Sunday, April 13, 2014

Waldorf FRAUD in Reviews

One of the recent reviews on the Whatcom school commented on the fact that duplicate positive reviews appeared on multiple websites.  Let's have a look at this phenomenon.


THESE ARE POSTED AS SEATTLE WALDORF SCHOOL REVIEWS:
http://www.greatschools.org/washington/seattle/2558-Seattle-Waldorf-School/?tab=reviews#from..HeaderLink

Posted September 15, 2009

I've been a parent at SWS for over 10 years. I am the proud parent of a high school graduate, high school sophomore and eighth grader. SWS is a school that nurtures the whole child while at the same time providing a rich and comprehensive curriculum that creates life long learners. I'm so proud that my children have been to attend SWS and I'm grateful for the community that is provides for our family.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 25, 2008
My child attends the preschool and enjoys it very much. The preschool has such a warm, inviting and friendly environment that a child cannot help but feel welcome. Every week they back buns and the children help with the dough making process. Every day there is 45 mins spent outside - rain or shine which is great for the mind, body and soul. I would highly recommend this preschool.
—Submitted by a parent
Notice the reviews are more than 18 months apart in their original form...
THE SAME REVIEWS ARE POSTED AS WHATCOM HILLS WALDORF SCHOOL REVIEWS - YEARS LATER:


Posted November 5, 2012

I've been a parent at WHWS for over 10 years. I am the proud parent of a high school graduate, high school sophomore and eighth grader. WHWS is a school that nurtures the whole child while at the same time providing a rich and comprehensive curriculum that creates life long learners. I'm so proud that my children have been to attend WHWS and I'm grateful for the community that is provides for our family.
—Submitted by a parent

and also:
http://www.bestplaces.net/schools/washington/bellingham/whatcom_hills_waldorf_school

11/7/2012 parent
My child attends the preschool and enjoys it very much. The preschool has such a warm, inviting and friendly environment that a child cannot help but feel welcome. Every week they back buns and the children help with the dough making process. Every day there is 45 mins spent outside - rain or shine which is great for the mind, body and soul. I would highly recommend this preschool.

11/5/2012 parent
I've been a parent at WHWS for over 10 years. I am the proud parent of a high school graduate, high school sophomore and eighth grader. WHWS is a school that nurtures the whole child while at the same time providing a rich and comprehensive curriculum that creates life long learners. I'm so proud that my children have been to attend WHWS and I'm grateful for the community that is provides for our family.
Hmmm... This appears to be dishonest.  Are Waldorf schools harvesting 5-star reviews and suggesting they apply to them?  THIS IS CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR!
I think it bears some investigation into other Waldorf websites that boast 5-star reviews that are so general they could apply to any school. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Waldorf School Reviews - Updated

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

Pasadena Waldorf School
http://www.greatschools.org/california/altadena/9839-Pasadena-Waldorf-School/?tab=reviews

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





3/10/2014

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
Balboa City School - San Diego
11/25/2013
Our family had a horrible experience at Balboa.  The director was extremely rude to the students and the parents.  He routinely referred to my dyslexic son as "retarded".   The director made many empty promises before we signed the tuition contract.  Once money exchanged hands no promises were kept.  The school is full of students with extreme behavior problems.  The curriculum consisted mostly of worksheets printed off of free websites.  I never saw any of the wonderful things written on their website.  I saw a dirty campus, worn out books, rude staff, and out of control kids.  My son was completely traumatized by the treatment he received from the director.

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
http://www.yelp.com/biz/four-winds-waldorf-school-warrenville
2/8/2014 


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.    




Saturday, March 1, 2014

DC Moms and Dads complaints

http://www.dcurbanmom.com/jforum/posts/list/67597.page

The first poster here should have stopped after the first sentence.  Everything after that pretty much contradicts what she said... TWR

I'm sad that anyone would decide to not have their children attend a Waldorf school because they heard that it was cultish. My children have been in Waldorf schools their whole lives. I have a daughter who graduated from a Waldorf high school, a son currently in a Waldorf high school and one finishing up grade school and headed into the high school. It has been such an amazing experience for all of us and I am so very proud of the individuals that they are. They see so much beauty in the world and they are such curious learners. They hunger for knowledge! I suppose the fact that they are all incredible artists doesn't hurt either. I'm very proud to say that my children attend Waldorf schools and I'm even prouder that my daughter is choosing to become a Waldorf teacher!

...

Waldorf might be a great option early years... but for later on WATCH OUT. It is NOT for everyone. 

I know two families VERY well (one is a relative) with the SAME experiences at two different Waldorf Schools. From what I understand the teacher your child receives is a huge factor because the teacher stays with you for many years. While I understand the occult part turned you off... The poster from last night said something about it being cultish. Then she went on to share that her whole family has dedicated their lives to this education system which they clearly believe is great. But, if you take a step back... feels a little cultish to me. 

I have said this before on this board my neighbor could not READ in the sixth grade at Washington Waldorf in the 1970s. Her pediatrician literally intervened and pulled this child and her younger sister from the school. With tutoring and being held back a year or so, they ended up thriving at the French International school. 

A close relative of mine sent her son to the nursery program (I forget it's name) in SF. She was pleased with it. Then came Kindergarten. Her son had a strict German teacher who closely adhered to the philosophy and the parents who were very excited about Waldorf felt alienated. It was a disaster. My relative and her husband were so put off by the lack of any sort of real learning in the classroom, they were going to have to home school their son if they couldn't find a first grade which would take him. This relative sent me an email a few months back saying how her son was blossoming at his new traditional school. He had just learned to read (first grade) and was embracing it. Meanwhile his one friend at Waldorf was just learning the alphabet and was forbidden to try to read. 

...

It is an odd philosophy that may not prepare our child. Also, Steiner's writings include some the "ordering of the races" that I found disturbing. Not that they teach these things in class, but the teachers DO study t (I asked a lot of questions at Acorn Hill about this and they confirmed it) and to me, to say "yes, there's racially offensive material in his writings and we do require that teachers read that but we don't believe it" seemed a little disingenuous to me.

...

Steiner adapted his brand of nonsense into a form of education that was later called the Waldorf method (after his first school for children of workers at the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory). One of his first schools was the Goetheanum, The School of Spiritual Science. Steiner believed that humans experience reincarnation over several lives, the lowest of which are the colored races; the highest, of course, the white race. He also said that humans pass through seven spiritual stages (which he lifted from the seven shakras), and that education should be compatible with these stages. 


YOU HAVE TO BE CRAZY TO ALLOW YOUR KIDS TO BE PART OF THIS NONSENSE....!!! 

...

Well, were we not prepared for the cultish secrecy at our small, gossipy Santa Cruz Waldorf. Inept and dysfunctional. They really wounded my son deeply. I don't think we could ever go back--iit would have to me the best, since Waldorf Schools vary GREATLY, as do the teachers with their three years of schooling. 

Rescue remedy is not the cure--just stop insisting that what you ate saying is channeled from your heart. La, la, la. It should work out fine if your child is a mild one. Oh, didn't You know? Waldorf is alright if you are a girl, but not for boy, our 6 year old boy told us. We didn't get it right away, but we got it now. 

...


Berkeley Area Waldorf schools

http://parents.berkeley.edu/recommend/schools/waldorf.html

I've always loved the idea of Waldorf, but here are two things learned from my nieces and nephews attending that I wouldn't have thought to ask about. One is that they believe in the children's karma and you as a parent or teacher are not suppose to directly get involved with their playground disputes- letting them evolve on their own. In one nieces case it translated into her being a bully, my nephew was fine, and my other niece seems the one picked on. All schools are different, so I would ask how they guide the kids to learn how to treat each other respectfully. The second thing to think about is the fact that most parents at Waldorf do not vaccinate their children. The year my son was born there was a whooping cough outbreak and the school was closed for a while- this may or may not concern you. The best for you as you search for schools! Anon



Waldorf is a beautifully crafted and carefully prescribed curriculum for children from birth to 12th grade. It is not a loosey-goosey program, as many think, but requires commitment and respect for the child's intellectual and emotional age appropriate abilities, from both families and teachers. My husband and I felt it was well worth the commitment.
That being said, I am sorry that the East Bay Waldorf School is the only K-8 option for Waldorf for the East Bay. (There is a K-3 Waldorf school in North Berkeley and a number of preschools.) As with any pedagogical model, the desired results are contingent upon how the staff of an individual school implement that educational philosophy, curriculum, methods.
Over the years we found that our children's teachers had what seemed to be some difficulty with child development and/or classroom management. My son reported, multiple times, that his teacher yelled at children in the classroom, and then changed his/her behavior when other adults came into the room. My daughter complained, with tears, that she couldn't learn because her teacher was always preoccupied with kids acting out.
We continued our commitment to Waldorf while we watched as families withdrew their children, and enrollment in my children's classes dwindled to less than half what they started with. When we expressed concerns or simply inquired as to why families were leaving, the staff told us that those parents were disgruntled or that their children were troubled. We regretfully decided it was a place not conducive to our childrens' learning or healthy social development. We finally withdrew them after attending for several years.
Waldorf aims to surround children with three things: beauty, truth and love. After pouring our hearts and souls into the East Bay Waldorf School, both financially and as active parents, people asked why we left. With disappointments too many to number, I simply respond with 'The school fell a little short on truth and love.' C.


We sent our daughter to Waldorf in Emeryville, lo those many years ago (1993). Maybe we were out of our minds (we were victims of the east bay "firestorm" and were in the middle of a three year nomadic period in which we moved 7 times and were forced to sue the insurance company or face starting all over from zero with toddler twins and two teen-agers. Yes, our decision to send her there may have been unbalanced).
What attracted us was an active music program and a certain global, intellectual/educational curiosity on the part of the teachers. It looked good. We tried to ignore our initial gut reaction that the staff and dedicated parents seemed all to exude an eerie, "Landru is All. Are you part of the body?" syndrome. We felt like alien hyper-intellectuals. Firstly, they misrepresented themselves. We asked explicitly about the religious nature of the school and were told that, though they were, in some tangential way, a "Christian" organization, historically, there was no theological/religious bias. Around the winter vacation, our daughter came home, rattled, and in tears.
"I don't understand," she said. "At school, they told us that the child is coming and everything will be o.k."
"Who's the child?" we asked her.
"I think it's a boy in the other kindergarten class. He's in a play about the saviour. Is he the saviour? Why is everything going to be all right? Why is he coming again? He didn't even come into our class once."
oh boy.
We marched off to school and asked what was going on. The answers were feeble and meandering, at best. It was evident that they had no clue of the effect of their "tangential" Christian metaphoric roots on growing young children.
Then there was the Landru effect. They really did have an image of children being these innocent little waifs, happy, serene receptacles into which their teachers might pour an entire Waldorf world-view. The rigidity of materials used in class, the dim lighting, the low energy level....were geared to kids with low metabolic function who were, by nature, obedient, malleable and unquestioning. O.K. My obvious bias is showing. I recognize that. It wasn't long before the teacher took us aside and suggested that since our daughter wanted to explore outside the prescribed lines, question the logic of instructions, and pretty much, follow her own creative, exuberant curiosities (that different drummer), she must be hyper-active and have oppositional problems. Hmmmm. I understand that the Waldorf systems in Europe are not so rigid or sanctimonious, so lecturing or idiopathic. And I hear that even in the states, the severity of the intellectual/spiritual anti-gravity effect differs from school to school. But, gee whiz, if your child is an independent thinker and a vibrant personality, I would recommend against Waldorf.
Oh, I forgot: They have a mystical ceremony on a child's birthday. There are a lot of candles lit, and the birthday kid sits in a chair across from the parents, separated by a bridge. The teacher explains that the angel child, before it was born, selected the two perfect parents, and then after much mystic m-bo jm-bo, crossed over this ethereal bridge to join its parents in the physical world. Then this bridge-crossing is acted out. There was a hitch in our ceremony, because our daughter, while lighting the candles along the bridge, caught her hair on fire. It was hard to return to the ethereal, metaphoric plain after rolling her in a towel and drying her tears. Still, that weird smell of burning hair.........."happy birthday to you....happy birthday to you...happy biRTHday......".
This was kindergarten. I shall give them the benefit of the doubt in suspecting that this kind of air-headedness subsides as the children get older. This has been simmering in me for a number of years. I apologize for the strength of my opinions if they have offended anyone. But this has been completely honest. I am also very sure that there are inquisitive, gifted and unusual children who are suited very well to the Waldorf atmosphere. I also hear that the dogmatic, religious adherence to Waldorfian principles varies from school to school.
Tobie


We recently pulled our two sons out of the East Bay Waldorf School for a variety of reasons that should be important to anyone considering the school for their children. While some children seem to thrive there, others do not and the school does little to either inform parents of any problems or to address them with the child.
The curriculum and philosophy are quite rigid. Parents are not allowed in the classroom to observe their child's class and are not even allowed to go into the room when picking up a child. The school does not "believe" in learning disabilities and will not recognize them, test for them or address them with your child. They believe that learning disabilities are part of a child's "Karmic experience." The advice we received regarding our son, who was reading at the 1st grade level in the middle of 4th grade, was that his reading would improve if he spent more time "rolling on his back." Children are not taught to read until they have lost all of their baby teeth. By this time, your child is in the 3rd or 4th grade and it becomes nearly impossible to transfer them to any other school because they are so far behind scholastically.
The school will not accomodate your child's learning style. The style of teaching is visual and the teachers write the lesson on the blackboard for the students to copy it into their notebooks exactly as it is on the board. At the end of the day, it is erased. If your child has not been able to copy all of the material, he is "behind."
There are so many children in most classes (it is not unusual for their to be 30 or more children in a class with one teacher - a situation that violates state standards) that your child gets little to no individual attention and and no acknowledgement or feedback on homework, except that if it is not done, your child may be ridiculed in front of the class by the teacher. Your child also has the same teacher for grades one through six, so if there is a bad "fit", you are stuck.
Our kindergardener on the other hand was so bored after 6 months at Waldorf he changed from a child who loved preschool to one who didn't want to go to school and said he "hated" school. There is virtually no stimulation in the kindergarden classrooms. They do not even introduce letters or numbers in kindergarden and it lasts for two years. No child who completed kindergarden at Waldorf would be able to enter the first grade in a public school with any degree of success. The items children may play with in kindergarden include stones, wood and wool toys. Families are asked not to let their children play with any plastic toys at home or to play with anything that is not of natural material. They also do not teach science, do not believe in the use of computers, and kindergardeners may only paint with one or two colors at a time using only their "Wet on Wet" method. The children are not allowed to draw lines of any kind in their paintings and may not use crayons, markers! or pencils.
Both of the boys disliked the Waldorf school and their self-esteem plummeted there. However, since taking them out of the Waldorf school, they have both blossomed. Our older son was diagnosed with a reading and writing disabiliity and is being tutored 3x per week by a specialist and is blossoming. He will be entering the Montessori School which is designed to address individual needs and is sensitive to learning disabilities and where the ratio of children to teachers is 12 to 1. Our kindergardener is at The Academy on Bienvenue in Berkeley and is so excited about school, he is ready and eager to leave first thing in the morning and has asked if he can stay later in the afternoon to play with his friends. He is reading and telling time and measuring things and reporting the weather and learning about the world around him with the excitement and wonder one would expect from a 5-year old.
Finally, I urge anyone who is thinking of applying to any Waldorf School to read the teachings of Rudolph Steiner, the founder of the Waldorf Schools. The website www.waldorfcritics.org is an excellent beginning and eye opener. We are not alone in our experience. Ask the teachers why the rooms are white washed a peach color. It is because pale peach is the closest color to Caucasian skin, and Steiner believed that the soul resides in the skin. He has his own theory about the races and believes that those with light skin and light eyes and light hair are the most spiritually evolved. There is a reason there is such a lack of diversity at the school and why there is such an emphasis on the Nordic myths and Nors Gods. Steiner believed that the Scandanavians were the most highly evolved of the human race. There are also little alters in the classrooms with pictures of Christ and the holiday ceremonies alternate between Pagen and Christian celebrations.
We were completely unaware of any of the above when we elected to send our children to the school. I urge any parent considering this school to look into it thoroughly. It is my sense that many parents who have children in the school have no idea what is going on and what their children are learning or not learning. Helen


Waldorf Education - One family's story
Lessons Learned? I think, now, it is more than that. I am trying to work out how something full of such promise, something which seemed the answer to all of our dreams, ended in such disillusionment, sadness and anger.
I do not believe that the people running Waldorf schools are bad people. For a while, after discovering the things I did, I thought there may be something inherently bad or evil in the system of education itself, but I think the problem lies more in the attidude and needs of those people who are involved in this kind of education.
We all have a need to belong, some of us more than others. In some of us the need has not been met. Perhaps we never had a family of our own. Perhaps we never found anywhere where we felt we could fit in. Perhaps we have been cast out of some other place.
Waldorf schools are more than schools, they are communities, and very tight knit communities at that. I, for one, certainly began to feel asense of belonging after being there a month or two. The other thing is that the schools tend to attract people with unconventional views, who are less likely to fit in elsewhere.
Once in,the communitiy demands much of your time and money, and this further tends to isolate you from other friends. Then there is the Waldorf belief that their way is the best way of education. They are strongly critical of other kinds of education and encourage parents to believe that sending their children anywhere else would be letting them down.
All of this engenders a fear of leaving the community. It certainly did in me. I have spoken to parents who have talked of having 'withdrawal symptons' after their children have left.
Loyalty to the community and it's ideals is uncompromising. Waldorf people view Rudolf Steiner almost as a God. Well they certainly never question anything he said and quote him frequently. Their beliefs are fixed. They do not develop with the times.

I wanted to add to the Waldorf discussion as I am a parent who had looked into waldorf education extensively for 2-3 years when my child was a toddler and the website ''waldorfcritics.org'' has many refernces to Rudolf Steiner's original words and works, which were translated from the German but the references to racist and anti-semetic ideology are too numerous and clear to have been mis-translated or ''made up.'' And, it is his work that currently informs the teaching and training of teachers- not an updated version, not in conjunction with other theories of child development. So I do not think these are primarily rumors, but based on experience in waldorf schools and research into anthroposophy. I asked maybe 2-3 of the questions from the circulating list of ''what to ask when looking at Waldorf schools'' and was answered with a chilly stare and no information at the information session. The website was very helpful as a guide when I looked into it, and while it was not the deciding factor in choosing a different school, I was greatful for the perspective from parents and graduates who did not have an ideal experience at Waldorf schools. anon.

Hello, regarding how special needs or behavior problems are treated at East Bay Waldorf School. In order to understand how this would be handled you must learn something about ''anthroposophy'' which is the philosophy/religion behind the Waldorf pedagogy. We were there for two years and we were asked to treat our child with ''anthroposophical remedies'' prescribed by an anthroposophical doctor to treat reading issues and difficulty with ''eurythmy'', a required dance/therapy program my child despised. I would advise you that there is much more anthroposophy in the classroom than the school will admit to prospective parents, probably out of fear of declining enrollment. Study and understand anthtroposophy and Rudolf Steiner before you enroll your child. His ideas permeate the classroom and culture of the school. A good, fairly neutral website for parents wishing to understand Waldorf education is http://openwaldorf.com


We enrolled our child at East Bay Waldorf School after learning about it on the Parents Network. We left the school due to ineffective teaching and a strange new-age spirituality called "Anthroposophy" that underlies the school community and curriculum. Many Waldorf schools are guided by this philosophy but claim, untruthfully, that it is not taught. Prospective parents who are considering this school would be wise to educate themselves about Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner, and how this cult-like belief system educates your child in a Waldorf school. There is a movement of parents who have withdrawn their children from Waldorf schools, many asserting Waldorf schools mislead prospective parents about what the curriculum is truly about. Before enrolling your child please visit the PLANS website http://www.waldorfcritics.org/active/articles.html
FROM PLANS: "PLANS would like to see Waldorf schools advise parents up front that the teacher's interactions with their child will be guided by their belief in karma and reincarnation, which leads some Waldorf teachers to speculate that a child may have been born to the "wrong" parents, for instance, or may have been drawn "karmically" to the Waldorf school even against the parent's wishes.
Parents should be told that the science and history curriculum will be based on Steiner's reading of the "Akashic Record," according to which the "ancients" had clairvoyant powers which Anthroposophic initiation may help students attain some day. They should be told that loyal Steiner followers believe humans once lived on the lost continent of Atlantis and will one day live on Venus, Jupiter, and Vulcan. They should be told that teachers study a medieval scheme in which race, blood, and the "four temperaments" will help them understand their students' development.
Parents should be told that although Waldorf bills itself as "arts-based" education to attract holistically minded parents, creativity is actually discouraged, and many of the "artistic" activities in Waldorf are more accurately described as religious rituals, such as meditation on symbols important in Anthroposophy. Children spend a lot of time copying the teacher's work directly off the board. Fourth graders embroidering a purse must all use the same pattern (often with esoteric symbols)."
We enrolled our child unaware of the aforementioned. We also discovered the following through trial and error. Had we known we would not have selected East Bay Waldorf:
1. No parent visibility into teacher's competence. There was never an opportunity to volunteer during the primary teacher's class time, thus parents could not view first hand whether or not the teacher or curriculum were effective or how they were implemented. If you enroll your child there you must trust that they are doing what they say they are, and there is no real way to know how effective the teacher is due to a lack of accountability (test scores, independent student work, PTA, etc) to evaluate teacher competence.
2. Learning issues handled through a Anthroposophical doctor and/or their own anthroposophical therapies. If they have issues with your child they will require that you see an "anthroposophical doctor" at considerable expense to evaluate your child. They often ask children to partake in "therapeutic eurythmy" which is a form of dance while enunciating vowel sounds that is supposed to cure a multitude of issues; again at great expense. All of this is done in the guise of helping your child learn. However, we found out later that most of these therapies are geared toward saving your child's "soul", or making them more open to seeing "spirits". You may also be asked to rub a potion with gold and lavender in a crescent over your child's heart 3 times before bedtime. If this sort of new age medicine makes you uncomfortable do more research. In the end, our child was tested in another setting and had no learning issues and is thriving.
3. In the early years once you're in, you're behind. If you do enroll your child there during the early years (k - 3) please know that if you decide to later to attend another school your child may be significantly behind academically relative to most schools, especially in the areas of reading and writing. What this has meant for a couple of families is that their child was put back in other settings to learn the basics. If you plan to stick it out then I am told most Waldorf kids eventually learn to read, but we ran into horror stories of kids not reading till their teens.
4. Hidden spirituality in the curriculum. We were assured anthroposophy was not taught. But our teacher was definitely an anthroposophist and used it's language in casual conversation and at parent meetings. Concepts like "astral forces" and "etheric bodies" were thrown around without detailed explanation. Karma, reincarnation, racism, astrology are all part of Rudolf Steiner's philosophy. Please educate yourself about the underlying concepts that DO drive the curriculum as well as how you're child is viewed, assessed, etc. The more you learn about Anthroposophy and Steiner the more uncomfortable you may become.
5. Rote, copy-cat teaching method. After two years there we found out that all the lovely pictures, sentences, math problems our child had written in her "hand-made" text book were copied directly from the chalkboard. Word for word sentences had to be copied exactly, not created or broken down and understood. Math problems were copied from the board, both problem and answer, or figured out through "movement" games. Pictures were teacher creations copied from the board.
6. Strange, esoteric and usually unpublished "rules". No black crayons, no immunizations, photography at school events is discouraged, no cell phones on campus, no wearing black, no synthetic fibers, no brand names on clothing, rattan baskets for lunches, no "light-up" shoes for students or visitors to campus, puppet shows are not for children under 6 (once inside young children were asked to leave at a Harvest Faire Puppet show after waiting in line for 1/2 an hour), I could go on, and on......
Former Waldorf Parent


Regarding the East Bay Waldorf School, we spent the morning at the school today. I went in with fairly high hopes after having read some of the feedback here and talking to others about the theory behind Waldorf education. What we experienced was a big let-down. I would say unless you wholeheartedly embrace their views on media, pop culture, and ''screen'' time as they call it(any exposure to tv, computers, and the like), you will not be able to adjust to their environment very well. They require all children to not have any screen time up to age 10 and they take this very seriously. They have a strict dress code and look very negatively upon any kind of mass marketed products. One of the teachers on the interview brought up an example of a child sneaking in a ''Stussy'' labeled shirt and how wearing any sort of logo/advertising takes away from the uniqueness of the child. I did notice that she was wearing clearly labeled Birkenstock sandals, so I guess it must depend upon which products you are advertising.
I am sure this philosophy and approach works for some people, but it certainly isn't realistic for our family. Just my two cents. An East Bay Mom