Most teachers are great and do care about the children. There have been a few instances, a recent one included, where the teacher was horrible and families were leaving because of this and it took a long time to let that teacher go.
Many of the children are very well-behaved. Spoiled but generally pretty good. There have been issues where some kids were bullies and they weren't dealt with because their parents contribute too much money. Some kids have left the school because of being bullied.
I feel that many of the students are from very wealthy families and are very spoiled. They go on all kinds of trips and have lots of stuff. Giving back is not as emphasized as I feel from such a batch of privileged students and families.
We are leaving this school after 5 years because it has become financially prohibitive. The tuition is $19,000/year with a 5% increase each year in part to fund a high school that has maybe 15 kids in each grade. Leaving with a sad heart because I love the arts incorporated into the schooling BUT there is not much science and there are definitely hardly any boys at the school. The vibe feels very old school where the traditional family is the norm. Dad works, mom is stay at home. There is also a rich hippie/trust fund vibe because at this point, only the wealthy can afford to go here. Seriously, as I'm rushing off to work so I can pay the tuition, adults are hanging around, drinking coffee, knitting, not working. Sadly, that wasn't Steiner's idea. His school was first created for factory workers' children. So if you're very wealthy and money isn't an issue, this is a very pleasant school for your children.
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.