Such a hard question! But I’ll
Attempt it because it is refreshingly pure after reading “all” that there is in this forum....
We have attended waldorf grade school for 7 years now. But for pre school my kids attended a hippie parent co-op.
My first born walked right into the play kitchen and became best of friends with the boys and girls of the 2-5yo group in an instant, and never looked back! He was born to attend this daycare (that’s what it really was, full 9-6 day but only 2 days a week)
Then my second born who grew up visiting the school, knew the teachers since 6mo.. suffered slightly his entire 2 years there. It was in fact such a struggle for him to be away from me that when his best friend and both fave teachers left, it was so hard, I pulled him out to home-unschooled for last 6 months before kindergarten!
And that was the best decission of my life. Unlike his brother he was born to be homeschooled, and to this day, 4th grade, I know he’d be the happiest at home... I know he would miss his friends, but only a bit! It’s another conversation if homeschooling would be the best fit or not, but you asked about pre school.
So he did join waldorf school for kidergarten, and it was hard every morning to separate, much easier than pre school though! Also days were tiring for him. I swear he is the weirdest kid I know, he is actually extremely popular in school, but the social aspects are mentally super straining for him!!!
For years while he was struggling to adjust to 1st and second grades, I thought back: “maybe I should have kept him home for one last year, (the kindie)...”
Until one day recently he said: “I wish school was like kindergarten, that place was a paradise, my teacher was the best, she even let me have a cookie with her and we didn’t tell anyone else! And we had the best time just playing with my best friend! Mom, I know I acted like I didn’t want to go, like every day, but I actually had sooo much fun.”
So there’s perspective to moms who are told to follow their intuition... The kindergarten owner convinced me not to homeschool, and I listened, and then spent years thinking, maybe I should have followed my intuition... until my kid tells me he was kind of being dramatic not wanting to go, actually had a blast and in retrospect realizes it was a paradise 😂 I’m so happy he has that year to look back to! It is so very different from 1st grade.
Waldorf pre school really is a paradise, and I often think about what benefits we could have had being there instead of the hippie co-op, because of the wisdom the waldorf pre school teachers have. Call it cultish or what ever, but everything I learned form Waldorf teachers always seem wacko at first, but man if you follow them at home, it’s just magic! And I’m not even hard core about it ever, I always say to myself, I’m an artist and so liberal, I can never fully follow this rigid system, but even the bit I do manage to do, brings such beauty and harmony to our lives.
So the thing I wish I had from pre school most is the support for me! My first born would have loved it, but he also loved the co-op. My second would have appeared to hate it, but he would have some magical memories! In kindie he was a bit old for some of it, and had had a realistic liberal mom ruining all the magic for him. (I’ll adan anecdote about this at the end)*
I suggest you try it! Not sure you have to start at 3 something, you can wait till 4! You never know, what if your child is so drawn to the place you don’t get a goodbye kiss! ...Or causes a scene every morning, but actually enjoys it after you leave 😉
Attend parent education events at school for yourself and see if you want to stay just for the extra support you get. Because from your post it sounds like you are pretty alone in your waldorfy endeavors.
* so one incident where I had already ruined the magic was the birthday rainbow bridge. He fully enjoyed his birthday celebration, but at home he asked me, is my teacher lying, because you told me I came from your belly! I told him that of course you were in my belly, but you were a star child and you chose us and you came down the rainbow bridge, all of it can be true right? i just didn’t know about the start child part... Later in life and I know he was still too young to know it, but I never lie or put stigma on sexuality. And I go by, tell the truth about what they ask, but not more. But, he also had a very internet damaged boy at school, so his questions came out of having heard too much from his friend... anyways... he asked me if we have ever had sex with his father, and I said yes. He was so grossed out, I told him it’s a beautiful thing, I know it’s gross for you, but for adults it is not, and that is the only way we could have had you! He was mortified! He told me he just wished everything his kindie teacher had told about the rainbow bridge was true, I hate hate hate that I had to be made by something so gross as sex!!” Oh poor kid!