My three children attend MWS. It is our first year and my husband and I feel fortunate to have found such an amazing school and community. Our children enjoy going to school which is so important to us as parents. They love their teachers and classmates. They are making friends and learning new things each day that they are excited to share with us at pick up time. We know when we leave them they are in great hands. They truly are receiving a rich, well rounded education that I wish I would have had as a child. We find the administration to be excellent as well.
I sent both my children to Marin Waldorf. By not challenging the children acedemically, it promoted and instilled a dislike for school and learning. It made my children feel that they were not smart enough to be challenged. The experience was damaging to them. I found the community welcoming but found the administration lacking in the ablity to honor the truth and to speak the truth. The school was particularily damaging to my youngest child --I would not recommend this school to anyone who feels that learning is fun and values a child's feeling of self worth.
There s a lot of buzz lately about the film Race to Nowhere in which schools today are making kids depressed and stressed out, with so much emphasis on testing and cramming academics at an early age. The Waldorf approach is an antidote. Instead of being burned out, by eighth grade these kids love to learn and know how to think. They are intelligent, creative, poised, confident, and mature. You will see this if you attend a tour and see the alumni panel, or just talk to the kids. If you are worried about a two-year, non-academic kindergarten, I heard in a tour of a Waldorf-methods charter school that the two countries with the highest literacy rates don t teach their kids to read until age 7 (one country is Sweden, I can t recall the other.) By about the fourth grade, the academics catch up and then surpass the public schools.
We love this school! My daughter attended two years of kindergarten at Marin Waldorf School and is currently in 1st grade. She absolutely LOVED kindergarten and is very happy at the school. I toured several schools and ultimately chose this one because it best aligns with my values: environmental sustainability, what is best for the whole child (mental, physical, social/emotional), making learning interesting instead of boring and rote, and the importance of healthy living - good nutrition, adequate sleep, limiting media, physical activity, helping with household chores, etc. This is a wholesome place. The students are really happy here.
So much of what is practiced at Waldorf schools is now being supported by research in neuroscience about what helps kids learn. It breaks my heart to think of kids in other schools who have to sit still in desks for long periods of time listening to lectures. The teachers here use multi-modal teaching techniques to more fully engage the child for example, in first grade they go outside and jump rope to answer math problems, they learn Spanish through puppets and songs, etc. If you take a tour, you ll see the kids don t open textbooks and memorize things instead they CREATE their own textbooks, rich in illustrations and helping them to more fully digest the material in their own words. They are taught to knit the teacher said there are many studies showing that learning to knit (following the thread, through the needles) helps students with reading comprehension following the thread of the storyline. Before learning an abstract concept, they first experience a concrete example. I could go on.
The Steiner-based curriculum allows children to be children and is nature-based. The toys are all natural and open-ended. The teachers are amazing and loving and the campus is in the most beautiful setting with so much nature to serve as their playground!
Marin Waldorf School serves families from pregnancy to 8th grade. Their parenting program is a wonderful place to find support in your parenting path and a like minded community. The feeling of community grows and deepens as you go from pre-school and kindergarten to the grades. There is great parent involvement in the life of the school. The curriculum is very rich and meets the children where they are at developmentally. It is a delight to bring my three children to school everyday.
We love how Waldorf education allows children to unfold naturally within a school setting. Developmental stages of childhood are respected, allowing for each child's capacity to emerge without putting pressure on to master skills at younger & younger ages. We are so grateful for this. Marin Waldorf's application/interview process was profoundly satisfying and respectful. This school and teachers really want to know our family and especially our child. Gone are the "check the box" kind of q&a. Instead, we were able to talk about what we felt were our child's unique challenges and strengths. I questioned the rationale for the some of the questions and it was clear that the goal is to truly understand and know our child's life experience. No judgment felt. (Ironically our child s early life story was by no means picture perfect...but our application was still approved. So we didn t see any correlation.)
In the interview process the teachers ask about your child's birthing experience and whether and how long they were breastfed. In the Waldorf philosophy, this information helps better understand the child and how they move throughout the world. Here, the information is part of their screening process. Obtrusive and judgmental. When we interviewed toward the end of the year we were told we'd find out in March. We were accepted within days. Meanwhile, other friends waited for months, knowing we'd been accepted. Awkward and unprofessional. We also witnessed parent recruiters embrace our friends-- who were ultimately not accepted--and say things to them like 'We can't wait for you to be part of our school...' Inappropriate and insensitive. Finally, each parent who applied here expressed interest in knowing who their child's teacher would be. No one ever mentioned that the lead teacher is taking a sabbatical. Misleading and unstable.
Beautiful campus and amazing teachers. My little girl is really blossoming here.
mws gives parents and students the opportunity to discover together the wonder of being alive in learning, creating and spiriting our minds and souls.
Warm and friendly environment, excellent teachers and staff, beautiful facilities, lots of nature and open space! A truly magical place.
I have three children at MWS. Having experienced both public and private schools in Marin County, we believe we have found Utopia. The sprawling 11+ acres of breathtakingly beautiful land is enjoyed by all. The Preschool and the Kindergarten is the sweetest, aesthetic, most nurturing environment I have ever encountered. The incredibly rich curriculum in 1st-8th Grades can only be likened to the education a Pharaoh may have received with the personal and special attention of a Scholar. Fieldtrips and projects transport the students into the world of their subject matter with the capable guidance of their brilliant Teachers and parental involvement.
There are few decisions a parent makes that they never second guess. Our decision to send my children to Marin Waldorf is one of those. The dedication to a truly heart & soul approach to education is exhibited in everything one experiences. From the curriculum to the monthly class parent meetings to the faires and events on campus. All of the individuals participating in my children's education at Marin Waldorf come to work every day because they truly believe in Waldorf's alternative approach to learning and it shows in every interaction with the children. I encourage anyone reading this review to experience a bit of this school and see for themselves.
I'm a former public school teacher and have a child here now. Marin Waldorf School (MWS) has been such an amazing experience. Our child is hungry to learn. In today's age of 'No Child Left Behind' that emphasizes test scores, it's nice to a school such as MWS that focuses on more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. Graduates learn how to 'think' -- something that one does not find in many students until after their collegiate career is done. It's no wonder that graduates here go onto some of the best universities in the country, seeking to make the world a better place. By introducing subjects when children are developmentally ready makes all the difference in the world.
A beautiful vision but there are some real issues at this school. Scratch the surface.
I have a 20 year old child and an 11 year old. The 20 year old went through public school all the way. My thought was that we live in a very nice area and the public schools are fine, I was wrong. Many kids make it through public school just fine- a Waldrof education is so much more. We made the decision to put our now11 year old into Marin Waldorf when she was starting the 3rd grade. By the time she had finished public school in 2nd grade, she was constantly upset and stressed about school, especially the timed math. Even though she'll probably never be a great mathmatician, she no longer has stress about it. Her teacher gave her confidence that she could do it. I now have guilt for having never given my son this kind of education, he would have been so much happier and confident.
We moved to San Rafael so that our son could attend Marin Waldorf. We were attracted by our interaction with the teachers, the robust curriculum, and the overall feel of the graduates--who are articulate, confidant, and ready for the world.
I have one child at this school and one child in a public school. Both are great! Marin Waldorf is an inspiring, intellectually and spiritually based school to me well thought out use of funds and fantastic curriculum. It is terrific for my kid who is a self-lead, curious and abstract thinker. The ability to teach to the whole child and teach well is remarkable at this school. The staff is consistently present and they have time and space to actually get to know and to teach each child. The campus is safe. It is not an easy school academically but respect for the child is initiated so the children seem to want to do well. Yes there is homework. Yes there is expectation to work to ones highest standard. But there seems to be a different way of handling the growth of these young children and in that, the panic of not getting things done perfectly, fades, and with that, the ability to work well blossoms. I wish I had gone there as a kid.
MWS has a rich arts and academic program with an inspiring curriculum that parallels the development of the child with the development of man's unfolding understanding of himself and his world. Music and art are integrated into academic lessons. Children stay with their main teacher from first to eighth grade with specialty teachers teaching games and physical education, handwork (knitting, sewing, crossstitch), music (vocal, recorder, strings, Orff percussion instruments), gardening, woodwork, eurythmy (movement with speech and music), Spanish, German and extra Math. Each class does a play every year which draws from the curriculum and involves every child. The campus is beautiful with a forest of oaks, playgrounds and a large garden. The kindergartens and preschool are nonacademic and emphasize stories, songs, cooking and imaginative play. The rooms look like the living room of a loving grandmother with toys made of wood, wool, cotton and silk. A parent's dream!
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