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waldorf education and working mamas

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi there,

I lurk on the waldorf boards, but haven't posted here yet. My almost 5 yo DD has been attending a waldorf preschool for a year, and we've enrolled her in a Waldorf kinder for next year. I have fallen in love with the schools we've looked at, and I've seen nothing but good things from the teachers I've encountered so far.

What I'm curious about is how mothers who work manage life with Waldorf education for their kiddos. I'm currently working 20 hours per week,mainly in the evening when DH keeps DD. However, as we're looking at approaching the grade years at our Waldorf school I'm increasingly thinking of going back to work full time-- because it ain't cheap! However, as I think about working full time, I wonder about the things all working moms struggle with-- childcare in the summertime, during school breaks, etc. I haven't seen many waldorf based summer programs or childcare arrangements for older kids so far.

I'm wondering how other families have handled this? Thanks in advance for your replies!
post #2 of 8

Workin' Mama

Sorry, not much help here our Waldorf school offers an afterschool program and summer programming as well. Look into it. Or ask the moms of the kids at dd's school. You may find a mom/dad who will watch your dd this summer in her home along with their own child. HTH
post #3 of 8
Hi! Im not a working mom-- yet.. will be when my youngest attends k next year as well... so im glad you brought this up! : Im such a terrible planner. I didnt even think about the summer-time yet!
I know that at our school they have been doing a camp for at least some of the summer and i know a few mamas last year had begun home-day-care during the summer. I think it would be wise to ask around and see what you can find.
The best of luck to you!
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
I have been thinking of checking with the school. Maddiebaby, your idea of looking for a Waldorf mom to keep my kiddos is a great idea. I really love Waldorf education, and we are committed to making it happen... or trying to anyway! But the money is so daunting-- I'm really crossing my fingers for a scholarship of some sort. I'm glad to hear I'm not alone in this!
post #5 of 8
Working Waldorf Mom here! My dh and I have arranged our schedules such that he takes the kids in the morning and I pick up. The school does offer after school care too but that is more bucks, so I work 6 AM to 3 PM instead so I can pick up the kids. During most breaks and summer time, there is child care at the school. For one day breaks, we sometimes do an all day playdate with another family and I pay for an outing for them to the zoo or a museum or something.

The most frustrating thing I have found, is that the school is not always supportive of offering care for the kids. I don't know what they expect! There is no way we could afford the tuition if we weren't both working! :
post #6 of 8
Hi Rhonwyn,

I think the problem at the school (with being helpful to working parents) arises because the teachers and staff at waldorf schools are almost always spread kind of thin. Top priority has to be the actual education, then comes keeping the school basically functional (paying the bills, keeping the building from falling down), unfortunately, taking care of the parents tends to fall too far down the list. You might consider trying to either start, or empower a parents association, and have it concentrate on trying to support the parents in their struggles. I'm speaking out of my 3 years actually working at a waldorf school. We were usually very overstretched and found ourselves sort of irritated sometimes with parents asking for more services, such as a summer camp. Who would run it? Figure out the finances? Take care of the legal requirements? Summer was the time for the teachers to work on next year's curriculum, for the administrative staff to sort out all the paperwork for the next year, for the building maintenance to get taken care of...

I don't really know what the solution is, but the current situation at most waldorf schools manages to be unfair to parents and teachers and administrators. Equal opportunity misery!

post #7 of 8
Oh they had a staff to run it Deborah. They laid them off and hired a really great guy to run it. The summer camp is not working out well though. The school gets out so much earlier than all the other schools in the area and there are no camps to cover this time and the guy doing the summer camp can't do the first few weeks. The long and short is, I either have to take 2 weeks of vacation to cover this time or fly the kids to their grandparents. Neither is a great choice.

Another problem we have had is that they say that the afterschool care and summer care don't pay for themselves but then they neglect to notice that the teachers and staff are using it and not paying for it which I don't have a problem with that but they should count that as a benefit to the teachers and staff and then count those funds as part of the money they make on the camps. The school is old enough and flush enough to support this. I think many of the teachers are too unrealistic and think there should be a parent at home.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your repliles Rhonwyn and Deborah! These are exactly the issues I'm trying to figure out how we will deal with. Right now my DD is attending a waldorf based childcare/preschool that we really adore, and they take children up to 6 yo, and there are a number of older children who are attending some of the Waldorf schools in our area that come during summer and school breaks. But after that 6 year mark, I'm not sure what is available. I will look more into what's available at our school, and we've certainly given thought to how we will arrange our schedules, but I think we'll unfortuately be using more of the after hours care, which will tack on more $$ to our tuition bill. It's frustrating to have to juggle all of this, but I hope that what we gain for our DD from the school will be worth it. One step at a time, I suppose.
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