It's really sad that many families can't afford to send their kids to Waldorf. At OpenWaldorf, we had an interesting discussion recently about how there is no such thing as a "perfect" education for our children. We will always disagree with certain elements of our school community. For example, many parents who like Waldorf (including some here) allow their young children to watch "nice" television... something that any Anthroposophically serious Waldorf teacher would never
Yet, the in spite of the fact that there is no perfect fit in a school. That doesn't mean you should throw your hands up.
I came to the conclusion long ago that no school will come close to satisfying all of our desires for our children. We don't expect our cars, houses, clothes, microwave ovens to perfectly serve our needs. Now, think how much more complex a school environment is than a car or a microwave. How on earth can we find a "perfect fit" in a school? You have scores or hundreds of parents; all unique individuals, and in the context of "alternative" education, they are all opinionated with their own ideas of what makes an ideal education for their children. What are the odds of finding a serendipitous like-mindedness? Not very good.
A while ago, I came to what first seemed like a sad conclusion, but after I thought about it for a while, it became empowering and liberating:
1. You're never going to find the perfect school for your kid.
2. It's your responsibility (and privilege) to make sure your child gets all the things you think they deserve.
3. To expect that you can find a place where you can drop your kid off, pick them up, and "check out" of your responsibility is a fantasy.
EVERY insititution you encounter is going to include weaknesses compared to your ideal for your child: your child's school, your workplace, your kids's soccer team, your church/community of worship. You always have to be in charge. You will always find areas of difference. You are responsible for filling the gaps.
Many parents who send their kids to public school reason that they can save for college, fund extracurricular activities, and get really involved. they volunteer in the main lessons (something you can't do at Waldorf, btw), they ask their kids and teacher lots of questions, they help with homework, and they supplement their kids academically as well.
No matter where your kid is, you will have to step in and take an active roll in making sure they get what you want them to get. Never submit to a sytem, whether it be publc school, private school, parochial school (like Waldorf), even homeschool for gosh sakes!
If you're serious about maintaining a Waldorf-inspired influence in your child's life, it's really important to understand Waldorf and Anthroposophy (the philosophy that inspires and informs Waldorf education). There are some great resources online for this. Good websites include:
Bob and Nancy's Website
Waldorf Home Schoolers
The Waldorf Home Schoolers list also has a great community of parents, many who wish they could send their kid to Waldorf but can't afford it, and many who wish they could homeschool, but can't. It would probably be a great resource for this concern.
Finally, it would probably help to familiarize yourself more completely with the Waldorf foundation through the Waldorf Teacher Training Reading List
BTW, there seems to be a real interest here in Waldorf's media restriction
and you can learn more about it here
Be proud of yourself for caring enough to be concious about your child's education. That, in itself, will be something that your child will always remember.
Hope this helps and good luck!