I agree with the comments that the Waldorf curriculum is wonderful, but this school is poorly managed and bullying is a big problem. Bullying is chronic and not addressed because the bullies are children of board members, administration staff, faculty or very influential parents. In the past several years I know of 8 families who have left the school because of the bulling problems not being addressed. The school is more concerned about image than doing what is best for the children. Problems like bullying, inappropriate behavior and unprofessional conduct by teachers, administrators and board members are hushed up and brushed under the rug. On the surface things look wonderful, but underneath the smiles is a very dysfunctional school.
I was new to the Waldorf curriculum and ideals and I admit, I was very skeptical. Plus, financially, it is a commitment. I discovered the financial aid and started learning about the school, meeting the teachers and more importantly, the students. I had never met a more together, socially mature, and talented group of children. Now, as a parent, I really cannot imagine any other school options. The children are held in such an amazing way and the teachers are absolutely invested and great at communicating with the kids and parents. Perhaps the best review I could give would be to say that my first grader misses school on the weekends. There is no dragging him in, for sure!
It is truly astounding to see how happy the middle schoolers are at this school. And they get admitted to the best schools in the city for high school. I am so excited that my elementary aged children will get to attend junior high here. A parent with an 8th and 6th grader here says that her 8th grade son has not once had a problem getting out of bed to go to school. Her 6th grade girl just told her that she likes school days more that the weekend! City of Lakes Waldorf School is an antidote for the popular image of checked out, disinterested in adolescents. I am just glad to know that possible!
I have a graduate who attended PK through 8th grade and two students currently at CLWS. My 9th grader is excelling at a college prep private school, driven by a love of learning and self motivation that I believe came from her early learning experiences at CLWS. My other 2 love school, love to read, love to learn and are excelling academically. My mother is amazed when they come to her house after school that they both sit down and do their homework first thing and without any prompting. It is my opinion that Waldorf education, focused on the whole child - head, heart, and hands - in a curriculum that meets children at their developmental level, fosters a love of learning. Instead of teaching to a test, learning supports creative thinking. For example, in math the question isn't "what is 5+4?" It is "what makes 9?" This opens the student to think not about what the 'one right answer' is but what the possibilities are. I would highly recommend CLWS based on the results I see in my children. I would also note that the teachers and staff are incredible and make this a special place - as all Waldorf schools are, this school is teacher led.
This is an amazing school and children who go through its program thrive. Teachers' salaries are meager compared to their public school counterparts, yet they are able to instill a sense of wonder and curiosity in their students that enables them to be lifelong learners. The negative comments in this post are from parents whose children had special needs that the school staff could not address. I just don't believe you can blame the school or its staff for their issues.
When my son started in first grade at CLWS, he had come from a public charter school with traditional academics. He came to me one night and asked if he could call his previous teacher at the charter school. I asked why and his answer was that, "I like the way they teach me at this school better... At the old school we had just letter and black lines. At this school, I like the colorful letters!" Both of my children, K and first, are developing a strong, articulate vocabulary and listening aptitude, reverence for what is good and beautiful, physical development woven into learning, love of natural world, care and attention to detail, fine motor skills through crafts and games that they love, care for their classmates, ear for music, poetry and stories, ear for other languages, in a sense of safety and security. My first grader has never asked to stay home from school. Sometimes they want to stay longer. We have had babysitters from this school and met other grads and are always impressed with their poise and ability to connect with us, and they seem successful at their current school/work. We plan for our family to continue at this school for the full course through 8th grade.
The Good: The Waldorf pedagogy requires a happy motivated way to master powers of observation & analysis. Its a child centered environment encouraging critical thinking through power of play, classic study in literature, history & celebration as they interpret the studies through visual & tactile creations. Teachers, parent community & admin know well & ACTIVELY encourage a child's gifts. Ours has been a dramatic positive increase in our child's academic, self confidence & inner grounding from public school & its teaching to the test. The Bad: Because children stay with their teacher as a journey, the expereince is dependent upon the skill/intelligence/openness of their teacher. Some are good- others marginal and unpredictable. CLWS lacks many typical facilities and student services. Home field, cafeteria, MDH classroom health standards, science lab, adequate gym, real school counselor. Math only 3x /week -highly depends on teacher. Orchestra & Admin. is loose (office geared to protecting Waldorf). CLWS is $ - relentlessly asks for $ & HEAVY parent involvement - incompatible with business hrs. Never saw anyone tell a misbehaved younger child to keep hands off others.
Our child attended CLWS for three years. Preschool was a charming experience from start to finish. In Kindergarten, we started to have a lot of trouble. Our child started coming home with bruises and even a black eye. She was bullied on the play yard and the teacher did very little to address it. She told us that our child was tired and told our child to lay-low and not run away from her attackers. I have spoken with numerous parents that had the very same problem. I am speaking out because although Waldorf has its numerous charms they need to enforce their anti-bulling policy and listen to parent's concerns. We have switched our child to a charter school and she has never been happier. If your child is at CLWS and puts up a huge fight every morning when going to school ask about bulling. I wish I'd known sooner and had not made my child endure a full year there.
We left a high functioning Minneapolis Public School for City of Lakes Waldorf School four years ago and have never looked back. Our two children have been challenged academically on every level and more importantly they have been challenged to be of the highest quality in their deeds and intentions toward others. They demonstrate a profound curiosity that their extended family members and others notice. We have found the staff and faculty to be high quality and open to any concerns or questions we may have. This school is one of the things in my top five list of what I'm most thankful.
We love City of Lakes Waldorf School! My three kids have been here since Kindergarten, and we have been with the school for eight years. The school has been a wonderful learning environment for our children, a lovely parent community in which to form lifelong friendships, and a place for our family to grow. The teachers are deeply committed to the children and their learning with a developmentally appropriate curriculum which focuses on the whole child. We have been impressed by how well-rounded our kids have become -- academically, artistically, musically, physically, emotionally, in every way they are healthy and thriving here at CLWS.
Love, love, love this school! My child is so sad at the end of every day when it's time to go home. That tells me everything. He loves it and he has made lots of good friends who will move alongside him through the grades. What a lovely, nurturing way to educate a child! The teachers are so dedicated and truly wonderful people. And the administrative staff work very hard to address issues as they arise. All schools have their challenges, but City of Lakes truly works. I feel blessed that we found this school.
I moved my children from this school due to many issues with the administration. The Waldorf curriculum itself is very lovely, but this particular school is run very poorly. Poor personal behavior is hushed up and the school seems very involved with it's adult community needs at the expense of the children. This is said behind closed doors and privately, but in classic dysfunctional fashion, it is never addressed directly. I would not recommend this school.
All true learning comes as a result of experience. At CLWS, children experience their lessons in a myriad of ways - through music, movement, games, handwork, language, art, and more - which fosters a life-long love of learning. Integrating the arts with strong academics allows for human development, not simply cognitive development.
I have had two boys go k-8, I could not imagine a better place for them to grow and shine
This is a wonderful, happy school where my daughter is excelling socially and academically.
a wonderful place for preschoolers to be preschoolers and learn through playing.
Our first foray into Waldorf education was with a shy, creative kindergartener in 1996. She is now a calm, confident, self-respecting teenager with many friends who is an artist and musician, an athlete, a capable leader and on her high school honor roll. Our second child, a personality completely different than our first, is now a 7th grader who loves CLWS, also has many friends, a fierce sense of compassion and justice, a keen mind that loves to learn -- not having been stuffed with data and stressed with mindless testing -- and looks forward to a challenging high school experience. CLWS knows how to educate children for a healthier life, a more peaceful humanity and a sustainable planet. There is so much here for both parents and children. Come see for yourself!
My children are thriving at CLWS. They both learned to read at age 7 without any struggle and are now avid readers. They are challenged academically, but are not worried about grades or tests. Their whole beings are nourished on a daily basis as they are met with love and respect by their teachers and the other staff members. The school community has become like an extended family. We feel extremely blessed to have found CLWS for our children.
I am one of the privileged parents of two Waldorf students, our son enjoys first grade and our daughter loves going to preschool everyday. I say privileged because it truly is an honor to be a part of this school, to have my children enjoy this golden path of Waldorf education and for our family to be surrounded by such an incredible community. This building, which is so much more than the walls, holds a magic that is sensed as soon as one walks through the door. The teachers that give so much to honor and enrich each child s life. We enjoy the magical festivals, the access to Waldorf worthy toys at the school store, and the building and grounds that are so beautiful. There is so much to appreciate and so many ways to give back. I know there is no price tag to put on the education, experience and love my children receive here.
I stopped by the school one dreary winter day when my son Max was in Kindergarten to drop off something in the office. I was in my efficient, take care of business mode but decided to pop my head into Miss Rene's room to get a momentary glimpse of Max before heading back to work. When I opened the door, I was hit with a blast of exuberance. Max and several other children were wrapped in brightly colored silks, wearing crowns and flowered wreaths on thier heads. Sun was streaming through the large windows. The floor was strewn with pilows and blankets. The children were running and laughing. Max's cheeks were particularly rosy as he stopped laughing long enough to say, panting all the while, 'Mama, we're playing hyenas and I am king of the hyenas!' After this announcement he immediately folded back into the game and was off. I went back to work feeling immensely cheered, partially because I had caught the children's energy but mostly because of what that moment told me about Max. In that brief interaction I could tell that Max was fully engaged, that he was deeply happy and that he was in a place that celebrated his spirit. I knew at that moment that City of Lakes was the right fit for Max. Now, three years later, when I think about what Max is doing at any moment in the day, the image of the king of the hyenas pops into my head and makes me smile to myself as I go on about my work.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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