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Life After Waldorf ~ A Support Group - Page 50

post #981 of 1181
Quote:
Originally Posted by summermay View Post
Good question.
The admission officer and early years teacher are good friends so I do not think it would be good to bring this issue up to her.
:This is a huge red flag in any school.

(red flag: warning sign that something is very wrong)
post #982 of 1181
Well, we have decided not to send our child to local Waldorf charter for kindergarten.

Upon investigation, we discovered this school has many of the same issues discussed over and over again on this thread...bullying issues, children being publicly shamed, poor supervision, former families being shunned, etc.

I am disappointed and scrambling to find an alternative for my child, but am also so very grateful for the posters here who tipped me off to these issues. I feel like I have almost had a taste of what others here have gone through- just through the admissions process! My gut has been telling me (literally- I have thrown up over it) to "get out" and I am so relieved that we are getting out now instead of later.

Thank you!
post #983 of 1181
I can't remember laurelsprings, if your child was in ws previously? Anyway, on behalf of those who have BTDT, you've most likely saved yourself a lot of grief. If you were seeing issues in through the admissions process that's definitely a problem.

I think for those of us who are looking for something specific for our child/children, we make it happen! Once you are settled into a schooling option you will make it your own. I'm sorry that this has been so unsettling for you, and I wish you peace as you find what works for you.
post #984 of 1181
I'm sorry that the school didn't turn out to be what you were hoping, Laurelsprings, and that the process was so agonizing. Do you have a default option?
post #985 of 1181
Thanks Karne and Orangewallflower for your encouragement.

DC is currently in a Reggio preschool. I wish there was a local Reggio Kinder option for us, but there isn't. I thought Waldorf style would be complementary to Reggio, but it really doesn't seem to be much like my initial impressions at all. I have registered DC for a small neighborhood public elementary that I am starting to get excited about. I just regret that my "blinders" about the Waldorf kept me from really exploring other options...but I do think this other school will be a good place.

Luckily, DC has a personality type that could do great in all different kinds of school environments. I think everything is going to be fine, and again thanks to those here who have shared their experiences...it was because of you that I started to ask more questions about our local Waldorf and I think you all have saved this family a lot of angst.
post #986 of 1181
Hi! I'm part of a parent-toddler group that is working towards starting a Steiner kindergarten. We started going to the group because a friend of mine mentioned it. Now, pretty much all of my mommy-buddies are in this group, and they're a wonderful, nice group of people, but I often feel lie I'm the only one there who isn't 100% enthusiastic about Steiner-Waldorf education, so I'm here to vent about my doubts.

Yesterday, we went on a field trip to a Steiner school about an hour and a half from here. It was a lovely day out but did nothing to allay my concerns. DD (18 months old, now) loved the school. She borrowed the rain pants and splashed in buckets and climbed all over the climbing frames. It made me feel how much we're missing out on being in nature and outdoors, since we live in the middle of a small city. Inside the school buildings was another matter. I just sensed that it was a very rigid place in some ways, and that the spiritual component doesn't sit quite right with me... maybe because it's too much fairytales and candles, and not enough interpersonal/social ethics.

Lots of what I've encountered in this group makes me want to homeschool (although I know that ultimately I don't want to homeschool full-time or long-term), or to use elements of the Stiener program to supplement regular school education. I'd like to have lots of regular free outdoor play time, use natural materials as much as possible, and do crafts with DD (and any more children that come along... hoping for at least one more) through elementary school age, because they're things that I did as a kid and could have done with more of, and I do think that art/crafts and lots of time in nature are important developmentally. But I don't want to be a founding member of a Steiner school... and yet these are my friends and I really like hanging out with them, and doing the playgroup with them.

There's no real practical question for me at this point, because DD is still too young for preschool and we're planning to move soon, but I just wanted to vent a bit.
post #987 of 1181
You hit the nail on the head with the comment about what you are missing out on living in a city (not that you can't have a happy and healthy life in the city!): people seek Waldorf schools because they feel something missing, especially when they have very young children, in modern life. You can cultivate that in your life no matter where your children go to school, and in fact do your child and others a service by being a member of the broader community rather than only associating with people who share your views or a narrow common vision.

I just did a puppet show for my son's fifth birthday, and for various reasons this was a slapdash production! None of my guests were Waldorf people. I knew how awkward and provincial my show was compared to some of the magical Waldorf puppet shows I've seen (and done, as a teacher). But the parents and my little guests were thrilled and impressed. To the children, a puppet show is a puppet show. It was every bit as magical, and to the parents it was neat I would do such a thing at a simple little party. Then the children made their own fuzzy sock puppets from that kit you can buy at Target with self-stick felt bits and eyes (hardly Waldorf!) and without being prompted put on their own "puppet show." The results for the children are the same, and no one is worried about whether the "gesture" of the story I chose is appropriate for four-and five-year-olds or upset that the felt is not 100% wool, or that there's some sinister spiritual implication in that Josephine put several eyes on her puppet.

Hopefully you will still be able to hang out with your friends and be a part of the broader community without joining in their endeavor...unfortunately in my own experience starting or participating in a Waldorf school can bring out the worst in people- it certainly did in me.

In looking for a school for my own little boy now, I wistfully remember how enthusiastic I was about moving so my daughter, ten years ago, could attend a Waldorf kindergarten. Nowhere is the fable of "The Emperor's New Clothes" more evident than in Waldorf education.

Once you get used to the aesthetic of a Waldorf school, other schools can seem cluttered and jarring (and many of them are). But when our first experiment with Waldorf went wrong, and my first-grader visited a public Montessori school, she filled up like a plant getting water when she saw all the *stuff* in the classroom. I find Montessori schools could use a little dose of Waldorf decorating, but the point is there's a balance between tidy and cluttered- and cluttered isn't necessarily bad. I was just considering this the other day when my father-in-law, whose wife is a *meticulous* housekeeper, privately commented to me that he loved the clutter in our house, that it meant that people lived and worked and read and cooked there. You are quite right in your perception that the material environment at a Waldorf school is rigid.
post #988 of 1181
Have you voiced your concerns to the group? I wonder if there are others thinking exactly the same thing, but don't feel comfortable talking about it. If this group is willing to put the work into founding a school, perhaps it could be something completely independant and defined by the founding parents. You can come to agreement on what you love about Waldorf, and apply those elements (plenty of time for outside play, lazured walls, crafts...) without attempting to do pure Waldorf. I think this would be a dream school for many people!
post #989 of 1181
It's funny. I have voiced my concerns to a couple of my friends, and they seem to more or less agree, but we seem to be unable to have a group discussion about it. I think it's hard because most of them are eager to join onto an existing system, and feel that we need the institutional support of the Steiner Kindergarten association, so they're signing on for the workshops, etc.

It's possible that once we've moved a little further along in the process they'll be able to get some distance from the central organization, but right now the group seems bent on being Steiner, rather than just drawing from the Steiner-Waldorf curriculum.
post #990 of 1181
Quote:
Originally Posted by aikigypsy View Post
need the institutional support of the Steiner Kindergarten association, so they're signing on for the workshops, etc.
I had to laugh at the this because the support is very lacking when it comes to support from outside your own school. Our school was visited many times by AWSNA and our system never met their standards.
I know in this thread someone mention another school of thought that was like Waldorf but didn't have the same dysfunctional style. I can't remember what is was called. I wonder if that would help divert the thoughts from being so hung up on Steiner's work.
post #991 of 1181
Ravenna, might that be Enki? My understanding is that Enki is very similar to Waldorf, but with a more global focus, and it is somewhat spiritual but not anthroposophical. At the moment there are no Enki schools up and running, but if I were in a parent initiative group, I would explore the idea. Aiki, I can understand the appeal doing something that is already well established, but I do hope that the others understand the true nature of what they are embarking on. That you can talk critically with individuals but not the group about your concerns makes it already sound quite Waldorf in nature. (This was very much my experience as a Waldorf parent.)
post #992 of 1181
That's it Orangewallflower! I knew it was something simple. It seemed to be a better alternative and even though there aren't any schools here. There are great links available that tell about it. I remember looking into it when we left. Thanks!
post #993 of 1181
Our family had our experiences with a "Waldorf inspired" homeschool group a few years ago. As I read these posts, I recognize some of the patterns. Luckily, our involvement was short lived but I did learn that there was no room for dissent in Waldorf system. Please keep posting!! There are so many parents that are attracted to the Waldorf esthetic and they really need to know more about the beliefs behind the movement before getting involved.

Our experience was very short but it was enough to be annoying. I really feel for those of you that put so much time and love into the movement only to be so hurt by it.
post #994 of 1181
ok, i havent gone through and read all the posts, so i dont know if anyone else has posted a similar theme.

i am sad and scared to leave.

we are at a charter waldorf school, so some of the politics around financial aid etc are much better than at a private, but still there is this smoke screen feeling. you know, like i ask a question and the teacher or director goes on and on as if she is answering my question, but it is some vague lala cr@p that doesnt really leave me feeling like i've been answered. you can try and try to get an answer but start to feel like alice trying to reason with the queen of hearts........yeah. and the caterpillar is there too, and he is definately smoking......

so anyway, i have been considering a change for some time, and havent done it because honestly i am scared of change...and dd seems happy and i didnt want to rip her away from her friends, when i heard from anohter mom that dd had told her that she wanted to go to a differnt school but i woulnt let her. well when i asked dd (who is 8) the floodgates just opened. she wants a new teacher and new friends and more help- her current class is 30/1 and she is, as the teacher put it "behind in everything" (whos fault is that?) and its not that she was ever an unhappy kid, but somethings just dont sit right. like the second grade play. the king of irelands son. ok is it just me but is that not the most misogynistic piece of you know what? and mostly i just think the 30 kids are by necessity left to run wild in a sorta lord of the flies type social setting.

so now dd wants to leave and i hate the school and i want to run for the hills, but oh, wait i love it there too.
my mama friends are all there. we go to cofee after drop off. we sit at the park while our younger kids play, we know each other intimately and there has been much laughter and tears and they have talked me down when i am going stratospheric and it feels like the world is caving in around me, i can tell them anything...almost...and they are mature rational adults capable of seeing differing views and not getting defensive, ever, except....if ....i tell them i am leaving. dude, the two moms i thought were the wisest most grounded mamas ever went totally jr high on me. they just couldnt hear it. i swear, these otherwise super self aware ladies were obviously having their own doubts triggered, and guarding their position fiercely. becuase it is so scarry to leave or think about leaving, or think about letting go of, the kids and families we really truly love.

and i just feel so much grief to say goodbye. i do love her teacher as a person. and all these friends who im sure i will mostly drift away from when we are busy at different schools.

anyway, just thought id share. i have chatted about it a bit on the learning at school forum, but its pretty clear i am not getting across to the general public what leaving a waldorf school is really going to mean for us. people are mostly like , yeah, your dd hates it, so leave. duh. (and she doesnt hate it anyway) so thought id try here. thanks.
post #995 of 1181
I do not know what your options are, but if you have access to good public schools, go for it!!!!

We left after 8 years last years. All of my children transitioned beautifully into public. They made honor roll, joined all kinds of groups and causes, ran and played and won awards in music and most importantly made great friends, as did I. I found that contrary to what I had been led to believe, that there are many many sane intelligent thoughtful and wonderful people at public school. In fact, I found my friends in Public to be more "Waldorf" than the one who call themselves Waldorf, if that makes any sense. And they also believe that children are precious and deserve to be protected and loved and nurtured. And educated. And taught to respect others and not to bully. They had consequences and visible boundaries. And they recycle!!!! And teach knitting and have all kinds of access to resources. They have people in charge and respond to emails and act appropriately in response to parental requests.

You know what I did this past year. I painted my house! I made new friends and started working out again. I ate better and talked about things besides the dysfuntional money pit of a school that I was pouring every ounce of my blood sweat and tears into trying to get them to DO their JOB! Now I send my children to school and walk away, trusting that the school will take it from there. I volunteered in art class and taught photography to 2nd graders for fun and did not to rescue a school from financial ruin. And I swear, for months I kept saying "This was here???? all this time!!!!!" I felt and continue to feel so light and happy and free.

Slowly too, I stopped talking and thinking about Waldorf and the nonsense. My best friend had a point. She said "I don't know much about Waldorf, but I do know one thing, all my friends that go to one, talk about it, and not in a good way, ALL THE TIME!" I realized how dysfunctional the relationship had been. For us anyway. Everyone has to get there on their own.
It has been nothing but good times!
Go for it. You will NEVER regret it!
post #996 of 1181
wow. thankyou. has anyone ever told you you give one heck of a pep talk?

i can so relate to the amount of work one has to do to get the school to do its job. basically her tacher said dd is behind in everything so she needs to practice math and reading every night plus all summer. um, isnt that called homeschool? so why am i driving her here every day plus volunteering plus getting milked for cash. i mean really, i dont mind helping and supporting her academic education, but it feels that the teacher has asked me to be entirely responsible for the education of my child. WHAT is she doing all day? drawing and singing and figuring out where she fits into some twisted pecking order on the playground where the lead girl every day is getting boys sent home by begging them to kiss her then crying when they do? dude. when no one steps in to guide these kids and my daughter is watching it all go down, what message does she recieve? and the school replys, "well, there is only so much we can do....." really? i am not a formally educated teacher, but i can think of a whole LOT of things i might do about this.....
post #997 of 1181
Hi there Sunbaby and Cellington! Welcome to the thread. I hope that you find the support here you need. As you see by the length of this thread, many have traveled the path you are on, Sunbaby.

Cellington, I think your post was great. How nice to hear your good experience with the transition out of waldorf. It is amazing to find that sometimes the ideals we held for waldorf are found in other places!

Sunbaby, I definitely hear you. We left two years ago, and I know how hard it is. There is a cult like experience to waldorf-I know we have been shunned by formerly good friends, but honestly, after two years it doesn't matter. One of my children was also seriously behind-we had hired a tutor to try and help, which was lovely after paying tuition as well. The tutor was making a living off of tutoring waldorf students, which should have told me something. The waldorf remedial program is another post in and of itself. Yes, the plays were absurd, and the social dynamics were very troubling. My kids learned to be fearful/disdainful of public school in waldorf/ I could go on....craziness.

The piece to remember is that it is OK to make a change. It is good to model for our kids that we have standard and expectations, and their learning, safety and happiness are all things that we are here to help them with. There is no good reason to stay stuck. You will keep all of the elements of waldorf that you love in your heart and family life, even if the dysfunctional bricks and mortar "school" is taken away. As for our adult friends, and community, I've found that true friendship does not depend upon where you're writing a tuition check to. As Cellington said, there's a lot of life out there to be lived!

Good luck!
post #998 of 1181

so much to say...

Thank you for the support.
I could probably write a post on each aspect of the hows and whys we left, but the good news and really, all that matters, is that we did,
and miraculously, I have found, after a while, the "whys" don't matter.
The fact THAT you left!- is all that counts.

However....

Every once in a blue moon, another gem of a reason will bubble to the surface, as if to validate our decision to make a change. It usually comes from the back seat of the car when my children relate innocently, their observations on the world. Recently, my daughter said "You know Mom, when I tell people in my new school that I went to a Waldorf school, they say "Oh coool, that must have been neat! tell us what you did?" They are curious and open minded and genuinely interested in who she was before. Then she said "But at my old school, if someone talked about another school, especially Public, the kids would go "OOOOOh gross, thats so bad, Public school stinks, my Mom and Dad say so, only bad kids go there, they teach things all wrong there..." and on and on. You get my drift.

The FIRST big revelation I made upon leaving Waldorf, was how much IN-tolerance was in the water there. I know, I drank it up by the gallons. In subtle insidious ways, they judged and criticized any perceived opposition, while at the same time preaching some sort of open hearted nonsense to the innate nature of the child. The INNATE nature of the child is to love everyone!!! Have you ever taken a vacation with your kids and within ten minutes of making a new friend, of whom they know no background, religious affiliation or educational choices...they want a sleepover! Children are amazingly tolerant...until WE tell them not to be.


more later....
post #999 of 1181

hogwash

Sun baby, I just re-read your earlier post, about "The King Of Irelands Son", and I had to laugh. I sat through that one...with two children. I mean..really?

another observation you made about the "lord of the flies" mentality really resonated with me. I think it is not an accident that this is a frequent complaint of Waldorf parents. I guess I am a little slow on the uptake, but it took me 5 years to grasp the fact that this is actually an intentional means of "social education". Our former Waldorf website touts the school as "Protecting the Innocence" and NOTHING, I mean NOTHING could be further from the truth. HOGWASH is what I have to say. Pure nonsense.

My daughter fessed up recently about tid bits she had been privy to in her unsupervised trip to the "gnome forest", topics I kinda had hoped I would have been the one to introduce to her. First grade. The play is way too lacking in supervision and more importantly, under the guise of letting the children roam freely, DIRECTION. They lack direction. And so these little "games" evolve, which are very very Lord of the flies. And the bullying is rampant and teachers turn the other way and thus promote it, "survival of the fittest" and all that. Which, you know, if they put this philosophy in the brochure, lay it all out on the table, "We believe children thrive in an environment where they are left unsupervised to determine the pecking order and thus sink or swim", perhaps there would even be parents who would say "You know, if no one really gets hurt, maybe this iS the way to teach social behavior" But to claim that they protect the innocence is pure HOGWASH (can you tell I love that word?). HOGWASH I SAY!!!
post #1000 of 1181

Hmmm...you all are giving me cold feet!

We are a 2 mom family that was planning to start DD in a Waldorf K this year. She can already read and write. We liked the emphasis on play and outdoor time. Fairies and gnomes seemed harmless enough. Now we are not so sure.

Does Waldorf have any kind of position on gay/lesbian families?

I was dismayed reading the threads on aid - we applied and it never occurred to me that the info might become known to a lot of other parents.

We had looked at Waldorf years ago and found it creepy. We really wanted a half day K and talked ourselves into this school. I will say that I looked at several WE schools and this is the only one where the teachers didn't make me uncomfortable. Is it worth a try or am I kidding myself?
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