We have been involved with DWS since 2004 and both of our children attend. One myth about this approach to education is that it is a good fit for "artsy" kids. While children who are drawn to music, arts and drama will enjoy how steeped in these things the curriculum is, I feel strongly that children who are not inclined in these ways need this education as well. The goal is to grow well-rounded human beings, who are capable of flexible thinking, compassion and caring for others and a feeling of responsibility for the way we impact the earth. This is done through very intentional methods grounded in a deep understanding of child development. Recent trends in education discuss emotional intelligence, which is something Waldorf education has valued since its inception with its Head, Heart and Hands approach. Children develop capacities, as opposed to acquiring knowledge to be regurgitated. These capacities translate into creative thinking, a love of learning, problem solving and sensitivity badly needed in the world today. Waldorf graduates are sought after by many colleges because of the kind of human beings they are.
When children are given too many choices and an ability to focus only on what they are naturally interested in, they become limited in the capacities they develop. Because students at DWS all take music, movement, art, history of all kinds, math and science, they enter the adult world capable of working a wide variety of jobs, with a wide variety of interests and skills. They simply make the world a better place and I am eternally grateful for the education, love and community our family has received from this amazing group of faculty and administrators.
Teachers work to meet each individual student. The relationship developed from having the same teacher for 8 years is remarkable. Teachers know their students and very consciously work to meet the student where they are and in a way that works for them.
Homework is relevant and based in something the children have experienced. There is not busy work or rote memorization. All work is age appropriate and homework is not regularly assigned until the end of elementary school to honor the child's time with their family and encouraging a slower pace and lots of free, unscheduled time.
i've had two daughters at this school since kindergarten (they are now 15 and 17). i couldn't be happier with their development. they are safe and they love their school and their friends. being a brit and having had a great education at an english boarding school, i found it hard to find a school in colorado which educates the whole person in a very wide and age-appropriate way. waldorf is the only form of american education i can recommend with confidence because it is based upon the excellent scientific and spiritual methodology of an academic expert: rudolf steiner. his work forms the basis of truly world-class educational techniques which produce fabulous thinkers and incredibly well-rounded members of society. denver waldorf is a must if you are remotely concerned about your children growing up in today's difficult and dangerously under-educated world.
We have three kids at the Denver Waldorf School, and have been involved with the school for 10 years.
What drew us to Waldorf Education is the emphasis on cultivating capacities rather than simply teaching skills and information. There is skill work, of course, but the focus is on helping the children know how to observe accurately, think critically, be socially sensitive, emotionally intelligent, and self-disciplined.
As a parent, I wonder about what the world will look like for my children and their children, and I can't quite wrap my head around why our approach to education is still teaching kids lots of information that's not relevant to solving tomorrow's problems. But I am frequently and overwhelmingly impressed by how strong my children's problem solving skills are, and how kind and compassionate they are to others. They are so much more socially aware than my husband and I are!
We also really appreciate the educational support services at the school, because we have a child who is on the Autism Spectrum, NOS. He has taken really big strides because of the services he has access to through the school, and because of the strong interest knowledgeable teachers have in helping him thrive. He's very intellectually precocious, so there are times when he complains about being bored at school, but we've actually come to think that's okay. He's expected to participate in a wide range of subjects, including handwork and physical education, painting and singing--to name a few-- which have really helped to round out his natural tendencies. In addition to the support services he receives, I think this broad and varied curriculum has been a huge support in his continue to transform some of the challenges he has with an Autism diagnosis. He will have little problem in life intellectually, but I can see already how he is going to be more successful in accomplishing what he wants to because of the social intelligence he's developing.
Best of all, perhaps, our kids are happy to go to school everyday! They are actively engaged in their learning and interested in the world. I think the ground is being set for them to continue to be interested in learning for the rest of their lives.
I could not agree more whole heartedly with this. And the school just hosted an alumni panel. I was blown away by by the people this graduates have become. They're driven, socially conscious and capable.
The teachers are effective because they are genuinely interested in the children in all aspects of their education. Some of the class sizes are a bit larger than I thought appropriate. But I've learned that it's actually really helpful for the social life of the class, since they stay together for 8 years. Also, the teacher knows the kids way better having them for 8 years, so the larger class sizes (25-32 kids) seems just fine.