, inspections, collaboration and planning became a secondary level of education during her project.
Students can spend more than 100 hours working on their projects. They encounter real life problems as they work to overcome challenges, dead-ends and unexpected complications. They learn to persevere through difficulties, find new resources, and examine the subject from multiple perspectives. In the spring of their twelfth-grade year each senior presents an extensive written report and an oral/visual presentation of their work. The project is presented to a committee of faculty and outside community members, and before the entire school, families and friends. Students learn valuable public speaking skills as they explain and defend their work before a group. For many of our students, the senior project is one of the most challenging, memorable and ultimately valuable experiences they have in their senior year.