The school is academically subpar compared to many institutions in the region. The school has essentially no math program until high school (at which point it is minimal). There is little homework which instills are terrible work ethic amongst the children. This school shouldn't even be considered a preparatory school. It is an alternative school. Much of the curriculum revolves around "handwork, eurythmy, acting, and music". The math and science teachers are generally under-qualified. Most of the public schools in Chittenden County are more rigorous and will prepare students for college.
The kindergarten years went well for our children, the teachers were wise and skilled and good at communication but the grade school experience was disastrous at best, lots of bullying and shaming the children. Some of the teachers are really dysfunctional others have their backs turned to name calling, punches and hair pulling. One of the children's classes was in constant chaos and the school completely denied it and did nothing to make it better. The teachers seem to be overworked and underpaid. Most of the children need tutoring. Many families left. The school put up a brick wall of defensiveness and blamed the children. Lots of blame and put down of children. There was a great deal of bullying and teachers just allowed it. Complaints were met with a sort of Waldorf-ese special language and a "we don't do it that way." Or families were asked to leave the school. No dialogue what so ever. Hard to imagine I know, we were so disappointed, we expected just the opposite and had been so drawn to the school for its beauty and seeming gentleness. I have since learned that many other families had similar problems with this school over the years. No leadership and no accountability.
Our family found this school to be unprofessional with poor leadership. This school can be a great experience if you have a great class room teacher and there are some really great teachers at this school. However, there is no administrative or principal to provide leadership this leaves little recourse if your child has a mediocre teacher. The school is excellent at training children in the arts. Be prepared to provide supplemental tutoring for reading and math. The school handbook even states that extra tutoring is the responsibility of the parents. There is only one way of learning and that is the Waldorf way. Many of the staff do not believe in ADHD and fault poor parenting with not enough "rhythm" or structure in the home life. Early exposure to music, music theory, and watercolor is fantastic. Our child was frustrated by the numerous Nome stories and wanted real world learning opportunities. If you do not play the Waldorf Way you are not asked to Stay. Think very carefully with your mind and feel very carefully with your heart before enrolling your child here. Our family was attracted to the spiritual aspect of the school, and in the end found it dogmatic and limiting.
As a parent wanting the best education to fit the needs of my children I am delighted to have my children receive their education at the Lake Champlain Waldorf School. We have two children who have attended LCWS. Our daughter started in 3rd grade and graduated from the high school in 2009. Our son started in kindergarten and is now finishing up 9th grade at the high school. Our daughter is very much in the here and now and an introvert. With its focus on age-appropriate developmental teaching, the cirriculum gave her a structural framework, which helped guide her and keep her focused. Our son is quite opposite from our daughter. He's an extrovert. The structure of the school provides him with boundries, so that he can apply his many talents effectively. Lastly, this school provides a fantastic musical education like no other in the area. Beginning in 3rd grade all students are required to learn a string instrument. By 7th grade the quality of the music produced by the orchestra is truely outstanding.
I have 2 sons at the Lake Champlain Waldorf School. One is finishing up 9th grade, and the other graduating, both having been there since kg. I am so pleased with the education they have received there. My graduate applied to 4 colleges and got into all 4 with merit scholarships. Though there is no standardized testing in this school, and he missed the PSAT's while on exchange in Germany, he aced every section of the SAT's because he knows how to think rather than just strategize about how to best take a test. The well rounded education of head, heart and hands recognizes that they are all connected. In addition, there is a healthy and vibrant community of families and children learn what it means to participate and be a part of something larger than themselves. The teachers are extraordinarily committed to the well being of the children and community. The Waldorf framework provides healthy structure and rhythm, bringing content in stimulating ways at developmentally appropriate times. I consider it an immense privilege to be part of this community.
The pros: a lovely, holistic, arts-based education that integrates intellectual, emotional, social, physical, and artistic skills. The cons: an extremely dogmatic approach to education (if Rudolph Steiner didn't say it nearly a century ago, they won't do it now) that effectively ignores the needs of academically and intellectually gifted children. While our children loved the arts education, handwork, and ample movement time, they complained of boredom academically and felt a palpable lack of recognition/validation from their teachers. Teachers also have absolute authority here, and almost no student input/autonomy is allowed. The curriculum is inflexible, and students get little opportunity to explore ideas or facts that are not explicitly detailed by the teacher. (Those lovely hand-written textbooks each child writes are full of text and drawings that mimic the teacher's work almost verbatim.) The lack of clear authority in the school can also be a problem (the school is governed not by a single director, but by a College of Teachers). The buck, apparently, stops nowhere. This school is a good fit for students (and parents) who don't ask too many questions about the pedagogy.
The administration here is not very nice. I was not impressed and will not send my children here.
I went to this school from 1st-8th grade. I switched from there to go to a public high school. Let me tell you why. When I reached the 7th grade I started feeling like I was falling behind the public schoolers academically. So I took some test and yes, in fact I was behind. The teachers do not teach math very well, they never stress how important it is to do your homework. They give you NO preparation for college or even high school. Once I switched it was hard to adapt because I didn't have the work ethics, study habits, or ideas that homework needed to be done. Other Facts: There is not enough funding for a tech department meaning no technical oriented classes such as design. There is no real auditorium. The basketball court is about 1/4th the size it should be. The dress code is way to strict. You don't get the feel that teachers are there when you need them. It is impossible to fail a class. (People need to know that there can be failures in life!) I honestly find the public school pressure atmosphere more successful. I will feel sorry for the students enrolled at LCWS and LCWHS when they go on to college. They will not have the skills to have a successful college career.
Finally an education that balances left and right-brained development! In this changing economy all schools could take a note from Waldorf education. My children will be prepared to lead the American workforce because of their trained creative forces, empathy and strong will.
This school does not provide a very good education, it teaches very pointless 'skills' like knitting, woodworking, eurythmy and other meaningless things. The faculty is many times inexperienced and many do not know how to relate to students and are often very insensitive. There are some good teachers however and some of the teaching is satisfactory but overall it is a poor school.
I went here for High School, and it was the most amazing experience of my life. If anyone wants to her about it, the good and the bad, feel free to contact me! firstname.lastname@example.org
Every time I drop my kids off at school I think about how lucky we are to have the Lake Champlain Waldorf School.
I am a senior at LCWS and have been attending for fifteen years. I am satisfied completely with my education and feel that because of its support, I have grown to become a more complete human being. Not only do I have teachers who I can count on to look out for me for the rest of my life, I also have what I need to be successful in the world. As I approach the end of my Waldorf education, I feel prepared to face college and am looking at schools like Bates, Middlebury, and Barnard. I think that every child deserves to experience what I have experienced, and plan to send my future children to a Waldorf school as well.
My Child attended grades Pk-9 and now is attending college at philadelphia University for architecture. I absolutely recommend this school for any parent who seeking a school that promotes art, growth and companionship with classmates. This school is based around love and community, once you enter this school and engage yourself with the people that are a part of it, you will never forget them.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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