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The Cincinnati Waldorf School Mandarin Program

Cincinnati Waldorf School students and Mandarin teacher Ms. Jamie Wang

David Dong, director of the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago visited Cincinnati Waldorf School on October 20 with two boxes of Mandarin teaching materials to support the school’s Mandarin program. The program, started in 2017, was the first Mandarin program in the 124 Waldorf schools in the U.S.A. 

The first Waldorf school was built in Germany in 1919, featuring a pedagogy that develops students’ intellectual, artistic, and practical skills in an integrated and holistic manner. Cincinnati Waldorf School was founded in 1973. It moved to its current location in the historic Village of Mariemont, about ten miles east of downtown Cincinnati, in 2013 because it offered better and larger indoor and outdoor spaces. It has a grade school section from grade 1 to grade 8, and a high school section from grade 9 to grade 12, and both offer a Mandarin program, teaching the traditional Chinese script.

These programs were both set up by Ms. Jamie Wang, the school’s only Mandarin teacher. She received a lot of support from the school and the school community but then contacted the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago asking for assistance to find suitable Mandarin books and materials. In response, David Dong personally visited Cincinnati Waldorf School, bringing a donation of two boxes of books.

He was given a tour of some grade school classrooms, and special use classrooms such as the handwork, woodwork, and string music classrooms by the Faculty Chair Connie Davis and the Enrollment Director Karen Crick. Some classes are currently being held outside to maintain social distancing. After the tour, he talked with school personnel about programs that the Ministry of Education in Taiwan offers that provide highly qualified Mandarin teachers and teaching assistants to schools at all levels and universities. He finished his visit with a meeting with the High School Coordinator Jess Prussia and discussed the high school Mandarin program.

Jamie Wang, the school’s Mandarin teacher, was highly appreciative of the visit and is looking forward to exploring other Ministry of Education Mandarin teaching and learning resources.