As a parent and educator, I cherish the fact that Waldorf teachers prepare students to sit and think by preceding more sedentary periods with physical exercises. Fresh air, sunshine and movement are also interspersed naturally throughout the day with gardening, eurythmy and social dance. As an aspiring thespian, it is intriguing how Waldorf emphasizes public speaking and brings poetry to life by connecting it to gesture and movement in the eurythmy curriculum. How emancipating it must be to spend one or two weeks a year outdoors at Camp Glen Brook instead of the mind numbing routine of filling in bubbles on scantron sheets! Prior to coming to WSGC my daughter yearned for an educational environment that rejected a testing and worksheet culture - which paralyzes learning by making it stale and mundane.
In a typical public school, my daughter might be forced to pursue one art form at the expense of another - i.e. music over visual art. Simply put, there's often not enough room in your schedule to take art and music in the same year. Even though our local district has a well established theater department, rehearsals take place for many hours after school for months at a time. This can be disruptive to homework, family life, and other important extracurricular activities. Bottom line: my daughter is a thinker who needs down time to read, write and decompress - living at school 24/7 is not an answer.
Moreover, I worry that students who manage to cram everything into their tight schedules, often do so at the expense of a nutritious lunch with friends and their overall physical and emotional health. In contrast, Waldorf offers a balanced curriculum which fosters holistic and wholesome eating and social habits. It sends a powerful message to students and families that we must make time for the things that count most - refueling our bodies and minds, and making time for friendship. Human beings are not "machines" that can work endlessly without rest and relaxation.
My daughter has a profound interest in both the fine and performing arts. Far more than a passion, it is linked closely to her identity and sense of self. Consequently, the structure of coursework at a traditional school would probably be too limiting since she would be required to choose between the electives she loves dearly and advanced academic classes that would challenge her intellectually. In contrast, Waldorf is a "breath of fresh air," since it infuses the arts into regular academic subjects to make learning more meaningful and relevant. At Waldorf, we are excited to see students in the high school singing the elements of the periodic table, staging plays in Spanish, drawing in Math, producing short videos for Shakespeare lessons and conveying, through abstraction, the history of language through circus a
The Waldorf School of Garden City is the best place my child could be. I love how students learn through various modes- they learn by doing. Also, learning is process oriented ( I.e. they experience how yarn is made before they knit). I know that my child will grow into a creative- thinking adult, with the help of Waldorf
This review is based on the High School environment at Waldorf.....would give it 3 1/2 stars if I could. On the positive side, the faculty is very involved with the students and the class sizes are very small. There is an emphasis on hands-on activities and creativity. However, there are some down sides. As in any school, some teachers are standouts and some less so. The problem arises when you have the same teachers again years after year due to the small teaching staff. if you love a teacher than it is a plus, if you're not thrilled with a teacher then you have to suffer with them for 4 years. While the student body as a whole tends to be nice, there are very small grade sizes (around 20-25 student per grade) so there is not a very large pool in which to choose from. The kids do have a slightly entitled attitude which may or may not have to do with finances. It can also be somewhat cliquey. I do miss the opportunities that a large public school offers in terms of after school activities as well as elective selections. That being said, for the right student, Waldorf can prove to be a good alternative environment. For us, it is a mixed bag.
I am a parent of 2 children, a boy and a girl in 4 th and 5th grades. Our family has been very pleased with the Waldorf school experience. My children have a great quest for learning and a respect for all things living. My children's teachers have been heaven sent and their learning exceptionally paced. Waldorf is a choice we are glad we made because it fits into our family values and is a peaceful and nurturing learning environment. I believe that the school fit is completely dependent on the fit or match of learning style, personality, teacher and student compatibility , and family values.
I have two children in the preschool and one in a parent-child class. My children are thriving because of the nurturing, holistic, and thoughtful atmosphere they get to experience here on a daily basis. When you walk into the school the smell of freshly baked bread and the beautiful watercolor paintings on the wall welcome you to this magical place. The sense of community among the parents is unique and inclusive. I truly feel as though the Waldorf School of Garden City is our home away from home. I cannot imagine my children having any other experience nor would I consider sending them to a different school. Although my children have not entered the grades yet I take pleasure in peeking into the elementary classrooms and seeing a warm, inviting space of natural materials, high quality watercolor materials, beautiful drawings on the wall and extensive chalk murals drawn on actual chalkboards by the teachers. A visiting parent summed it up once when she said to me after she had walked into the first grade classroom - "I feel as though I can breathe." And this is what makes the Waldorf School of Garden City so special! Come see for yourself - it is a magical place.
The feeling you have when you first enter the doors of this school and one of the classrooms does not compare to any other school environment we have seen. We immediately knew that this was the place that we can have our child go to and feel like home. The teachers have dedicated their lives to nurturing the child in every way - mind, body and sou. The love that pours into each and every child is beautiful to witness. We have been in the school for 5 years and hope that it will be possible to stay as long as we can. The approach to academics is like nothing I have ever seen or heard of before. I can say that my son is in the first grade and is somehow multiplying although it was never directly taught to him. He is taught through practical means and nothing is every drilled into him. This is why he has a huge love for his school and learning. He is growing into a beautiful, confident, strong leader and I cannot wait to see what each year brings for him. This is a school for everyone to at least look into and decide from there, which education experience is best for their child. Most people never leave after their initial visit.
The Jury is still out for me.My sons first Month in 5th grade was a challange.The bad weather days the students are sent out in the rain. A bully pulled my son shirt to get his attention about his Violyn playing. The teacher said oh the bully was so helpful to the others in the class before.My son does not feel safe or trusted. Health reasons he has missed 10 days so far. I took him from a school in NYC for this?
Our son attended the parent/toddler program for 1 year and 2 years of nursery. The Waldorf School is a warm and nurturing environment for both children and parents. Part of the benefit is all the "learning" the parents receive in early childhood development and understanding their basic needs. As different or extreme as it may seem to the outsider, we are more than happy to reinforce the guidelines that set for us at school and at home. The Waldorf/Steiner philosophy has enlightened us and certainly has made a huge impact on our lives. While we are not currently at the school, we still employ many of the Waldorf practices we learned while there and have maintained many close relationships with the children, parents and teachers.