Saturday, June 9, 2012

Parent Avoids Waldorf School\

"OH how relieved I am. For weeks and weeks, I have felt SOOO alone in my
disturbing disapproval of Waldorf. For me, our wounds, tho fresh, are VERY small
compared to the other blessed mothers here.. My DS was "considered for
admission" into our local WS. We attended the "teacher evaluation" and
"observation" with great hopes that he would be a good fit for the school. Boy
were we wrong. First off, I was met with GREAT disapproval that I did not bring
my husband along on the interview. He works a FULL week and we could not afford
for him to miss any time. When I mentioned my younger son being at home with a
neighbor, the teacher seemed put off that he also was not included in the
interview. I was shocked to hear this, seeing as how I expected the interview to
focus mainly on my son. Oh how wrong I was. The teacher gave me a pitiful tour
of the school and then sat me down for what turned into a 90 minute
interrogation into our family life. She asked me personal questions I would
never have imagined to be asked at a school interview. She paid little attention
to my son and seemed totally uninterested in his questions and conversation.
Immediately the questions about his "TV time" began. She asked me how much he
watched.. I felt shamed to admit that he watched about three hours a week. She
grilled me about his diet, my diet, our home, our spiritual practices, the
festivals/holidays we observe. She went on an on for over an hour and a half. I
felt violated and shamed for every answer I gave.. I can't even explain it.

At the end of the interview, she showed me her classroom and then walked away..
She gave no formal goodbye or anything. So odd. I was flabbergasted. Yet, I
still believed and went home struggling with my pain."

"My horizons have broadened so. What bothers me so deeply about the school and
the anthro lifestyle is how "sneaky" it all felt to me. sure, the facade of the
Waldorf education is lovely and covered in silk (haha) but inside of it, there
is so much that is shrouded in mystery and quiet. this bothers me. I, myself
have survived several "religious" groups. I am recovering still from those. the
idea of the anthro lifestyle is exciting, but the reality sends chills to my
bones and echoes past pain..

to continue my story..

after my interview, my DH and I decided to give it a try. we'd see if the school
was a good fit for DS despite what we felt in our guts. we were so in love with
the idea of him being in what we considered to be such a wholesome environment
that we began making preparations to make HUGE financial sacrifices to send him
to the school. our initial ouput was just under a thousand US to enroll him. we
liquidated part of a 401K and drained our savings. we were totally ready to
front the money to the school..

then DH went to see the school.

let me say up front I have only ever seen two diff. W schools. this one and
another one (both fledgling schools at best)... neither of them were really
impressive to be honest. but DH was appalled at the school. the school is held
in a church as they have no proper land/building of their own. the rooms are
borrowed. in short, the facility was far below acceptable for what we would have
been paying to send DS to this school.

going home that night Dh and I had what I call a "come to Jesus" moment about
the school. we both admitted our "addiction to crunchiness" and our deep hope
our son would grow in such a hippie dippie school. but as we added up the costs,
we started to grow weary. no TV, no juice boxes, no more teaching him to read
(something we had been doing very well with).. limited time with "outsiders"..
new 'holidays' and festivals. new ideals we were squeamish to integrate into our
son's mind.

we prayed for guidance. going to my knees begging God to help me either let go
completely or jump in. still the next day I felt no peace. ironically, we got a
phone call two days after DH had toured the school from another preschool we had
considered for our DS saying he had a spot if he wanted it and they were excited
to meet us. in contrast, the initial financial output for that school was only
about 200 bucks.. a stark contrast to the thousand we were about to hand over..

not long after that, we got our "accepatance pack" complete with HUGE piles of
paperwork about "media" agreements, nutritional guidelines, a massive calendar
of meetings/fests/parent groups.. all of which were to be part of our
"experience" with the W community.

DH drew the line in the sand, saying he completely disagreed with the W
philosophies (thank GOD!) and did not want DS enrolled there. I was at a loss,
but sent letter to them declining our acceptance.

Following that, I received an email from the director stating that our son was
to be "integrated in" to the current student population and they were sad to
have lost the opportunity to school him. I returned her email thanking her,
though bewildered that my son would be "integrated" at all.

What followed was a series of strange emails with pushy questions about why we
were "walking away from such a great chance" and "rejecting this opportunity.."
I stopped replying and decided enough was enough..

A few weeks ago (about two months since my last email with the director) I ran
into a mom at yoga whom I knew had her son enrolled at the school. I casually
mentioned our initial interest and how we declined the acceptance. I watched as
tears filled her eyes. She told me of how she had pulled her son from the school
due to bullying, strange teacher behavior and mounting doubts over the stability
of the school. She was uncomfortable with the amount of time her son was made to
stay outside, even in inclement weather. She was weary of the stringent
nutritional guidelines and was tired of forcing her child to bed at such early
hours. She went on to reveal how much money they had sacrificed and lost to send
him to school only two half days a week because he could not "adjust" to the
full week. We talked for over an hour. I felt so sad for her.. It's not the only
story I have heard..

So, in short, though my wounds are fresh. I still have nothing in compare to the
pain many of you have experienced. I consider myself to have truly "dodged a
bullet". My son is now enrolled in another school and we are excited to send him
to school with a juice box."

No comments:

Post a Comment

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.