This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Chicago Waldorf School1
Posted April 10, 2014
- a community member
Very rude staff. Went for an open house and was told by receptionist we weren't on list so couldn't attend. Turns out we were on list. We arrived at 8:45 not 8:00 when open house started and were told to come back later. No one could enter after the open house started. Seriously? Prospective business and I'm being turned away? My husband took off work to attend. Receptionist says he told everyone to be there by 7:45. I tell him that he did not tell me because i would have put that right into my schedule plus my daughter has to be dropped at school at 8:00 so I would have definitely remembered if he said something.. He replies he's very thorough too. Really? You were just telling me we weren't on the list. We cannot attend the 10:30 time plus I had requested to view the 4th grade class but at 10:30 we'd have to observe the 2nd grade . This guy then goes on and asks me to recall the exact phone conversation I had with him and starts getting loud. I ask him why he's getting loud. Wait isn't this school all about peace and harmony and they have this belligerent receptionist insisting he's right I'm wrong? If this guy is an example of the attitude or mentality there then forget it. Sad
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.