I am so glad to have found this forum. I have been contemplating Waldorf education for about a year. I've had so many questions, concerns, observations that I've wished I could just speak to a group of Waldorf parents to discuss. I had no idea such a forum was available!
I have a 4 year old son who is enrolled in a co-op preschool very near to our home (non-Waldorf), for just 2.5 hours 2 days a week, starting in the Fall. We did the same program last year & he was very happy there. I feel, at this time, nearly 80% confident that I want my son to attend Waldorf from 1-8th grade. I, however, am having some issues with the pre-K, Kindergarten years.
He's attended a few days of "summer camp" at this Waldorf school this summer. I am so enchanted with the school & the program. My son adores it. The art work he's came home with brings tears to my eyes, I love how active and playful he is during the day and all the aspects of Waldorf.
Pre-K: It's $7,200 for 5 days of 1/2 day Pre-K. It's a lot of money for our family. Additionally- we have several prescheduled trips during the school year this year that would take him out of school for about 6-8 weeks throughout the year. It seems to be even more money once you consider how much school he'll be missing.
I also wonder, when the alternative is that he'll be home with me & able to enjoy one last year of mommy & son time before school starts in a more regular schedule, if Waldorf in preschool is worth the cost? However- early-childhood is what Waldorf seems to do the BEST, so then it seems like I'm putting him at a disadvantage by not experiencing Waldorf in preschool.
The next concern is related to Kindergarten. Our Waldorf only does full-day Kindergarten. I'm pretty opposed to starting the Kindergarten year off in a full day, every day, routine. I don't mind if we have a gentle transition into full day, but I don't intend on doing full day until maybe half way through the school year. The school has agreed to work with me on that, allowing him to attend on a half day basis until we're comfortable moving into a full day. However, I would still need to pay the full day tuition. As such, I'm not certain if Waldorf for Kindergarten is our best option? There are other private schools near us that do "transitional Kindergarten", where everyone in the class slowly adjusts to full day. Rather than having my son be the only student at Waldorf that isn't doing full day Kindergarten, one of the other private schools seems like a nice option.
If we start Waldorf this fall (for preschool), it seems logical that we would definitely stay for Kindergarten as well. I wouldn't want to do Waldorf preschool, then go elsewhere for K, and then back to Waldorf for 1st grade.
I apologize for the long rant of my thoughts & concerns. I would love to hear from other Waldorf moms about how you would handle such a situation. How do you feel about the cost of Waldorf for preschool? Is my son going to lose significant overall Waldorf advantages by not going to a Waldorf preschool? Thank you