Positive experiences with Waldorf Education - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 02-01-2011, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I recently took some time to read through the negative Waldorf stories thread.  Part of me wished I hadn't.  But, I want to thoroughly research Waldorf before deciding if it is the right approach for my son.  We are already Waldorf-inspired at home, but I'm considering sending DS to Waldorf kindy in the fall.  Would some of you please share some positive experiences and stories with Waldorf schools?  I'm particularly curious to know if delayed academics works for most kids attending Waldorf schools. 


Mama to DS (7) , DD (5) and DD (2) and expecting a LO in 2/14

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#2 of 9 Old 02-02-2011, 01:19 AM
 
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I got very scared reading all the negative Waldorf stories, too. In the end, however, we still decided to send DS to a Waldorf school (in fact, we switched him in November of his 2nd grade year!) and it's been a great decision.

What I ultimately took away from all the negative Waldorf stories was that *a lot* depends on the school. Some schools can be cliquish, exclusive, and unwelcoming. Others not so much. I also took away that parents go into Waldorf with starry eyes, thrilled by the gorgeous toys, and forget there is an actual philosophy/theology behind it and get upset when they find out that their kids are being taught that in some way or another (how much depending on the schools and teachers).

I really wish that we had sent DS to Waldorf from the beginning. I think the delayed reading would have been a lot better for him. As it is, he's catching up but still struggles. Part of that, i think, is that reading just isn't his strong subject (he's much more into 3d spatial stuff, art, and math). But part of it was how reading was taught in his old school. Be that as it may, it was also a fantastic choice socially. He's really blossomed there. The calmness of the classroom, the independent work set within a regular rythym works wonderfully for my sensitive kid.

Once again, though, he's one particular kid in one particular school. I think it's key to visit the school, talk to people, post on your tribal forum and get feedback, and go with your gut.

I think Waldorf *can* be great, but I don't dismiss all those negative stories just because it's worked well for us. A school is an organism, in a way, and is always dynamic and changing. That can be for better or for worse. Ultimately, I think the approach itself (divorced from how it's actually practiced in various schools) is great for *most* kids. I think if you have a kid who is super super gifted, it *could* be a bit slow for him/her. I also think if you have a kid with more than mild learning or behavior difficulties, the focus on individual work could also be hard.

Anyway, just my thoughts. good luck in making your decision.
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#3 of 9 Old 02-11-2011, 10:07 AM
 
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I would love to hear from those who have children in high school and beyond...though I know they tend to not hang out discussing educational philosophies at that point in their lives. ;)

 

For us it has worked well so far. We hope to keep Dc at Waldorf through high school. I can see problems arising if we had to remove them...especially in the first three grades. They would be "behind" on traditional academics and the wonderful beautiful other things they have spent time learning would be absent from a traditional school.  Having said that, in my test case of one - it's work well. The material was brought at just the right time in the right ways and he is excelling - in all areas.  He has time to play, move, learned musical instruments, heard beautiful stories, drawing, painting, cooking, learned a foreign language, etc.  Instead of learning fractions on a piece of paper without any real 'meaning,' he is learning them seeing things used right in front of them when cooking.

 

And the disclaimer, I have no idea what our local public schools would be like, so I can only operate from the assumptions I have from my own experience and others in other areas. I'm sure fantastic traditional schools exist which do bring some of these elements to the class. Treasure them.

 

I do agree...you should keep your eyes open, regardless.  I do think there is an element of faith and believing that life shouldn't all be easy and smell of roses...but there can be a tipping point and I think that can be difficult to ascertain when that is...some people may stay too long and be left with some really bad experiences.  I had plenty of awful teachers in school...but then the next year I would get a different one.  I also had great teachers who would have been magnificent to have for more than one grade.

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#4 of 9 Old 03-03-2011, 02:27 AM
 
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Thank you for starting this thread!!!!  joy.gif

 

I was pretty devastated after reading the other one. DH and I have been planning to send our kids to Waldorf since before they were born. DH went and said they were the best years of his life!

 

I sent a few of the threads and some other links to friends of mine with their kids in Waldorf schools back home where we will be going and asked them if they've experienced any of the issues that were talked about here. 

 

We are still 99.9% sure about our decision though, and I have to agree with this statement:

 

 

What I ultimately took away from all the negative Waldorf stories was that *a lot* depends on the school. Some schools can be cliquish, exclusive, and unwelcoming. Others not so much. I also took away that parents go into Waldorf with starry eyes, thrilled by the gorgeous toys, and forget there is an actual philosophy/theology behind it and get upset when they find out that their kids are being taught that in some way or another (how much depending on the schools and teachers).
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#5 of 9 Old 03-03-2011, 02:28 AM
 
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BUMP for more positive Waldorf stories thumbsup.gif

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#6 of 9 Old 03-03-2011, 03:30 PM
 
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We loved our Waldorf school experience, but my daughter was bored to tears in her classroom, mostly due to the teacher's inexperience (It was the teacher's first time in the classroom.) But we still continued to participate in many school functions and the after school programs and summer camps for many years after dd went on to other schools- she does remember her kinder garden experience as positive. The classroom boredom issues began in the 1st grade. We know several Waldorf graduates, however and I am very impressed with how creative, confident and self assure they are, and resistant to peer pressure.

 

The kinds of unhappy experiences detailed in the anti-waldorf threads could happen at any school. My dd's worst experience with bullying was at a Montessori school. The teachers there did nothing to help her  and even made things worse, labeling her as neurotic, blamed her for being victimized, etc.so this can happen anywhere.

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#7 of 9 Old 03-04-2011, 09:45 AM
 
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We have had a positive experience.  My child enjoyed every moment of kindergarten until the last day and greeted the First Grade with it's Academics eagerly.   He is doing fantastically and more importantly to me, LOVING learning.  His teacher was a gifted (first-time teacher) in how she brought academics to the children and he received them with passion.  I am grateful for that.  There are always going to be speed bumps along the way, going to a Waldorf school or a private school or any school isn't going to protect them or us from it.

 

Quote:

The kinds of unhappy experiences detailed in the anti-waldorf threads could happen at any school.

 

ITA.  I'm surprised there are not threads of "public school survivors" etc. around here. Or maybe I just don't see them because I'm not looking or because I've lived it.  I don't negate the negative experiences people have had in Waldorf schools (well most of them), but I don't think Waldorf schools are the only schools with negative experiences, struggling teachers, or drama.

 

 

Quote:

What I ultimately took away from all the negative Waldorf stories was that *a lot* depends on the school. Some schools can be cliquish, exclusive, and unwelcoming.

And it can depend upon what you are bringing how you view a school, too. I was in a parent-tot group at a school with someone who I later heard refer to the school as 'snobby and elitist.' Uh...really? Were we at the same school because I never saw that.  So...while I think it's important if you have friends at a school to get their opinions, realize their impressions may not be your own - good or bad. 

 

ETA: *headsmack* I just saw I already responded to this thread. LOL. I guess I'm just that happy. ;) 

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#8 of 9 Old 10-03-2012, 10:49 PM
 
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Hi, We just started out elder daughter in Waldorf kinder, about a month ago.

We moved her from a private school that had such systemic bullying (at ages 4-5) that went on unabated and unchallenged by teachers that we decided to try Waldorf as a "detoxification" programme. We had already filled out forms and done initial interviews with our local private school that is number 1 for academic excellence.

 

But when I toured the school at their "A Day in.." I was floored. To me it seems that the true gift of Waldorf education really comes in following this methodology all the way to it's higher grades. So, no longer are we looking at our Waldorf as a one-year stepping stone to "traditional" school but a possible long term stint for our family.

 

We feel like we have stumbled upon a GEM of a school/educational philosophy. Seemingly uncoventional, but really deeply traditional.

 

Having surveyed pretty much every private school in our city, I finally realised that the best measure of a school/education is the quality and calibre of the kids that go there, and this is where I have continued to be impressed with Waldorf kids, and graduates. Seems like if there is one thing that most people can agree upon, regardless of their own personal experiences with their specific school, it is this: the kids are impressive.

 

We explored schools and education systems that were across the board, and even made our decision last year based on the school that was the most solid, had great funding, excellent teacher development programmes, and happy teachers. But the children were hopelessly undereducated, despite the cutting edge curriculum. And, having lived through the nightmarish experiences at this traditional private school, I have to say, that the only real good indication of a good school, to me, has been to take a look at the kids that go there, or have graduated.

 

My daughter comes home after school, sweet, helpful, calm....AMAZING! And, apparently this is not uncommon. The soft sweet rhythm in the classroom, the unbelievably caring, soft teachers, the socially-advanced (relative to kids that age, in general) and kind classmates, and the brilliant curriculum (to me) is what makes this school worth it's weight in gold for us.

 

With regards to delayed academics: ie no letters, numbers, etc. - it does makes sense to me, from a neuroscience perspective. In my opinion, the developing brain should not be forced into worksheets, and the memorization of arbitrary concepts (like alphabet, sequence, etc) at this young stage. At this stage, the unbridled exploration of the world around you, your environment: social, intellectual, physical should take precedence over limits set by formal education.

 

At my daughter's class, the teachers took the first month to just let the kids get to know each other, and get comfortable with the teachers. Everything was done in stages. Everything was done in an unhurried, grounded pace. Now, this month, activities are being introduced: finger knitting, eurythmy, clay modeling, etc.
They have been "cooking" since day 1.

 

Yes, I do think it depends on the particular school that you are going to be enrolling your child into...but I will say, interestingly enough, prior to joining, my husband and I felt that folks in our particular school weren't very friendly at all. In fact, in some cases, downright cold. It is only after we signed on that it was like the floodgates of genuine warmth were lifted. A real contrast to our experiences at our previous school, where we were schmoozed and wined and dined, and once we had signed on, little was done to keep us there. To me, this also speaks to the general lack of BS at the Waldorf. These schools seem to be run by folks that bow at the altar of something greater than mere fund raising and rich parents with deep pockets. 

 

Sorry for rambling and being inefficient in my response. I am incredibly sleep deprived (what else is new since 2007/!) but I just wanted to let you know that we are so, so, so very happy that we enrolled our daughter at a Waldorf. One of these days, when I am more together, I will write exactly why, as I do feel that more people should discover this fantastic educational methodology. It has such a positive impact on children and young adults.

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#9 of 9 Old 10-04-2012, 11:10 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpase View Post

Hi, We just started out elder daughter in Waldorf kinder, about a month ago.

We moved her from a private school that had such systemic bullying (at ages 4-5) that went on unabated and unchallenged by teachers that we decided to try Waldorf as a "detoxification" programme. We had already filled out forms and done initial interviews with our local private school that is number 1 for academic excellence.

 

But when I toured the school at their "A Day in.." I was floored. To me it seems that the true gift of Waldorf education really comes in following this methodology all the way to it's higher grades. So, no longer are we looking at our Waldorf as a one-year stepping stone to "traditional" school but a possible long term stint for our family.

 

We feel like we have stumbled upon a GEM of a school/educational philosophy. Seemingly uncoventional, but really deeply traditional.

 

Having surveyed pretty much every private school in our city, I finally realised that the best measure of a school/education is the quality and calibre of the kids that go there, and this is where I have continued to be impressed with Waldorf kids, and graduates. Seems like if there is one thing that most people can agree upon, regardless of their own personal experiences with their specific school, it is this: the kids are impressive.

 

We explored schools and education systems that were across the board, and even made our decision last year based on the school that was the most solid, had great funding, excellent teacher development programmes, and happy teachers. But the children were hopelessly undereducated, despite the cutting edge curriculum. And, having lived through the nightmarish experiences at this traditional private school, I have to say, that the only real good indication of a good school, to me, has been to take a look at the kids that go there, or have graduated.

 

My daughter comes home after school, sweet, helpful, calm....AMAZING! And, apparently this is not uncommon. The soft sweet rhythm in the classroom, the unbelievably caring, soft teachers, the socially-advanced (relative to kids that age, in general) and kind classmates, and the brilliant curriculum (to me) is what makes this school worth it's weight in gold for us.

 

With regards to delayed academics: ie no letters, numbers, etc. - it does makes sense to me, from a neuroscience perspective. In my opinion, the developing brain should not be forced into worksheets, and the memorization of arbitrary concepts (like alphabet, sequence, etc) at this young stage. At this stage, the unbridled exploration of the world around you, your environment: social, intellectual, physical should take precedence over limits set by formal education.

 

At my daughter's class, the teachers took the first month to just let the kids get to know each other, and get comfortable with the teachers. Everything was done in stages. Everything was done in an unhurried, grounded pace. Now, this month, activities are being introduced: finger knitting, eurythmy, clay modeling, etc.
They have been "cooking" since day 1.

 

Yes, I do think it depends on the particular school that you are going to be enrolling your child into...but I will say, interestingly enough, prior to joining, my husband and I felt that folks in our particular school weren't very friendly at all. In fact, in some cases, downright cold. It is only after we signed on that it was like the floodgates of genuine warmth were lifted. A real contrast to our experiences at our previous school, where we were schmoozed and wined and dined, and once we had signed on, little was done to keep us there. To me, this also speaks to the general lack of BS at the Waldorf. These schools seem to be run by folks that bow at the altar of something greater than mere fund raising and rich parents with deep pockets. 

 

Sorry for rambling and being inefficient in my response. I am incredibly sleep deprived (what else is new since 2007/!) but I just wanted to let you know that we are so, so, so very happy that we enrolled our daughter at a Waldorf. One of these days, when I am more together, I will write exactly why, as I do feel that more people should discover this fantastic educational methodology. It has such a positive impact on children and young adults.

Thank you for sharing your positive story! xoxoxo

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