Pre-K Waldorf Class -Benefits? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-23-2004, 09:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am thinking about having my dd attend our Waldorf schoool preschool for three 1/2 days next fall. She is just a smidge too young for the Kindgarten class. DO you think this would be a good start? I think it would be positive, also maybe a foot in the door for her future years. Any thoughts? Also, besides tutition assistance from the school itself, does anyone know of other resources/ways to obtain assistance for the tuition?
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Old 03-24-2004, 02:35 AM
 
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Hi again (I responded to your other post too!)

Just wanted to say that I personally think Waldorf preschool is wonderful. My children aren't old enough to attend yet, but I have several friends whose children attend. It has truly amazed and inspired me!

Unfortunately, it can be quite expensive...I am not aware of any programs to help in that department. I don't think AWSNA has any scholarships or financial assistance.

Dana, mom to Avery & Natalie 7 , Cole 4 , and Baby #4 on the way!
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Old 03-24-2004, 05:19 AM
 
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I go to the parent toddler group at our local Steiner school, and have signed DS up for the playgroup for when he turns 3. I've no idea if I will stick with it through kindergarten but so far I find it to be a very beautiful approach, despite not agreeing with all of Steiner's ideas or the religious aspect. It is by far the closest I can find to my values in all the preschools. I like that they foster community and that DS will be around the same kids for a while. I like the routines they have, baking, music, stories, playing outisde; pretty much what i do at home with him!
Also, unbelieveably, the government here (UK) gives school vouchers until kids are 5yrs, meaning the playgroup 3 mornings a week will only cost us about $40 a month. I'm curious to learn what it costs there as I'm sure we couldn't have afforded it (one of the reasons we left that I try to remind myself of when I'm homesick ).
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Old 03-24-2004, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow Muse,that is so awesome that you get vouchers! It truly seems as if every other country but the US supports families and child-centeredness To answer your question, for my dd to go to pre-k Waldorf, three 1/2 days week,it will cost us $5660 for the full ten month school year! I know it seems like so much and it is, I just try to justify it to myself when comparing it to childcrae costs, which are very comparable. The only true difference on cost though is that with Waldorf, or any private school, you pay that amount every year for all of their school years, whereas with just childcare you pay it until they start public schooling or home schooling, but you still might need aftercare you know? I don't know what to do, I just know how much I love the Waldorf environment and philosophies.
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Old 03-24-2004, 04:55 PM
 
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Ya know, doulahoola, we're in PDX too, and I come from a Waldorf family - we all went from pre-K-12. But that was then, and things were cheaper. I'm a sahm, my dh makes a modest income, and there is absolutely no way we could afford to send our kids to Waldorf. No way at all. And even if we could, I just don't know if I could justify spending that kind of money.

But it doesn't bother me that much. I know how excited and enthusiastic you are about Waldorf education (I read your post about the toys, too), but just want to offer my perspective that you can create a lot of that environment at home without having to shell out for what imo amounts to a lovely and worthwhile but ultimately elitist education for your kids. (Not that the same can't be said about many private schools - nothing against Waldorf) We have no tv, lots of wooden toys, many saved from my childhood (thanks, Mom!), and do our artsy stuff and fairy tales right here. Ds goes to a fabulous Montessori preschool right down the street, run by a Quaker who I highly respect, and where he's flourishing (all for the low, low price of $137/month!).

I guess what i'm saying is that for the poor but Waldorf-inclined parent, there are ways to be Waldorf-y without impoverishing yourself. Good luck!
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Old 03-25-2004, 04:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Zinemama, you're awesome! After reading your post, I felt relieved! Are you the one who had a "hellish" teacher for many years?! I'm sorry! Anyways, I am not sure what to do yet. I have started to contemplate getting rid of the tv as of late. I've unplugged it a few times and told dd it was broken, but then I always end up turning it on later, only to regret it! Help! Should I just do away with it asap or what? Also, please send insight as to the "dress code" of Waldorf parents....I yearn to be as hip in such an uncaring way and with flair! I felt out of place in my Levi's and Nikes. What is going on here? Is it only ok to have clogs and tencil pants and no makeup? Obviously I am struggling with my desires to live a better, more wholesome, and educated life, yet I still like some things about mainstream america too.:
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Old 03-25-2004, 05:34 AM
 
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Dress code of Waldorf parents?! :LOL That's the sort of thing I don't like about Steiner, there is a certain elitism and cliquey snobbery...you shouldn't have to dress a certain way to raise your child according to your values, kwim? In the group I go to here there is one black father who brings his bi-racial daughter in very hip urban little outfits and neither of them fit the Waldorf stereotype, and I have to say I think they are judged or avoided by other parents there.

I absolutely agree you don't need to pay those huge () amounts of money to provide what it looks like you're wanting for your child. I do suggest throwing out the TV, or at least moving it to a room inaccessible to your child. I see a huge huge difference in DS now that we don't have one; he is so much more imaginative and creative and never gets bored. We threw out most of his plastic toys, play lots of music, do art, and spend as much time as possible out in nature. The Waldorf stuff is funny really because it's presented as this whole complex Steiner approach, but actually it's all incredibly simple and basic! (at least the bits I'm drawn to)
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Old 03-25-2004, 10:35 AM
 
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The Waldorf stuff is funny really because it's presented as this whole complex Steiner approach, but actually it's all incredibly simple and basic! (at least the bits I'm drawn to)
I totally agree. If you like the philosophy and want to incorporate it into your home, its simple and so much of it you can do without spending money....bread baking, music, nature walks, routines and rhythms of the day, etc.

What is interesting me though is that a lot of us look at Steiner's approach and like this "basic" way of viewing childhood while IMO most preschool directors and teacher KNOW this is developmentally appropriate, but don't practice it because their is so much pressure today for early academics. A lot of people instinctually know that play is important, but don't choose play based preschools.

I am curious about this though:
Quote:
Dress code of Waldorf parents?! That's the sort of thing I don't like about Steiner, there is a certain elitism and cliquey snobbery...you shouldn't have to dress a certain way to raise your child according to your values, kwim?
I know that Steiner talks about the importance of color and that young children "take in" color so the teachers wear soft colors and never black. I know they also often wear flowy dresses as to not to draw attention to their bodies.

I wasn't aware there was a dress code for parents?? Unless you mean some parents try to do this as well?

Dana, mom to Avery & Natalie 7 , Cole 4 , and Baby #4 on the way!
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Old 03-25-2004, 02:49 PM
 
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Originally posted by octobersweethearts

I know that Steiner talks about the importance of color and that young children "take in" color so the teachers wear soft colors and never black. I know they also often wear flowy dresses as to not to draw attention to their bodies.

I wasn't aware there was a dress code for parents?? Unless you mean some parents try to do this as well?
I assumed doulahoola just meant there is a certain 'look" to many waldorf parents and that some people don't feel they fit into that. What I don't like is any unspoken expectation that we should all look the same or act the same. There is a distinct middle class whiteness to it all, which can feel quite exclusive.

I didn't know about the flowy dresses etc to hide the body...hmm.why is that??? I'd assumed that the female teachers dressed the way they do to be "feminine" or "maternal", stuff which I find quite offputting (as a black clad doc martens boots wearing feminist... )
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Old 03-25-2004, 03:09 PM
 
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Oh, okay, now I know what you mean. Yes, I do think that there is often a certain "look" to people who are interested in Waldorf. I'm sure people could feel that it is for middle-upper class granola white people, although I would hope that the Waldorf community would be open to diversity. I personally would love for our local Waldorf initiative to be more diverse.

About the dress and body thing....I know that there is an idea behind it, but I don't know all about it. I think part of it is what you said about feminine and maternal, but I also think they purposely do not draw attention to their bodies and wear colors that are thought to be most appropriate for children.

Dana, mom to Avery & Natalie 7 , Cole 4 , and Baby #4 on the way!
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Old 03-25-2004, 03:39 PM
 
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Doulahoola,

Glad my post reduced your anxiety! Here's my two cents on the tv: I had a pretty privileged upbringing. I don't mean we had a lot of material trappings - we didn't. Our house was shabby and our clothes were basic, but my parents chose to spend their money on private school educations for us, skiing in the winter, funky summer camps, museums, amd lots of travel.

All that has made an impact on who I am today, but the most important thing my parents did for us kids was to raise us without a tv in the house. I cannot overstate how crucial this has been in my development as a person and as a passionate reader. We were surrounded by books everywhere, read to every day, hung out in each other's rooms just reading. Without the distraction of tv, our imaginations were free to roam. The no-tv decision was made before my parents even thought about Waldorf school for us - they were just rebels, I guess. I went through a period of really wanting one, but as an adult, I don't own one, and I wouldn't raise my kids any other way. Throw it out! The earlier you do it, the better for your dd - and you, too.

It's great if you find a school whose philosophy you love and can send your kid there, but imo, not having a tv at home will do more for your kid than anything that goes on at school.

Re wanting to be hip and wholesome - I don't know about the waldorf "dress code" though I can imagine what you mean, but I don't think anyone should make you feel like you "have to" dress a certain way to fit in. If you're comfy in your Nikes and levis, who the heck cares? (I do agree with the whole not wearing clothes with logos thing, though. I refuse to be a walking advertisement, and I despise cartoon characters).

Feel free to pm me if you'd like information about our preschool or would like to hang out sometime.
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Old 03-26-2004, 01:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Zinemama, Muse, and Octobersweethearts, thank you women so much for all of your truly honest insight and support! I have learned a lot just by our little conversation. I am referring to the way that most Waldorf parents seem to dress and I do admire it. I hadn't thought about the real idea of being a walking advertisement for these companies who probably use slave labor to produce their items, but it is true that I need to consider whether I want to support that. I do want to get rid of my tv. I have been thinking about it so much lately! I just need to get the courage to do it, my ex, would gladly take it off of our hands, but it is a little scary, I don't know why. It is like you can never go back. Muse- I love that your parents put their money into the things that really count, it sounds like what I would like to do for my dd. I want to be your parents!!!! You are blessed to have such wonderful parents who brought you up in a way that your imagination was free to flourish! I am curious as to what you do now, are you crafty and extremly creative? Any certain hobbies you like over another? Also-Octobersweethearts, thank you for your insight on the flowy dresses and color issue, it def. makes so much sense. Again, thank you all for all of your awesome wisdom, it is helping my dd and I on our journey to continue to live mindful lives.
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Old 03-26-2004, 01:01 PM
 
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The parents at our school run the gamut of pink hair and leopard skin, to business suits, to hippie granola mothers. My son's teacher was a tomboy as child and still prefers pants to skirts. She wears both to school but never any flowy skirts or dresses.

There is a dresscode for the kids: no media characters (Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Pokeman, etc.) as well as other rules such no pants dragging on the ground, no holes in the knees, no halter tops or minitops. The kids are not supposed to dress in a distracting manner.

I do remember wondering if I would have to trade in my Ford for a Volvo! My husband and I joke around with the other parents about 'dress codes for the parents' and cars but I don't think anyone judges anyone on their dress or vehicle. Now we did have some nannies dropping kids off to Kindergarten that dressed pretty provoctively (sp?). They probably got the cold shoulder but they looked like they were bar hopping on a Friday night rather than working with children.
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Old 03-26-2004, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Rhonwyn- interesting and funny response! Totally a volvo over a ford, my thoughts exactly! Have you ever lived in Portland per chance? I used to have an aquaintance who knew a girl with your same name.
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Old 03-26-2004, 03:24 PM
 
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Rhonwyn isn't my real name. It is my net name. I haven't met a real Rhonwyn yet. I know some Bronwyns. Rhonwyn was my name in the SCA.

Actually I own a Ford and I am not inclined to buy a Volvo because I try to buy American products especially if they are made in the USA. Sometimes that is impossible. I don't think anyone makes beeswax crayons or modeling beeswax but the Germans!

I think every school is different. We have people at our school that left another Waldorf school in the area because the other school was too cliquey. As a parent, you had to be in the right crowd to participate as anything other than a grunt.

The parents in my son's class are a blast and we have a wonderful group of kids.
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Old 03-27-2004, 01:47 AM
 
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Originally posted by Rhonwyn
The parents at our school run the gamut of pink hair and leopard skin, to business suits, to hippie granola mothers.
This has been my experience as well. I don't think anyone is really judging anyone by the way they dress or the car they drive where we are. And, yuck, I would be really put-off if they did.
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