Waldorf curriculum is beautiful and there are some extremely talented teachers at WSP. However, there are huge governance challenges with this school. The board is largely ineffective. The new Executive Director has been disappointing. Complaints go ignored. They only recently had their Faculty Chair leave who did nothing but alienate families and cause several qualified teachers to leave. They constantly are pushing parents to donate more time and money to the school instead of expanding development efforts (grants, partnerships). The new campus buildings are beautiful, but the outdoor space is quite limited. For a school with so much emphasis on nature, it is sad to see so little open space. Yes, this is a city school, but we worry about the older children having nothing to do (except play basketball in a small courtyard). There is also absolutely no support for children with special needs. If your kid is identified with an IEP, be prepared to be asked not to come back (even if you aren't asking for accommodations and your child is receiving services outside of school hours). So many families have this story. Diversity is lacking - socioeconomic, ethnic, children of different abilities. Supposedly changes are coming, but our family won't be around for it. We are moving to a different Waldorf school.
The Waldorf School of Philadelphia is simply excellent. We send both of our children here and have been amazed by the intelligence of the curriculum and the warmth of the classrooms. Our daughter transferred to Waldorf from a Philadelphia public school in second grade. Waldorf has allowed her to develop her character and talents with a fullness that is not possible in more traditional educational settings. One of the great benefits of Waldorf education is that it takes the entire person into consideration; classrooms are therefore very tolerant and respectful of individuality. Creativity, questioning, and activity are encouraged and nurtured; so are quietness, contemplation, and more internally focused forms of engagement with the world. As your child grows and gains knowledge of his or her surroundings, the Waldorf curriculum grows with them, teaching them self-respect, respect for others, and honor for the world, all within a rigorous, and integrated, academic curriculum. The Waldorf School of Philadelphia encourages parent participation with many meaningful and beautiful rituals that cycle through the entire school experience, from nursery through 8th grade. We love it!
Great school and wonderful community of friendly families and staff. We have our two boys enrolled and can't imagine being anywhere else. Looking forward to the move to the new campus for the 2015-16 school year!
The Waldorf School of Philadelphia is an incredibly dynamic and exciting school that enables children to find and reach their fullest potential. From Early Childhood through 8th grade, children are taught that education is a joy, not a chore. I continue to be surprised and in awe of the deep, rich educational and social experiences my children are given at The Waldorf School of Philadelphia. This is, by far, the most enriching, comprehensive and creative education in all of Philadelphia!
The teachers are, by and large, wonderful. The curriculum is smart and integrated. The early childhood program us very nurturing and sweet. But the school is poorly run and the community is narrow-minded, cold, and very excluding of any families who seem different from their narrow, alternative and radical ideology that rejects the outside world. I would not send your child here unless you are able and willing to embrace their doctrine in full.
As my son heads for his 8th grade graduation after 10 years at this school, I can say without a doubt that this is a curriculum that takes the whole child into consideration. From the variety of subjects and the basics that are covered in a creative and engaging way, I continue to be amazed by the insight of Waldorf education. More than just smart, our students are prepared with both their heads and hearts to enter the world.
My 4 year old started attending the Waldorf School of Philadelphia (WSP) this year, and I could not be happier with our experience there. This was my daughter's first time out of our home and in a classroom setting, as she had never before been at daycare nor preschool. We were worried about this transition, but the loving, warm, and supportive environment of WSP quickly alleviated all of our concerns. WSP is more than just a school. It is a community of warm and welcoming families. We have since learned a lot about Waldorf education, and we love everything we have found out, so much so that we have every intention of keeping our daughter there all the way through 8th grade.
'Childhood found.' I agree with the reviewer who points out that calling this Waldorf school 'non-traditional' is inaccurate. There is terrific discipline (the kind that doesn't have to make itself felt because it's part of the culture) and a huge appreciation for learning, the arts, and education. My older daughter was at another Philly independent school for preK through 1st grade, and it pretty quickly devolved into pointless academic work (workbooks, homework), which didn't make sense to us. My wife loved the school from her first moments there, and I liked the idea of my daughter working with the same teacher from 2nd through 8th grade. It is especially encouraging to see so many of the 8th grade graduates return, after moving to Central, GFS, CAPA (wherever) and seem totally at ease with the change - and clearly way ahead when it comes to an appreciation for learning, and respect for their education.
My son started in the Early childhood program in January. We are thrilled with his progress at the school. He really thrives in the classroom program filled with natural toys and objects to play with, creative story-telling and puppet plays, wholesome organic baking and nature-walks and outside play -- every day, rain or shine! The kindergarten faculty are all very nurturing and well-trained beyond a 4 year college degree.
This was our first year at the Waldorf School of Philadelphia. We love it!!! Our son is so happy there and really and truly wants to go to school everyday. We are sending our daughter as well next year. We love the educational philosophy and the importance of educating the whole child. This is truly what school should be.