The primary teacher usually remains with the class from grade 1 to 8. This allows the teacher to know the students individually and as a group in a very deep and meaningful way. This long term relationship also enable the teacher to develop and maintain a class culture of honesty, integrity and fairness. The curriculum also supports the development of these traits; starting with fables in the young grades, and continuing with biography stories in the upper grades, the teachers skillfully bring examples of upright behavior through stories in the curriculum -- not as a moral lecture, but simply as part of the history or culture they are studying.
Rigorous, creative, conscientious, community -- these are the first words that come to mind about my son's education. He has attended PWS from 3rd to 8th grade, and will continue into the high school next year. Despite the fact that homework isn't introduced until around 4th grade (which allowed him to develop a greater love for life and school), as an 8th grader he now completes lab write ups, historical essays, German and Spanish dialogues, Algebra I homework and violin practice independently and with top grades while balancing after school athletics. The intelligence, creativity and warmth of his teachers, and the rigorous and meaningful curriculum, have shaped him into a young man who is curious about the world, who works diligently, is caring of his peers and respectful of adults. The PWS high school students who I interact with are also bright, dynamic and thoughtful, and they go on to top universities with substancial scholarships. In talking with alumni, I've been impressed not only with their success in college and career, but with their obvious self-knowledge and ability to navigate the big questions of adult life with such confidence and grace. In addition to all the benefits that my child receives, joining PWS has given me a community that shares my lifestyle values: eco-consicousness, reducuction of brainless media and consumerism, and celebration of beauty, creativity and community.
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.