waldorf experiencesMy waldorf experiences go back to the sixties. At 14 I started at the school in LA, Highland Hall. That was my 14th school because we had moved around so much. I really liked it, even though there were definitely plenty of problems. The school was still in pioneer mode, housed in some awkward buildings, the class I went into had had multiple teachers and was pretty messed up and many of the teachers didn't really know what they were doing.
It was still incredible. For the first time in my school career I encountered organized, thoughtful, creative teaching. It was so great to get away from textbooks. I don't know if anybody has noticed, but some of the worst writing ever is in school textbooks. I love history and the history teaching at the WS was the best ever.
Well, I left and then my brother and sister attended for a few years. They have, I think, fond memories of their time at the WS. This is particularly amusing in regard to my sister, who is a fanatical born-again Christian. She has simply decided to think of the WS as good, in spite of having an "incorrect" spiritual background.
A few years later my daughter started at the same school. She went to Highland Hall from the time she was 3 until she completed 7th grade. At that point we moved to rural Missouri and she started public school. Midway through the year she was so disgusted with the quality of the education that she asked me if we could home school. That lasted 1 1/2 years, then she went to the Toronto Waldorf School for 10-12.
She certainly hasn't been handicapped in life by her WS education. She is an environmental engineer, specializing in water quality. She supported herself through 6 years of college at a variety of jobs. Currently she is a stay at home mom with 2 children, running a home day care. She is also on the local WS board and is planning to send her children to the school. My 4 year old granddaughter is currently in the nursery and loves it.
I've had some interactions with PLANS over the years and must say I find them prone to distortion (to put it very mildly). They like, for example, to take quotes out of context. Certainly, some Steiner quotes can sound awful by today's standards, but they are concentrating on excerpting only the bits that support their case. Two paragraphs on, in the same lecture, may be a passionate statement opposing nationalism or sectarianism.
Final note: waldorf schools vary and waldorf teachers vary and it is up to the parents to make sure that your children get the education you want them to get. Ask questions and raise concerns and find out as much as you can about how the school works and where the potential problems lie.