Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Seattle Waldorf School Reviews

Sarah Davies reviews the Seattle Waldorf school

Here's a sample from the review:

The first parent tour we went on was the Seattle Waldorf School, and boy are they a trip! We had some idea of the Waldorf curriculum going in. We dutifully read the full-color glossy book they had sent to our house a few weeks earlier. We’d poked around the website. We liked the idea that the kids have the same class and teacher through all of 1st-8th grade. We liked the idea of a well-researched, pre-set curriculum. The geekling is in Suzuki violin, after all, so we’re no stranger to strict lesson plans with lots of parent involvement.
We got there and were taken to the music room (all Waldorf kids learn to play violin, so it was stuffed with string instruments), and encouraged to look at laminated books of classroom work produced by different grade levels. The very polite and perky admissions officer told us that these books contained the best work produced by Waldorf students. She seemed to think this was something to be proud of. It sounded more to us like an apologetic admission that not all of their students produce this level of work.

There was also propaganda from the national Waldorf organization, one with a sexy headshot of Julianna Margulies and a blockquote about how much Waldorf education had taught her about critical thinking. That’s good, we thought, our daughter could be an actress who’s good at critical thinking!

More telling, however, is one of the comments on Ms. Davies' blog - from "Josh" a Seattle Waldorf School student.  Note the racism:

wow, that was amazing. I never though someone could look at waldorf like that. Waldorf is not for everyone, and I am very happy that someone like you will not be involved in poisoning such an amazing school. Not enough tech involved? Kids from kindergarten don't need computers rotting their brains, and just because your weird screwed up husband needs a keyboard, doesn't need your child does at such a young age. The minorities are fine, I wouldn't want my child to go to school with a bunch of black and latin kids, but peers that are their own skin color. Seriously, what independent, affluent, academic school in seattle have lots of minority students? thats what I thought. Kids need to learn to be artistic, and a collection of the best artwork is not an insult, not all of my art is amazing, and its about learning art, not being a pro once you start. The skills acquired through waldorf are excellent, they teach how to be a functioning part of the world, no matter what time period they are in. Its idiots like you who think they can make powerpoints and the like and have a high paying job, without any social skills. Thank god freaks like you with three other parents and one child aren't holding back waldorf from its incredible potential. Waldorf educates to make non-conformists, who are artistic and don't fit in cubicles, but do important things in life that an average, "tech savy" human could not ever achieve.


Posted Saturday, August 11, 2012
The experience your child has in a Waldorf school is dependent on who they have as a teacher, because teachers stay with the class. If you are going to have a new teacher I would reccommend doing as much information gathering as you can. Even if you get a strong teacher be prepared to pay for additional tutoring because they cannot deal with learning differences. The school is ideologically rigid about believing that learning disabilities are developmental. Parents who advocate for their children are discouraged or ignored. I have never been treated so disrespectfully as a parent. There are many beautiful things about the curriculum but the program is not very academic, behavior problems and bullying are prevalentt, and there was more media influence than there was at our neighborhood public school. I wonder if Waldorf isn't best for girls, and those girls who would do well anywhere.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 10, 2012
I attended the Seattle Waldorf School from kindergarten through 8th grade. While I received an interesting education, much of Waldorf is teacher dependent (in Waldorf, a teacher takes a class from 1st to 8th grade). From 1st to 5th grade, my teacher was less than spectacular, and as a result I did not know how to read until after 5th grade, when my parents paid for a tutor. After 8th grade I left the school to attend a public high school, where I received a very hands-on education. Waldorf will not teach children to take tests, and is very clannish. They advertise themselves by putting-down other schools, calling them "materialistic"and "not student-oriented" which is very frustrating and hurtful to those who leave for financial or personal reasons. There are some teachers at the school who were fantastic; Janet Lia, Wim Gottenbos, Marry and Kelly and Elaine Klansnic. The Language program is a joke. I cannot stress how amazing the kindergarten program is, but if I were a parent, I would only send my child to Waldorf through 3rd grade; while not an ideal merit assessment, children do need to know how to take tests (assuming they go to an accredited university). 

09/12/11  PATRICIA WALKER IS A TERRIBLE TEACHER! She would touch, rub and poke me without my consent many times. I couldn't ask her to stop for fear she would scream at me as she often did. She sometimes would 

05/09/12  She was a mean, angry, selfish unfair, horrible teacher. I have no respect for her. She would shout at me for five minutes non stop at age 8 making me cry and than make me apologize to her face and look her in the eye while she was making me cry. She was my teacher for first second and third grade yet I still have nightmares about her bullying me I'm 24 now. I HATE HER!!!


Beautiful school for preschool.  Run for your life from 1st grade on!  Yes, indeed, some very bright kids learn on their own.  A lot of kids don't, and the families leave under very bad circumstances, after being told the problem is the kids.  Nope.  The problem is assuming every child will learn the Waldorf way, through osmosis.  Before signing on, find out how many teachers had to be replaced, how many kids have left without learning the basics, are kids really learning spanish and japanese as the school advertises, or do they end up in first year spanish or japanese when going into high school, how do these kids do when entering a high school outside the system, what is the real acceptance rate when these kids apply for college - not the standardized list of schools circulated throughout the Waldorf system?  There are many good things about the school, but the bad outweighs them.  Educate yourself before enrolling your child.  Dig deep, before rolling the dice and sending your child to a school with big problems.  Then take the money you'll save and put it to better use.

1 comment:

  1. After years spent involved in the Seattle Waldorf School and community, and now after leaving, I feel like I left a cult. What I am about to say is from direct experience that I could only see and understand after years spent there. What I am about to report, I see clearly now, after leaving and returning to the "real" world outside of Waldorf.

    Firstly, there is a dogmatic belief in karma that justifies bullying and cruel treatment by teachers. This is inherent in the Waldorf belief system and is pronounced at Seattle Waldorf. I think this system of education appeals to many traumatized, wounded souls. Due to that, I think there is an actual blindness to the abuse that happens. There is a culture of disrespect throughout the whole school and each and every child is impacted by it in one way or another. You may have sent or want to send your child there to protect them from the harshness of life, but the ironic thing is how incredibly harsh of an environment Waldorf is compared to other schools, including public. Emotional abuse is rampant and unchecked. Since parents aren't usually present when it happens, and it tends to be hidden from you, you will first probably blame yourself and your own parenting when your child starts acting depressed and stops thriving. Most children can't articulate the abuse that is going on with them and then they blame themselves. I witnessed this at SWS in my own child and other children.

    Please be aware this school follows a religion, anthroposophy, which I now see has many "cult" characteristics. SWS only hires teachers who subscribe to the belief system of anthroposophy and that, along with other odd beliefs, is kept SECRET. The lack of transparency is the biggest contributor to the cult-like environment. This system sucks you in, and you don't even realize what has happened until you're in so deep (financially, relationships, commitments) you wonder how you will leave. For example, your child will be so far behind academically by 3rd and 4th grade that you feel it would be cruel to place your child, unprepared, into another school when they are already lacking confidence in this "easy" environment. Also, your child becomes so frightened of the outside world that they refuse to leave for fear that what awaits them in the demonized outside world is even worse than what they are already experiencing It was very, very hard to leave. My proof is now in the results of our leaving, though. My child is doing wonderfully at a different school and we are no longer paying $15K a year for a sub-par education that had to be supplemented with tudors. Nor are we paying anymore for bullying, emotional abuse and harm to our child's self esteem.

    I used to think Waldorf was great for all children. Then I started to see it was only good for some. Now I firmly believe it is not good for any child.


You may ask, "where are all the 5=Star reviews?" Well, the problem with those reviews is that many tend not to be too honest. I have included 4-star reviews that appear honest. Often, gushing reviews are placed by teachers and administrators - as some comments here indicate. "This school educates the whole child!!!" - 5 stars - by Anonymous... I say baloney! Notice, many of the reviewers have been misled by Waldorf and are still buying the PR, even after having been disappointed. Feel free to comment but understand the intent of this blog. Comments are no longer moderated.