An orthodox Waldorf school that is rigid and dogmatic in its adherence to anthroposophy. They hold children very tightly with a "spare the rod spoil the child" mentality towards discipline. There's only one acceptable way to learn and if that's not a fit for your child watch out. Even if it is a fit with your child, he/she will suffer through witnessing other children getting shamed and humiliated by teachers. An especially bad place for boys. Many of the older grades have 3:1 or greater ratios of girls to boys. The recently graduated eighth grade had only 4 boys out of 17 students in the class.
We feel robbed of time and money by Pasadena Waldorf School. The volunteer demands are punishing and they seem like a distraction. The request for money is constant yet their financial transparency is non-existent. The parents are treated with no respect. There is so much mind control, time control and manipulation used at that school. The most frightening thing of all is that PWS has NO WRITTEN POLICY ON BULLYING. Beware!
I can not say enough good things about this school. We have been there through early childhood to grade school and are so happy that we made the choice to have our kids here. Early childhood was a learning for us, the parents. We got to be in a very intimate environment with a highly trained teacher. We were there observing our children and having a master level conversation with our teacher. I got so much from this experience and it totally revolutionized how I parented. In a good way!! There are many opportunities to learn, they have a large amount of teacher parent meetings, which I personally found helpful. Children don't come with instructions. My children are so healthy and thriving. Frankly when I compare them to other children I am blown away at how different they are, and by that I mean different in a good way. They are present, and soooo creative and alive and awake. It blows my mind. The parent body is fantastic. The teachers are at such a high level. The community is filled with love respect understanding and joy. Which doesn't mean they aren't human, because they are. But I feel that my children are the very best of hands at this school.
Here's what I wish I had known before I enrolled my children at PWS: as soon as you start feeling nervous or scared to speak out about a concern, as soon as a teacher starts to "wonder" about your child, as soon as you begin to feel slightly uncomfortable -- it's time to get out. It's hard to believe this is an actual school that purports to take care of children. It is an ideology taking care of itself. Be careful.
I have two children who attended Pasadena Waldorf School from K-8. I didn't know much about the school when I attended the first look-in, but liked the arts and music, and liked that the pedagogy addressed age appropriate learning methods. As a new parent I was amazed that everything I liked at the look-in was just the tip of the iceberg. What my kids learned was solid no rote memorization. They could speak from the heart about ancient civilizations and scientific discoveries. They learned to play multiple instruments and composed music. Both were accepted to all the high schools they applied to, and chose a Catholic high school. PWS high school was not started at that time. They distinguished themselves in academics and arts, and went on to top universities. One graduated from a 5-year professional program and the other is a junior with college honors already. All of their educational experiences were good ones, but the early years at PWS were probably the most important in building the foundation. In addition to the solid education they received there, they left with a lifetime love of learning.
Pasadena Waldorf and Waldorf philosophy has been and continues to be the best fit for my 8 year old daughter, now in second grade. We have been at the school for 4 years, since Kindergarten. Waldorf kinder is 2 years. I have learned so much about the pedagogy,and how best humans learn ,by being at this school,Ive learned about how to better parent my child, understand her temperament, parent with empathy but not permissive/passive and truly connect with my child and her learning style. Waldorf education is for the whole family and requires a certain knowledge and commitment by the parents. If you are looking for a place to drop off your kid, minimal involvement and have them become great test takers ,this is not the school for you. The staff and community are overwhelmingly supportive,our class teacher had paid home visits to see my daughter when she was struggling with some things.Continually follows up with me and her progress. I am thrilled that we now have added a high school. I best see the results when I meet and speak with the graduates of a Waldorf curricula. The proof is in the results of the Waldorf kid
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.
My daughter has attended PWS since 3rd grade and is in 6th grade. I think Waldorf is extraordinary. Her class teacher loves and nurtures her students. They are family to her. This was clear to me when I visited before enrolling her in 3rd grade. The students had just put on a Greek play and ran up to their teacher enthusiastically hugging and kissing her. They adore her. And I was blown away by what the 3rd graders were capable of! They all memorized every line in the play and it was about 30-40 minutes long. This is something I have come to see is an exceptional quality of Waldorf students: their attention span and enthusiasm. My daughter's teacher ensures the students are on or above grade level standards and my daughter is performing very well academically. But her biggest learning has been in becoming a happy, well-rounded person who knows how to learn. She is surrounded by beauty and adults (teachers and parents) who "walk the walk," who demonstrate through their way of being integrity, hard work, passion and creative problem solving. I can see the gifts of PWS in my daughter's loving attitude, demeanor, confidence and enthusiasm for learning and life.
After much research and experience, and two kids at PWS, our family has found that there is nothing like a Waldorf education and we believe that Pasadena Waldorf School is committed to providing the very best Waldorf education. By 8th grade, my older child had an incredible depth of knowledge about a wide variety of subjects. He has a strong sense of self fostered by this education, he knows how to work with others understanding the importance of this, and his critical thinking skills are off the charts. My younger child is clearly on the same path. This school had a positive, life-changing impact on our children and on our family.