July 10, 2015
I have waited a long time to write a review on this school to make sure I am completely objective and unbiased by emotion. In general, I would say that our experience was that DWS was spectacular at what they did well, and terrible at what they did poorly, with little receptivity to feedback and change. The staff as generally unmanaged, and do not receive any performance reviews, and parents were never given an opportunity to give feedback on teachers, administrators or staff members. In fact, every time it was even suggested that one of the staff were sub-par performers, the leaders fell into a tail spin of ugly defensiveness. Perhaps that has changed since we left the school several years ago. They do certain things beautifully: creativity, arts, music, dance, physical exercise, outdoor play time, unstructured play time, independent thought, and harmonious relationships with students. Academically, based on all of my research, I believe they deliver a modified version of Waldorf methodology. The kids get terrifically proficient at knitting, playing the lyre, and illustrating letters and numbers, while true academic functions are taught in an unorthodox manner. This approach works really well for certain kids and not so well for others. For kids who are natural-born readers and who just learn by osmosis, they do well. Anyone who needs more structure will lag far, far behind. When we left, our child was three years behind in both reading and math, which seemed of little or no concern to the teachers or staff. Their theory was that the child would "simply catch up by 12th grade", a chance we ultimately were not wiling to take. If I had to do it again, I would do Parzival pre-school and 1st and 2nd grade at DWS and then get my child into a more academically structured environment. We have heard from parents who stayed and left later that they regretted the decision, and behavioral issues got worse as the years progressed. In sum, great, great school for young kids, pull them out by 3rd grade if you have any aspirations for your child to attend competitive schools in the future.
- submitted by a parent