Waldorf education is grounded in the belief that children are complex and multifaceted. Consequently truly effective education must nurture not only the minds of each child, but their bodies and souls as well. This isn't merely a lofty ideal: it is the daily reality of our unique community, one facilitated by administrators and staff and embodied by teachers. Our teachers not only meet the rigorous standards established by the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA), but are also required to continue their training through summer intensive trainings and regional conferences. (See waldorfstl.org/faculty-and-staff for bios and credentials.) To address the review posted November 4, 2014, everyone would agree that an environment in which bullying is allowed to flourish hurts the child being bullied (and in fact the bully) and brings down the entire community. The same goes for an unsafe environment, or one that allows favoritism to grow unchecked. In fact, this is antithetical to the very ideal to which every member of The Waldorf School of St. Louis (WSSL) community is dedicated: to educate the whole child, every single one of them. Conflict is an inevitable part of every daily life for children and adults alike. This is why our educators are trained to teach children conflict resolution, empowering them to work through disagreements that arise, and are there to facilitate discussions toward productive ends. As witnessed by the abundance of positive reviews parents have posted of WSSL, this school is a wonderful fit for many families. But our progressive model does not work for every family, and that is to be expected; we believe all children have unique needs. Sometimes, however, the most productive solution is to bring things to an end. School enrollment is a personalized choice for each family. The Waldorf School of St. Louis is committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment for our students and a caring and open community for our families.
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The Waldorf School of St. Louis4
Posted February 13, 2015
- a parent
I have been a parent at WSSL for six years, in that time the school has transitioned into serving preschool - Grade 8, it has seen an influx of new families as it has grown, with lots of changes. I appreciate being able to send my children to a developing school that provides a true alternative to a mainstream that is high stress, test preoccupied and does not take children's development into account. WSSL provides an environment where my children have thrived, it utilizes the arts and music in a way that is both creative and enhances the more traditionally academic subjects. The school emphasises the arts and sciences, and our children are being taught in a way that fosters a love of learning, enhances their natural curiosity, and encourages both creative and critical thinking. The faculty is so devoted not only to continuing their personal education but to the children as well, they truly hold and educate the children head, heart and hand.
My family has been associated with this school for many years. We currently have grades age children enrolled. We have been very pleased with the way our children are being met as whole individuals. I see our children blossoming as confident, kind, self-aware and intelligent people. I feel blessed to have found a place where my children's unique gifts are being fostered while simultaneously they are challenged to grow in new directions. They learn in a positive and meaningful way. My kids could not be more different from each other, yet I see them both thriving in the Waldorf environment. The school has a lot of heart and a great community of people. While the school's communications were not great or frequent years ago time has brought improvement in leaps and bounds.
Our son is in Kindergarten, and we could not be happier with his and our experience at WSSL (Waldorf School of St. Louis, formerly Shining Rivers). His teachers are caring and nurturing; they have built a strong bond with our son, and with us as parents as well. Our son is eager to go to school every day, and comes home with stories about his friends and their shared adventures. We love how much time the class spends outdoors, and that indoors they get to learn practical skills, such as making bread. In terms of conflict resolution in the classroom, we've seen that the teachers are extremely adept at handling disagreements between students and essentially stop things before they start. We're also very happy with the communication between school staff, teachers and parents. We receive emails from our teachers every week detailing what was going on in the classroom, and we also get regular emails and announcements from the school staff. There is also a lot of great parent involvement at the school, and we have felt extremely welcome and included in every aspect of school life. It's a wonderful and vivacious school, and we feel so fortunate to be a part of it!
This school has dysfunctional leadership, administration, and faculty who blur the lines of friendship and professionalism with parents, creating an unsafe environment for children in the school. Bullies are not dealt with because it might offend teachers/parents, and the school is in favor of "letting the children figure it out", even when physical harm occurs. Teachers with poor teaching practices and unprofessional administrators are not sanctioned because people don't want to upset friendships. My family left after five years because of the rampant bullying, student favoritism, leadership dysfunction, shoestring budget, and other institutional problems that caused the school to lose 25% of its students last year. The past two board presidents have quit the board in the middle of their terms and removed their children due to their unhappiness with the school. The benefit of this alternative educational model is negated by the unsafe school environment and organizational instability. The risk is not worth the price tag.
Average, but different. It is a unique place to send your child or children if you are wanting them to truly learn to 'be a child' and not get mixed up in all of the media and over exposure that we see in the world today. Young children benefit greatly from this experience as they aren't pressured into testing, learning in a desk from textbooks, following guidelines set forth by the state as to where they need to be at a specific moment in their education or even "traditional" ways of learning that most people are accustomed to. However, be very careful going towards the age of intermediate level of learning because the academic focus really is not there. Not if you are wanting to then send your child to another type of school for the middle / high school years. There is not a school in the area that will be anything like this for the upper grades. You would almost have to send them or move them to the coasts to find a Waldorf high school or collage. Finally, be wary of the communication that you would receive within the school, a consistent struggle in my opinion. Ask and you may or may not receive as there is not a Principal to go to & have issues addressed, only office workers.
Shining Rivers Waldorf School is a fantastic place. My son loves going to school every day, and has learned so much more than just facts. He can play recorder and violin, write beautifully, do complex math problems, crochet, knit, cross stitch, garden, paint and draw wonderful pictures and more. Shining Rivers has a vibrant parent community as well.
Learn about Rudolph Steiner as all teaching has it's foundations in his philosophy. Hardly any teachers, no lunch program, don't let your children watch tv ever. No tv or movie characters on clothing. Only organic, whole foods are allowed in the lunchbox. No music teacher.