I am so grateful for this wonderful school! We came from another Waldorf school a few years ago, and my children are in 5th and 1st grades now. They have wonderful teachers and love their school. It is their second family, and I love having a supportive community where people strive for a media-free childhood (among all of the other wonderful Waldorf guidelines). The previous review about the class who lost students is a bit exaggerated, but it is about one particular class which was having a hard time and now has a new teacher and is doing well.
I am surprised that nobody has reviewed this school in years. The school is a teacher run school. So, don't go against the grain. Most teachers will take off at least 20 days during the school year. The school gets lots of students, b/c the campus is beautiful. What you will receive when you get there is very little education. Most families stay only b/c there are no great options in Santa Rosa, if you don't want a public school. Kids who leave are known to repeat a grade, or need tutoring to catch up. The richness of Waldorf is usually other things they teach. Their subject teachers are the worst. Class size is 30-33. Classes are mostly uncontrollable. Ask around about the reputation before buying the beautiful tour. Our class lost 15 out of the original 30 students.
It is one of the best examples of how beneficial a Waldorf education could be for ALL children. It has an 8 acre biodynamic farm that brings the rhythm of the seasons and the earth to children in a 'natural' way. They distributed over $700K this year in tuition assistance so that economics are not a deterrent. The children that have graduated from Summerfield are extremely mentally and socially healthy and are contributing in very positive ways to society.
Everything about the school and classroom environment is carefully maintained to provide a beautiful, coherent, distraction-free place to learn. The various subjects are artfully integrated into a seamless whole. Their presentation is always wonderfully age-appropriate, and the children are encouraged to think for themselves, but always consider other perspectives.
My daughter is in the Red Rose kindergarten class at Summerfield Waldorf. Skeptical at first, I now find myself truly enjoying and appreciating the time we have spent at this special school. My daughter's teacher is FABULOUS! She is loving and yet firm, and provides an environment where kids can explore their world in a safe environment. My daughter, being a very bright and smart child, has benefited tremendously with this education program that focuses more on experiential activities - they sing and dance, play outside everyday (rain or shine), cook their own food, clean up after themselves, work on the farm, create art, work with wood, and so much more. Though there is not much focus on the ABCs and the 123s, the foundation of knowledge my daughter is building in this program will support her throughout the rest of her life. I highly recommend the kindergarten program!