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#1 of 12 Old 03-25-2005, 07:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Anybody have experience with the Princeton, N.J. Waldorf school? We live in the area, and I really liked the school, but after reading all the posts on some of the methodology, I'm not so sure. Any comments?
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#2 of 12 Old 03-25-2005, 10:47 PM
 
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What in particular or in general is concerning you?

I've never visited the Princeton Waldorf School, but it has a good reputation in waldorf circles.

Nana
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#3 of 12 Old 03-26-2005, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Please pardon my reply; because I know that it will probably go on and on....But, I decided to look into the Waldorf school because my second daughter is very creative (according to her nursery teacher and myself), and being a teacher in a public school setting, I knew that this would get squealched. Our public school is very competitive and grade driven and I didn't want that for her. So I started to look into a Waldorf education which I thought would be rather art-based and holistic and a way to enhance her creativity. But I guess that I didn't know anything about anthroposophy and now that I'm reading all this about crayon colors, karma, reincarnation, linear drawings; I'm not so sure. I keep reading that it depends on the particular school, so that is why I was wondering how the Princeton Waldorf is run.
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#4 of 12 Old 03-26-2005, 01:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msm
Please pardon my reply; because I know that it will probably go on and on....But, I decided to look into the Waldorf school because my second daughter is very creative (according to her nursery teacher and myself), and being a teacher in a public school setting, I knew that this would get squealched. Our public school is very competitive and grade driven and I didn't want that for her. So I started to look into a Waldorf education which I thought would be rather art-based and holistic and a way to enhance her creativity. But I guess that I didn't know anything about anthroposophy and now that I'm reading all this about crayon colors, karma, reincarnation, linear drawings; I'm not so sure. I keep reading that it depends on the particular school, so that is why I was wondering how the Princeton Waldorf is run.
This is my own take on the situation:

A few people who have put their children into waldorf schools have had bad experiences. I do not (absolutely do not) discount or deny these bad experiences. I do, however, argue with the explanations that have been put forward to explain what underlies these experiences.

For example, it has been claimed that waldorf teachers believe in reincarnation and karma and therefore will not intervene when children are bullying other children. Now, logically, if this doctrine were actually a part of the waldorf model, all 800 or 900 schools, worldwide, would have a reputation for bullying problems. However, if you actually check with parents at various schools you will discover that some waldorf schools have never had bullying problems, others have had occasional problems, some have more problems and so on. It varies from school to school.

This situation is true of every single problem that I've ever heard described by unhappy waldorf parents. None of these problems are universally present in all, or even most waldorf schools. Therefore, logically, none of these problems are inherent in the educational philosophy.

A few years ago I was working at the Chicago Waldorf School. Most of the parents were aware of the anthroposophical backdrop of the school. Generally they weren't interested in studying anthroposophy, but didn't find it threatening to them or their children. Families left the school sometimes. Moving away was the most common reason. Finances was another, although the school had a generous tuition assistance program. Dissatisfaction with the class teacher arose sometimes.

There were two cases where the spiritual underpinnings of the school became a factor: both cases involved divorces and in both cases one spouse was using the education as a club to bash the other spouse.

CWS was a fairly religiously diverse school (Jewish families, Catholic families, various protestant denominations, Muslim families, a Hindu family) and was striving for racial diversity, but due to the high cost of the school and the fact that all the other private schools were also striving for racial diversity, they weren't having great success.

Does this help? Or am I muddying the waters still further?

Nana
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#5 of 12 Old 03-26-2005, 11:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Yes, that does help , Deborah. A reminder not to get too caught up in some opinions. However, I do wonder what you mean by your comment about the Princeton Waldorf being respected in Waldorf circles. Does that mean that it is a wonderful place for children without some of the problems that other schools have had, or does it mean that the school is respected for a strict adherence to all of Steiner's teachings?
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#6 of 12 Old 03-26-2005, 03:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msm
Yes, that does help , Deborah. A reminder not to get too caught up in some opinions. However, I do wonder what you mean by your comment about the Princeton Waldorf being respected in Waldorf circles. Does that mean that it is a wonderful place for children without some of the problems that other schools have had, or does it mean that the school is respected for a strict adherence to all of Steiner's teachings?
I've never heard of a school being respected (in the U.S.) for a strict adherence to all of Steiner's teachings.

It is more common for a school to be criticized for having inexperienced teachers, for example, which might imply that they aren't waldorf enough, I guess.

I think I just meant that the mentions I had heard of Princeton gave an impression of a well run school with good teachers. This is the sort of thing that can change in a flash, unfortunately.

I would ask about how experienced the teachers are, where they did their waldorf training, what sort of undergraduate degrees teachers have and all the other questions that are appropriate when investigating a school. Go to an introductory program and ask questions. Read a book or two.

Go to public events, May Faire should be coming up, and observe teacher child interactions, parent child interactions and child to child interactions. Chat to some parents and ask questions about stuff like late reading or whatever else you are wondering about. Get a feel for the school and the community.

Talk to an administrator about the enrollment process. Is he/she friendly and helpful or somewhat cold?

I'd recommend the same sort of questions and "browsing" approach to anyone investigating a school, any school. Since you are a teacher yourself you probably know a lot of what to look at/for, anyway.

Good luck, hope it all works well for you.

Nana
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#7 of 12 Old 03-29-2005, 01:30 AM
 
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I agree with Deborah on all major points here:

1. Princeton is a relatively larger waldorf school with a pretty stable history, to my knowledge.

2. Since "adherence to Steiner's principles" is purely in the eye of the beholder, I am not sure how that could be a criterion for a broad-based reputation. While I've heard certain schools described as extreme in some way, I've heard counter-arguments in every case.

3. I recommend you spend enough time with the school (via parent/child classes, attending festivals, going to plays and recitals) to get comfortable with the place, or to decide you don't like it enough to enroll.

David
Waldorf school trustee
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#8 of 12 Old 03-29-2005, 12:22 PM
 
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We moved near Princeton last summer. When we told my daughter's waldorf teacher we were moving here, she was thrilled and went on and on about how great Princeton waldorf is.....
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#9 of 12 Old 03-29-2005, 04:55 PM
 
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When I was there, there was a handwork group that met weekly. Maybe you could go and meet with the moms there and get more of a feel for the school and their experiences with it.

hth

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#10 of 12 Old 05-04-2005, 09:41 PM
 
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I'm so glad I found this thread tonight. I was going to post myself & ask about this particular waldorf school. My sons a few years away from starting school. But my concern w/ our public school system is that its too large & too competitive. I know my son already. He does better in smaller groups of people.
Anyway the mayfaire is this saturday may 7 (info for the orignal poster) they have it listed on the princeton waldorf website. My husband & i are going to check it out along w/ ds.
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#11 of 12 Old 05-06-2005, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Mihelinka- Maybe I'll see you there! We are going early- right at 11:00 because we have about 4 other engagements for the day. I'll be there (medium length dark brown hair, husband with glasses and curly hair and two girls 7 and 4). Maybe we can chat. Are you local to the area. You can e-mail me if you want!
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#12 of 12 Old 05-17-2005, 05:47 PM
 
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I just saw your post today, we did go to the may faire! I will be pming you to chat!
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