The staff at Cedarwood has very poor communication skills and an apparently arbitrary admissions process. I would not recommend what we experienced with them to any other family. We came away with the impression that they are looking for a particular type of student and family that fits their idea of a perfectly fit, perfectly behaved vegan with a trust fund. They claim to offer an education for the whole child without traditional judgements about learning issues, but they were very rejecting of our son, and also another boy who has some learning struggles. If you are considering this school for your child, good luck to you.
Our child attended Cedarwood for more than five years. I have numerous concerns about this school. First, the teaching of math and foreign languages was very disappointing. My child is behind in math and still can't speak Japanese or Spanish. Second, there could be much better accountability by the faculty and administration. In my experience, if a parent voiced a concern about a teacher or a school policy, the faculty and administration would become defensive or dismissive and/or circle the wagons to protect their own rather than investigate and resolve the issue. Third, I think the school has overly high expectations for parental involvement. If both parents work or you want to have a social life outside of the school, Cedarwood may not be the best place for your family. I sometimes felt we were treated like second class citizens because our whole life did not revolve around the school. Fourth, in my experience the parents here can be cliquish and this dynamic can trickle down to the children's interactions. Fifth, so much time is spent on festivals, plays, assemblies, and field studies that in my opinion the basics of reading, writing and 'rithametic suffer.
Cedarwood school educated my child as a "real" human. She is not only intelligent and artistic, but also socially mature. The teachers of Cedarwood encourage and support the students in "facing' and "working through" their social challenges rather than "avoiding" conflicts. My child is now in college, meeting the world with an open heart, love for learning, and confidence. Although there were, of course, moments with hurts, sadness, tears, love/hate drama, and frustration, as a part of life, when she was young, now EVERY SINGLE ONE OF HER CLASSMATES are her most dependable and trustworthy friends, as if they are her real brothers and sisters, something for which I am forever grateful. Because she worked through the moments of sorrow, she learned to be compassionate towards others and became even stronger than she would have otherwise. Through this amazing experience witnessing my child grow so solid and balanced through this education, I would like to recommend Cedarwood to anyone who desires their child to be a "real" human being.
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.
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.