I have posted about some of our experiences in this forum before so I have been
hesitating writing about them again. Just in case there are some who have not
read them, I will try to describe as quickly as I can what happened to us. Just
to save time I have pasted parts of my old posts, so sorry for the repetion for
those of you who have read my them before.
So here I go………….
My son started a Waldorf Kindergarten at age 3 ½ (at this particular school they
had the preschool and Kindergarten in one class). Because we moved he went to
another Waldorf school when he was 5 and ½.
When it was time to go to first grade, at age 6 and ½ he was unable to focus in
the classroom of 20 children. He had difficulty following the teacher's
instructions and had a hard time sitting still. Also his drawing was not the
same level as most of his peers. After a month he was deemed to be too"
immature" to stay in first grade and was sent back in Kindergarten. At the time
I did not question the decision. I trusted them.
Staying back in Kindergarten was a big mistake. My son became very unruly,
disruptive and refused to participate in the activities. In particular he hated
all the circle games and eurhythmy. All this only made the Waldorf teachers even
more convinced that my son was still not ready for first grade.
We finally got outside help and took my son to see an occupational therapist who
confirmed that he had both fine and gross motor skill delays known as dyspraxia
resulting from sensory integration problems. Sensory over stimulation also
explained why my son could not focus in the first grade classroom. It was not
because he was too immature, but because there was too much stimulation in the
Waldorf classrooms. The set up, which is rows of desks with the teacher in the
front and lots of copying from the blackboard, is not an idea setting for allot
It was one of kindergarten teachers who first suggested that my son see an
Occupational therapist. However once he started going to one she disapproved of
what the occupational therapist did. The OT usually liked to visit the schools
of the children she was treating to see how they were doing and then give the
teachers advise, but my son's teachers refused to even allow her to visit the
class room! Anyway just a few weeks before my son's 7th birthday some so called
Waldorf "expert" on children with learning problems saw him and maintained that
my son STILL was not ready to go to first grade! She (the "expert") even made
fun of the OTs report saying, "what is dyspraxia? I can't even pronounce it!"
Her only advice was that he was not incarnating properly into his body and he
would have to go to a Waldorf school for children with special needs This was
the final straw for me. I never took our son back to that kindergarten again.
We put our him in a Montessori School instead. He continued seeing the
Occupational therapist. My son made wonderful improvements. To my great relief
the Montessori teachers have had no problem getting him to learn and to follow
and do the work. Within a few months he learned to read and write, do basic
addition and subtraction. And he loved it! Everyone who knew him commented on
how much happier my son seemed after I pulled him out of the Waldorf school.
His Montessori teachers all shook their heads in disbelief over the fact that he
was held back in Kindergarten another year for they felt he was so ready to
It has been 6 months now. My son is thriving in his new school and all his
behaviour problems are improving. I am still getting used to him not being
considered a "problem" anymore! I look back and it is so clear that Waldorf was
so, so wrong for him. I see he was bored in Kindergarten and angry for being
sent back there. I see it never suited his personality.
In both the Waldorf Kindergartens and the 1st grade there was allot of
unstructured free play with not enough supervision. This was a problem for allot
of children not just my son. From the beginning now I remember parents
complaining about all the bullying going on, kids hitting and getting hit, with
the teachers either saying they were not aware of it or acting like it was not a
problem. I did not want to see it at the time, but it was always there. Waldorf
definitely brought out the "wildness" in my son and I experienced allot of
another children mostly little boys who had difficulties there as well.
So we try to move on and for the most part we have moved on. But I guess I still
keep coming back to this forum because even though everything is getting better,
I still feel anger, sadness and pain.
I feel angry with the teachers for sending my son back to Kindergarten. I feel
angry with my self for going along with it! The move back to Kindergarten really
hurt my son's self esteem and it will be a while before he will catch up
academically. This makes me sad. The Waldorf teachers really made me feel like
the worst mother in the world, like it was my entire fault he was acting up in
the classroom. That really hurt. It really hurts to have people say such
horrible things about your child.
What also hurt is that none of the other parents even bothered to call us when
we left. Afterwards when I ran into any of the parents of my son's former
Waldorf classmates they did not even want to know any thing about my son, that
the child who was once a "problem" was no longer a problem and was now thriving!
Anyway sorry for going on for so long but I really needed to get this out.
Thanks for giving me the chance to vent!