The Chicago Waldorf School teaches the whole child by engaging all parts of their developing capacities and puts equal focus on the social and emotional intelligence by keeping a class with one teacher for grades 1-8. The classroom becomes an evolving community where the children are forced to learn how to be a strong individual that is a part of a greater group. This safe environment with a long-time teacher creates fertile ground for rigorous academic exploration and building resilience in the children who attend. I couldn't be happier with this school for my 3 children.
Parent-Child class was good but Early Childhood was a disaster. Communication was cryptic----i.e. he had a rough day --without any explanation. Our son woke up in tears, not wanting to go back. The teacher decided that he wasn t ready and should wait a few months. We agreed. However, again, communication was awful. The teacher waited for us to arrive at school in the morning and sent us home saying He s not quite ready yet in front of all the other parents/classmates --tactless for a school that alleges core values of respect/community. CWS professes a wide array of races and economic backgrounds . This was not our experience. From the New Families event at a mansion to the monochromatic population (see the stats) we didn t see much evidence of diversity. As middle class folks, we felt out of place. This is disheartening as CWS is in one of the most diverse neighborhoods around. The College of Teachers sets curriculum. All members of the COT are required to be active student(s) of Anthroposophy . This information is in the handbook, but was not shared in orientations. So the lack of diversity extends to the leadership where all must subscribe to the same spiritual view.
I transferred my 3 kids into Chicago Waldorf School last year from an wonderful magnet school (5th, 3rd, K). We were happy at our school, but my oldest son has challenges with organization which led to him feelings of failure as a student. He wasn't good at test taking and keeping track of assignments, books, worksheets, etc. The school immediately reacted and worked with our family to help him. While he was getting by earning acceptable grades, I was watching his passion for learning and his curiosity dwindle. His brain was fried at the end of each day and he was too tired to get lost in something creative (as he used to do). I couldn't be more relieved to watch the difference that has unfolded at Waldorf. Now he an inspired, fascinated student. All my kids ALWAYS want to go to school! That is all the proof I really need. As far as the transfer, my kids were equivalent in reading but behind in math, so it appears there no concern with starting reading later at Waldorf. Another adjustment is how much more is expected of them as students. A completed worksheet doesn't cut it. They put their all into everything they produce. You can't find a more mindful education.
Our son has been attending the Chicago Waldorf School since Early Childhood and is now a freshman in the High School. We couldn't be more pleased with education he has gotten. When he finished 8th grade we looked around at the many high school offerings in Chicago and nothing could compare to the well rounded education he's recieved at Waldorf . Just fyi, when he tested for highschools around the city his scores were excellent (he was offered a slot at Jones, so you know he had to test well) - so not sure what other reviewer is talking about about have to be tutored to be brought up to grade level. The teachers are outstanding and the community is our home away from home. Academics are strong, as is the art curriculum, but most importantly *everyone* here really cares about the children and the education they receive. A friend of mine, who need to leave the School for financial reasons told me that her son said "At Waldorf, I felt really loved" (something he did not feel at his new school) and I think that says it all. Great to be smart and prepared the for world -- and Waldorf does that very well -- even greater to have the visceral experience that "the World is Good".
My boys love going to school and I love that. They are engaged and challenged in a strong academic environment that nurtures there inquisitive minds. The education meets them were they are developmentally, through art, to engage them and deepen their understanding of the concepts presented to them. Teachers use movement, storytelling, drawing and music to enliven the curriculum.
A few days ago, I was sitting outside CWS enjoying an after-school snack with the kids. It was a lovely day. The ice cream vendor was doing a brisk business & children were happily chatting with their friends. As I sat there I overheard a young woman walk by and say to her friend, "If I ever send my kids to a private school, I'm going to send them somewhere like the Waldorf School." To this her friend replied, "What?!? You don't even have kids yet!" At this moment, I wanted to pull these young ladies aside and tell them everything I have come to know about mothering. I wanted to affirm that when kids are nurtured and happy, it *does* radiate from them! Because of this, parents find themselves searching for those places, people & experiences that will make this happen. CWS has been such a place for our family! Children are nurtured by multiyear relationships with caring teachers. The parent body is outstanding---truly living up to the it takes a village idea. What the students are able to do intellectually, musically, socially and artistically as a result of this foundation is breathtaking to watch. You don t even need to be their parents to see it happening!
If I had to do it all over again, Chicago Waldorf School would be my choice. It's the best school for nurturing, education and teaching in such a big city you have one community. Our daughter was well received in high school from day 1 and her perception has evolved. Thank you Chicago Waldorf School
When one reads the Waldorf curriculum, it sounds great and those morning lesson books look fantastic. One feels that his/her child is going to great this creative education that fosters critical thinking, but don't kid yourself! Mostly, the kids are copying from the board. There is no thinking and one is not allowed to question the philosophy.
I am a grandparent to four Chicago Waldorf students, ranging in age from 5 to 14 years old and I cannot say enough about their educational experience and its focus, the teachers and their commitment, and most of all, the value placed on personal integrity, personal authority, and personal accountability. Twice a week when I babysit, I see the consequence of this value system, so clearly present in the class room, come into their home in terms of attitude, self-reliance and a genuine concern for others. The educational structure and process is completely amazing to me in that the kids develop a love of learning because the focus, year after year, continually expands. When I visited on Grandparents' Day, I sat totally absorbed in the 7th grade physics lecture. How I wish I had been introduced to this science, before high school as she had been, without the fear and trepidation I came to know my senior year. To learn without anxiety is to experience the joy of pure discovery.
Our experience at the Chicago Waldorf School couldn't be better! Our daughter had been attending the school for just two months and the teacher suggested that she may have a disability in reading and math. We had her tested, the results came back positive. From that point on we partnered with the school, class teacher, learning specialist and special subject teachers, to best meet her needs. Now she is reading five grades above grade level, is in advanced math, and most importantly loves learning and school. The teachers have been respectful, compassionate and devoted to her. We are all thrilled beyond our expectations.
This school really does not teach anything. After several years of attending CWS, my son had to go to a reading specialist, not because he had any learning disabilities, but because Waldorf had not really taught him to read. They say that they are all about creativity but really the lessons are about copying lessons from the board. Needless to say, we transferred our child and had to send him to extra tutoring to get him on grade level.
My child has serous learning disabilities that they failed to even recognize! They did some weird "birthing" investigation and then wanted to have my child realigned. My child has dyslexia! My child is now getting the correct help, but stay away from Chicago Waldorf!
If total teacher dedication (to both students and their own ongoing training/education) and comprehensive parental involvement are markers for the success of a school, then the Chicago Waldorf School is top of the charts. This is a school where the needs of the students absolutely come first. The curriculum is tied so completely to their development from Early Childhood all the way through High School, ensuring them a rounded and engaging education. How will our future industry leaders and problem-solvers emerge? I'd hazard a guess through an educational system like Waldorf. From Early Childhood on, the child's IMAGINATION is engaged. Imagination is not a luxury item. It is the lynchpin to problem solving, goal setting, invention and leadership. The Chicago Waldorf students are confident, socialized, smart and caring. Community is a cornerstone of this system of education. As our society becomes evermore virtual, 'remote' and therefore fragmented, a strong sense of how community works will serve very well those embarking on their careers.
You will not find better teachers or a more dedicated staff in Chicago's private or public schools. From early childhood development through high school, the student's curiosity and thirst for knowledge are allowed to grow and be nurtured. Best of all, the children are allowed to be creative and explore, keeping their love of learning alive. Waldorf kids are fantastic problem solvers because the style of education isn't rote memorization. The process at this school keeps the children interested by recognizing and developing both mind and body. Parent involvement is higher than any school we have seen, because it's more than a place you send your child: It is truly a caring community where the development of strong, smart, compassionate, interested and interesting individuals courses through every aspect of Waldorf. I don't think you can do any better than that.
This school preaches tolerance and understanding, but they are Neo-Pagan fundamentalists. They are judgmental and arbitrary in their decisions. The administration is incompetent and weak. The school lacks process and procedures for any difficulty. And the education quality is very disappointing.
An energetic school environment, based on an educational philosophy that nurtures self-aware learners, is supported by a devoted community of actively involved parents, teachers and staff. My two children have flourished here as they progressed from early childhood classes into the upper grades. The students learn at an early age to take initiative and joy in learning. The curriculum is based on active directed inquiry and experience-based learning (it specifically avoids rote fact memorization exercises and "teaching to the test" forms of lessons). Waldorf is small enough and devoted to the philosophy that every student should feel that they are "known" to the school (not just teachers, but other students, parents, and administrators are actively involved in their development and education). This is one of the benefits of having "cohort" classes where the same students (and families) stay together with the same teacher from 1st grade up thru the High School (although at H.S. level they get different specialized subject teachers). The Waldorf kids are happy, confident, inquisitive and engaged in life and learning!
The math and science curriculum is very strong here. The teachers use an experiential learning approach, rather than relying on textbooks. The kids learn through careful observation and experimentation, and develop a much deeper understanding of the physical sciences as well as a lasting enthusiasm for the subject. They learn how to think critically and question assumptions. These students develop a love of learning that you can't get from a textbook. My grade school son, as well as all his classmates, actually look forward to tests and exams. And they enjoy homework! This school really challenges students intellectually and prepares them to actively engage in the world around them.
The parents all get involved in the education of their children. Exceptional teachers. They don't fast track the children.
My son transfered into CWS in 4th grade from a catholic school, and has flourished in ways I never imagined. The interview process made me confident in my decision, to meet the teacher and speak about my own child's educational goals. I also have a younger son in Early Childhood, who I never thought would attend "regular" school. This education speaks to him in a way that has also made him develop into a wonderful, calm, loving boy. The school's summer camp program provides great fun, social growth, daily beach time, and weekly field trips. The summer camp is a great compliment to my family's lifestyle by providing a safe enviroment for the children to enjoy thier friends and make new ones. My boys not only love their school, but they can't wait to go back!!
Our son attended the parent-child and early childhood programs which were truly excellent and enriching experiences . He continued to the grade school where problems began. His teacher appeared to have a bias against boys as well as reported anger management issues which erupted in the classroom. She was also very condescending and defensive with us in our attempts to discuss our son's increasing distress. We realized that he needed to leave this school and began searching for options. We found a much better fit for him at a small private school that was not only much kinder, but provided a genuinely grounded educational philosophy with a stronger academic curriculum. To summarize, this school has an outstanding early childhood program, but be very wary of continuing into the grade school. It is all about getting an excellent, caring teacher and having a positive classroom environment. Unfortunately, our son had neither.
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