This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Whatcom Hills Waldorf School5
Posted March 29, 2014
- a parent
We have been at Whatcom Hills for two years now. We are thrilled with the school. Our child loves it. It is a magical place. There is a lot of work involved for the parents but I think it is well worth it. I don't think there is any school with 100% parent satisfaction but I am very happy with the school and so is my child. The teachers really seem to care about the school and its students. They may be going through some changes and even dropped some classes but do they really need TWO foriegn languages? They do still have woodworking and many other "extra" classes you wont find in public schools.
I've been a parent at this school for four years and I've noticed a clear deterioration of the school in general and the teaching in particular. Constant talk of financial difficulties and reduced programs combined with low teacher morale show signs of rapidly deteriorating organization. There seems to be no clear future and extremely low morals. This will be my last year.
I value the Waldorf School's focus on the individual needs of the child and its efforts to educate our children to be balanced human beings. Also I appreciate the Schools efforts to foster an appreciation of the true,the good and the beautiful in the world and in themselves.
I've been a parent at WHWS for over 10 years. I am the proud parent of a high school graduate, high school sophomore and eighth grader. WHWS is a school that nurtures the whole child while at the same time providing a rich and comprehensive curriculum that creates life long learners. I'm so proud that my children have been to attend WHWS and I'm grateful for the community that is provides for our family.
My two daughter have absolutely loved the school. The have both attended since kindergarten and have thrived. I was concerned because both of their reading skills lagged somewhat behind the metrics set up by the publice school system and as I was told, they would read when they were ready. By 4th grade my older daughter was a voracious reader and finished the entire Harry Potter series in one summer. She has far surpassed all public school standards and best of all she did it on her own without anyone forcing her to read using an arbitrary timeline. We held our youngest daughter back one extra year in kindergarten because we felt she was not ready. The extra time was instrumental in her development. She now thrives in class and truly loves her classmates and her teacher.
I am an educator by trade and have children who love coming here everyday. This is a school where childhood matters, and play is taken seriously by the preschool and kindergarten teachers. Great care is taken to provide beautiful spaces, build social skills and foster creative minds who happily problem solve how to build a fort, sail a pirate ship or be a family of wolves with four other friends. We love that the school community supports our family values of a non-commercial, low-media childhood with lots of time outdoors. We reap the benefits of Waldorf when we see our children being kind to others, working in the garden and being entertained for hours making things with their own hands. The non-academic Kindergarten has somehow fostered the intellectual mind of our second grade child. His passion for reading books is clearly inspired by listening to all those increasingly complex stories. He reads with "voice", has an appreciation for a good story, recalls well and his comprehension is at a fourth grade level. He's a visual learner, so the experiential methods and use of manipulatives in learning math processes works well. We love how learning happens in context.
My husband and I were skeptical before we came to this school, but after five years at the school we are very, very happy with the education our daughter is receiving. The education is quite similar to the highly successful program taught in the Finnish schools, and the teachers, parents, and other students form a wonderful community that's surprisingly diverse. I thought we'd have trouble fitting in, and frankly we don't fit it, but we're accepted, respected, and involved anyway. It's okay to be ourselves. We're especially pleased with the school's focus on using children's strongest desires as a way of teaching them -- teaching math through movement, foreign language through singing, things like that. The children absolutely love going to school, and come home with so much knowledge and wisdom, and are respectful, thoughtful, and artistic too. I just wish there were a Waldorf high school in Bellingham.
This should be a fantastic school, but it is not. The Waldorf style of teaching should be a magical experience, but this particular school is run in a small minded way. Enrollment is falling and funding is an issue here, as so many families have their tuition subsidised, and families keep leaving. Many children have left this school in recent years due to parent disatisfaction at the way this school is run, and how some children are treated by teachers. Recruitment of teachers is an insular activity. Qualifications and experience take second place to being friends with the current teachers. In the last few years, the following subjects have been cancelled: Woodwork, German, Eurythmy. Is this actually a Waldorf school anymore? I think Rudolf Steiner would be shocked and ashamed to see this school operated as it is.The sign of a good school is a waiting list. No waiting list here! If you want a Waldorf education for your child, look elsewhere. You have been warned.
Great school. Our children have attended the school since 1998. Our eldest child has transitioned well to the public high school and we feel grateful for the kind care and broad education he received while attending this school for eleven years. Our younger child is still enrolled in the school. We have received great parenting support in this community and are impressed by the current leadership and parent energy!