This September, San Francisco Waldorf School is happy to welcome more former students back as parents. Tzaddi Smith Thompson, parent of kindergartener Dominic in K2, was a member of our first grade school class. She is currently a labor lawyer at Nixon Peabody. Tzaddi and her husband David Thompson also have a younger daughter Mieke.Tzaddi joined her class (SFWGS ‘88) in first grade, when the school was made up of only two classes - kindergarten and first grade.
Tzaddi remembers her class teacher, Jeff Kofsky as “wonderful, caring, and intuitive,” as well as academically strong. Throughout her grade school years, Tzaddi watched the grade school grow from its modest beginnings into a thriving and well developed school and community. While Tzaddi vividly recalls a number of Main Lesson blocks from her time here, what stands out the most is the strong sense of community that she felt and continues to feel with her class and the school.
In the middle of seventh grade, Tzaddi’s family moved to Montana where she finished her secondary schooling. She studied government at Wesleyan, worked briefly as a paralegal in DC after graduating from college, and then moved back to San Francisco to work in for-profit education before attending law school at UC Berkeley. She chose to specialize in labor law because it addresses, among other things, human interaction and relations.
When looking at how she wanted to educate her son, two things were central to making her decision. The first was the sense of community that she feels at SFWS. She knows that for her son, school will be a “home away from home.” Tzaddi also appreciates the shared values of the community, particularly around media usage, and the ritual and seasonality that bring a sense of the year into the community.
The other important thing for Tzaddi is that she wants her son to develop a love of learning. She recalls her experience her at SFWS to be filled with a beautiful sense of what learning can be. Rather than being grade focused, she remembers “history being told as a story, creatively. It was never something that seemed like a duty.” As she continued her education, good grades came as a matter of course “because I love learning rather than the other way around… Good elementary school education is important for long-term success and I think Waldorf provides that.” As for what Dominic thinks about being in kindergarten? He is loving it and says that the digging in the yard is good.