My oldest son will be entering first grade in the fall and has been in Waldorf programs since the age of two.
I came on to tell you what I love about Waldorf, but I have to say, with regard to the "parent uprising" and firing of teachers... this does indeed happen and I am no fan of it. I am not impressed that these "uprisings" happen so often in Waldorf schools because I love the curriculum and philosophy and expect that we evolve and work together in reverence for one another, resolving conflicts with compassion. The children are learning from us. I apologize for going somewhat off topic, but I needed to express another side of that coin.
I will add, quickly, that there is a shortage of trained Waldorf teachers. As a parent, you should expect that a teacher will often come from the community itself...oftentimes a parent feels called. Are you comfortable with an individual training as they go, for example, during the summers? I have seen untrained Waldorf teachers be expected to teach like trained Waldorf teachers and fired because there was not enough support of them. I found this very disheartening.
If you thought every day was a rainbow day in a Waldorf school...sorry to crush that idea!
Waldorf, for me, seems to be the humanitarian education we all deserve, regardless of what is happening around us...and because of what is happening around us! My son has a reverence for life, that evolved through his education (and my education as a result) in Waldorf...so far! Waldorf education can be a healing education. I have seen healing in my own child and others through the use of pedagogical stories and through artwork, especially painting. Why healing? Healing from what? Well, many families have separations and divorces, for one. This has occured in our family. While Waldorf is not a replacement for therapy, it is designed to be reverent, gentle, and compassionate. There are also a great number of pressures and expectations and messages put upon young children in this day and age. I believe that if they have not been protected from too much of this, they need healing and a sense of calm and meaning in thier lives. I believe that a lack of protection from the speed of life as we know it today leads to the types of problems that seem to be everywhere...adhd, depression, etc...
There is a three day rythm in the main lesson work of all grades, which allows for a deepening of those lessons in the child. Lessons in Waldorf are not flat facts, drills, memorization, and *his*tory.... In contrast, third and fourth grade times tables are learned through movement or games (which allows a much deeper learning than images on flash cards while children sit intellectualizing...). The Kalevala is taught, usually in sixth grade, and contains a great deal of strong female energy. A good teacher will bring feminist tone to many of the lessons through the years. It is there if one sees it. I appreciate the fairy tales, the fables, the old testament, the norse stories, the greek and roman etc...because I had none of this as a child and craved it my entire childhood! Waldorf education is a meaningful education that, for us, spilled over into our home life. It is just simply right for us.
My son is also very sensitive. Aside from my opposition to the curriculum, I fear that he would not fare well in a public school...or other private schools. Social issues are the same, but the ability to work through social issues should prove better in a Waldorf school. So far, it has...in our journey. We have attended summer "public type" programs and dropped out because of rigid teachers and social mayhem.
I will add that I would prefer to homeshcool my children with the Waldorf philosophy www.live-education.com
, but I am solo, and have to support three of us on my own.
There is so much more, but I don't want to capitalize the thread!
Best to you in your journey!