My wife and I were drawn to Maple Village Waldorf School soon after moving to Long Beach in 2010 and it quickly became clear to us that the Waldorf style of education, as well as the small class sizes, the warmth of community at this school, and emphasis on healthy, sustainable living were going to fit our family well. After four years with the school I now feel that Maple Village is one of the best private school values in greater Los Angeles. Both of my children (currently in kindergarten and 2nd grade at the school) have flourished in an environment that teaches the whole child, with particular emphasis on art, handwork (e.g. knitting, sewing, and woodwork), music, storytelling, and movement to compliment the typical main lessons covering math, language arts, etc. I am happy to add that Maple Village also incorporates Spanish language instruction beginning in 1st grade and continuing through 8th grade. Teaching such a breadth of topics at a Waldorf school and incorporating creative ways to reinforce concepts is no easy task but so far my children’s teachers have been more than up to the task. This is a great school and I cannot recommend it enough for any parents considering the Parent-tot, Preschool, Kindergarten, or Grades programs up to 8th grade. Note that for working (or busy) parents morning and after-school care are available (morning care is free for Grades students).
After a year of Kindergarten at a “top rated” Long Beach public elementary school, I knew the relentless paperwork, homework, testing and time spent seated at a desk (students were only allowed 15 minutes of recess per 3.5 hour day) were not what I envisioned for my son’s education. We made the switch to Maple Village Waldorf School and couldn’t be more pleased. My son regained his spark, curiosity and imagination and is actually happy to go to school each day (unlike his public school days when every morning was a battle to get out the door). MVWS provides a whole-child education, teaching art, music, reverence for nature and community, and LOTS of movement and outdoor time, as well as the basics you would expect from an elementary school. It’s true that academics are taught at a slightly slower pace than what is currently being taught at public elementary schools, but that is a good thing. Thanks to the No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top initiatives, public schools are pressuring kids at younger and younger ages to perform at a grade level or two higher than they’re developmentally capable of doing. Research shows that play in early childhood, not sitting at a desk doing paperwork, is critical for long-term educational success. (Check out the research on the Finnish educational system, which consistently ranks near the top in the world, yet students there don’t begin formal education until age seven.) Bottom line is, I feel MVWS is providing our children a well-rounded education that still allows space for kids to be kids. The class sizes are much smaller than what you’d find in public schools, allowing the children to form connections with the teachers and other students. The community of parents is very active and engaged as well. MVWS is a special place and my family is grateful to have it in our lives.
Maple Village Waldorf provides an amazing learning experience tailored to the unique talents, abilities, and needs of its students. The curriculum exposes kids not only to the arts and humanities but also math and sciences in ways that are fun, creative, and most importantly, appropriate to the child's stage of development. The teaching faculty are PASSIONATE about teaching and provide a nurturing and supportive classroom environment conducive to learning. We absolutely love this school for our daughter!
My son is thriving there. He is really engaged and loves a lot of what he is learning. The way things are taught, through stories, movement and beautiful artwork, is really special and seems to fit very well with our son as he grows. If your family loves nature, music, or art and eschews media (the school urges families to strictly limit screen time) , then this school may be just right for you. It's a small community and parents are expected to engage, by attending parent workshops and helping in and out of the classroom. Our annual Harvest Faire is an event that we all work to put on and the kids love it. A child has the same teacher for grades 1 through 8, so the teacher really gets to know each child individually and can continually work on helping the children work together and care for each other. Classroom management is not strict and, in my opinion, that is sometimes a detriment. However, I am overall extremely thankful for all the school has meant for our family: a boy who loves school, caring teachers and staff who share the wisdom they have gained in raising their own children, a community of families, some of whom have become good friends.
Our family could not be more happy with our son's transition from a play based preschool learning environment to Maple Village Waldorf School's Kindergarten. At the end of his first week, our son jumped in the car and shouted, "I LOVE my kindergarten! Thank you so much for letting me go here." It's so beautiful to see our child progress and learn so much while being so comfortable and enthusiastic.
I am currently in the parent and toddler class and this school is seriously amazing. From the environment / atmosphere it is natural and peaceful. The teachers, Miss Lisa and Miss Anne, and others that my son and I have met are truly thoughtful and happy. The staff Miss Alice and Miss Christine , go out of their way to meet the students as well as the parents. The parents that are currently in class with us feel become family. So much to say, it's truly a blessing that we found this gem. Such a great school and wanted to share this reviee to any parent that is looking for an exceptional learning experience for their children, you won't be disappointed.