Richmond >Education > Richmond Waldorf School
1000 Westover Hills Blvd, Richmond, VA | Directions 2322537.518164 -77.489179
Neighborhoods: Westover Hills - Forest Hill Park, Forest View
My husband and I are both college professors, who not only value our daughter's education, but who study changing pedagogical philosophies and practices to stay current in our profession. We know, both through our own classroom experience and the growing body of research in the educational field, that experiential, hands-on lessons are the most effective. Students understand and remember what they do, more than what they're told. This is the core of the Richmond Waldorf School approach (and it is cutting edge at all major American universities).
It is true that Waldorf prioritizes some lessons differently than most mainstream American schools. Some families may be concerned that their child is being taught things in a different way/order than their neighbor's child. Some families want regular letter-based evaluations. Some families, for example, may be more comfortable with their child learning division from a worksheet instead of with knitting needles. But what concerns my family is that our child's school cultivate her love of learning. We want our daughter to remain curious, capable and confident. For five years she has thrived at the Richmond Waldorf School. We are deeply grateful to have found this community of teachers and parents that share our belief in education for the whole child.
My son attended RWS from preschool through 8th grade. Today he is a very successful student at a Governor's School. He graduated with everything he needed academically, socially, and emotionally to perform well in a traditional school setting and is even often heralded by his current teachers as an expansive, creative thinker. In the early grades, Waldorf doesn't look like more traditional models and the methods are unique. It is an education for the long view rather than short term quantifiable benchmarks. My educational goal for my child was that he become a confident, curious, well-rounded human being who is interested in the world around him. And that is exactly what I got. I am happy I made the investment and extremely proud of my son.
DO NOT believe their website – As a parent with a child that was in grade 2 and 3 at Richmond Waldorf, I can tell you this school constantly looses students once the parents realize their children are not receiving an education that will allow them to successfully matriculate to other schools. My child came in to RWS after attending kindergarten and first grade at a nationally recognized Virginia school district. She was on target for math and above grade in reading. After a year and a half, her math and reading skills declined. She didn't learn anything of real substance in history or science.
Waldorf is based on unproven ideas of a man Ruldof Steiner, who didn't have children or an education in either early childhood education or child psychology. Steiner's decision to teach reading in second grade is based on children loosing baby teeth, not any concrete studies on child reading readiness.
Student evaluations is like reading an astrological chart, with statements like "not fully reincarnated in body", instead of useful evaluations on academic progress. You, as the parent, will never be told by RWS whether your child is doing well academically or not. There is no quantitative evaluation, no recording of grades.
The children do not have modern school aids (handouts, workbooks, worksheets). Instead, the students copy black boards full of teacher written narratives and a drawing that the students must copy. This comprises of the "main lesson", which is usually a myth or from the bible, rather than real history or real science.
There are better private schools here in Richmond that have real certified teachers that will teach your child to read, write and a solid foundation and mastery of math.
Please do not send your child to this school.
A response – Waldorf education is indeed an educational alternative with an 80 plus year proven track record. Richmond Waldorf School is accredited by the Association of Waldorf School of North America and all of our teachers hold higher education degrees and are Waldorf certified or in process of certification - up to and including Master's degrees in Waldorf education. Waldorf schools do not use textbooks but rather lessons are taught by the teachers and students record their lessons in a Main Lesson Book that they create. This is a deeply embedded element of the Waldorf philosophy - that children learn best by doing. Waldorf education has served students well all over the world for more than 80 years. Our students here at RWS have tranferred out into public schools as well as some highly competitive private schools where they have been well received by their new schools and peers.
It is true that RWS does not have the resources for many types of learning disabilities, however many students who don't fit into the traditional school environment thrive in Waldorf schools.
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