It appears to be a fantastic idea - fostering an environment where a child will reach their personal potential. That doesn't actually happen. I couldn't get a teacher to get interested in focusing on my child's potential. After two years, my son is horrifically behind in all academic subjects. He reads, writes, performs math, etc. well below grade level. He did however have enough classroom time that he created a whole notebook of minecraft characters, secrets, etc. As long as you are quiet, you can do anything you like for hours on end. Maybe someone should be teaching these kids.
The two years we had our children at this school were a huge mistake that we will be paying for for years to come. One of my children had a teacher who was very loving. One had a teacher who was verbally and emotionally abusive. Neither child, however, was inspired to learn. There is a lot of knitting and eurythmy and storytelling, but the children are deprived even the most basic academics.
Our kids are now in a wonderful school and we are SO relieved we pulled them out when we did. We only regret not doing it sooner. Both kids are thriving beyond belief and are loving the exposure to science, math and reading. They were starved for knowledge and learning. The Waldorf philosophy and Mt Phoenix as a school sound compelling in theory, but both were a disservice to our kids.
If you are looking for a school that creates a safe, warm, and welcoming space for child's imagination, creativity, and individuality to prosper, Mountain Phoenix is the place for you. Childhood is honored and protected as a sacred space. The curriculum gently and appropriately introduces academics when the child is developmentally ready. For example, preschool and kindergarten are play-based. Reading is not introduced until first grade through stories, art, and movement. Children are celebrated and childhood is honored. We love it here!
We have two children in MPCS, and plan on continuing to keep out children there. Inspite of growing pains and the inevitable development conflicts, the community is strong and healthy. Before enrolling it would be advised to throughly research Steiner and Waldorf methods and expectations. The Waldorf philosophy is 1-2 years later most standard educational models, leading educational research indicates that pushing young children in instructional education only lasts from 1-3 years, and later in development often fall behind and struggle. While the social and community learning method allows children to develop at a more individual pace, in the long run the love of learning and personal skills lead to a great advantage in secondary and post secondary education. But it is a conscious commitment and requires patience in the process. There are issues with children with behavioral problems and how that is dealt with in this model. This has been stressful to adjust to, but as the community strengthens and grows I believe this issue to will be resolved.
My child is currently "stuck" in this school till the end of the year when we will be removing her to a real school with much relief. She has had the same teacher for three years now, so she is, in effect, in 1st grade for the third year in a row. She still has trouble reading, and this is not considered a problem at all by the school. They claim she will learn when she's "ready." However, I know that my child is desperate to read and learn - something she does not get at school. We go to the library and check out books about science because it is COMPLETELY absent from her school experience. They spend most of their time playing - they go on hikes, draw, dance, sing songs, do "handwork" every day (crocheting and knitting) and copy things that the teacher asks them to. They do absolutely no original academic work. This would be fine for preschool, but in third grade, it is unacceptable. They do not learn WHILE they do these things - they do these things INSTEAD of learning. Everything my child has learned about reading, writing, and science, she has been taught at home. She is excited to move to a new school in the fall. Do not send your child to Mountain Phoenix.
This is a school's story of how to go about grabbing defeat out of the jaws of a clear victory in a Waldorf-inspired charter school that for a time was a model for the country. It was clearly bringing great creative-thinking education to our kids. But, with martinette precision, sheeplike Board members listen to and follow uncredentialled leadership as two individuals are in total control. Waldorf-trained teachers will soon be leaving. Even though a research showed lack of support for the new Principal, the Board voted to extend her 2 more years. She works with the School's Board Treasurer. As we seek for our children to become reasonably moral & socially presentable but if the Board is not so inclined how can we expect our children to be as well. Waldorf requires meaningful work keeping the curriculum healthy. Looks like that train has left the station. So sad.
I have two children at this school. My husband and I are educators and are exceptionally invested in our children's education. We chose this school because of its great emphasis on developmentally appropriate work, educating all aspects of the human, family importance, and preservation of childhood. There is a confident, philosophically-sound, gradual developmental unfolding that is allowed to happen here; something that is strongly missing in the other, almost panicked, school environments we experienced elsewhere. The curriculum is designed to go deep using a variety of avenues rather than just prepare them for the next test. Time to ponder, create, move and play is all a part of this. If you are simply looking for an alternative school vs. a Waldorf-inspired, it may not be for you. To love this school, it takes trust in the philosophy and an appetite for stepping outside the electronics-filled, fast-paced, mainstream culture in a quest for a far more creative, holistic education. We are relieved to be backing a school which so closely matches our values and is reinforcing and furthering the love of learning we've worked so hard to instill in our children.
This school is terrible. They ask for too many "donations". Also, if you were looking for a school where you can learn, just leave. There is too much play time. For example, most middle school classes get two recesses and a snack time. Really? The is much favoritism in the school. I looked at other reviews and saw that people were happy with how artsy this school is. Yes, it has a good art system, but the students are only copying the teacher's work and are not able to be creative with their own ideas. There are no sports at this school, which I find sad. The students don't do very much homework and will NOT be high school ready. This school is terrible and I will not recommend it to ANYONE.
Sadly we had to abandon Mountain Phoenix. We were sold on the idea of positive reinforcement fostering individualized academic growth. I was told that a student would be encouraged to meet their potential. What happened instead is my student was encouraged to find something quiet to do. This did not grow his skills in any way. In fact, he left the school with less proficiency, then he arrived. It appears to be a good concept, but it fails.