Santa Fe Waldorf School has been one of the most rewarding and complete educational opportunities for our daughter and family. We love the values, the sense of self and community that the school provides. As a family, we highly recommend the educational approach of the Waldorf School.
Our two children have attended Santa Fe Waldorf School since preschool. When we looked at and considered all the other options in Santa Fe, my wife and I felt that this school was the only one that looked at the development of the whole child, not just the academics. One is now in the lower school, the other in middle school, and both continue to demonstrate a curiousity about the world and people around them that is not often seen at this level among young people today. The de-emphasis on technology in the early years is a challenge, especially in a culture that is so dependent on electronic media, but our family, including our children, can see that this has made a sigificant and positive impact on their learning and way of being in the world with others.
We are sending our second child to the Santa Fe Waldorf high school. We are consistently impressed with the process of this unique educational process. By senior year, the kids are remarkably confident, curious, flexible, and interesting. In our opinion, this is a very good school and creates a great foundation for young adults who are entering a world where increasingly rapid change is the only constant.
Santa Fe Waldorf is education for the 21st century. My children have attended the school since 6th grade and have been happily learning and growing in a safe and academically challenging environment. The Waldorf school cares about each students unique characteristics and educates with this in mind. My students are challenged by the rigorous math problems and actually SHOW the work they do to complete each problem! They might not get it right the first time but they UNDERSTAND the process when they are done and the work is corrected! And yes, they READ! MY children have read "The Iliad and The Odyssey", Goethe's "Faust", Dante's "Inferno" and Thoreau's "Walden." They discuss, write thoughtful essays , working on proper grammar. If you want a REAL SCHOOL THAT GRADUATES CREATIVE THINKERS THEN THE WALDORF SCHOOL IS FOR YOU! The school has a top notch music program that educates all students. Art is included in the curriculum giving students a taste of the many forms. Students learn drawing, painting, woodworking, sculpting, and even metal work.The athletic program is no cut and all students who want to participate may. We have even won some district titles! Waldorf is exceptional!
The SFWS has been a wonderful place for my daughter and I would recommend it to anyone seeking a rich, substantive, and supportive educational experience for their child. By the end of fifth grade, she and her classmates had learned about ancient and modern history, mathematics, science, social studies, literature, spanish and art. They also learned to sew and knit, to play a musical instrument, to speak confidently in front of the class and larger groups, to plant a garden and to put up a tent. And that is just the tangible part. In a world where many children grow up too quickly, SFWS manages to both preserve the magical part of childhood and foster a firm footing in the real world. The incredible dedication of the faculty and staff creates a sense of belonging that is a source of strength and comfort in a fragmented, fast-moving world. As my child enters middle school, I see a happy, thriving person and I am very, very grateful for this school.
My son started in preschool and graduated from the high school in 2011, attending Berklee College of Music thereafter, well prepared by the curriculum and teachers, especially with its focus on music. My daughter attended from preschool through eighth grade. We found the emphasis on critical thinking, practical application ( including handwork, art, and music), and outdoor exploration a welcome change from other local schools and a significant contributor to their growth as fully developed humans. The small size and continuity of teacher staff allow each child to learn on his/her individual level with a feeling of family. The focus on the natural world and imagination while attempting to minimize the forces of media during the early years is a powerful and laudable emphasis on child development. The campus is lovely, the sports programs strong, parental and community involvement open and embracing, and our whole family greatly benefited from the education we all received.
Santa Fe is a small town with a lot of charter and a few private school options. Waldorf stands out among all these. My two daughters have attended this school for most of their lives. Take a look at the curriculum, i.e., what the students are actually studying each year from K-12. Kindergarten is focused on learning through play -- not staring at computer screens. The elementary years are spent studying the great cultures of the world and learning about math through history, music and knitting and science through observation, experimentation and woodworking. My daughters' high school transcripts read like those from a liberal arts college, and just like college there are no government-mandated, standardized tests here. My daughters are treated like unique, gifted individuals -- not cogs in society's machine. And it works -- the graduating class consistently receives over $100K in college merit scholarships per student on average. It's the school I wish I went to when I was a child!
2 of my 4 children have attended the SFWS- one HS graduate and one Junior. I've observed more love & respect for kids at this school than I have ever experienced in 20+ years of public and charter schools. Waldorf is a holistic approach, combining high level academics with art, music, movement, language and culture, teaching students to think out of the box. The uniqueness of each child is celebrated, rather than criticized. These kids know who they are because they have been given the confidence and flexibility to deal with challenges in a creative, resourceful and intelligent manner. Graduates have received the most amount of merit-based scholarships in New Mexico- 1.9 million dollars for 12 students. In a school this size, the students are a family that care for one another and include one another-a better, safer alternative than a large school where anonymity allows kids and teachers to shrink from challenges and not be held accountable. Everyone gets to work through any conflict, ask any questions, and come out a better, wiser person. Where raising bright, confident and safe children is concerned, it is a "village" in the truest, most compassionate sense.
The Santa Fe Waldorf School offers an engaging, broad "liberal arts" approach to elementary, middle and high schools that distinguishes it from all other options in town. SFWS is part of a nearly 100-year old educational tradition that's alive and growing in some 60 countries worldwide! The school's inspiring curriculum develops a lifelong love of learning in students. My 3 children--2 in high school, 1 in elementary- LOVE it and so do I. More than memorizing rote facts and formulas, Waldorf gives students opportunities to "live" their education, guided by professional, loving teachers who nurture and encourage each student to develop his/her individual talents and capacities. Parents are a welcoming community of like-minded professionals--creative entrepreneurs who are dedicated to preparing their kids for the new world economy. SFWS has a 30-year history of success in Santa Fe. It's a thoughtful, genuine local community I feel so fortunate to be a part of ! Thanks, Santa Fe Waldorf, for 8 wonderful years of teaching, guiding, caring, and preparing my three children!
Both of our sons, now 10 and 12, have attended SFWS since preschool. It is a warm and welcoming environment that respects the child and their family and seeks to teach a love of learning, rather than rote memorization. One of our children continues to grapple with a learning disability and teachers have shown a willingness to accommodate, per the recommendations of his tutors, and a true appreciation of his strengths as an individual and as a member of his class. Yes, parents do need to be willing to "think outside the box" in order to appreciate the unique beauty and quality of this education. From music and art to Norse/Greek/Roman mythology, children are offered not just a glimpse but an immersion in all aspects of history, mathmatics, literature, science and the arts. Children at this school are able to look one another and adults in the eye and have a conversation about a broad range of subjects in a manner that is respectful and connotes sincere interest in understanding the subject at hand and in the opinions of others. The sports program, while still small, is growing rapidly and has tremendous potential, thanks to great leadership and coaching staff.
We enrolled our son in kindergarten. Our son has some social disorders and challenging behavior but has been tested above average in other areas. We told the teacher about the behavioral challenges and she insisted she had the experience to "deal" and work with our child. Our son is now getting kicked out of Waldorf for these challenging behaviors after we had changed his diet, gotten massage therapy, and expensive OT sessions (out of pocket). The worst - only a couple teacher/parent meetings that addressed the behavioral problems, some letters from the teacher with recommendations we followed to the T, and then a letter 3 months later stating our son could not stay anymore. Professional ????? The teachers and school were aware of our sons challenges, promised to work with him, then stated that they don't have time to meet his challenging needs. We are outraged, upset, disgusted, and feel taken. They were kind enough to take our money for most of the semester and couldn't follow through with their promises to help our child with his special needs.
This is a school that will not make accommodations or modifications for learning-different children. It relies heavily on the Rudolf Steiner philosophy rather than incorporating modern, research-based models for learning/teaching. This can lead to challenges for the relationship between the teacher and students. Students are taught primarily as a group, rather than individual and thus individual needs are rather secondary, which is probably fine if you have a self-motivated, verbal-linguistic oriented child. Girls seem to fare better than boys overall, especially in upper grades (6th and above). Weaknesses include challenges in staff to parent communication, allowance for bullying issues to go unresolved, and rigid adherence to Steiner tenets. Strengths include a reverence for the arts (music, handwork, watercolor painting) and nature and the outdoors. Teachers are generally dedicated but not trained to deal with 21st century children (use of computers is frowned upon, even as an educational tool). In addition, teachers are generally expected to be with the same group of kids for grades 1-8.
Waldorf education draws out what is in the child rather than trying to stuff in information
As a parent whose child has attended a few different Waldorf Schools, including this one, I am continually impressed at the quality of thinking, the enthusiasm for life and for work, the interest in others and the capacity to engage with people that I see in Waldorf grads from this school and others as well. The ups and downs of any particular teacher through the years is vastly outweighed by the accomplishments of the curriculum, the celebrations and festivals each year that the children, teachers and parents participate in, and the values that the school embues--respect and appreciation for Self, others, Nature, Life in general. This is a dynamic school community with the usual growth joys and challenges that come with any organization striving to work collaboratively.
Waldorf curriculum is very specifically based on the educational theories of Rudolf Steiner. There are more than 1000 of these schools internationally. Teachers stay with the class from 1st through 8th grade with 'specials' teachers teaching the enrichments. This is amazing when it works, a disaster when the teacher in not up to the job. Teacher qualifications are sketchy, some are enormously qualified, others alarmingly under trained. I have two students at this school. One is getting all the magic and learning that is promised by the best that Waldorf offers. The other child is being sorely under served by a very poor teacher. Love the concept, love it when it works. This school is going through lots of growing pains. It is all about the teacher. By all means do check it out but be sure you get to know the teacher before you enroll.
This is a school run by faculty,a board of trustees and parents. It's 21 years old, is focused on the children learning from their inside out, a head, heart, hands approach, where their whole self is allowed to develop, not pushed or hurried. This is truly a place of fostering reponsibility and respect of self and respect towards others. The curriculum is focused on three stages that culminate in a foundation of freedom to think,feel, and express oneself. This is started with the will in the first 7 years as necessary importance. In the second 7 years the growing awareness of the feeling self is the focus. In the third 7 years the fostering of critical thinking allows for the student to find expression for new found freedom as they enter the world at large. My daughter has attended this school since Kindergarten and feels safe and eager to go to school each day. From first grade through eighth grade she has the same Class teacher for main lesson, along with several other subject teachers who she enjoys. The school encompasses now preschool through highschool. Because the school embraces the value of the arts, expression, freedom, a reverence for the earth and all who are on it, it matches our family spiritual values.
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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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