Author Topic: Waldorf school experiences?  (Read 900 times)

chaskavitch

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 564
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO
Waldorf school experiences?
« on: October 16, 2018, 07:19:13 AM »
Does anyone here have any experience with Waldorf or "Waldorf-inspired" schools?  We have a K-8 Waldorf-inspired charter school in our town, and I've heard good things about this particular school.  However, I've also heard mixed reviews of the overall education kids receive with Waldorf generally - not enough math/science focus, the kids are way behind when they reach HS, etc. 

Overall, I think I really like the way the school (at least the one here) is set up.  They start with German and Spanish in 1st grade with songs and stories; promote a lot of "handwork" like knitting, crochet, and wax modeling; they have a garden and do nature walks; they also have a homeschool enrichment program, which I would have really enjoyed as a kid.  It seems like I place I'd like to have gone to school, and I know enough teachers who really dislike the way their own elementary schools are run (20 minutes for lunch, too many standardized tests, not enough recess) that it really interests me. 

I'm pre-planning WAY too much, our kid is not even 2.5 yet, but I'm just information-gathering :)  Let me know if any of you love or hate the Waldorf system!  It seems super crunchy, but I like it anyway (maybe because it's crunchy, tbh).

gaja

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1087
Re: Waldorf school experiences?
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2018, 08:17:39 AM »
How close to their anthroposophical roots has that school kept? And much anthroposophy is ok for you and your kid?

There are strong opinions on both sides (for and against) - this summarizes the arguments against quite well: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Anthroposophy

chaskavitch

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 564
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO
Re: Waldorf school experiences?
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2018, 08:22:14 AM »
Hmmmmmmm.  I knew the basis was a little woo-woo, which I'm *kind of* ok with as long as they still teach real things, but the anti-vax thing might kill it for me.  I'll have to look more closely into the philosophy of the school.  Technically it's "Waldorf inspired", not officially Waldorf, but I don't know if that's changed what their stances on things are.

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3744
Re: Waldorf school experiences?
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2018, 05:17:15 AM »
Real Waldorf is completely nutters,but we mwtimes Waldorf inspired just means "we have lots of pretty wooden toys".

So.... It depends.

katscratch

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 995
  • Location: Minnesota
    • Freedom From Scratch
Re: Waldorf school experiences?
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2018, 06:44:34 AM »
I agree that it completely depends on the individual school, and individual teachers. In our former town we would have likely sent our kiddo to the local Waldorf school as it functioned more like an outdoor/forest school, and didn't discourage academics if individual students were interested (our son gravitated toward math concepts very early). When we moved to Minnesota, however, no way. We actually lived four blocks from a Waldorf school for 5 years and I had several friends whose kids went to the school. It was beautiful, but their kids learned nothing in the years they attended. And I mean nothing. Middle schooler that had started to read on his own around age 3 but was at that same toddler level when he transferred to public school at age 11, for example.

Visit the school, observe a class if you can (the schools we loved all allowed this), and research as you've done so you have an idea of which questions will get you informed answers.


FWIW our home made Waldorf setups very appealing - few toys, no TV, no logos allowed, made our own baby food hippie types :) But we sent our kiddo to Montessori public school instead. As parents, when we decided not to homeschool, our main goal was that our kid not lose his curiosity because of school. For his personality and innate drive to learn all.the.things Montessori was a much better fit.

Good luck, school choice can be a little overwhelming when you have lots of great options!

chaskavitch

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 564
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO
Re: Waldorf school experiences?
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2018, 06:50:11 AM »
FWIW our home made Waldorf setups very appealing - few toys, no TV, no logos allowed, made our own baby food hippie types :) But we sent our kiddo to Montessori public school instead. As parents, when we decided not to homeschool, our main goal was that our kid not lose his curiosity because of school. For his personality and innate drive to learn all.the.things Montessori was a much better fit.

Good luck, school choice can be a little overwhelming when you have lots of great options!

We're not super low-toy (unfortunately, and mostly due to family enthusiasm), but it's the no-logo/corporate branding, outdoors and garden, "please ride your bike to dropoff", hands-on style that make it appealing to me.  I was homeschooled through elementary and loved it, but my mom is GREAT with little kids and loves explaining things in new and exciting ways.  I don't know that I'm cut out for that, but what I know about public elementary school isn't always encouraging.  I'll look into Montessori as well, but I kind of liked that the Waldorf school was a little more free-wheeling.  Possibly too free-wheeling, but I guess I'll find out :)
« Last Edit: October 17, 2018, 06:53:29 AM by chaskavitch »

katscratch

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 995
  • Location: Minnesota
    • Freedom From Scratch
Re: Waldorf school experiences?
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2018, 07:22:20 AM »
Yeah, my son's dad would have been the lead for homeschooling ;) He is the type of person that gets where kids are at and is able to engage them without treating them like "kids".

I do still sometimes regret we didn't stay in FormerTown because that Waldorf school was amazing, and their students at the time had excellent college rates and more importantly to us, a high level of community involvement. I think, too, it totally depends on your child. My brother excelled in our Montessori early childhood school, while Waldorf methods would have been perfect for me. Once we were in traditional public school, I was most happy and engaged when I was dreaming and drawing or reading, preferably outside, no matter the weather. Not so much having to sit still at a desk ;)

dhc

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 82
Re: Waldorf school experiences?
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2018, 09:14:21 PM »
I attended a Waldorf school for the first few grades, at which point it was clear it catered to the lowest common denominator in the class and I wasn't learning anything. Granted, public school was sometimes no better, but I certainly would be unlikely to send my own children to one. That said, for a year or two it could be a nurturing environment as long as you're willing to plan on them switching schools after a few years (worked for me, anyway).

Cranky

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1449
Re: Waldorf school experiences?
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2018, 07:13:06 PM »
I think Waldorf is pretty, umm, cultish, and my kids wouldn’t have liked the delayed reading schedule, but I do think that plenty of kids would do better but not have too much academics too early.

However, any school that’s a charter is going to have to follow the state curriculum guidelines, so I would worry that it will be all gnomes and knitting - I think they’ll have math and everything. ;-)

So, I wouldn’t rule that school out without taking a look.