My son will be 3.5 in the fall & will start preschool. We have been offered spots at both a Waldorf & a Montessori school. Both will have full prek-8th grade & we are hoping that we'll be choosing a school that will work for the long term. It's a really difficult choice because both schools seem lovely & it's impossible to be certain which will be the best fit for DS in the end.
My son has been attending Waldorf parent-child for about 1.5 years. I took him & now DH is the one to take him. I have a soft spot in my heart for Waldorf, I really do love it. But I'm hesitating to send him there for prek. DS loves going to his Waldorf "school" & his teachers seem to adore him. But DH reports that DS just plays the way he does at home & doesn't really engage with the toys & materials -- in other words, DH says he's bored a lot. This could be because he's currently the oldest in the classroom or because we don't have many Waldorf toys at home or because the P-C classes are just different (parents knitting while children chase yarn, as opposed to only playing with peers in prek). Or it's just not the best fit for our outgoing, spirited DS who is obsessed with real people & work (construction workers, firefighters, etc) his imagination is expansive & he loves Waldorf story time though.
DH & I have no philosophical problems with Waldorf. I have some reservations about the curriculum as the children get older (emphasizing mythology over history, etc). But it's totally fine with us that they don't teach reading until 7.
We think DS will do well in a Montessori environment. He visited with us & enjoyed looking at all the tools & materials. However, we are concerned about the lack of emphasis on the imagination. It's just not there. I think we could counter this by making our home environment more Waldorf-like. But it's still a concern. We're lucky that the Montessori school has a gym program & outdoor space, which is also important for us because DS needs that physical outlet.
The Montessori school is slightly more affordable for us & is walkable from our home - these are big draws. DH & I also don't know if we're prepared to commit to the Waldorf community - it seems to be a bigger commitment. (I'm more attracted to the idea of the Waldorf community than DH but I have the busier work schedule).
Reading this over, I think it seems like I'm trying to talk myself into Montessori. Maybe I am. But I'd still love insight from any parents who have also gone through this sort of decision or who can comment on som e of my concerns. Sorry it's so long!