Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Waldorf School Reviews - Updated

Here are some recent (past few months) reviews of Waldorf schools:

Pasadena Waldorf School

Posted April 2, 2014

I was highly disappointed with this school. I was seduced by the beautiful grounds healthy vegan snacks and gorgeous gift shop. But beyond the exterior I experienced an extraordinary rigidity. My daughter was told not to do yoga (unhealthy - do Steiner exercises instead) not to do family bed (encourages too much dependence - she was a toddler ) and to play with silk scarves instead of write letters or read (frowned upon before the age of 7). I also felt the practice of having only one class teacher for all the grades was fundamentally limiting. Most importantly I felt our teacher didn't have the skills to cope with either conflict resolution or bullying (which happened). I ended up taking my daughter out of the school.
—Submitted by a parent
Marin Waldorf school
Posted February 2, 2014

Waldorf philosophy is amazing and each child should receive such great education. Although Marin Waldorf School has great community; the administration and management are lacking in the ability to honor the truth and to speak the truth. Keep parents in blind. They always making the most stupid decision to avoid any trouble for the school ! If you want to send your child(ren) to this school... you need to think twice. There are so many Waldorf schools in bay area to choose.
—Submitted by a parent
East Bay Waldorf School


Ridiculous! They don't teach your kid anything to prepare for mainstream school. They charge a ton of money to have your kid play around and develop motor skills until age 9 or 10 before teaching them reading, writing, and math skills! You can't let your kid wear logos or any type of name brand media nor can you let your child watch any type of media even at home! They say they don't teach religion, but a picture of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus is in the classroom! That's an establishment of religion! Yet, they say all religions and cultures are welcome!

They charge you a very high non-refundable application fee as if you are applying for a college! They make you fill out a very thorough application before you can even find out if the school is the right fit for your child! After they accept your application, they set up an interview with you and the teacher to see if the school is right for you!

What really pissed me off is when the pre-school teacher handed me some essays on Waldorf philosophy on education and asked me if I know how to read English! Just because I don't look White doesn't mean I'm not educated!

Waldorf School of Orange County
Posted February 27, 2013

My kids had the worst time in their life at this school. The faculties believe large class is better than small one so they keep adding students. The teachers yell at kids in daily bases in order to take care of 30 and more kids in their class with many learning disability kids. The school has big financial problem so they are BIG on donation and it is on the must to do list. They have the chart for donation and it tells how much family had participated on donating the money by each grades. They are competing on which grade get 100 percent participation on annual donation. Most of teacher doesn t have the education degree and those are the one teaches for 1-8. Because they are not capable to cover all subjects many family rely on private tutoring at home. The school has many ritual activities and in order to perform the event they cut down from main lesson curriculum. There is big time bullying going on by kids and by teachers. I felt that the school has poor quality for education and unhealthy social behavior.
—Submitted by a parent
Waldorf School of Lexington
Posted March 18, 2014
This school feels magical and a long awaited haven from the public school rat race. The teachers are warm, dedicated and gifted in what they do. Most of them. However the administration is draconian, inaccessible and disrespectful. Don't expect communication from anyone if you have concerns about your child. They have no interest in a holistic approach to families - i.e. sibling preference for classes - which creates an extremely awkward situation for numerous longstanding families. They have no endowment, and little ability to manage money. The administration does not support the teaching staff, particularly with classes that have children who may have special needs. The state of the school under the current leadership - and particularly the director, who stays locked in a room unseen - is tenuous at best, particularly in the greater Boston area. Waldorf philosophy yes. Waldorf of Lexington, a big disappointing no.
—Submitted by a parent

Kimberton Waldorf School
Posted December 20, 2013

This school seems to be going through an identity crisis. It is either so rooted in Steiner and not able to open up to what our changing world and children need or it is trying to match up to it's private school neighbors. The way in which this school is lead is disheartening, there is a core (senior) members whom will support themselves even if it means being deceitful and untruthful. Yes, it sits on an amazing campus. But if one looks beyond the cows, hills and land you will find that this school lacks in so much. As for the teachers there are teachers at KWS that continue to bully, shame, judge, and label children. This school is very far from teaching from head, heart and hand. There is no place for a child to go or parent to go to address any concerns. Basically there is no parent voice. And, if your child has any kind of difficulty then for get it, this school is not skilled in supporting any kind of learning or behavioral challenges . KWS is very good at wowing you in and looking wonderful, but truly it is not at all an education worth paying for or subjecting your child too.

Three Cedars Waldorf School
Posted February 4, 2014
It seemed like an amazing school at first, but Three Cedars declined over the years that my children attended. Specifically the culture changed from a community that sought to include all of the students and welcomed parents on campus and especially at festivals to a closed and cold campus that promoted secretive communication and rumor-mongering among both students and parents. While I enjoyed much of the beautiful artwork produced by my children and some of their classmates, the core curriculula of arithmetic and English were very weak. Some teachers were very good at their subjects and as community leaders but many of those teachers have left the school the past two years or so.
—Submitted by a parent
Posted January 23, 2014
I wanted to believe in Three Cedars. My children were there for over five years. One of my children had learning difficulties and the other was a high achiever. The school could not meet the needs of either one so a change had to be made and it has been a huge improvement for each child. I also want to add that the faculty at Three Cedars seems somewhat secretive in how it operates and it sometimes made me uncomfortable as a parent.
—Submitted by a parent
Posted January 20, 2014
Our child attended Three Cedars for several years after we grew disillusioned with public school. While Three Cedars was generally pleasant during our child s younger years, we grew concerned about the level of academic achievement as our child grew into the middle school years. The matter was complicated by the upheaval of having our child s main teacher depart in the midst of the school year and the school s inability to hire a replacement teacher for the remainder of the entire year and the school s decision to bring in a patchwork quilt of temporary block teachers. These events occurred at a critical time in our child s education and set our child (and likely many other members of the class) back. We ultimately felt that Three Cedars was not providing the necessary foundation for higher learning in upper middle school and high school and decided to remove our child. It has been an academic catch-up battle for our child since arriving at the new school.
—Submitted by a parent
Posted January 18, 2014

While I do not subscribe to Anthroposophy, the ideology that guides Waldorf pedagogy, I do feel this school can meet some children better than other private or public schools. The Early Childhood faculty is amazing and a beneficial fit for most children. But there are teacher imposed lifestyle challenges for parents and children in the grades program. Science and mathematics are weak in the grades program. The education is portfolio rather than grade based, and reading is discouraged until age 7. There are a number of children with health challenges at the school and while the school works to meet these children, I have found that it can be difficult for ordinary, healthy children, like my two kids, to thrive in a classroom environment where more children than average are not vaccinated, have profound dietary restrictions, or suffer from a variety or emotional disturbances. The school strives for multiculturalism but is challenged with bullying in the grades owing to it's use of an orthodox boundary-based or behavioral approach to discipline. Team sports are very limited. Currently, it has postponed it's accreditation with AWSNA and NWAIS.
—Submitted by a parent
Posted January 13, 2014
I don't doubt that many parents have had good experiences even in middle school at TC over the years and think highly of the Waldorf curriculum. The problem with Three Cedars, however, is that both the director and all of the current middle school teachers feel it appropriate to treat some children badly without facts to support their actions. My children are not the only ones to depart for this reason. Moreover under the current director since 2011, six teachers, or nearly every veteran Waldorf main lesson teacher at the school when the director took over, has left Three Cedars. Also there is little oversight for the actions of the current school administration beyond the Board of Trustees and it seems disinclined to act as it hired the director.
—Submitted by a parent
Four Winds Waldorf School

It's been quite a while since my daughter attended this school, but I ran across this listing on Yelp while looking for a restaurant, so I thought I'd share our experience. I transferred my daughter here when she was getting picked on in the 6th grade. Unfortunately, my daughter encountered the same hostility at this school, and from some of the parents, one of whom was also a staff member. My daughter was excluded from a Halloween party that was given by the secretary of the school and her daughter, who was in my daughter's class. The other 3 girls in my daughter's class were invited, and they kept it a secret from us. Unfortunately, my daughter found out about it and was so hurt that she cried for days. I could not believe that an employee of a school that supposedly promotes supporting the emotion well-being of children could be so cruel. I did not re-enroll her the next year for obvious reasons.    

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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.