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    #208249 12/23/14 01:01 PM
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    There is a new Waldorf school in our area that is growing a year at a time, currently they have k-3 and are opening 4th next year. I was wondering if anyone with experience in a Waldorf school could fill me in on how it fit your kid. I know the philosophy and what they say their curriculum is, but am wondering how that fits with kids like ours.

    Thanks

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    Hi!
    Everything I have heard about Waldorf is that, in general, they do not encourage children to learn at their own pace when that pace is advanced. The magic of childhood is revered and academic pursuits are often minimized.
    I think it would be a lovely place to send my children to for a daycare type environment but not for real learning.

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    Val Offline
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    Everything I've read about Waldorf schools aligns with what daytripper75 wrote.

    Also, Waldorf schools attract anti-vaccine types. Given that vaccines aren't 100% effective, even a vaccinated child is at risk in an environment where there's no herd immunity. California's Department of Public Health publishes statistics about vaccination rates in California schools (scroll down to the bottom of the page for an easy-to-use interface to the data). Other states may also publish this information; you'd have to do a web search to find out.

    I searched for Waldorf schools in California; the database returned 19 of them. The highest rate of vaccination was 78% (which is well below herd immunity levels). The lowest was 13%. Eleven out of the 19 schools had rates of 50% or less. Personally, that information alone would be enough to keep me away from even an open house.

    Here's an old thread on Waldorf schools.


    Last edited by Val; 12/23/14 03:06 PM. Reason: vaccine percentages
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    Originally Posted by master of none
    We have one here and I know some people who attend who are more about art and expression than achievement, so it's a good fit. One thing is that they had to sign a contract about no TV in the house, and no computer.
    I think public schools requiring students to maintain reading logs is intrusive. I would not last at a Waldorf school. There was an NYT story about Silicon Valley parents sending their children to a Waldorf school:

    A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute
    By MATT RICHTEL
    October 22, 2011

    Quote
    LOS ALTOS, Calif. — The chief technology officer of eBay sends his children to a nine-classroom school here. So do employees of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard.

    But the school’s chief teaching tools are anything but high-tech: pens and paper, knitting needles and, occasionally, mud. Not a computer to be found. No screens at all. They are not allowed in the classroom, and the school even frowns on their use at home.

    Schools nationwide have rushed to supply their classrooms with computers, and many policy makers say it is foolish to do otherwise. But the contrarian point of view can be found at the epicenter of the tech economy, where some parents and educators have a message: computers and schools don’t mix.

    This is the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, one of around 160 Waldorf schools in the country that subscribe to a teaching philosophy focused on physical activity and learning through creative, hands-on tasks. Those who endorse this approach say computers inhibit creative thinking, movement, human interaction and attention spans.

    The Waldorf method is nearly a century old, but its foothold here among the digerati puts into sharp relief an intensifying debate about the role of computers in education.

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    We really wanted to do Waldorf with my son, but it wasn't right for him. It seems great for more flexible and creative kids, rather than my ASD son. If I ever have an NT child it will be my school of choice.

    Waldorf does do computers, just not until a certain age. I love the no media policy, my biggest issue with school is all of the mainstream junk my son is exposed to.

    We vaccinate, but we have friends who don't. I'm not concerned, you either believe the vaccines work or you don't. If you think there is a good chance your child's vaccine will fail, then why get them in the first place? If my child had a weak immune system or certain diseases, it might be a concern for me.

    Waldorf has no grading or homework, my two biggest reasons for wanting to use it. We did do a parent child class when my son was 2 and it was very nice. The kids baked bread and did arts and watched puppet plays. No books or academic stuff at all in the classroom and the parents sat around and sewed or knitted while the kids played (I just sat around since I have no ability in fabric arts.)

    I can't speak as to whether it is good for a gifted child or not, we switched to a regular preschool where my son can get all of his IU supports and TSS (the Waldorf school is over 45 mins away with no traffic, an hour 15 with). I do know that as the kids get older there is a lot more emphasis on academics and they learn a lot more and at a faster rate than public school.

    Another cool thing is that they spend the day on only 2 subjects and then each month or so switch to others, so they go much more in depth and waste less time changing classes during the day. They have drama and fabric arts and knitting, etc. for all of the kids. They are more concerned with teaching the kids to be critical thinkers than they are with teaching them to take the state tests.

    Just like any other school, it will depend on the child whether the fit is right. I personally would rather have my gifted youngster knitting and playing violin and playing dress up at age 6 than sitting bored at a desk learning stuff they could do for 3 years. But then I'm not very focused on achievement, I really think childhood should be fun!

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    What Daytripper and Val said.

    We aren't in CA, but similar stats around here re: Waldorf. There is also pressure to be vegan and orthorexic with respect to lifestyle and diet-- but this may be a local thing.

    I also feel that home environment is up to parents, not schools-- but then again, if you support the Waldorf philosophy of child development, then you're likely to be on-board with the other elements that tend to be sticking points for me personally.

    (vaccinations, allopathic medical care, homeopathy, technology use, and strange beliefs re: child development--Google "Steiner" and all will become clear. Er, well, maybe it will, and maybe there will be more questions about other things. Who knows.)

    There is a belief among some Waldorf families we've known that NO child is truly "ready" to read until at least 7-8 years of age, for example. Some acquaintances truly believe that DD reading as a freshly minted 5yo is evidence of bad parenting on our part, and no amount of detail about how that transpired, or the trajectory in the months after it, is sufficient to convince them otherwise.

    They also believe that our highly atopic DD would be free of asthma if we'd only left her un-vaccinated, and that energy healing of some sort is the "solution" to her disability. There also seems to be a prevailing belief that DD's food allergies are the result of a diet exclusively based upon GMO foods that are highly processed and loaded with HFCS (not true, in any event, but probably irrelevant given her genetics, in any case).

    BTW, dietary supplements are apparently the solution for a friend's trisomy daughter, too, so it's a diffuse and widespread sort of belief in magical thinking operating under the guise of naturalism.


    I know of two different children whose very significant learning challenges* went entirely unnoticed in that setting-- for three and five years, respectively.

    *later remediated rather aggressively by the local school district, which basically believes child-find to be a mere suggestion and prefers the gentleman's agreement model of accommodations, for reference-- once allowed a young child who was legally blind to languish in a mainstreamed classroom with ZERO supports for many weeks... so, NOT a district which is quick to intervene, by any stretch of the imagination.

    The Waldorf school locally saw nothing amiss in an 11yo who could not read at all and had no decoding skills whatsoever, nor in a 7yo who lacked some very basic numeracy. (As in, could count to 25, and that was the extent of this child's math skills-- could not even reliably add two single-digit numbers, could not sequence values, could not tell time or order values by size, had no concept at all of fractions.) The attitude was very much "child-led" and "all in good time," rather than "labeling" either child. As you all probably know by now, I'm not someone who is about labeling children, and I'm inclined on the wait-and-see side of things usually, but this was very extreme. I found the local Waldorf approach appalling in both of these instances. The parents were patted on the head and told that they lacked faith in the pedagogical approach when they asked questions.

    While such environs may be highly supportive of asynchrony, they are stunningly tone-deaf regarding the possibility of asynchrony representing a problem that might require mitigation or supports for amelioration/remediation. They can be a little too supportive of asynchrony, if you see my point.

    As a play-based environment, it's probably okay for bright children who are definitely NOT 2e-- at least for a few years. I can't think how it could ever have worked for our DD, though.



    My personal preference is for Montessori, (at least in some incarnations).









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    Val #208272 12/23/14 05:42 PM
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    Originally Posted by Val
    Also, Waldorf schools attract anti-vaccine types

    This is a problem with homeschooling as well, at least in my region. I'm uneasy about it, but not willing to avoid homeschooler events on that basis.

    Originally Posted by PanzerAzelSaturn
    If you think there is a good chance your child's vaccine will fail, then why get them in the first place?
    Because 90% protection is a lot better than 0% protection.


    MegMeg #208273 12/23/14 06:04 PM
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    We call them Steiner schools. I like the curriculum in that they have religion, pgilosophy, German etc which my state schools never had. But my step mother is s trained Steiner kindy teacher and I find their belief that under 7 year old are basically still unfinished and not capable of anything academic at odds with a gifted child. My 4 year old did know what the numbers meant and didn't need physical activity to understand the concept of two and he was plenty ready to read at 5.

    MegMeg #208274 12/23/14 06:10 PM
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    Originally Posted by PanzerAzelSaturn
    ...you either believe the vaccines work or you don't.

    What MegMeg said.

    Not believing that vaccines work as advertised is akin to not believing that gravity works as advertised. People can believe what they like, but personal beliefs won't change what will happen if their child ends up falling from a height. Similarly, disbelieving the science behind vaccines is just plain wrong.

    The rise of the anti-vax and anti-evolution movements is a huge discredit to our education system. We don't teach people how to analyze information, we don't teach them how to recognize disreputable sources of information (including web sites), and we don't properly teach them what the scientific method is or the importance of using data obtained through rigorous methods (as opposed to anecdotes). And we end up with people who are easily taken in by false information that can harm them (or their kids).

    One result of this is that we've had 10,000 cases of pertussis in California so far this year, including 3 dead babies and 80 people in the ICU.

    frown


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    I'm just saying I'm not afraid of my son getting an illness he's vaccinated for. Sure, there is some chance, but it's slim and he is a very healthy kid. I wouldn't avoid world travel either, but there is a risk there as well. Do I think everyone should vaccinate barring medical reason not to? Yeah, sure I do. But I can only make that decision for my child. I will not penalize other kids whose moms made a different choice.

    My son is in a special class 4 afternoons a week for kids with behavior problems/asd. Vaccination rates are low. I'm not going to keep him out of the program based on that. Would you suggest I not send my son because of the % of kids not vaccinated?

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