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Subject:Researching Waldorf
Time:01:49 pm
I'm kinda familiar with Waldorf from being exposed to it during one of my projects in AmeriCorps NCCC. We worked with developmentally disabled adults in Camphill Kimberton Hills and I also got to witness operations at Camphill Beaver Run.

There's a Waldorf charter school that opened up in my area recently and there's also a private school within reasonable driving distance. I'm not sure what our financial situation will be by the time my lil girl is old enough to attend school, but I'm intrigued and a bit concerned about the negative things I've read concerning Waldorf. I do realize that rules and such differ by the school.

What advice would you give a prospective Waldorf parent? Is there anything I can do with my little girl now to prepare her for that type of education?
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rai_key
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Time:2007-06-26 09:58 pm (UTC)
Speaking as a Waldorf alumni, the education is worth it.
When I fell behind in school Waldorf was very supportive.
They showed concern about my success, helped me to achieve it and never put me into remedial courses. I left the whole experience feeling lucky to go to such a wonderful school.




Waldorf is anti-technology, so you will have to teach her about computers.
Waldorf is very artistic, so let her explore colors.
Waldorf is teaches language starting in 1st grade, so teach her a 2nd language.
Read her stories, because Waldorf is very into story telling.
Waldorf teaches instruments early on, so expose her to music.
Build her confidence, because school can be a very tough process.

That is all I can think of, please let me know if you have questions or if something wasn't clear.





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humblegyrl
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Time:2007-06-26 10:57 pm (UTC)
I'm half Korean, so she'll definitely be taught the language. I've been using a computer since I was in third grade. I'm OK with the NO TV rule, but there's so much wonderful info online. After all, it's how I'm learning to do what's best for my little one (in part). Then again, I'm not sure what benefits she would have from a computer without learning to read (aside from maybe toying with colors in MS Paint or something.) At what age would computers be properly introduced?

What do you think of the spiritual aspects of your educational experience? Do you support Anthroposophy? Was the curriculum balanced and are the anthroposophical ideas pushed more than other subjects (if that makes sense)?
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wingedparadise
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Time:2007-06-27 01:20 am (UTC)
Ah hi,just a random person just reading along.

I graduated from a Waldorf School in New York... as far as my school went, they didn't really tell you much about Anthroposophy until high school. I went to that school all my life from age 3 to 18.. I never felt pressured into believing in Anthroposophy, in fact I celebrated Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa as a young kid with my class.(This is not the practice of normal Waldorf Schools.. only the personal practice of my grade school teacher). When I was a senior, the faculty talked to us about our education, from beginning to end.. telling us why we were taught in such a way and what Steiner's meanings were behind it.

I also grew up with the whole "no TV" thing until I was about 10 or 11... As a kid I didn't mind that much because I learned to do other things (knit, sew, read, wood working, painting, etc...)

The curriculum is... a bit complicated. At my school everything was basically decided for you so you never had to worry about not getting enough science credits or something (I'm speaking about high school.. the college process, etc). In some ways, I feel a bit academically behind my public school counterparts. There were no Honors or APs, which hurt me in the college application process.

Academics aside, I feel that my Waldorf education has made me a good, well-rounded person... it's really worthwhile especially for young children.
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inahandbasket
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Time:2007-06-27 01:34 am (UTC)
I went to the Kimberton PA waldorf school, and grew up about 3 miles from Beaver Run. Great area, eh? :-D

You'll find that the answer to your questions varies greatly between different waldorf schools. They're bound by a common ideal, but the practical application of that ideal sways between the extremes that it allows. Some of the schools have computers in their classrooms, some are nearly Amish in their luddite-ism.

I found that Kimberton was a good mix of artsy and still not out-of-touch. We had a computer lab in the high-school (1994-98), but we certainly didn't have programming lessons or anything. We did use them to layout the yearbook.

Kimberton is PreK-12, and the "waldorfian tenants" are far stronger up through 8th grade than they are in the high-school. (The actual Steiner curriculum only went up to 8th, so waldorf high-schools are a modern addition.) While I wouldn't trade my waldorfian experience for anything, I often wish that I'd gotten more/better preparation for entering college. I never wrote a 5-part essay until freshman english, so it was a learn-on-my-feet kind of thing.
Also, out of my class of 15 students I think that less than half of us started college within 2 years of graduation.

So my experience summed up: great for the younger/formative years, but I'm still on the fence (at 27) as to whether I would have been better off going to a more academic high-school.

but again, schools vary, so check out that specific school.
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squeeforme
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Time:2007-06-27 02:00 pm (UTC)
I went to Sacramento Waldorf High School from 2003-2006.

The anthrosophy/spiritual stuff was definitely not stressed, although you could detect glimmers of it if you were paying attention. (Projective Geometry = huh?) Lower school is definitely more Steiner-ish then high school in my experience, though I only went to Waldorf 8th grade.

We had a pretty nice computer lab and took typing, resume writing, and Excel classes throughout high school. I didn't notice any real anti-technology vibe in the high school, although they were definitely opposed to kids using cell phones during school time...which is pretty normal in all schools.

I think Sac Waldorf did an excellent job preparing me for college. We wrote many long research papers, and we were taught pretty stringently to use proper foot notes. I was one of the few people able to say at my college that I was perfectly comfortable with writing formal research essays, which I'm very thankful for. Students from Sac Waldorf (if they worked hard) seemed to get into very good schools: I remember kids getting into UC Berkeley, Brown, Oberlin, Stanford, Yale, places like that. It almost seemed like the unique nature of Waldorf was a plus when it came to getting into highly competitive schools - your application will stand out.
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humblegyrl
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Time:2007-06-27 03:49 am (UTC)
I really appreciate you two taking the time to respond. I read that no grades are issued and that there is a detailed evaluation given at the end of the year. How do colleges take this into account? Did you take the SAT/ACT? How prepared were you for those exams?

I was absolutely enchanted when I was at Kimberton Hills and Beaver Run. Everything is so beautiful and peaceful. The people are friendly and they adored us (and we them)!

The charter school will only be adding a grade a year, but the private Waldorf school has K-8. I'm not sure that there are many K-12 Waldorf schools here in Oregon.

What would you suggest for better preparation on entering college? Is this something you think you could have gotten from Waldorf if the parents pushed for it, or is it something that you could have accomplished yourself with some parental guidance?
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learntwice
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Time:2007-06-27 06:04 am (UTC)
Where in Oregon do you live? I just got a job teaching at the new Waldorf charter school in Portland!
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tofuviking
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Time:2007-06-27 06:16 am (UTC)
I graduated from a waldorf highschool in Ann Arbor Michigan in 2005. In response to the grades and detailed evaluation I found with myself and my other classmates that it didn't harm our chances to get into any colleges whatsoever, in fact if you were heading towards a liberal arts college it's an advantage.

Everyone in my class who was going to college took either the SAT or the ACT or both. Not one person got what people would consider a 'bad' sat or act score that i know of. I believe a couple of people even scored over 1400 (this was pre-revised SAT). I wouldn't worry about college prep either. I find as a college student with a waldorf background things that give other students a hard time are a cake walk for me.

The education is far superior anything you're child will get in a public school, the cost of the education is worth while.
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squeeforme
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Time:2007-06-27 02:03 pm (UTC)
I think I answered a lot of the college stuff up there, but on the SAT....

We took the PSAT, SAT and ACT at Sacramento Waldorf, and the school offered after-hours tutoring sessions for kids who wanted it. I seem to recall most people did pretty well, and no one seemed drastically un prepared.
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lunadiana
Subject:New Waldorf Parent
Link:(Link)
Time:2007-06-27 06:05 am (UTC)
I am lucky in that we (Waldorf School of Orange County) have a playgroup class for the little ones. My son did beautifully this last year and we look forward to going in the fall.

My understanding is that a charter school will leave out the spritual aspect (reverence) of the Stiener program but otherwise it is essentially the same. To me the reverence is important and it is very non-denominational so it works with my non-christian beliefs.

We have also just added a high school ciriculum with our first 9th grade class starting this fall. The parents were very involved in setting the cirruculum and computer programming will be taught. And you know, what I learned about computers as a kid doesn't mean anything now... the technology just changes too fast... so any general exposure should be fine.

As for the no TV, I am a single mom and it was hard to stop the little bit of DVD time I did use to occupy him while I was getting ready in the mornings but you know, he is much more imaginative now that we have stopped that too. That is not to say that we don't ever watch but it is generally less than 1 movie a month...especially now that summer is here and it is nice outside. He also has fewer bad dreams and doesn't spend all his time talking about the TV characters, which is nice.

Cost... talk to the schools near you. Our school has need based help. They will work with any one with any income. All they ask is to have a meeting and discuss what the costs of the education are and what your income/bills are...and then they work to find a middle ground. I am told that no one is ever turned away because they can't pay. It would be worth checking out.

Bad press... I was a bit concerned too and so I talked to the director at our school about that and she had a lot to say. She reported that most of the negative info out there is generated by one very discruntled father who's child needed some extra help beyond what the school could offer. They were willing to work with him but he didn't want to hear it so has spread awful things. She said the national waldorf association asked him to come to thier conference and talk about his concerns in open forum too. She also agreed that a school is in large part a reflection of the involvement of its parents. We are lucky right now to have a very active and dedicated group of parents and alumni parents associated with our school so we are thriving and growing.

The early years seem to be much about fostering imagination and play. Interesting in that many childhood development specialists are preaching the same things. Go for nature walks, pick up sticks, leaves, and rocks. Watch the snail make its way across the sidewalk. Tell and read stories...lots of stories. Authors: Gerda Mueller, Elsa Beskow, Sybil Von Olfers, etc. Beyond the Rainbow Bridge is a book that all the preschool parents read at our school. I am waiting for a copy to come into our bookstore so I haven't read it yet.
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humblegyrl
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Time:2007-06-27 02:29 pm (UTC)
Congratulations, learntwice! We live in Gold Hill and the new charter school called the Madrone Trail Iniative has opened in Medford.

The only TV we watch at home (besides the reruns that give me comfort because it was what I was raised and familiar with) are shows on the Science and Discovery channels. However, as I child, I was fully immersed in books so I'm not sure how I feel about delayed reading. My primary concern with this is that her lack of ability to read compared to children in other schools might cause more harm and instill self esteem issues... particularly if these folks think she's stupid or "developmentally delayed" because of it.

Thank you for the author recommendations. I've also added You Are Your Child's First Teacher and Understanding Waldorf Education.
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humblegyrl
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Time:2007-06-27 02:33 pm (UTC)
Oops! Meant as A child. Not sure how to edit comments or if that feature is even available. lol.
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singgirl
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Time:2007-06-29 06:33 pm (UTC)
hey- your child is young, and you are young- I commend you for looking and thinking ahead. I struggled with an assessment of being gifted (and not feeling inspired to apply my intuitions to the real world) all through public and private schools untill I discovered anthroposophy and waldorf ed as a HS senior. then I spend 3 months at HIgh MOwing (only boarding waldorf HS in North Am) as a project. Best 3 months of school!

We have a baby too, and he is half Korean :) I don't have much time for the net but would be very interstd in corresponding with you. Pls visit my livejournal site.
~M
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