My child attended AWS and I have to say I was pretty disappointed. In general I found the parents and students to be very cliquish. My child's teacher rarely had anything positive to say about my child. Further I truly don't think the school fosters creative freedom like they lead you to believe. I really wanted to like this school and for a long time I pushed my feelings about it aside. But my child has been much happier and confident since leaving AWS.
RUN AWAY! We have been a Waldorf family in different parts of the country for over 10 years and never encountered anything as horrible as this school. The bullying here is a HUGE problem, and once you begin to dig a bit deeper you see it has been for quite some time. But, like everything at this school, it's all just swept under the rug to make sure everything looks perfect. It's sick, really, how much dysfunctional covering up takes place across the board. As long as things look beautiful, they must be, right? WRONG. The classrooms are over-crowded, the high school students barely go on to good schools and when they do, they can't make it there for very long, and all of the children (and parents) here are CRUEL. There hasn't been any leadership in years because everyone quits. It is such a huge shame that this is the only Waldorf School in Texas. They really give the Waldorf way a bad name. I am warning you, don't fall for their act.
Like all schools, there are positive and negative aspects to this school.
* Fabulous curriculum designed to meet appropriate developmental needs
* Beautiful school - campus is gorgeous
* Kindergarten - play-based with lots of time outdoors
* Handwork - art, music, crafts are an essential part of the day
* Time spent outdoors
* Class size - the state of Texas mandates that the maximum size for elementary public schools is 22. Yet, routinely Waldorf schools have 30-40 kids per class. The school will tell you that because kids have the same teacher year after year, the larger class size is okay. But, it's not. Large classes are harder to manage, kids get less individual attention, and lots of things go on between the students (i.e. teasing and bullying) that go unnoticed by the teacher.
* Special Needs - Because AWS is a small school, they cannot accommodate special needs. Also, with their more holistic approach, may special needs kids are not diagnosed as early as they would be elsewhere. The school also does not have counseling support.
* Administration - AWS does not have a traditional principal. Which is fine, unless you have a problem with a teacher, and suddenly there is no one in charge to turn to...
* Nurse - only dispenses supplements and other holistic medicines. If your child has a medical problem, nurse may not be able to help.
We are a family at the Austin Waldorf Schol for 10 years and entering the high school in 2015. Steiner's Waldorf Education has been here in Austin Texas for over 30 years! "Waldorf Education, founded in 1919 by the Austrian philosopher, scientist, and artist Rudolf Steiner, has grown into an educational movement with over 900 independent schools in 55 countries. Fundamental to Waldorf Education is the recognition that each human being is a unique individual who passes through distinct life stages and that it is the responsibility of education to address the physical, social, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs of each developmental stage." - from website of The Austin Waldorf School
This school is amazing! The kids learn all of the same stuff they learn in public school, but in far more interesting, interactive and progressive ways. In addition all of the regular academics, the Waldorf students also get art, handwork, woodwork, eurthymy, musical instrument, chorus, sand sculpting, blacksmithing, theatre, and time to play outside.
Great school. Our children received excellent educations K-12 and admission to top colleges and universities where they excelled. Teachers were caring and supportive as well as brilliant in working with students. Arts were engaging and expected; sports and leadership opportunities were available to students who choose such. As parents our questions were readily understood and answered. We are most appreciative of finding such a well rounded and balanced, beautiful school.
My students attended public schools and two different Waldorf schools before spending their high school years at AWS. AWS wins hands down in terms of how much the teachers invest in teaching the students, rather than simply their subjects. We all loved the integrated curriculum with different artistic skills encouraged in what would otherwise be ordinary subjects (English, math, history, Spanish, German.) Although the school has had a tendency to involve itself in more than just the academic lives of the students, we understood that this was to protect all the students. Our children have gone on to take up professions or further studies at liberal arts colleges in which their instructors and professors have commented positively on their broad based education; ability to think, ask questions, observe, and draw conclusions; as well as their wide range of artistic experiences. We are all working hard to make it possible to send the grand-children here.
What an amazingly brilliant curriculum, campus, and faculty! My child has attended this school for 8 years and I wouldn't choose anything else. There is tremendous attention given to educating not just the head, but also making certain that the students' emotional and physical needs are supported. The academics are rich and enlivened by the arts and practical disciplines. These children are well-rounded, engaged, and genuinely enjoy coming to school. Imagine!
The Austin Waldorf School is an excellent school for all grades k-12. We have three children and have been at the school for 8 years. I could not be more pleased. In a world where media and technology are moving faster and faster, this school emphasizes those educational moments where the student can focus on the activity in themselves as doers and not just observers of the world around. Providing opportunities to create and solve issues, and not just imitate leads to an enriched educational experience across the board. Additionally, the teachers are truly dedicated to the growth and development of the whole child as a human being and not just the academics. When there is something happening academically, they strive to support the students by supporting the general well being of the student in addition to working through the academics. In the high school, the academics are diverse and rigorous, but met with enthusiasm by the students. The programs in arts, music, and sports are also great! My children love to go to school and are joyous, and eager to learn. The community is warm, supportive and dedicated to the wellbeing of all it's members. What more could you ask for.
What an amazing school. Both my kids went there from Kindergarten until they were ready for college. Not only did they get an excellent education that permitted them to attend and excel at first-rate colleges, but also they developed into the sort of young adults of whom any parent would be proud.