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We were very excited about having our daughter attend Waldorf High School It seemed like a perfect fit for her. My concerns began at the first Parent/Teacher/Administrator get together. When asked about getting progress reports on how our children were doing. We were told that would only occur if they were failing. Try getting into a good college with C s. My next concern was my daughter stating how easy all her classes were. Coming from a student that has always worked hard to achieve good grades this was a concern. Luckily we moved to Marin and enrolled our children in a public school . Having always felt private school was important to get the best education possible, it was quite eye opening to hear from most of her new teachers that our daughter was way behind in the basic s required for college. My daughters fond memories of Waldorf turned into a nightmare for her in the amount of additional work she needed to do to catch up. Other friends who attended Waldorf were forced to spend several thousand dollars to help their children score well on the SATs. Nice school, way below average on teaching and preparing children for college.
Very rigid. Works well for children with absolutely no learning issues, dyslexia etc. Otherwise it's a train wreck. The early grades,( pre K-5), are fine to excellent if your child gets a good teacher as they have the same class teacher for 8 years. However, even with the best teacher, at the onset of adolescence problems arise. They seem to have a very hard time letting children grow into young adults in an urban environment in this century. There is drama, art and music but no real creativity allowed. Parents are expected to provide a huge amount of practical and financial support but have absolutely no voice in school decisions. For the amount of tuition charged there are wiser choices.
Our child has completed ten years at SFWS. While we feel that the theoretical pedagogy is extraordinarily beautiful and one every child anywhere would be nourished by... the bottom line is that it is only as good as the teacher's own preparation. This is because the child stays with the same teacher the entire 8 years of the lower school. If the teacher's own academic preparation is mediocre and their emotional fitness for the task of taking the children through the first eight grades is tenuous than, this is naturally impacted upon the child. As Waldorf is truly 'alternative' it tends to attract teachers who are less rigorous academically and, definately more artistic! This is lovely and makes for a highly sensitive and gentle curriculum but, it can leave the student unprepared for today's secondary school expectations eg. keyboarding and computer, math skills, creative writing and standardized test taking. One can become 'locked-in' to the Waldorf curriculum... at third grade there's no chance to leave because most of the kids aren't reading yet; at sixth there's the fear of the culture of public middle schools and, at ninth they don't have the skills requisite for the fast track high schools (computer, math, test taking). In the end, we are glad our son has gone to Waldorf but, because this is such a different world than it was 30, 50 or 80 years ago... perhaps we should have put him in a more competitive and rigorously academic environment. The physical environment and the performing arts of the K-8 lower school are wonderful.
Any prospective parents should learn about Anthroposophy, the religion/philosophy, that Waldorf education is based upon. Information and links to both pro and con Waldorf sites is available at Openwaldorf.com.
- Posted by Anonymous