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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor - Reviews by Parents\

Posted October 14, 2011
I believe in Rudolf Steiner's ideas about childhood and education, but this
school has a "one size fits all" approach to learning -- all children are
expected to conform to it and the Waldorf pedagogy is the only one relied upon
to address issues. Our child was there for two years and we found the atmosphere
to be strict, extremely rule-oriented, and much too teacher-centered, leaving
the children little or no freedom for self-discovery, self-discipline, and
creative expression. There are some happy, confident, experienced teachers at
the school, and you are fortunate if your child has one of them for 8 years. In
our experience, Waldorf philosophy did not translate into joyful learning and
positive child development.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 9, 2011
My children attended this school for several years and there were many things we
loved about it. Waldorf education can be a wonderful thing, and was in the
school that my children attended in another state before moving here. What
eventually drove us away, however, was the school's inability to resolve
conflict and deal with issues as they arise. In two of the three we were a part
of, there were numerous families that had relatively small problems arise
(learning disabilities, minor conflicts with teachers or other students, etc).
We watched all of these families, some of them close friends, as they tried to
navigate through these issues using the "process" set down by the school which
includes various levels of administration, teachers, board, etc. Most of these
issues were never resolved, and many of the families pulled their children out
of the school. The ones that stayed were so resentful that it created a constant
atmosphere of tension and conflict in the two classes. Eventually, we felt our
children were being negatively affected by all of the conflict, friends leaving
and overall instability of the school so we decided to find another school.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 2, 2011
My child spent one year recently at the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor. In
my opinion, the worst part was the oppressively strict environment. For example,
children were not allowed to talk to friends in class or leave their seats
without the teacher's permission, and were sent to stand in the hall as
punishment. After spending one day observing in my child's class, I felt like I
was suffocating. The school offers one rigid approach to teaching. If it doesn't
happen to fit a child's learning style, the teachers astonishingly label the
child as having learning and/or behavior problems, and blame is placed on the
child and/or the parents. There is much good about Waldorf education, but this
school seems to be unaware of 21st century research on brain development, and
how to incorporate innovative, diverse and effective teaching methods into the
Waldorf philosophy. If you visit the school, I urge you to look beyond an
idealistic vision of what a Waldorf school could be, and see if the children in
the classrooms appear to be lively, active learners, or quiet, obedient
students. There is an important difference between the two that I think RSSAA
does not fully recognize. —Submitted by a parent

PK: The next one hints at a diagnosis of demonic possession... note how the
child is characterized by the teacher as having a "dark side"...

Posted June 7, 2011
We sent our first grader here after a difficult experience in the public
schools. We were given promises that they would individualize his need for
advanced math and his difficulties with reading. Instead when he did not respond
well to "one size fits all" teaching, they labeled him a behavior problem and
told us how we were failing him as parents. We were given advice on everything
from sleep to diet to clothing to our visitation schedule (we are divorced).
They told us often our child had a "dark side". When he was diagnosed as
dyslexic and gifted, we brought in educational experts to help the teacher meet
his needs. She was hostile and completely uninterested in adopting any plan we
might suggest. She told us we should "trust" her plan and then simply began
sending him home everyday when he became too frustrated to function. Our child
came home with bruises and scratches, and we were told it was healthy "rough
play". However when a classmate complained our child was "too rough" he was
labeled "aggressive". I would not recommend anyone with a child "outside the
norm" choose Steiner. They are completely unprepared to handle it, and are
likely to pathologize the child. —Submitted by a parent

Posted February 26, 2011
Rudolf Steiner High School is a failing experiment in an alternative liberal
education enterprise. Teachers are over educated, overpaid and more concerned
with protecting their egos, reputations, and salaries than instructing students.
Another website lists enrollment at only 54 students. Less than four years ago,
there were well over 100. By Waldorf philosophy, teachers dominate the
organization. Teachers can and have overridden repeated parental concerns and
proactive administrative policies. As a direct result, administrative staff has
had an excessive turnover rate to the detriment of students and parents.
the two misspellings in one sentence of the parental posting of November 1,
2007. While some Steiner students and their parents are not yet proficient in
reading, writing, mathematics and the hard sciences; they excel in music, arts
and dance. And their self esteem is off the charts. If you don't want to believe
this opinion regarding their collective self worth; I suggest you simply
consider asking the students, their supportive liberal parents and most of the
Rudolf Steiner teachers. —Submitted by a parent