I love Rudolf Steiner schools. I was unfortunate to have had quite a bad experience myself during my second year as a student there, though I still hope others will benefit from this wonderful institution.
I was shocked to discover that not all the teachers have a teaching degree. Can you imagine? I know people can be very intelligent without a college degree but when it comes to teaching I really expect a certain level of college education. Especially when I am being asked to pay thousands of dollars each year in tuition. I also noted a morale problem among the employees, issues with the early education department, and rumblings about the head of school's leadership and human resources abilities. Some people are certainly very qualified and the philosophy great if everyone were operating by it. I hope it can find the right leadership to bring everyone together in an organized fashion to truly live the philosophy they use to get people to sign a contract. Some of the administration do not act in a manner consistent with the marketing. They are just too divided and it can be noticed by anyone spending even a little time on the campuses. Recently they seem to have lost key employees for various reasons and the turnover is alarming. This is a sign that things at the top are not running correctly. The board should take notice and the teachers should take back some control.
The faculty is simply wonderful. Kids score extremely well on college board exams. The school teaches both math and literary lessons at very high level. Every student must pass all classes.
Everyone gets a long very well, everyone loves what their doing. This is a great place to work. It is a home for so many of us.
I have heard and learned about Waldorf education and actually went to all 3 Waldorf schools in Michigan. They are all wonderful schools and although Detroit Waldorf was closer from our house but we chose to send our daughter to RSSAA. One of our reasons is because at RSSAA my child spends most of her day in this beautiful magic woods (that's what they call it). They actually started and finished the day outside. One day my daughter told me proudly that she can now climb a tree by herself! Something that has lost in this new high tech world and this was the very reason why we sent her there. I want her to grow up knowing her surrounding and to love nature just like I did when I was a kid. She often came home with clothes full of mud and I want that for my child. Now, is there any other schools out there who can give that to my child? She also learned to bake her own bread and make her own oatmeal for snack. I also feel the most positive environment when I am in the school, although I do believe you have to be willing to learn more about Waldorf education and also willing to get involved with the school's activities. This is definitely not a drop off your kid school.
I believe in Rudolf Steiner's ideas about childhood and education, but this school has a "one size fits all" approach to learning -- all children are expected to conform to it and the Waldorf pedagogy is the only one relied upon to address issues. Our child was there for two years and we found the atmosphere to be strict, extremely rule-oriented, and much too teacher-centered, leaving the children little or no freedom for self-discovery, self-discipline, and creative expression. There are some happy, confident, experienced teachers at the school, and you are fortunate if your child has one of them for 8 years. In our experience, Waldorf philosophy did not translate into joyful learning and positive child development.
My children attended this school for several years and there were many things we loved about it. Waldorf education can be a wonderful thing, and was in the school that my children attended in another state before moving here. What eventually drove us away, however, was the school's inability to resolve conflict and deal with issues as they arise. In two of the three we were a part of, there were numerous families that had relatively small problems arise (learning disabilities, minor conflicts with teachers or other students, etc). We watched all of these families, some of them close friends, as they tried to navigate through these issues using the "process" set down by the school which includes various levels of administration, teachers, board, etc. Most of these issues were never resolved, and many of the families pulled their children out of the school. The ones that stayed were so resentful that it created a constant atmosphere of tension and conflict in the two classes. Eventually, we felt our children were being negatively affected by all of the conflict, friends leaving and overall instability of the school so we decided to find another school.
I love Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor (RSSAA) because their philosphy treasures childhood and the curriculum meets the child as a whole being, with lots of movement and outdoor time besides academic learning. I find RSSAA a rare and unique educational community. The Waldorf curriculum emphasizes academic intelligence, social intelligence, and community consciousness. Waldorf s hands-on experiential curriculum cultivates a love for learning, self-confidence, and a creative and imaginative mind. The dedicated faculty, place a high importance on their long term relationship with the children. This relationship enables the students to grow and develop to their full potential. I am grateful that our family has been apart of this education for all these years.
Beauty would be the first word that would come to mind if you asked me about The Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor. Beauty of mind, beauty of the arts and beauty in the development of an individual's character. At the RSSAA, each person, whether they are a parent, child or teacher is given the opportunity to reach their full potential in life. Everyone works together. I have a child with special needs who attends the RSSAA and I have been met with nothing but kindness and support to help my child flourish. I highly recommend the RSSAA.
My child spent one year recently at the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor. In my opinion, the worst part was the oppressively strict environment. For example, children were not allowed to talk to friends in class or leave their seats without the teacher's permission, and were sent to stand in the hall as punishment. After spending one day observing in my child's class, I felt like I was suffocating. The school offers one rigid approach to teaching. If it doesn't happen to fit a child's learning style, the teachers astonishingly label the child as having learning and/or behavior problems, and blame is placed on the child and/or the parents. There is much good about Waldorf education, but this school seems to be unaware of 21st century research on brain development, and how to incorporate innovative, diverse and effective teaching methods into the Waldorf philosophy. If you visit the school, I urge you to look beyond an idealistic vision of what a Waldorf school could be, and see if the children in the classrooms appear to be lively, active learners, or quiet, obedient students. There is an important difference between the two that I think RSSAA does not fully recognize.
We sent our first grader here after a difficult experience in the public schools. We were given promises that they would individualize his need for advanced math and his difficulties with reading. Instead when he did not respond well to "one size fits all" teaching, they labeled him a behavior problem and told us how we were failing him as parents. We were given advice on everything from sleep to diet to clothing to our visitation schedule (we are divorced). They told us often our child had a "dark side". When he was diagnosed as dyslexic and gifted, we brought in educational experts to help the teacher meet his needs. She was hostile and completely uninterested in adopting any plan we might suggest. She told us we should "trust" her plan and then simply began sending him home everyday when he became too frustrated to function. Our child came home with bruises and scratches, and we were told it was healthy "rough play". However when a classmate complained our child was "too rough" he was labeled "aggressive". I would not recommend anyone with a child "outside the norm" choose Steiner. They are completely unprepared to handle it, and are likely to pathologize the child.
As public educators, my husband and I have a clear understanding of how the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor measures up to public offerings. We are proud of our profession and our colleagues are capable and inspiring people. However, the size and personalization provided at Rudolf Steiner is impossible for us to match in the public arena. Rudolf Steiner provides a superior experience. Sending our daughter to Steiner is quite simply, the best parenting decision we have ever made.
Our experience has been WONDERFUL at both the Rudolf Steiner High School and the lower school. Our son has been attending the school since the second grade and he is currently living abroad as a foreign exchange student. The teachers are very well educated and their commitment to the students' education is obvious. The school educates the entire person, not just the intellect. My son could easily have been on the typical "male" track of athletics and math. At the Steiner School, he excels at sports, math, art, drama, woodworking, science, singing, English, German and I'm sure a few other subjects I'm forgetting right now. Most importantly, he is becoming a good citizen, capable of meaningful work and maintaining healthy relationships with his peers as well as with adults.
The faculty of this school is amazing. If you want your son or daughter to discover their own talents, abilities, passions...rather than trying to fit them into a mold that will fill some unspecified need in the economic sector in years to come, this is the school you have been seeking. I have had two children in this school since kindergarten, one is now in college studying criminal justice and the other is in high school. Every student receives a thorough education in music, science, mathematics, foreign languages, art, literature/English, physical education, history. They leave the school prepared to become citizens of the world, capable of meeting the challenges they themselves and society as a whole will face in the future. I cannot imagine a better place to send a child.
Rudolf Steiner High School is a failing experiment in an alternative liberal education enterprise. Teachers are over educated, overpaid and more concerned with protecting their egos, reputations, and salaries than instructing students. Another website lists enrollment at only 54 students. Less than four years ago, there were well over 100. By Waldorf philosophy, teachers dominate the organization. Teachers can and have overridden repeated parental concerns and proactive administrative policies. As a direct result, administrative staff has had an excessive turnover rate to the detriment of students and parents. SUMMARY: RUN, DON'T WALK TO OTHER HIGH SCHOOLS in the Ann Arbor area. PS: Note the two misspellings in one sentence of the parental posting of November 1, 2007. While some Steiner students and their parents are not yet proficient in reading, writing, mathematics and the hard sciences; they excel in music, arts and dance. And their self esteem is off the charts. If you don't want to believe this opinion regarding their collective self worth; I suggest you simply consider asking the students, their supportive liberal parents and most of the Rudolf Steiner teachers.
I originally chose this school for my first child, but have loved the experience so much that it has been a natural progression for the others to follow. The curriculum is unlike any other, including charter and private schools. I would be hard-pressed to find another school that could give my children excellent academic skills while fostering their sense of kindness and beauty. Because teachers stay with the class the entire eight years, there evolves a sense of family in the classroom. It is startling that this curriculum is not the norm -- and a pity. It puts all other 'alternative' education to shame.
This school is amazing! My doughter has been going here for almost 7 years & her whole class is like a scond family. I love you steiner!
My children have been at this school for nearly 6 years and love it. For those who want to provide their children with a well-rounded education this is the place. Unlike most schools, RSSAA does not cater to the idea that children are future consumers but meets them at a personal level, fostering not only their academic talents, but their creative talents as well. The teachers stay with their students throughout all 8 grades of elementary school, proving that this education seeks to nurture the whole child from head to heart. We have been very fortunate to have for our child one of the original teachers whose 25 years' experience is unsurpassed. It is by far the most unique education available in the area. Parents run the gamut from hippie to suit, but their common idea of education keeps the parent body a pretty tight community. Worth every penny.
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