My child attended the Portland Waldorf School from Kindergarten through his senior year in high school. We could not ask for a more nurturing and supportive environment for out child. He was accepted to all the colleges that he applied to and offered scholarships by most of them. We feel very fortunate to have found such a wonderful - nurturing school for our son. The bonus is the rich applied arts programs that are missing in most public high schools. His portfolio was rich with woodworking, metal smithing, fiber arts and fine art!
A wonderful community filled with talented and thoughtful teachers, students and faculty. This is a school that produces confident, cultured, independent adults. So grateful that I am able to send my daughter there. My daughter has attended this school since 3rd grade and is now attending their high school. What high school student, outside of PWHS, looks forward to Monday mornings so they can go back to school? Now that says something!
Portland Waldorf School is filled with creative, dynamic teachers,striving to provide a rich academic and artistic experience to its more than 330 students. As a parent I notice a deep respect that both the students and teachers have for each other and also a strong desire on the part of the teachers to meet each child's needs. The parent community is supportive, friendly, and the staff informative and willing to answer all my questions .PWS is Portlands best kept educational secret. Spread the word
I encourage every parent I know to consider Portland Waldorf School. PWS and the Waldorf movement have been invaluable to our family. My children graduated PWS prepared to meet the challenges they face in life (college and life after college). They have learned to observe first, think creatively, develop original opinions, and act on those opinions. The preparation came about because the faculty knows how to apply proven Waldorf teaching methods to achieve these goals. These are all hopes that I had for the education, but they are not succinctly measurable. This can create challenges. I was always able to gain a new and reassuring perspective of my children's experiences when I approached faculty with questions. The teachers have profound understanding of how the developmental stages of the students affect curriculum, successes, and difficulties. It does take effort on the part of parents and faculty to work together for the benefit of the student. Perhaps there are ways to make this more effortless? But where intention meets communication, these challenges can be resolved. I would rather have it that way, than send my children off and periodically check grades or a test score.
This school has not prepared my child for college - in fact, I doubt she will be able to attend anything other than a community college. Thanks, PWS. A chemistry assignment involved creating a smoothie... really!?!? And how much is tuition?!?! The lack of testing and the atmosphere does not provide for real world application.
I've been a parent at PWS for the last 6 years. Both of my children have attended the school since they were in kindergarten. Reading some of the comments below, I get the feeling that - as with all schools - there are some families that did not find a fit at the school and are bent on attacking it. I can't speak to their experiences, but I can tell you that our family's experience at the school has been nothing but excellent. Both of our boys' teachers are excellent: intelligent, loving, caring and great teachers. Two things stand out to me regarding our experience: 1) both of our children love school and both are eager to go every single day, and 2) compared with their peers at other schools, our kids are at or above their academic levels in every discipline (include math and reading). As long as the trend in these two measures remains, I won't even think about changing schools.
For our family, PWS has exceeded our expectations on all fronts. For our children: academic rigor at the age appropriate time, exposure to the complete range of creative arts, as well as the nourishing relationship with dedicated faculty who know them and care about them deeply. Our children are learning, happy and flourishing. For us as parents, we have found a warm, welcoming and diverse community of families. As with any school, you really get your own sense of the quality of education and the type of community by visiting. That's what we did, and I'm so glad...I can't imagine our children being better served in any other school.
I am quite disappointed with the level of education my two students have gotten after many years at PWS. I cannot speak to all Waldorf education, because this is the only school I have personal experience with, but I find that the curriculum has not prepared them for college nor a professional career. The curriculum spends too much time on off-beat subjects, and not enough on core fundamentals. Neither of the kids has hardly any homework, and both seem bored by school. Math and science is so lacking that we are spending thousands on tutoring to make up for the lack. Also, one of the children who has struggled with reading has been very hampered by Waldorf's policy to not teach reading until 3rd grade. Though almost a freshman, her reading and writing is probably at about the level of an average 4th-5th grader. Despite our ongoing concern, her teacher has not made any effort to focus on this. An attempt to transition one of our kids to public education failed miserably. Our student found public school too difficult, with too much homework. I believe a public education, even with all their shortfalls, would actually be better than what PWS offers.
A great school, in my opinion, produces well rounded, capable, confident, self determining, creative young people ready to find and follow their own path through life. As a current parent of three children at the Portland Waldorf School ranging from 1st-7th grade , I am extremely satisfied that my children are receiving the education I expect from a great school. As with any Waldorf School, the class teacher, who teaches the same group of kids from 1st-8th grade is the primary factor in a child's experience and education. PWS has an excellent faculty of grades teachers, all committed to the develpment and education of each unique person in their class as well as the continued personal and professional development of themselves and their collegues. Before lending too much credence to reviews driven by a negative experience or sour grapes or even this one from a highly satisfied parent, please visit PWS, meet the teachers, and administrative staff, talk to current students in the grades and high school, talk to the parents, ask to be connected with alumni, come to a parent council meeting, sit in on a class. I believe you will find a great place to go to school.