This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Kimberton Waldorf School4
Posted February 25, 2015
- a student
I have attended KWS since first grade, so I have had the chance to experience all aspects of this school. I thought that having the same teacher from 1st to 8th grade was wonderful because she could really get to know each student, and as much as possible teach to a students specific needs. I also know that teachers are mentored by more experienced teachers for their first eight years, and they do continue their training as they teach by going to many conferences and summer workshops. In high school, I think that teaching to the head, heart, and hands becomes even more important. I also love how we are taught through discussion and hands-on experience rather than out of a text book. Naturally, when it comes to studying algebra or calculus, we do use a text book. But even then, it is used as a helpful tool or source of practice probelms, never as the source of teaching. Of course this school is not perfect. Because of its small size it can't offer all that a big public school can. After I graduate this spring, I look forward to going to college as a well rounded student who can perform well on a test, and can also think creatively and independently.
My son has been attending the Rosebud School (preschool) at Kimberton Waldorf School since September 2014. I am so pleased with the amount of care and consideration given to him during the three-days/week he is there. Every day I drop him off, he has a smile on his face and absolutely can't wait to start his busy day with his teachers and friends. When I come to pick him up, he is delighted to see me and tell me all about the adventures of his day. I absolutely love the commitment KWS has to preparing and eating healthy, organic foods; engaging children in enriching activities that are truly age-appropriate; focusing on what each child individually needs; leading by example; and encouraging my son's inner imagination and light to shine! Like others, I wish I had attended this school when I was a kid, and I can't wait to watch my children grow up and thrive in this extraordinary environment.
After researching the many private schools we have in this area, my wife and I chose Kimberton Waldorf School for our two children over 14 years ago. As we watched our children progress through the lower, middle and high school our respect for Waldorf Education grew. Although most schools claim to teach the values children will need in life, we found only Waldorf Education actually implementing these values into each lesson. The curriculum is not just academic but incorporates morality, empathy, creativity, communication, imagination and independence to allow the children to leave school with the tools needed to thrive in this world. The school has been the greatest gift we could give to our children. Is the school perfect? No, there are the same issues I suspect one will find at almost any institution. None-the-less, we find the school to be well run and very responsive to our needs. We are very satisfied with our choice of schools and hope our grandchildren will one day attend.
I was a parent at Kimberton Waldorf School. My daughter was prepared in every way to succeed as a student, an athlete, a member of the District and Regional Chorus, a member of the District and Regional Orchestra (playing the violin), and a member of the Governor's School (representing Chester County). Because Kimberton is one of the 1000 Waldorf Schools world-wide, she spent 6 months in her junior year at the Stuttgart Waldorf School in Germany, becoming fluent in German. As a result she was accepted "early action" at Harvard. She graduated from Harvard and also from Columbia Medical School, and is now a successful psychiatrist in Los Angeles. She is the co-author of "The Fundamentals of Trauma Therapy," a text used in many schools of social work throughout the country. Her son is now attending a Waldorf School in the Los Angeles area. No wonder that the February 6th, 2014, "New Yorker" Magazine described in a 6 page article how 300 Waldorf Schools have been established in China during the last 10 years.
Waldorf Education offers developmentally based curriculum that builds critical thinking skills, responsibility, and active learning. Both my children graduated from KWS. Kimberton's balance arts, physical activity, and gardening has been perfect for my children who have become engaged, intelligent, thinking young adults.
Unfortunately, this is a classic case of overselling and underdelivering. This school markets itself as individualized education, but that was not our experience. Children who want more academic challenges don't get them. And, there's no management of the teachers by a central office. That's very important for you to know, because at the school, your child stays with the same teacher from 1st grade through 8th grade. So, if you get a good teacher who is committed to their job and also willing to help each child, you're all set. But if you have concerns with your teacher or a problem develops, there's no one else to turn to. Teachers are not re-trained or disciplined or removed when they should be - they run the school (even though there's a 'Dean')! So if you struggle with your teacher, you have to just deal with it, or (if it's really bad) simply leave the school. We found the pre-K program to be wonderful, but beyond that it's really a crapshoot. There's a great theory of education here, but it just isn't applied consistently. So, if you're gonna spend this much money, find a private school with good management and stability, where your opinion matters. That's what we did.
Like many before us, we moved to the area so our children could attend KWS. We were so disappointed with how the school ignored social inclusion problems. We never expected bullying to be ignored and the teachers and staff to be untrained to deal with incidents of bullying which occur daily. We also had the opportunity to observe one of my children's class teachers. The learning environment was not one of creativity, but chaos. My one child is still recovering from the anxiety caused by not feeling safe. Most disheartening to us is how the administrators at the school ignore the parents and parents' concerns. We shared our experience with the leadership at the school and nothing was ever done to resolve the problems my child experienced at the hands of his teacher--problems other children in her past and current classes also experienced. This is key because in Waldorf education, children stay with the same teacher first-eighth grades. If you are looking for a true Waldorf education, this is not the school for you. While it says Waldorf in the name, it is not an education centered around the individual child--teaching the head, the heart, and the hands--or protecting the children.
There are few schools that can give what KWS does-- a wonderful education, deep in content including immersion in subjects that create wholeness as integrated with art and activity--teachers who are authentically dedicated and competent, and a chance to be a part of a genuine school community which enriches everyone, including parents.
We have 3 kids at Kimberton Waldorf school and it has lived up to all of our expectation and more. We love the Waldorf philosophy, the 425 acres of beautiful farm land, the organic lunch program, the biodynamic garden, the community of parents and teachers, and the beautiful art my kids bring home. This is the school I wish I had gone to.
Highly recommend this amazing school. I'm an alumni and if I lived in the area, I'd send my children here in a heartbeat. The Waldorf approach to academics, as well as it's focus on so many other important areas of learning and life is inspiring and just so right. A+++