I'd be interested to hear Cedarwood respond to some of these complaints, as many of them are repeated concerns it seems.
Cedarwood has a beautiful facility and appeals to parents who want a meaningful alternative education. Our child attended Cedarwood for 9 years. There were many amazing experiences that children in public school would never get. The sense of community, the field trips, and the exposure to art are fantastic. However, our child was in tutoring from grades 5 to 8 to round out what was missing academically and ultimately left unprepared for school beyond. We have been disappointed for many reasons. 1. Despite 8 years of language our child could not speak either Japanese or Spanish and had to enter first year language in HS. 2. The math program was atrocious and again, our child was behind by HS. 3. The school is not accommodating to students with any kind of special needs. Our own child struggled and consequently found HS challenging. 4. There is a vast difference between teachers, some are great and others weaker. Remember your child will be with that teacher for 8 years. When we look at our child's experience and other students from that class there is a trend. Many are behind. Unless your child is fairly gifted and independent, it may not be the school for you.
Come to Cedarwood's open house on January 23rd from 10am-1pm and meet our faculty, students and staff and see what makes Cedarwood one of the best kept secrets in Portland.
There are many good things about Cedarwood, though regrettably, they are not enough to counterbalance the reality that the student body and faculty are overwhelmingly caucasian, and students are overwhelmingly from affluent families. I can't see how students can emerge from nine years at Cedarwood well- prepared for the world outside the cocoon of their campus, the world they will live in the rest of their lives.
My older child attended from kindergarten through 8th grade, my younger is in the grades now. Cedarwood strives to develop the whole child, by delivering the best education for the mental, physical and emotional life of the child. If you are a Waldorf parent, this needs little explanation. For those who are new to Waldorf, Cedarwood is different from other private schools because they do not focus on academics over other aspects of child development. The academics are excellent-- but the school also teaches emotional well-being, social skills and physical health. For Waldorf parents, the distinction here is that Cedarwood is trying to adapt the core Waldorf principles to 21st century education.
I recommend this school highly. My daughter attended 5th through 8th grade, transferring from another Waldorf School. She left as a confident, inquisitive and eager student. She excelled in her freshman year with outstanding skills to manage the HS work load, social dynamics and remain an enthusiastic learner. Cedarwood is young, fast growing school. They bring innovation and depth to an established philosophy and curriculum. They have high standards for their teachers and staff with clear expectations and accountability. My daughter excelled in the beautiful team work of the faculty and administration which is visible in every class. The parent community is wonderful and you feel the warmth of the whole school in every event.
This is an amazing group of dedicated teachers and staff. I feel blessed to have three children at this fine institution of learning. We recently moved from CA and a more conservative Waldorf School and felt instantly welcomed and accepted in this community. The festival life is heartfelt and the parent council leadership is dynamic. Anyone interested in helping their child become a life long learner and steward of our earth, should check out Cedarwood.
The school lacks soul and direction. I attended for several years and though the early education was good most of the teachers seem ill equipped later to deal with children at various stages of development. You become merely a number overall. If you pay full tuition and have several children enrolled, raise your paddle at auction night, donate for the many school fundraisers, you will receive warm embraces from the admin. If you stood with the in crowd in high school and vacationed at all the appropriate times, this is the school for you. There is a large teacher turnover here, no one has lasted through the 8 year journey in years. in the last four years there have been teacher changes in mid year in multiple grades. More than half of the current grades have undergone multiple teacher changes. The eight year journey with child and teacher is one of the most unique and simple aspects of waldorf education yet this school cannot get even that right. This school is ill equipped to deal with children with special needs, would not recommend it, Portland Waldorf has a much more comprehensive program and Portland Village School is free and a great waldorf alternative!
In the early childhood programs at Cedarwood Waldorf School we embrace the individual needs that each child brings to our classrooms. The Cedarwood Kindergarten is a therapeutic learning environment, employing the head heart and hands, we therefore always look at the whole child and how the child is developing, rather than just one aspect. Most learning challenges appear with clarity in the early grades, which is where academic learning begins in Waldorf education. For more questions regarding our early childhood program we encourage families to visit and speak with our faculty.
My children are thriving at Cedarwood Waldorf School. They are receiving a beautiful well-rounded education and are surrounded by people who truly know them and care about them. My seventh-grader reads well above grade level and is an enthusiastic math and science student. Her written work is well beyond anything I expect in middle school -- all this and art, music, and movement as well. They love to go to school and have developed a passion for learning.
Very disappointed at the unprofessional nature of the kindergarten staff- if you have a child that has learning disabilities, I'd urge you to look elsewhere. They have little to no knowledge of special education needs and group all kids with difficulties into one insulting bucket. If you sense they are not genuine, trust your instinct.
As a parent and teacher at Cedarwood, I feel incredibly grateful to be part of such a caring and joyful school. The faculty, students and parents inspire me and teach me new things daily. Learning is happening on so many different levels and unfolding through the years, creating young people who are engaged in the world and interesting to be with.
The teachers don't take bullying seriously enough. The primary concern of the school is money. The people in charge are rigid, taking themselves very seriously. There is no real warmth at this school. Very disappointing.
The strengths of Cedarwood are a rich and wide curriculum including music, languages and art. The building is beautiful and the work of the students displayed throughout the school is at times breathtaking.The festivals and rituals are so special especially because they contrast so greatly with our overly busy, materialistic society. Where we have found Cedarwood seriously lacking is in a true sense of warmth and nurturing. It took us a while to name what didn't feel right as on the surface everything seems so wonderful. There is a lot of talk about warmth but overall doesn't genuinely feel that way. Instead there is an air of pretentiousness and that is the last thing we want for our children. I wonder about the primary concern of the school-whether it is to retain families or get slots filled. We know half a dozen families who have made the decision not to return next year-the administration has not reached out to any of them about why they are not coming back, something I think they would and should be curious about. Lastly, there is a rigidity about Waldorf education I wasnt aware of before. Our child's class is very behaviorally focused with time outs, loss of playtime etc.
We found Cedarwood when we were looking for an alternative to public education for our highly intelligent daughter who was diagnosed with ADD. We looked carefully at all of our options and went with Cedarwood, though we were not familiar with Waldorf Education going in. That was 5 years ago. We now have two children there and have NOT been disappointed. The teachers are amazing. Staying with the class year after year gives them great insights into each child and class dynamics. The children study Japanese AND Spanish from First grade on, simple flutes and all sizes of recorders, string orchestra, Marimba, clarinet and trumpet... Art, drama, handwork, and the study of a variety of ancient cultures permeates the curriculum. The 6th graders LOVE the new math curriculum. Our daughter loves the hands on science studies. Both of our children are happy, challenged, and engaged. Best yet, both of them have thrived and you sure wouldn't know that our daughter had struggled with academic issues!
Cedarwood will let you down. The administration seems to be more concerned with money and politics than what is best for the children. In my opinion pandering to families with deep pockets is a major problem. Especially if the children from those families are disruptive and or violent. For 1,000 dollars a month I expect more. More support for classes with special needs children. Training so that teachers are better able to support them and their non special needs students. Support so that teachers aren't spending their whole days trying to manage the behavior of two or three students.
I can't say enough wonderful things about the early childhood program at Cedarwood. Amazing. Teachers are loving and wonderful with the children. The grades are another story. And while the school is still going through some growing pains, there are some definite concerns. Cedarwood Waldorf School has some major flaws in it's media policy-- there isn't one. And their bullying policy (and the way teachers deal with bullying-- some not taking it seriously). Again, there isn't a policy for this that is actually enforced consistenlty by all teachers and staff. It has major flaws with treating situations with consistency as well. While some teachers are wonderful, there are some teachers that are just getting by. Some teachers engage a lot with their parents having monthly meetings, while other teachers only have a few meeting a year. Again, inconsistency. While Cedarwood might seem full of fairies and gnomes from the outside-- I'd do some real research into the class you join and really 'interview' the teacher. Talk with some other parents about bullying issues before you sign up!
Cedarwood Waldorf School teaches the whole child: head, heart, and hands. In addition to great reading, math, and science programs, children are taught 2 foreign languages beginning in 1st grade, choir, orchestra, movement, drama, and sense of caring about others and the world as a whole. Cedarwood is a lively and caring community of teachers, adults, and students! I recommend visiting the school: you just might fall in love!
Wow, this school sets a new standard for early childhood education! A balanced education that includes nurturing the child. Our child is thriving here. He feels at home here and the transition from home to school is wonderful. He is happy when we pick him up and seems energized not exhausted like at past schools.
This is a vibrant, happy community where children thrive. The tuition rates are low for a private school, but the amount of attention give to each child and family is amazing. The early childhood program is such a gentle introduction to the school years, I feel that my child was very lucky to have been part of it.
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