Friday, May 11, 2012
Santa Fe Waldorf School Reviews by Parents
This is a school that will not make accommodations or modifications for learning-different children. It relies heavily on the Rudolf Steiner philosophy rather than incorporating modern, research-based models for learning/teaching. This can lead to challenges for the relationship between the teacher and students. Students are taught primarily as a group, rather than individual and thus individual needs are rather secondary, which is probably fine if you have a self-motivated, verbal-linguistic oriented child. Girls seem to fare better than boys overall, especially in upper grades (6th and above). Weaknesses include challenges in staff to parent communication, allowance for bullying issues to go unresolved, and rigid adherence to Steiner tenets. Strengths include a reverence for the arts (music, handwork, watercolor painting) and nature and the outdoors. Teachers are generally dedicated but not trained to deal with 21st century children (use of computers is frowned upon, even as an educational tool). In addition, teachers are generally expected to be with the same group of kids for grades 1-8.
Waldorf curriculum is very specifically based on the educational theories of Rudolf Steiner. There are more than 1000 of these schools internationally. Teachers stay with the class from 1st through 8th grade with 'specials' teachers teaching the enrichments. This is amazing when it works, a disaster when the teacher in not up to the job. Teacher qualifications are sketchy, some are enormously qualified, others alarmingly under trained. I have two students at this school. One is getting all the magic and learning that is promised by the best that Waldorf offers. The other child is being sorely under served by a very poor teacher. Love the concept, love it when it works. This school is going through lots of growing pains. It is all about the teacher. By all means do check it out but be sure you get to know the teacher before you enroll.