Waldorf schools - anyone have any knowledge/experience?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Waldorf schools - anyone have any knowledge/experience?

    My sister is considering moving her son (in 3rd grade) to a Waldorf school, or to another school that has a better fit than his current school does.  She has googled and gotten some information (there is one in Lexington) and I know a teeny tiny bit about the philosophy. But have any of you gone to a Waldorf school, or any nieces or nephews?  Just wanted some anecdotal stories to go along with the philosophy info from the internet and the school.

    Thanks!

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Waldorf schools - anyone have any knowledge/experience?

    CT-I've looked at that school in Lexington (online)-and it does look great. I've contemplated calling to visit the school. I've only heard people rave about the Waldorf schools. Never known anyone who actually sent a child there.

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Waldorf schools - anyone have any knowledge/experience?

    I haven't researched particular schools, but I would send DD to Waldorf school in a minute if we had the money!

    I will say this, though: I think more and more that (ideally) school should complement what the kid already has in their lives.  For example, there are a lot of charter schools that are very regimented, and that may be good for a kid who doesn't have a lot of structure outside of school.  (Am I making sense??)  So for my DD (2.5), I am not at all concerned about her "academic" learning - she's super into books, letters, numbers, et cetera, and these are strengths for DH and myself as well.  So for her, the Waldorf way of downplaying some of the "academic" stuff and having more time to do the outdoors, music, hands on... well, I think it would be fantastic for her.  But perhaps not right for every kid.

    The only people I know personally who attended Waldorf school were some second cousins, and I remember my grandmother being shocked (shocked!) when they couldn't spell some simple words (they were maybe 6 or 7?)... but she was coming at it from a very traditional schoolteacher perspective.  In the end, they can all spell!  But it's something to be aware of, that they might find push back from extended family or friends who think there are things the kids "should" be able to do.

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from purplecow89. Show purplecow89's posts

    Re: Waldorf schools - anyone have any knowledge/experience?

    The Waldorf schools tend to draw non-traditionalists (and some very vocal contrarians-in-general) including vaccine opt-outers so if this is a concern to you check it out.  In my town the Waldorf school had a vaccination rate of 2/3rds, the local paper printed them for all the schools and they were the lowest by far.

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from kiwigal. Show kiwigal's posts

    Re: Waldorf schools - anyone have any knowledge/experience?

    I teach older students, middle and high school. We have very occasionally had Waldorf students come into our program. The last student entered in 9th grade straight from a Waldorf program. In my experience, these students are creative, flexible thinkers, and more motivated by learning than by receiving grades. On the flip side, they often have a harder time adjusting to things like tests and exams, formal writing (expository, 5-paragraph essays, etc.). I would consider if and when you would want to transition to a more traditional school. As I see it, the older a student is, the harder it may become because the stakes get higher and higher. For instance, all our grades from 9th grade on go into the GPA and college transcript. Since those grades "count", that may not be the best time to be adjusting to very different structure and expectations.

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Waldorf schools - anyone have any knowledge/experience?

    CT-is your sister thinking of moving due to learning disabilities? If so, she should check out the Carroll School in Lincoln. http://www.carrollschool.org/ (there's even a way to get her current town to fund the tutition.)

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: Waldorf schools - anyone have any knowledge/experience?

    He doesn't have learning disabilities that have been diagnosed, and I really don't think he has them. However, he is a spirited child and his elem. school philosophy of not enough outdoor time (they get 15 minutes after lunch if they eat really fast), sitting down in one seat the whole day for lessons, is not working for him.

    Although perhaps sensory integration - if he does heavy work it centers him and brings him back. He's also really smart, it's just that he's not learning well because of the energy it takes for him to cope with the classroom setting. I know that sound frivolous, but he's having such a hard time keeping himself still in his chair that he's not learning the work at a deeper level.  But, no, he doesn't have ADHD.

    And he's starting (again) to have self talk like "I'm stupid, I'm a troublemaker, I am always in trouble, I get into trouble every single day at school (which isn't true but if he feels that way, then it's true for him).  So now they'll have to take him back to the therapist (which they did in 1st grade when 1st grade just put him over the edge) but they'd like to have him do well without that.  My parents have said "well, you're going to get it later when we die or now, might as well be now" and they have offered to pay for private school if it makes a difference.  Such a wonderful gift.  And truthfully, if they don't do something about this now, there won't be any college to worry about paying for....  I worry he'll end up in real trouble because he thinks so poorly of himself.  Those kids are the ones at risk for drugs, alcohol, acting out, etc. 

    I'll suggest she look at the Carroll School, too, KAM, good idea, because if he has Sensory integration that is considered a learning disability.  I really feel strongly he doesn't have ADHD, and so do his teachers, the therapist, etc.

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: Waldorf schools - anyone have any knowledge/experience?

    And, yes, I looked at Lexington Waldorf's school's website and wondered why i didn't know about this philosophy earlier, I might have ended up being a waldorf teacher! I was drooling over that school!

    But believe me, my sister believes in immunizations, and did think some of the aspects were "woo woo" as she said, but if the style of education works better and he can actually LEARN, then it's a win-win.  Their older child is doing fine in the middle school - her style of learning meshes better with the philosophy in the school system.

    And, medford, I know what you mean about the school complementing the home life. And that's how I think about Montessori - since they really don't do pretend play/imaginative/creative play which I think is important, I'd be ok sending them there because I know I encourage/allow this play at home, outside, etc.  Although I get worried about so much single work done and less social interactions encouraged. 

    And, yes, I know about the delayed reading philosophy at Waldorf - he's in 3rd grade and can read, however. I think that's one of those things like walking and early talking:

    We're all fascinated by the early walker at 10 months, but by 21/2 years old (barring any special needs or gross motor delays) all children move in similar ways and you can't tell which walked at 10 months or "late" at 16 months.

    And by 3 or 4 years old the early talkers and the late talkers have evened out and you really can't tell which is which (again, barring language delays that caused the late talking - I'm not talking about that).

    So whether you can read in kindergarten or 1st grade or not until 2nd grade, by 4th grade all should be evened out.  And many kids just aren't ready to learn to read for real at that young age and when they can't they feel stupid very early, which sets them up for a negative experience in school, and THAT'S a problem.  So the Waldorf philosophy is interesting in that way.  And believe me, if a child were reading or pointing out letters because that's her interest or what her parents do ('cuz that would be me as a parent) then they aren't going to get thrown out of the Waldorf school, they just aren't going to be doing that type of thing so early at school.

    And I have wondered how the transition back to public school would go - this one goes to 8th grade, she was thinking of moving him there until he can go back to middle school in 6th grade at their public school, but given he'd enter either now or in 4th grade, that would give him only 2 years and I'm not sure that's enough time. 

    Who knows? she'll visit the school, he'll visit the school, and they'll figure out if it's a good (or better, at least) match. But if he could actually enjoy learning (he's alternatively frustrated and bored at school right now) and want to learn and be turned on by it, then that's really one major goal they have.  I truly believe children should love elementary school.  By middle school and for sure high school there are subjects we aren't as good at, or are hard for us, and we don't perhaps LOVE them. But elem. school should be loved, as that's where the 'love of learning' is developed. If that's squashed or beaten out of a child, how the heck are they going to do well in high school when the going gets really tough?  Or college even?  And, ultimately, work, when you must learn lots of new things in whatever career and job you do. 

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: Waldorf schools - anyone have any knowledge/experience?

    And if he loses recess ONE MORE TIME as a punishment, I'm going to GO UP THERE AND DEAL WITH THAT TEACHER.  Sigh.  A child who already has a hard time sitting in one chair from 8:30 to 3:00pm with only 1 break should NOT be the one who gets punished by not going out for the ONLY break they have, which is only 15 minutes. Punish him in another way, there are other ways, but not that. If all early elementary school children had a 30 minute recess at 10:30am (like they did in the olden days when I went to school) they would learn so much better since they'd get their energy out in positive ways, then come back and buckle back down. 

    Do you realize that NONE of us, in our lovely offices, work like that? We take breaks whenever we go to the water cooler, or get more coffee, we go to the ladies room when we want/need to, and we move from our desk to the copier to the conf. room for a meeting, and then over to someone else's office for a meeting or just to shoot the breeze. And yet our children - CHILDREN - are sitting still from the time they are in 1st grade without breaks.  Without the ability to go to the bathroom without a major investment in requests, permissions, figuring out if they really "HAVE" to go, etc.  Sigh.  We've gone backwards again, and all this no child left behind, and higher standards have done is put more pressure on a broken system, which just breaks itself further in response.  And our oldest children, high school children, get a break every 45-50 minutes as they pass to classes - they run to their locker, say high to friends, flirt, hold hands, smooch, go to the bathroom, free their brains - and then buckle back down for physics, calculus, etc.  And yet our littlest children who have a harder time focusing, staying on task for extended time, etc. have no breaks.  Just doesn't make sense.  For many chlidren it just is what it is, but for some (and many are boys) this doesn't work and you end up with problems.  Or having children misdiagnosed as having learning disabilities when it's (perhaps) really just expectations that don't work developmentally.  So furstrating.

    Employees on assembly lines have breaks every few hours, our children don't.  So wrong. 

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: Waldorf schools - anyone have any knowledge/experience?

    Just looked at the Carroll School's website - it's for children with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities.  And so is the Landmark School.  So neither are a go because he doesn't have language-based learning disabilities.

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from Winter2011Bride. Show Winter2011Bride's posts

    Re: Waldorf schools - anyone have any knowledge/experience?

    You sure he doesn't have ADHD(nothing wrong if he does)? What about a 504 or an IEP. He'd be able to extra time or little breaks when he needs them.

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: Waldorf schools - anyone have any knowledge/experience?

    From being around him, I really don't think so.  And, no, in some ways it would be easier if he were diagnosed with something more than just being "high energy" or "spirited."  But being around him isn't like being in whirlwind like it is with so many children with ADD or ADHD.  And he's been studied for ADD - questionnaire answered by 2 or 3 teachers, his therapist doesn't think so, and when my sister did the survey/test thing it didn't seem like it.  I don't know, it's very difficult to know.  The deal is he'll have to learn to reel himself in - for example, if he needs a kleenex (and he needs them all the time, as he has allergies) then evidently it's a production when he crosses the room to the kleenex box/trash can - not because he's trying to get attention, but rather because he's just so noticable (perhaps scraping the chair back, bumping into a desk, dropping the box when he gets there, or whatever) so it's very distracting to others.  (why, you ask, can he not have a box of kleenex at his desk since he needs them alot?  asked by my sister, and the answer was No, we don't do it that way.  (who knows, another arcain rule that you'd think they would change if this system doesn't work....)  And so on.


    I'm thinking if he has anything it's Sensory Integration (or whatever they call it now) and you're right, you can fight/advocate for an IEP, and allowances.  But my sister has been fighting and advocating for 3 years and she's thinking it might be time to make a change.  We'll see how it all pans out.

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Waldorf schools - anyone have any knowledge/experience?

    CT-I'd still see if he could get tested for learning disabilities...they may be subtle, but they may be part of the frustration. Those with learning disabilities often have very high intelligence, just have a hard time adjusting to the formal educational setting. And if you think, and your sister thinks, that he has sensory integration than there is absolutely no harm in making a call to certain schools to see if they can accomodate him.

    This is another school you sister might be interested in. The Birches http://www.birchesschool.org/ they're growing. not sure if they've added a 3rd grade yet. Definitely worth a call! I'm assuming if she'd consider Lexington, Lincoln would be an acceptable distance/location.

    Best of luck, its so tough to find a good fit for kids. My parents had a mighty fight on their hands finding a school setting for my sister to learn in (significant dyslexia), she found the Carroll school and my sister did amazing. Easy transition to high school and college. She now has her masters, and is very successful in her career.

    While it's great that your parents are willing to help fund the private education, the town may bear some responsibility. PM me and I can give you more info.

     

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: Waldorf schools - anyone have any knowledge/experience?

    Yes, KAM, I agree she should have him fully tested for ADD and other LDs.  She's been a bit nervous about having him tested, she doesn't want him "labeled" but I honestly think sometimes it's better to KNOW what the issue is than to just be frustrated (for her and for him) and to begin to focus on what the solutions are - but you can only know the solutions if you know what the problem is! 

     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from Winter2011Bride. Show Winter2011Bride's posts

    Re: Waldorf schools - anyone have any knowledge/experience?

    CT. I don't mention it often, but my DS has ADHD. He was tested through the city I lived in and they said it's not techincally a medical condtion for an IEP, but his Catholic school wrote up a 504 plan for him. I think because he wasn't going into a public school they did this. However, they did say that because his grades were good that was the reason, so they'd like him to fail before he gets an IEP. He is on medication, but we are not willing to take him off so he can fail. If he goes to Public High School, we'll need to fight the battle in the town we live now. And before any people out there disagree with the mediciine route, we did change his diet for a bit, but the symptoms did not improve.

    Tell your sister he won't be the only child that is labeled with something. My son did have problems being different in the 3rd grade, but 3 years later he's better with it.

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from IPWBride. Show IPWBride's posts

    Re: Waldorf schools - anyone have any knowledge/experience?

    CT - I wanted to just comment on one part of your earlier post.  I can't believe elementary students don't get a full recess as a normal part of their day.  That is horrible in my opinion.  The organization I work for promotes play and sport not as a rest period... but a continuence, and very important part, of the learning experience.  And its not just about health and physical activity... its about learning leadership, confidence, conflict resolution and life lessons, which should all start at an early age (not highschool).  In your example about your nephew getting punished by losing recess, IMO, that is the same as if they said "ok, no math tomorrow," which you know they'd never do.  But same outcome.

    My company did a training recently in a public pre-school system and was so thrilled when one pre-school teacher exclaimed, "I now see how I can make recess part of the learning day, and not just break time."  Our trainer almost teared up!  My personal education background included rigorous studies and I went to an exam school starting in middle school, so I was taking practice bubble exams starting in the 4th grade.  I'm not scarred by it.  I have absolutely no problem with testing and hard study in the middle and higher grade levels.  But if we are truly forcing 5, 6, 7 year olds to sit in a chair with no physical activity for so many hours, then that just makes me sad.  My son is just 27 mths, but this is something I want to be very aware of as we enter his more formal school years. 

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from Winter2011Bride. Show Winter2011Bride's posts

    Re: Waldorf schools - anyone have any knowledge/experience?

    IPW, at my son's school in grades 1-4, if a child has an infractation 3 times for each offense and signs the binder, (ex., no homework, bad behavior, uniform problem.) they will lose 10 minutes of reccess. Starting in fifth grade the student would get afterschool dentetion. My son does tell me they don't get much reccess (6th grade) and the older grades get less. I don't like it, but not much I can do about it. 

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Waldorf schools - anyone have any knowledge/experience?

    CT-if she is afraid of having him labeled, then there is always the choice of testing him privately and not sharing the results if they decide not to. Not to mention there is no shame in these labels...honestly I think these days most kids have some diagnosis of some sort.

    The case may be that he is gifted and just incredibly bored thus "acting out"!

    She clearly is his advocate, which is great, in time the right fit/solution will be found and they both can be proud.

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: Waldorf schools - anyone have any knowledge/experience?

    As a follow up - my nephew started at the Waldorf school and he is a TOTALLY different child!  Within 1 week he has relaxed, is happier, more talkative, actually enjoys school, and is proud of his work.  The exact opposite of what he's been for the last three years.  I will be eternally grateful to my parents who made this possible financially.

    And he was proud to report that he learned to knit his first day! 

    I'm so tempted to go home for a visit and to sneak into the back of that classroom and observe for a day, I'm fascinated.

     

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