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East Bay Waldorf School (El Sobrante, CA)

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > K-12 Schools > East Bay Waldorf School



May 2014

Re: Preschool for an energetic, kinetic learner?
Our son is also very active. Have you looked into the Waldorf community? We were delighted with Margrit Haeberlin's class at East Bay Waldorf. She creates a magical, grounded space where children have room to move, play, and explore, but they also learn to manage their own rhythms and follow a structured routine through the day. I cannot recommend her enough. He is also enrolled at Children's Sonnen House; Wiebke Larson has literally decades of experience guiding children who have energy and strength, and she's a beloved community member. Best of luck in your search! Anon.


Nov 2013

Re: Progressive schools in El Sobrante area?

El Sobrante has a school that I think would meet your needs directly: the East Bay Waldorf School. It is an amazing school where academics and the arts are highly integrated, each child is seen as an individual, and the teachers strive to develop the children academically, socially and emotionally. It is really worth a visit to view the 11-acre campus next to Wildcat Canyon. The school has a nicely diverse and active community coming from all over the East Bay. This is our fourth year at the school and we drive up from Berkeley to give our children and ourselves this wonderful experience. I believe they have monthly tours going on -- that might be a great way to check it out. Good luck to you! Jennifer


March 2013

Re: Berkeley/Oakland private school recs
All the things you are seeking in your child's education are very much supported in Waldorf Schools. We live in Berkeley and send our child to the East Bay Waldorf School for the exact reasons that you list. There are many Oakland and Berkeley families carpooling to El Sobrante for the gorgeous 11-acre campus with time outside and hikes on Fridays for kindergarteners, healthy, natural foods, no homework until older, an education that matches their developmental needs, two foreign languages, and integration of art and music into the learning of all academic subjects so the subjects really come alive for the children. It's a wonderful, diverse and warm community. One of the unique strengths of Waldorf schooling is that they seek to educate the ''whole'' child -- their intellect certainly, but also their social and emotional well-being. The best way to really check it out is to go on a tour. Good luck with your search! Jennifer D


Feb 2013

Re: Waldorf type school in Berkeley for 1st & 3rd graders
My wife, 2 boys and I moved to the Bay Area from Seattle 3 years ago after visiting just about all the Waldorf schools in Northern CA. Our new home depended on which school we wanted, and we decided on the East Bay Waldorf School. Now our first grader is thriving with a fantastic teacher, and the youngest starts pre-school in September. EBWS' stunning campus is on Wildcat Canyon Park which makes the commute easier to take - families come from Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda. We're very happy with our decision and recommend EBWS enthusiastically. Brian G


Oct - Nov 2012

Re: Considering Waldorf school for 5 year old
Our 6 year old son is in first grade at the East Bay Waldorf School after attending kindergarten there last year, and we couldn't be happier! The kindergarten experience was wonderful for our son, who was a dreamy, quiet fellow at home but blossomed into an adventurous, social boy with lots of friends in school. I was particularly impressed by the kindergarten's ability to include all of the children in the life of the day. Everything they did was laying a foundation for the academic years to come - stories, finger knitting, painting, lots of outside play - it really gave my son a firm footing for what will develop in the grades. Transition into first grade has been remarkable to watch. Our son is enthusiastically throwing himself into everything and wanting to go back to school for the afternoon! I'm a firm enthusiast for the Waldorf curriculum. I'm a public school product and ivy grad who worked in high tech so Waldorf might not have been a natural choice at first. But researching it and seeing how my son thrives have given me a good perspective. It's truly a remarkable school.

Another surprising bonus about EBWS is the lively family community. There is a cross section of culture and everyone is working together to support the children, faculty and staff. We've been to parent meetings, family picnics, festivals, etc. and it's been very helpful in expanding our social circle. There's a lot of enthusiasm at the school and a lovely feeling of creativity. Tuition for any private school can be tough but I've found that EBWS is among the least expensive, and financial aid is available. The school is relatively in the sticks...both in a good way and bad. El Sobrante is a fair clip from Berkeley/Oakland, but once you get to the campus which sits on the northern tip of Tilden Park, it's magical. It's just beautiful. You have to visit it to see what I mean. All I can say is thank goodness for carpooling. Good luck on your decision, and I sincerely hope you find the right place for your child! EBWS parent


The East Bay Waldorf School has a really sweet and knowledgeable admissions person. She's worth calling, just to talk things through. Juliana (510) 223-3570. Then take a tour. What's special about Waldorf is immediately apparent on that tour. Our experience at EBWS has been great. I'm delighted every day by my son's description of his day. Happy at Waldorf
We love it a East bay Waldorf school. Our oldest son is in the first grade there and our youngest will begin in preschool soon. His loves school and just asked if he could go everyday instead of having a weekend. The teachers are outstanding. The campus is beautiful well worth the 15-20 minute drive we make. We couldn't be happier with our decision to go to East bay Waldorf school. Happy Waldorf Parent
Waldorf is a beautifully crafted and carefully prescribed curriculum for children from birth to 12th grade. It is not a loosey-goosey program, as many think, but requires commitment and respect for the child's intellectual and emotional age appropriate abilities, from both families and teachers. My husband and I felt it was well worth the commitment.

That being said, I am sorry that the East Bay Waldorf School is the only K-8 option for Waldorf for the East Bay. (There is a K-3 Waldorf school in North Berkeley and a number of preschools.) As with any pedagogical model, the desired results are contingent upon how the staff of an individual school implement that educational philosophy, curriculum, methods.

Over the years we found that our children's teachers had what seemed to be some difficulty with child development and/or classroom management. My son reported, multiple times, that his teacher yelled at children in the classroom, and then changed his/her behavior when other adults came into the room. My daughter complained, with tears, that she couldn't learn because her teacher was always preoccupied with kids acting out.

We continued our commitment to Waldorf while we watched as families withdrew their children, and enrollment in my children's classes dwindled to less than half what they started with. When we expressed concerns or simply inquired as to why families were leaving, the staff told us that those parents were disgruntled or that their children were troubled. We regretfully decided it was a place not conducive to our childrens' learning or healthy social development. We finally withdrew them after attending for several years.

Waldorf aims to surround children with three things: beauty, truth and love. After pouring our hearts and souls into the East Bay Waldorf School, both financially and as active parents, people asked why we left. With disappointments too many to number, I simply respond with 'The school fell a little short on truth and love.' C.


We have been at the East Bay Waldorf School (EBWS) for 3 years now and could not be happier. We chose EBWS because we agreed with another person's comment here that Waldorf education is "a beautifully crafted and carefully prescribed curriculum" that really considers the 'whole child' -- their intellectual development, but also their physical, social, and spiritual development. We have found the focus in Waldorf on beauty, truth and goodness to be in full flower at EBWS. When we arrived we understood that there had been concerns from some unhappy parents with some unresolved issues, but we see that era really is over. There have been a number of significant changes in the leadership and management of the school that have brought forth a vibrant, connected, and harmonious community. For 2 years now I have been conducting a survey of parents at the school. The vast majority of parents are very satisfied with their Main Class Teacher, are very satisfied or satisfied with their experience at the school, feel informed and engaged in the school, feel valued by the school, and see that their child enjoys going to school at EBWS. I think that speaks volumes for what kind of place EBWS is today. Jennifer D.

East Bay Waldorf School Financial Aid question

June 2012

We recently toured and loved the East Bay Waldorf School in El Sobrante and are considering applying for our kids. We absolutely loved about every aspect we saw of the school, but the prices...ouch. Definitely different than what we're used to at our current school. We are certainly willing to make sacrifices for our kids to attend, were they to be accepted, but we wonder: how much financial assistance could we hope for? Certainly it would be necessary at the beginning in rather large amounts, but as we advance in our careers, and make more money, could we generally count on, dollar for dollar-ish, handing over more for tuition? How do other middle- to upper-middle class families afford this, as the years go on? And, how generous is EBWS, generally, with their financial assistance? By no means do we live high on the hog, honestly just trying to get by at this point, but in a few years could be getting easily in the six-figure income. Is private school realistic? Would love to hear from other middle of the road private school families or even other EBWS families. Thanks! anonymous


EBWS works hard to provide financial aid packages to families. The process is easy and staff are helpful. You will need to supply a copy of your taxes and fill out their questionnaire. If you have specific questions you should contact their admissions department because you will have to apply to the school first. It is a great school, my daughter loves it there and our teacher is really wonderful! Happy EBWS parent
Well, EBWS is less expensive than some, but still an investment. The staff at EBWS is so dedicated to the parents and children. Call up the office and ask your question. I'm sure they'll help you figure things out. Does private school make sense for a middle class family? I don't know....sometimes I feel like what my husband and I are doing is crazy. But if you really believe in Waldorf, there is no substitute. And I promise you that your whole family will feel so much joy and gratitude and love for the experience that you won't regret the money. I am blown away by the experience. If you offered me 100K to give it up, I'd refuse easily. In fact, if I could give the EBWS more money, I would, because they give their whole selves to those children. Their thoughts, their hearts, their hands, their time, their meditations, their voices, their art, their very souls. How do you put a price on that? Grateful Waldorf Family

East Bay Waldorf School for UK family moving to Berkeley

March 2012

We are moving to back to Berkeley from the UK. We have 3 children who are currently in Steiner school in the UK where they have been for the last two years since we moved to the UK from Berkeley. We have been to visit the EBWS and are considering it as it would be a more seamless transition for our children, however, we are also looking at other schools. We would love to hear from parents regarding how they find the school - good, not so good points. Our children would be in classes 4, 3 and K. The eldest is particularly interested in maths and sometimes finds the maths a little slow at his current school. Also, as we will be living in Berkeley, could anyone give advice on commute times and car-pooling experiences. And, finally, where do children usually go for High School after EBWS? Many thanks! Potential EBWS parent


We love the East Bay Waldorf School! There are so many things to love about it. The campus is absolutely beautiful, from the hand-sponged pastel painted classroom walls, to the amazing chalk-art drawings the teachers make, to the intriguing straw bale woodworking building. The extended grounds - the frog pond, Wildcat garden, the native plant and fruit tree nursery, and the teachers' ability to take the kids hiking in the adjacent open space, are huge plusses. The teachers are fabulous; we couldn't be happier with any of the teachers, from our son's classroom teacher, to the German, Spanish, Handwork, Games, Band and Orchestra teachers.

The classes are small, homework loads are reasonable, parents nice (and involved!), and the tuition rates are low when compared with other private schools. The Harvest Fair, Wanderer's Way, and the May Fair are lovely events. Parents at the school set up carpools; we are in one ourselves. They work pretty well. Our son does well at math, as do a couple of other children in his class. Their teacher asked if they would like to move ahead of the class in math, and I believe the three of them are going to do so. I hope your family gives it a try! Signed, A Happy East Bay Waldorf School Family


As one would expect, the topic of education is a hot one in Berkeley! You're likely to encounter many strong opinions. My own conclusion was that the East Bay Waldorf School is a bastion of sanity for this community. Schools around here can be hyper-intellectual, political, or both, and they don't necessarily recognize it in themselves. They all use the words, ''whole child,'' yet they value information over perception, and academics to the near exclusion of creativity. Many put the children into the service of a political agenda without consciously acknowledging it.

After two rounds of school hunting, I concluded that East Bay Waldorf has the greatest chance of building children's capacity to make something of themselves and their world. If you visit EBWS again, listen to the handwork teacher, for example, talk about the importance of will, and how this information/consumer culture sabotages it. No other E.Bay school cultivates will like EBWS. And how far can one get in life without a great amount of will? How many careers require educated hands? Lots of them. Surgeon. Dentist. Nurse. Builder. Lab tech. Artist. Architect. Etc. To me, the education of the hands is vitally important, and there is no comparison between EBWS and other schools.

Academically, many schools go through a faster sequence. Having seen it done both ways, I think Waldorf does it better. It's deeper. And it seems to build the child's capacities for more discovery. My son talks about math at dinner parties and helps his high school friend with his homework. No kidding. It's not because he's seen that material before; it's because he knows how to explore it. That's what Waldorf means when they say they build capacities. Waldorf kids aren't worrying about whether or not they've been told how to do something. They're not worried about anything. They're just plunging ahead boldly.

I wonder what you thought of the Steiner school in the UK. Did it resonate with your family? If so, it will probably be more important to you here.

There are carpools from Berkeley, though it can take some time to find the right one. (We like to arrive earlier than most.)

Regarding math, I imagine that if your child claimed to be bored in his last Steiner school, he might levy the same charge here. My child is also a precocious mathematician, but he does not say he's bored in math class because Mr. Jansen's lessons are fun and artistic. If my son already knows the material (and there is a possibility of that because we transferred in) there's always the creative aspect to keep him busy.

The downsides are definitely the commute, and just the challenge of letting go of the rat race culture we're surrounded by. It takes a confident parent to place faith in cultivation rather than homework. But if you have a fuller definition of a human being, then welcome to Waldorf.

Lastly, your oldest will have an easy transition because Mr. Jansen couldn't be kinder. I don't know the other teachers as well, but they're probably the same! Relatively new EBWS Parent


My son is in the current class 3 at EBWS. His teacher is very committed to making sure that all the students in the class have a strong foundation in math skills. They are currently working on increasing their response time via drills with flash cards and ball tossing...They are also working with word problems and multiple digit multiplication. They have not started division, yet,(at least I don't think so) although some students are working with it as another way to drill multiplication tables. Just like all classes, some students easily grasp the material and others are more challenged. It is not my impression, however, that any of the children are bored with the work. She has incorporated weekly homework, and the children are working towards self-discipline. There is a building of character and tolerance for work in this class. They have a lot of pride in doing their work and returning it the following week.

I am very happy with my son's class and the school as a whole. I live close by, but I know that a lot of parents have organized carpools. The commute is going against the majority of traffic in the morning, so that is a plus.

Please feel free to email me directly if you have any other questions regarding Grade 3 or the school.


I wanted to make sure that you were also aware that there is a new Waldorf inspired charter school in Oakland- Community School for Creative Education. (www.communityschoolforcreativeeducation.org) As a charter school it is also free. It opened this year with K-3 and will be adding a 4th graade next year as the 3rd graders advance. It will grow to K-8. Our daughter is in 2nd grade and LOVES it. We have another daughter entering Kindergarten there in the fall and another in the transitional kindergarten. They have school tours every week check out the website- and if you love Waldork I would highly recocmmend checking it our quickly. I believe that they have a few openings. The parents are also very active. The arts, music, cooking, gardening and languages (English, Mandarin and Spanish) are all amazing. Good luck. A happy CSCE parent
Feb 2012

Re: Finding a school for a well balanced education
You should consider the East Bay Waldorf School. They have great academics that are developmentally appropriate. They offer an art infused curriculum that addresses active children. They are dedicated to the preservation of childhood which allows for the students to play and be active. In addition to the main lesson, they offer 2 foreign languages, orchestra, games/gym class, practical arts and so much more as specialty classes. My child thrives there. It is well worth a look! www.eastbaywaldorf.org EBWS Parent


Feb 2012

Re: Kindergarten Recommendations - Hercules Resident
My child goes to school in El Sobrante at the East Bay Waldorf School. It is a private school but the financial aid is really great plus the tuition is in the bottom 35% of most of the private schools in the East Bay. I love the school and our teacher. The campus is so beautiful and the everyone there is dedicated and professional. It is a warm and inviting school that takes the time to meet each student where they are and to help them blossom into life long learners and dedicated students. It is very close to Hercules. Best of luck! happy parent


August 2010

Re: Preschool recommendation in El Sobrante area
The East Bay Waldorf school in El sobrante has a wonderful program for preschool and is possibly still enrolling. 510- 223-3570. Carissa Thiel at Cottonwood Cottage (some similar name) is also in El Sobrante at 510 669-0477. My daughter attended both Carissa's preschool (wonderful) and the East Bay Waldorf School. She really benefitted from both and cried fo 2 hours after graduating from 8th grade...she was so bonded to her class. It is an approach to preserving childhood in the early years and eventually graduating very capable, well rounded individuals - that we loved having for our two children. Denise


May 2010

Re: Private school that is not trying to prove itself academically
Take a look at East Bay Waldorf School. Kids progress at their own pace, with lots of gentle creative and outdoor time. it worked for us


East Bay Waldorf School, though it is academic, recognizes that children learn in different ways, so we teach to all different types of learning styles be it auditory processors, visual processors, kinesthetic processors. We also relate the curriculum to the human being, so nothing, even complex mathematics processes, seem arbitrary to a child. Our human centered approach creates interest in the child. We also work very hard to develop a child's ability to form inner, imaginative pictures. This ability to form inner pictures enables a student to picture complex mathematics, physical, and chemical processes as they move through the curriculum. One more unique quality about the Waldorf approach is that a teacher moves with his or her students for as many years as possible through the grades, which allows a teacher to really know a child including their individual learning styles, strengths, and weaknesses. Because the curriculum is so rich -- academics, music, foreign language, fine art, drama, practical arts, movement -- every child has the potential to find their place and be celebrated for who they are as an individual. I have a feeling your son is very bright and talented, maybe he just needs to be in the right environment to grow into the amazing human being he surely is? Best wishes in your search, Jodi Casey (Admissions East Bay Waldorf School and Parent of 3 Waldorf High Schoolers)
Dec 2009

We recently toured East Bay Waldorf School for kindergarten and are interested in applying. While there, I got the impression that the school may be going through a transition. Some of it seemed financial (enrollment down at lots of private schools b/c of economy) and some of it seemed like more. I'd be interested in feedback about your experience at this school.


We have had our son at the school for 3 years, and yes, the school has certainly been in transition--and now I think the community seems to have ''found its way.'' There were a lot of feathers flying last year--it seems to me that there was not a clear avenue for parents to communicate with the administration, and that caused problems. A lot of that friction was regarding 2 teachers, who were eventually let go.

In retrospect, I have to say that I have been so impressed with how changes have been implemented. Avenues of communication are now VERY clear with the administration and Board, and I see huge efforts in terms of community- building. It's a small, very friendly school now. Details of children's lives are attended to with such consciousness. The campus is a huge, gorgeous outdoor space adjoining Wildcat Canyon that just sings NATURE. I am very grateful to be able to send my child there. Lucky Mama


April 2009

I am wondering if anyone has had experience with the Waldorf School in El Sobrante... I am researching schools for my son and would love some input on this one. Thanks. Mom of preschooler


The EBWS preschool is very sweet and wholesome. It is a slow paced day with lots of outdoor fun and the children do not receive any traditional academics. The children are well cared for and are by and large very happy.

Now having said all of that you need to know that Waldorf isn't for everyone. It is a lifestyle choice as well as an educational pedagogy. You will be encouraged to follow the Waldorf way in your family and with your child. It can be very difficult for families who do not agree with the Waldorf way of doing things (all things included, i.e dress, food, how your family spends it time, religion, sleep, play, hairstyle, books,friendships, toys,internet use,drawing materials). You really have to take a good, long, and objective look before you decide how well the fit is for you and your family but the sweetness of the program is hard to beat. A balancing act


April 2007

Re: Private Middle School for Nature Loving 6th Grader???
Find out if East Bay Waldorf School in El Sobrante might be a perfect fit: http://www.eastbaywaldorf.org The location is beautiful alongside parklands, the short commute from Orinda is a lovely nature ride along San Pablo Dam Rd. & the mission statement includes ''Inspire global responsibility by fostering reverence and respect for the earth, life, and world cultures''. I am glad for my 17yrs experience there as a parent with 2 sons. Baiba


Have you considered the East Bay Waldorf School? It is about 15 minutes north of Orinda along San Pablo Dam Road in El Sobrante. We live in Orinda and our children attend EBWS--it provides a rich, alternative curriculum that meets the children's needs on many important levels. There is a strong emphasis on social responsibility & appreciation for nature, and the arts are integrated into all facets of the curriculum. While not traditionally ''academic,'' my eighth grader is ready for high school, and was accepted to each of the independent high schools she applied to, including CPS and Bentley. Please email me directly if you have further questions, and good luck with your search. asb
May 2006

We are considering this school for high school for my child. We are not so much wanting a Steiner education, but we find the school atmosphere very warm, calm, and think the structure of the academics might ''work'' for our kid. I have heard that Steiner schools are a ''way of life'', but wonder if this would carry on into high school where the kids are going to be very clear about being normal teenagers, albeit hopefully accepting and kind teenagers.I am at the point where I do not want to be intimately ''involved'' in my child's school, just with my child. I have done enough room parenting, etc. to last the rest of my lifetime. Does anyone have any comments about this particular school, esp the high school, or Steiner education in general?
wondering about it all


Because you asked about ''Steiner education in general,'' I will refer you to two web sites I reviewed when I considered a Waldorf education. One of these sites is very critical of the whole Waldorf philosophy and the other seems to be more supportive: http://www.waldorfcritics.org/ (obviously, very critical) and http://openwaldorf.com/ Both are interesting. Anon
Your hunch is right--Waldorf high school ''culture'' is very different from the culture of the lower school. The lower school tends to be very protective and cocoon-like in many ways, while the high school focuses on turning the student's gaze out onto the larger world. I have a kid in the h.s. now, and one who graduated in 2004. Both experiences were/are positive ones. You are welcome to call me for details, and I'll try to answer any questions you might have. --Laura
April 2006

There is a lot in the archives on the Waldorf of East Bay elementary school, but not the high school. The web site is not that informative, either. We will attend their info night, but I'd be interested in hearing about personal experiences, especially from those whose children who did not attend Waldorf before high school. Is the curriculum challenging? What is the homework like? Are there a variety of kids there, or is it pretty homogeneous (I'm not talking just ''diversity'' here, but different interests, talents, etc.). Thanks for your help! R.K.


My daughter was a K-12 Waldorf kid, but I put the question to one of her classmate's mom and here is what she had to say (with her permission): ''Our daughter transferred from Albany High School to the EBWS High School at the beginning of her Grade 10. Although she had thrived in the elementary and middle schools in Albany, she was extremely unhappy during her 9th grade at Albany High. As a result, we looked at all the private schools in the area for transfering. We'd never heard of the Waldorf system, but from the first orientation program she immediately felt welcomed and at home. While it was an enormous change in nearly every way for her to go from large, institutional public schools within blocks of her home to a tiny private school miles away and entirely different educational philosophy and social culture, she loved it at EBWS. She had no trouble with the transition, and immediately fell into the culture, friendships, and Waldorf way. We feel it really set her up for the strong, confident path she has followed ever since. Now she is in college (Humboldt) and often harkens to how well prepared she was at Waldorf to deal with life after high school. If the fit is right for the student, the transition is negligible.''

From my daughter's experience, and her conversations with friends at other schools, the curriculum is very challenging, though in new ways perhaps. There is a fair amount of homework. The experience of the two graduating classes is that they were more than prepared for college, and can't believe that their fellow college freshman complain so much about writing assignments they have no trouble with.


March 2006

Hi,
My 16 year old daughter lives in Berkeley, and will be a junior in high school this fall. She is looking for a school that will prepare her for college, with a strong academic program, and that also has a strong performing and visual arts program. It could be public or private, and she can drive there.

Does anyone have experience with entering either the EB or SF Waldorf school in high school? was it difficult to become part of the community at that level? Was it a big culture shock?

She really wants a place where she can be herself, without being too stressed by the pressures of performing well, though she's very motivated and does very well in school. She is very much in search of a creative high school community which is supportive of both art and academics.
Lucia


My kids have been/are at East Bay (one graduate, one 11th grader, one eighth grader). They're ''lifers,'' not newcomers, but I see the friendships they've made with incoming students, and that, plus the feedback I've gotten from parents of new students leads me to think that welcoming new kids is one of EBWHS's strengths. And as for academics and arts, I couldn't be happier. Laura
My daughter is currently in the 9th grade at the East Bay Waldorf School and has been there since kindergarten. We are VERY happy with the high school. The kids are being well prepared for college and I have found the curriculum outstanding. The high school is quite small so there is no chance of falling through the cracks and the teachers pay so much attention to the kids and who they are as people. While there are some limits on what they can offer in terms of sports, music and art, because of the small size, the arts are a big part of the education. Check out the website to see what is offered - eastbaywaldorf.org - there is a tab for the high school. I don't think you'll find it difficult to enter into the Waldorf community - there are many kids that enter at all stages of high school and it is a very open and loving community. Feel free to email me if you want more information. jmz
The high school at the East Bay Waldorf School has had students from public, private, parochial, and homeschools successfully enter at all grade levels. The students who transition well are those who are open to learning in a variety of ways. Along with track classes in math, history, foreign languages, English, there are class intensives in earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, literature and the humanities taught in three to four week blocks rotating throughout the year. Rounding out the strong academic curriculum is an array of visual and performing arts and crafts, including drawing, painting, sculpture, drama, music, eurythmy, dance, weaving, bookbinding, stained glass, stone carving, pottery, copper work, sewing, drum making, and cooking. Academic electives this year included creative writing, marine biology, and environmental science. A language immersion program is available in 10th grade. There are building projects on-campus in 9th grade, off-campus (Mexico this year) in 10th grade, business and professional internships in 11th grade, and service work in 12th grade. High school sports include soccer, basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball. The Waldorf high school curriculum is carefully designed to meet the developmental needs of teenagers. Waldorf grads are sought by many colleges and universities in the US and abroad. Call the school for more information or a tour. Financial aid is available. 510-223-3570, ext. 2103 or 2105.
Judy July
May 2005

I'm looking at the East Bay Waldorf School for my daughter, who just turned nine. She is suffering at her current school, thinking she is stupid. She has significant attentional issues, and is on medication which doesn't work very well. I'd love to hear from both former and current parents about the pros and cons of this school. How well do they work with kids who are inattentive, or have slow processing? Are they biased against children who are adopted (or what is their view of adoption's impact on a child)? Has anyone out there either left the school because of a conflict with a teacher, or stayed and worked things out and solved the conflict? I am leery of being in a school without a director, from personal (bad) experience. Negative as well as positive comments, please! Lindsay


In response to your questions about the East Bay Waldorf School. First, about attitudes toward adoption - our child is adopted, and we have not had any negative experiences. There are a lot of different sorts of families at the school, and we just fit in as one of many. There have been conversations about being adopted between the children, and our daughter came home one day saying she wished they would stop talking about it. My sense has been that the conversation was on the level of interest, and did not have negative content as far as our daughter was concerned, other than her being different from her classmates in this way, and the center of attention for a bit too long.

As far as attention and learning issues, it seems to me that children with widely differing skills and learning styles for the most part feel good about their progress at the school, and do not lose confidence by comparing themselves too much with others. However, some learning issues such as dyslexia can not be dealt with fully at the school, and the teachers request that families get outside help with those. I know there are other schools, such as Rascob (I think that's the right name) at Holy Names, which are set up to really work one on one with children with learning differences, and have a very good reputation I believe. Also I have heard that Joaquin Miller school in Oakland has a very good program. I think the Waldorf school recommends a program called Handle in Orinda.

Our experience with the Waldorf school has been very, very positive, despite our daughter being one of those to learn to read slower than most in the class. Only recently has there been any frustration on her part, and I think it's just that she is really ready, and is just now, close to the end of 3rd grade, suddenly able to read amazingly well. I think that the education is so broad, that everyone gets a chance to shine and feel good about themselves, and this helps if some skills don't come as quickly. Susan


Feb - April 2005

My family is currently in the process of selecting a Kindergarten for our son. In particular we were very impressed with many aspects of the East Bay Waldorf school. However we do have some reservations and would appreciate some feedback. First, since our son's previous school experience has lead into beginning writing/reading . how do families deal with the later introduction of such areas if your child is showing interest in them/ enjoyment from? Secondly, we are a family that does have limited television viewing in our home and the occasional movie..... is there a place for us in the Waldorf community? How do families balance the ideals of the Walforf philosophy with the realities of modern living? We want to be honest about who we are as a family as well as be respectful to other families with different beliefs around media exposure. Any feedback is very much appreciated. anon


Hello All, We are a middle income, multiracial,light TV watching family who is interested in Waldorf. What is the diversity like in terms of socio-economic background, race, etc... ? Does everyone just watch no TV, not even sports? Could we come and be accepted in the community if we watch some sports on TV and the occasional kids show? What's the real deal on Waldorf in the bay? Thanks in advance. anon.
EBWS Checklist:

* Check out your child's teacher. Theoretically, it will be the same person from first through eighth grade.

* Ask about the four basic ''personality types.'' Your child will be seen as having one of these personality types and treated ''accordingly.''

* Ask about how your child will be integrated into an unfamiliar system. Will they get specific attention to guide them, or be expected to somehow assimilate the information on their own?

* Ask how staff will communicate expectations to your child. How will your child know when they have achieved success, or not?

* Ask about how concerns about your child will be communicated to you. Will you be given updates? How and when?

* Ask how the staff will address social issues such as bullying, violence, theft and disrespect towards teachers and each other.

* Ask about how you, as a parent, will be able to express concerns, should they arise. The Waldorf school does not have a principal.

* Ask about how they handle first aid issues. Is there a staff person familiar with first aid techniques available at all times? Using what tpye of medical approach? Will you be notified if a health issue arises? What comprises a health issue? Is fainting considered serious enough to warrant a call to parent/ guardian(s)?

* Ask about the school's music and language programs. Will the students actually learn to speak the languages? Will the music program be geared to all levels of expertise, or just the lowest common denominator?

* Ask about anthroposophical beliefs about karma, angels, Ahriman.

These are some of the questions I wish I had asked before we began our time at the Waldorf School. Good luck!

P.S. You may also want to check: www.waldorfcritics.org/ or: www.openwaldorf.com/checklist.html anon


Ah, I remember well these type of questions myself... and I'd be happy to relate our experience. We are a family at the East Bay Waldorf School and have been there for almost three years.

The school does have a policy of no screens- TV, video, computer or movies, not because they want us to be cultural outcasts, but because they care immensely for the health and well-being of the children. They are keenly aware of the damaging effects it has on the brain of the rapidly developing child, and they have the heart AND nerve to take a stand for the sake of the children, regardless of pop culture. As an educator of young children myself, it is very apparent in the play even in the young child of those that are exposed to screens and those that are not.

You may already be aware of this, but some other private schools (that cost a whole lot more than this one) also request a limit to TV or ''media'', and I have read numerous articles against TV in Montessori journals, as well. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends ''NO TV before the age of two''.

Having said all that, the reality is that some parents at the school allow their children to watch TV here and there. And unfortunately, what one child brings in to the class they all in some way share. Although every parent ultimately makes their own decision, I would suggest you read up on the ''why'' behind such a policy, such as Dr. Jane Healy's book ''Your Child's Growing Mind'' for your own information so at least you know what we're all dealing with. (I think often parents are just not fully aware of the damaging effects of media on the developing brain, but once they do know, watch out!)

Now I'll hop off my soapbox and say that this school has been a treasure for my two children and has worked with us on many levels. There is nothing I value more than my children and their education. I want them (and all children, actually) to grow up to be free-thinkers, full of life and imbued with a life-long love of learning. With our family values, we'd be hard pressed to find another school in the area that could give us that.

I'd be happy to tell you more, just email me at carolt Proud to be Waldorfy


I have 2 children at East Bay Waldorf School. Our older child transferred in, in 1st grade. He already knew how to read, spell, and write upper and lower case letters, as well as had good competency with the typical 1st grade math curriculum. He frequently said he was learning nothing new academically at school. However we switched to this school because we value many other things, in addition to academics. What happened for him is that little by little he spent less time reading, which I worried about, but now several years later, he reads, writes, spells and does math perfectly well. My personal thoughts are that kids are taught too early all the academics; my son could do it, but actually the time line in the waldorf school is a better match with the development of the kids, so my son stopped reading for a while, until he was really ready for it. My younger son, in kindergarten, notices his non-waldorf friends learning to read and spell, and we just make a short explanation that we picked a school that allows him to learn other things in kindergarten and he will learn to read and write when he is a little older.

Regarding TV: I notice that families seem to interpret this a little differently. Here is how we interpret this: we do watch some sports on tv, and now when we watch, we turn the tube off during the commercials. We will let the kids watch some tv during vacations (in hotel rooms) or when visiting relatives. We do not let them watch movies. With the years in the school, we have actually become more strict with tv viewing, as we notice 1)the attention span of our kids is different now 2)they can more easily entertain themselves without the tv now 3)the stimulation of the tv is not beneficial to them; they come away with ugly images

diversity: there is limited racial diversity there, but they are making efforts to work on that; my impression is that the younger grades seem more diverse than the older grades. economic diversity: I don't really know, you mention you are middle class, and I would guess there are a fair number of families like yours; we are certainly not rich and both of us must work to make the tuition payments. eve


I didn't read your original post, but feel like I got a general feeling for it, and thought that I would put in my two cents as a former Waldorf child.

First of all, this was my personal experience (attending East Bay Waldorf in the late 80's-early 90's) and there are certainly others out there who have had very different experiences with Waldorf, as there are people who have different experiences with any school. There is no ''perfect'' school, but some are better for some people than others are.

To give you some background: I'm currently in my mid-twenties and expecting my first child. I went to East Bay Waldorf School for 1-3 grades (when the school was in Emeryville.) My Waldorf education ended at third grade because my family moved out of state to a place where there was no Waldorf school. I spent 4-8 grades at more ''traditional'' private schools, and then high school in public school. I went straight onto a good college, and graduated high in my class.

My experience with Waldorf was fantastic. My family (and I) do not subscribe to Anthroposophy, and as a child I was not even aware of its existance. Of all of the friends I had (and have, I am still in contact with most of my friends/classmates from my Waldorf days - pretty amazing if you ask me) only one of them is involved in Anthroposophy. I know now that my parents were aware, but never felt pressured to join. I was raised fairly mainstream ''East Bay'' Christian, aka, identifying as Christian in a very liberal way. I personally do not feel like Waldorf Schools pressure children or their families into ''occult practices'' or anything like that. The curriculum is religious, but not in an obvious way - i.e. I remember learning about the Old Testament, but on the same level that I remember learning about fairy tales or myths or anything like that. My personal experience is that the Anthroposophy problem is not a big deal until high school.

I knew how to read before entering Waldorf, and never found it to be a problem, or something I was discourged about. Of my friends who didn't learned to read on the ''Waldorf Schedule,'' all of them learned to read well, and most of them are at great colleges (Berkeley, UCLA, Ivy Leagues, etc) doing very well. I would say as many of the kids I knew from Waldorf went to college as kids I knew from the other private schools I went to. Not all kids are cut out for college, Waldorf or not!

I do feel like I got a fantastic foundation from my Waldorf Education. I continued to be very artistic throughout my school career, and majored in art in college. My family had both TV and computer (and were allowed things like limited TV/computer games on the weekends) but I spent most of my time playing outside, or dress-up, or other ''imagining game.'' I remember doing lots of art, lots of reading, lots of getting dirty out in the backyard. As an adult, I am clueless to some cultural references that others my age make to things in the 80's, but don't feel like this has impaired my life at all. I also watch TV now, but not excessive amounts.

The language part does work - several of my friends who continued in Waldorf are fluent German speakers.

It is true that the experience depends on the teacher. It's also true that over half of the teachers don't stay all the way through 8th grade.

As for the ''four personality types'' this is a part of Anthroposophy and Waldorf, and I do know my ''type'' (because of Waldorf friends) but was not aware of it in elementary school, and do feel like the education/treatment I got was personalized for me. Correctly, if anything.

What I feel I got out of Waldorf: a great sense of imagination, of ''play,'' huge amounts of creativity, a respect for the world and my body (as far as eating organic, home made food, even now I don't drink soda or eat junk food, by choice at this point.)

Most importantly, I feel like I grew up on a good schedule. I worked as a nanny through college, and was disturbed by the rushing of kids to grow up. Elementary school kids wearing makeup, wanting pierced belly buttons, having role models like Britney Spears (there is nothing wrong with any of those things at 14, but in my opinion no 10 year old should be doing any of that.) I got to have time to be a kid, to play in the dirt and be excited about little things, and believe in fairies. This is the great gift that was given to me by my Waldorf Education.

Saying all that, I am going to send my children to Waldorf School, but probably only until 5th grade. While most people I know who left Waldorf (inlcuding myself) had a ''trasistion period'' it didn't last too long and was not too painful. All of us turned out to be ''normal'' teenagers and adults. My high school experience was just like any other public school teenagers: football games and beer parties, watching TV, things like that. I really feel the Waldorf effect now as an adult, although looking back I can also see its influence in the years between.

I do worry about the Anthroposophy aspect, but only in high school. My feeling is that in elementary school your child will not be aware of this or effected by it.

Waldorf schools are a magical place where your child is encouraged to be a child, to believe in things you can't see, to express themselves in many ways (art, music, dance, etc.) I think that childhood is a wonderful gift that many children today let slip by too soon, and a Waldorf environment will let your child, and you, hold on to that for a little longer.

Sorry if this e-mail is a little rambling, if you would like to talk further, please e-mail me: Former Waldorf Child


We recently pulled our two sons out of the East Bay Waldorf School for a variety of reasons that should be important to anyone considering the school for their children. While some children seem to thrive there, others do not and the school does little to either inform parents of any problems or to address them with the child.

The curriculum and philosophy are quite rigid. Parents are not allowed in the classroom to observe their child's class and are not even allowed to go into the room when picking up a child. The school does not "believe" in learning disabilities and will not recognize them, test for them or address them with your child. They believe that learning disabilities are part of a child's "Karmic experience." The advice we received regarding our son, who was reading at the 1st grade level in the middle of 4th grade, was that his reading would improve if he spent more time "rolling on his back." Children are not taught to read until they have lost all of their baby teeth. By this time, your child is in the 3rd or 4th grade and it becomes nearly impossible to transfer them to any other school because they are so far behind scholastically.

The school will not accomodate your child's learning style. The style of teaching is visual and the teachers write the lesson on the blackboard for the students to copy it into their notebooks exactly as it is on the board. At the end of the day, it is erased. If your child has not been able to copy all of the material, he is "behind."

There are so many children in most classes (it is not unusual for their to be 30 or more children in a class with one teacher - a situation that violates state standards) that your child gets little to no individual attention and and no acknowledgement or feedback on homework, except that if it is not done, your child may be ridiculed in front of the class by the teacher. Your child also has the same teacher for grades one through six, so if there is a bad "fit", you are stuck.

Our kindergardener on the other hand was so bored after 6 months at Waldorf he changed from a child who loved preschool to one who didn't want to go to school and said he "hated" school. There is virtually no stimulation in the kindergarden classrooms. They do not even introduce letters or numbers in kindergarden and it lasts for two years. No child who completed kindergarden at Waldorf would be able to enter the first grade in a public school with any degree of success. The items children may play with in kindergarden include stones, wood and wool toys. Families are asked not to let their children play with any plastic toys at home or to play with anything that is not of natural material. They also do not teach science, do not believe in the use of computers, and kindergardeners may only paint with one or two colors at a time using only their "Wet on Wet" method. The children are not allowed to draw lines of any kind in their paintings and may not use crayons, markers! or pencils.

Both of the boys disliked the Waldorf school and their self-esteem plummeted there. However, since taking them out of the Waldorf school, they have both blossomed. Our older son was diagnosed with a reading and writing disabiliity and is being tutored 3x per week by a specialist and is blossoming. He will be entering the Montessori School which is designed to address individual needs and is sensitive to learning disabilities and where the ratio of children to teachers is 12 to 1. Our kindergardener is at The Academy on Bienvenue in Berkeley and is so excited about school, he is ready and eager to leave first thing in the morning and has asked if he can stay later in the afternoon to play with his friends. He is reading and telling time and measuring things and reporting the weather and learning about the world around him with the excitement and wonder one would expect from a 5-year old.

Finally, I urge anyone who is thinking of applying to any Waldorf School to read the teachings of Rudolph Steiner, the founder of the Waldorf Schools. The website www.waldorfcritics.org is an excellent beginning and eye opener. We are not alone in our experience. Ask the teachers why the rooms are white washed a peach color. It is because pale peach is the closest color to Caucasian skin, and Steiner believed that the soul resides in the skin. He has his own theory about the races and believes that those with light skin and light eyes and light hair are the most spiritually evolved. There is a reason there is such a lack of diversity at the school and why there is such an emphasis on the Nordic myths and Nors Gods. Steiner believed that the Scandanavians were the most highly evolved of the human race. There are also little alters in the classrooms with pictures of Christ and the holiday ceremonies alternate between Pagen and Christian celebrations.

We were completely unaware of any of the above when we elected to send our children to the school. I urge any parent considering this school to look into it thoroughly. It is my sense that many parents who have children in the school have no idea what is going on and what their children are learning or not learning. Helen


After reading the March 13 edition of the network newsletter, I’d like to say a few words about the East Bay Waldorf School and Waldorf education. It seems that there is a lot of misinformation out there.

I have three children, all Waldorf-educated. My oldest daughter, who attended Waldorf school from preschool through high school, is a freshman at San Francisco State University, where she is doing extremely well. She is thoughtful, well educated, and well rounded. I cannot imagine a better educational foundation for her than the one she had at EBWS. I also have a 10th grade son and a 7th grade daughter in the school, and I am more than pleased with the education each one is getting. How many kids graduate from school knowing the entire cultural history of their civilization from pagan times through the present? How many can explain geometric theorems from a practical, 3-dimensional standpoint? How many graduate knowing how to play several musical instruments, how to engage in a Socratic dialogue, how to paint, sculpt, carve, weave, make stained glass, etc.etc.etc.? How many freshman English majors think calculus is “fun?” How many of them are asked “Where did you go to school?” by their college professors, because they stand out so far above their fellow freshmen?

Anyone looking into EBWS should make every effort to find out about Waldorf education. There is a lot of misinformation out there. A list known as Waldorfcritics.org is the source of a lot of it; most of the stuff on there is pure claptrap. To address just some of these things: I have never seen a picture of Christ in a Waldorf school. Third grade is a time for studying the Old Testament (from a historical standpoint) but the New Testament is never even mentioned. Norse gods and myths are studied in one class: fourth grade. The classes are arranged as they are, because Waldorf education is, above all, developmentally appropriate, and fourth grade (as anyone who’s had a fourth grader knows) is a time of drama, of upheaval, of sturm und drang. It’s quite remarkable to see how this resolves itself into the beauty and harmony of fifth grade, with its study of the ancient Indian, Persian, and Greek cultures!

The kindergartens are peach-colored because it is a soft, warm color. As the child goes through the grades, the colors of the rooms become progressively cooler, matching the child’s development from the warmth of early childhood’s cotton-wool cocoon to the “cooling” effects of the awakening intellect. Again: the school is developmentally based. That is its great strength. The kids are met where they are, instead of being forced into adult awareness prematurely to gratify an adult’s need for them to appear smart or advanced.

Another great strength of the school is its varied ways of teaching a subject. Far from being completely visual, the idea is to present a topic in many ways, both so that children with different learning styles can access it through the means they are most comfortable with, and also because the topics themselves are many-sided, and can be best understood from differing approaches. Math is taught with tactile stimulation (beanbag-throwing games), musically (string instruments are introduced in 4th grade, at the same time as fractions; the instruments’ harmonics, i.e. dividing the vibrating string by pressing on it with the finger, are a practical illustration of fractions), artistically (drawing 3-dimensional geometric forms to understand those theorems), in stories, and in pure fun (pizza is also a great practical illustration of division and fractions!) Each subject is taught in a variety of ways, and the topics within a grade all relate to one another integrally, and they progress logically and coherently from grade to grade. It is a rich and complex educational system, not easily understood with a cursory glance.

I could go on and on, refuting and explaining the misinformation that’s out there, but clearly, it takes much more space to clarify and explain than it does to attack, and I fear this letter would be ten pages long. If anyone wants further factual information about the East Bay Waldorf school, I urge you to get in touch with me at my email address: mercuryl@pacbell.net , and I’ll be happy to answer questions based on my careful study and personal experience of Waldorf education. Laura


I am a parent at the East Bay Waldorf School, and would like to offer a few of my own observations about Waldorf education in general and the school in particular. We have been at the school since 1998, and my children are in grades 6, 4, and 1. I am also the current President of the Board of Trustees. Waldorf education, with its unique comprehensive and developmental pedagogical system, isn’t for every family. I believe it works best when parents are both well-informed about the pedagogy and are willing to work very closely with their children’s teachers.

In fact, one of the distinctive aspects I appreciate most about this form of education is the close partnership I have with my children’s teachers. With the custom of having the “main lesson” (or homeroom) teacher follow the children from grades 1 through 8, I feel that my children get individualized attention, no matter what size their class is. (The class sizes of my three are 18, 24, and 30, respectively.) The practice of staying with the classes as they move through the years means that the teacher and students (and their families) have the opportunity to become very close. I feel as though I have at least three other caring adults helping me raise my children--adults who see who they are and want the best for them, just as I do. I have worked to establish clear lines of communication with my children’s teachers, so when there are problems (academic, social, personal) or triumphs, I know right away.

Moreover, far from being barred from the classroom, I am a regular and frequent classroom volunteer, helping with the annual class plays, weekly reading groups, and special projects, among other activities. In addition to other benefits, classroom volunteering deepens my partnership with my children’s teachers, and gives me insight into both their individual teaching styles and classroom dynamics among the students.

Regarding Waldorf education in general, one of the many things I appreciate is the developmental nature of the pedagogy. For me, this means that the curriculum is designed to meet the intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of children as they grow and mature. For example, while the kindergarten is intentionally not academic (when young children are developing their imaginations through the work of play), the high school years are rigorously academic, as adolescents are physically, emotionally, and intellectually ready to meet these types of challenges. As a result, my children are developing the ability to concentrate on, consider, and resolve challenging problems of all kinds (academic, social, physical, emotional, practical). They are well-rounded, strong students who love school and—most essential—are happy and grounded (even my almost-adolescent!). I attribute this in good part to their education.

As another parent noted, there is a lot of misinformation about Waldorf education out there. I encourage anyone interested in Waldorf education to visit a Waldorf school, read materials published both by advocates and critics of Waldorf education, and to speak with as many parents, alums, and students as possible. Please feel free to contact me both as a parent and in my capacity on the Board. Anne


Waldorf Education - One family's story

Lessons Learned? I think, now, it is more than that. I am trying to work out how something full of such promise, something which seemed the answer to all of our dreams, ended in such disillusionment, sadness and anger.

I do not believe that the people running Waldorf schools are bad people. For a while, after discovering the things I did, I thought there may be something inherently bad or evil in the system of education itself, but I think the problem lies more in the attidude and needs of those people who are involved in this kind of education.

We all have a need to belong, some of us more than others. In some of us the need has not been met. Perhaps we never had a family of our own. Perhaps we never found anywhere where we felt we could fit in. Perhaps we have been cast out of some other place.

Waldorf schools are more than schools, they are communities, and very tight knit communities at that. I, for one, certainly began to feel asense of belonging after being there a month or two. The other thing is that the schools tend to attract people with unconventional views, who are less likely to fit in elsewhere.

Once in,the communitiy demands much of your time and money, and this further tends to isolate you from other friends. Then there is the Waldorf belief that their way is the best way of education. They are strongly critical of other kinds of education and encourage parents to believe that sending their children anywhere else would be letting them down.

All of this engenders a fear of leaving the community. It certainly did in me. I have spoken to parents who have talked of having 'withdrawal symptons' after their children have left.

Loyalty to the community and it's ideals is uncompromising. Waldorf people view Rudolf Steiner almost as a God. Well they certainly never question anything he said and quote him frequently. Their beliefs are fixed. They do not develop with the times.


I wanted to add to the Waldorf discussion as I am a parent who had looked into waldorf education extensively for 2-3 years when my child was a toddler and the website ''waldorfcritics.org'' has many refernces to Rudolf Steiner's original words and works, which were translated from the German but the references to racist and anti-semetic ideology are too numerous and clear to have been mis-translated or ''made up.'' And, it is his work that currently informs the teaching and training of teachers- not an updated version, not in conjunction with other theories of child development. So I do not think these are primarily rumors, but based on experience in waldorf schools and research into anthroposophy. I asked maybe 2-3 of the questions from the circulating list of ''what to ask when looking at Waldorf schools'' and was answered with a chilly stare and no information at the information session. The website was very helpful as a guide when I looked into it, and while it was not the deciding factor in choosing a different school, I was greatful for the perspective from parents and graduates who did not have an ideal experience at Waldorf schools. anon.

Nov 2004

I'd like to hear from current/recent Waldorf parents with experience of how special needs/conduct problem children are treated at Waldorf of the East Bay. I'm asking because, while my son is very happy at a public elementary school, I'm not certain that the much larger middle school in our area will suit him. Thanks, anonymous


Hello, regarding how special needs or behavior problems are treated at East Bay Waldorf School. In order to understand how this would be handled you must learn something about ''anthroposophy'' which is the philosophy/religion behind the Waldorf pedagogy. We were there for two years and we were asked to treat our child with ''anthroposophical remedies'' prescribed by an anthroposophical doctor to treat reading issues and difficulty with ''eurythmy'', a required dance/therapy program my child despised. I would advise you that there is much more anthroposophy in the classroom than the school will admit to prospective parents, probably out of fear of declining enrollment. Study and understand anthtroposophy and Rudolf Steiner before you enroll your child. His ideas permeate the classroom and culture of the school. A good, fairly neutral website for parents wishing to understand Waldorf education is http://openwaldorf.com
I am a current Waldorf parent and have been for about four years. Your question depends on the nature of your sons' conduct problem. Waldorf clases are well structured. By middle school there is not a whole lot of patience for in-class disruption. The children are expected to be pretty savy about what makes a group dynamic work and what doesn't. If his needs are more related to learning there is a group called HANDLE on campus that can help . Be aware that most problems will be dealt with slowly and with thought; there are no quick answers at the Waldorf school. The only issue with starting in middle school is that a lot of the kids have been together since K. There are a number of kids that start in fourth or third but the teaching style and pace are so different from public school that there are adjustment issues to consider the later you start. hope this helps
Re: Racially Diverse Private Schools (Oct 2003)
Try the East Bay Waldorf School in El Sobrante. I am a teacher and value integrity both in people and institutions, as well as a diverse, anti-bias curriculum. The school works to educate ''head, heart and hand'' and does an exceptional job of doing so. Although we have only been part of the school community for one full year and since September of this year, we couldn't be happier. But one of the things that sold me was attending the 8th grade graduation a few years back. It was really impressive to see a diverse group of graduating teenagers come forth as incredibly well-rounded, intelligent, confident and joyous contributors to society. Their number is 223-3570. Mine is 510 741-8336. Best of luck!
A Happy Parent

East Bay Waldorf Elementary School

Jan 2003

My son just moved from BHS where he was a very demoralized 10th grader to the East Bay Waldorf School. They are just starting a high school and his will be the first graduating class. Things still are not perfect, but he's a whole lot happier than he was at BHS. The people at EBWS are a really caring bunch and they have a wonderful holistic approach to working with teens. The school is in El Sobrante, but there is a bus that completely crosses Berkeley. If you're considering a private school, it's definitely worth checking.


EBWS Checklist:
*Check out your child's teacher (theoretically, it will be the same 
person from first through eighth grade).
*Ask about the four basic ''personality types''. (Your child will be 
seen as having one of these personality types.)
*Ask about how your child will be integrated into an unfamiliar 
system. Will they get specific attention to guide them, or be 
expected to somehow assimilate the information on their own?
*Ask how they will communicate expectations to your child. How 
will your child know when they have achieved success, or not?
*Ask about how concerns about your child will be communicated 
to you. Will you be given updates?
*Ask about how the staff will address social issues such as 
bullying, violence, theft, disrespect towards teachers and each 
other.
*Ask about how you, as a parent, will be able to express concerns, 
should they arise. The Waldorf school does not have a principal, 
and the ''College of Teachers'' is mostly comprised of staff 
teachers.
*Ask about how they handle first aid issues. Is there a person on 
staff available at all times, who is familiar with first aid techniques? 
Using what tpye of medical approach? Will you be notified, if a 
health issue arises?
*Ask about the school's music and language programs. Will the 
students actually learn to speak the languages? Will the music 
program be geared to all levels of expertise, or just the lowest 
common denominator?
On the plus side, the art, handwork, and drama programs are all 
wonderful. The faires and festivals are wonderful. The dress code 
is wonderful (when adhered to). The school has a wonderful 
community of well-meaning, dedicated, hard-working parents. 
There is a much appreciated emphasis on approaching the whole 
child. And there are some wonderful teachers (if you get lucky) and 
very happy families at the East Bay Waldorf School. 

Good luck.

December 2002

To the person who wanted to know about North Bay Orinda School or Drew School or other suggestions: I highly recommend East Bay Waldorf School in El Sobrante. My daughter is currently in 9th grade there and I am very impressed with the quality, depth, and breadth of the academic program. In addition the faculty consciously encourages a cooperative atmosphere - very different from the competition you mention that occurs at most college prep high schools. Art and music are also tightly integrated into the curriculum. The cost is quite a bit less than most college prep high schools.


Re: School for 3rd grader with Selective Mutism (Dec 2002)
My son is in the second grade at EBWS. I can think of some really good reasons why your son would be a good fit for Waldorf. First and most importantly the main lesson teacher stays with the class until 8th grade. This gives a real sense of consistency and unity to the class and your child will have ample opportunity to warm up. By the way the teacher is awesome, (as are the Spanish, German, games and eurythmy teachers) Secondly Waldorf is different. Children are respected for where they are (not where they should be) and the children in the class are as different as can be. The class is sweet and well held by the teacher. Teaching at Waldorf is in many forms. there is time spent doing group recitation so that your child would get a chance to hear his voice with others. There is handwork(knitting now) where the children are quiet and concentrating. the school is essentially non-competitive,(please don't read that as easy) which can help if your son is not doing something ''on schedule''. Some kids in the class read well some don't. It is a very loving environment. The classes are large and a child can find many children who have similar tastes and sensibilities. Having said all of this I would urge you to check it out soon. Ask lots of questions. I think the class might be full but you never know. Funnily enough BPS was my other choice but when I visited the class was watching a video. I didn't get that. By the way there is a ''no electronic media'' agreement at Waldorf that the family will have to be willing to support. Good Luck
Happy Waldorf Mom
Oct. 2002

Re: Seeking German language ''class'' for kids

The East Bay Waldorf School teaches German in 1st thru 8th grades. I don't know if they include it in the kindergarten. Jennifer


June 2002

Hi, We are interested in finding some information about the 6th grade classroom this year at Waldorf School. We are considering the possibility of enrolling our child at Waldorf next year for seventh grade. This is a hard decision specially because we don't know anything about the middle school there and we would be having our child in 7th grade again. We would like to know about the teachers, the students, the curriculum, homework load and whatever other information you may have (good or bad). We would appreciate your input. Thanks


We enrolled our child at East Bay Waldorf School after learning about it on the Parents Network. We left the school due to ineffective teaching and a strange new-age spirituality called "Anthroposophy" that underlies the school community and curriculum. Many Waldorf schools are guided by this philosophy but claim, untruthfully, that it is not taught. Prospective parents who are considering this school would be wise to educate themselves about Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner, and how this cult-like belief system educates your child in a Waldorf school. There is a movement of parents who have withdrawn their children from Waldorf schools, many asserting Waldorf schools mislead prospective parents about what the curriculum is truly about. Before enrolling your child please visit the PLANS website http://www.waldorfcritics.org/active/articles.html

FROM PLANS: "PLANS would like to see Waldorf schools advise parents up front that the teacher's interactions with their child will be guided by their belief in karma and reincarnation, which leads some Waldorf teachers to speculate that a child may have been born to the "wrong" parents, for instance, or may have been drawn "karmically" to the Waldorf school even against the parent's wishes.

Parents should be told that the science and history curriculum will be based on Steiner's reading of the "Akashic Record," according to which the "ancients" had clairvoyant powers which Anthroposophic initiation may help students attain some day. They should be told that loyal Steiner followers believe humans once lived on the lost continent of Atlantis and will one day live on Venus, Jupiter, and Vulcan. They should be told that teachers study a medieval scheme in which race, blood, and the "four temperaments" will help them understand their students' development.

Parents should be told that although Waldorf bills itself as "arts-based" education to attract holistically minded parents, creativity is actually discouraged, and many of the "artistic" activities in Waldorf are more accurately described as religious rituals, such as meditation on symbols important in Anthroposophy. Children spend a lot of time copying the teacher's work directly off the board. Fourth graders embroidering a purse must all use the same pattern (often with esoteric symbols)."

We enrolled our child unaware of the aforementioned. We also discovered the following through trial and error. Had we known we would not have selected East Bay Waldorf:

1. No parent visibility into teacher's competence. There was never an opportunity to volunteer during the primary teacher's class time, thus parents could not view first hand whether or not the teacher or curriculum were effective or how they were implemented. If you enroll your child there you must trust that they are doing what they say they are, and there is no real way to know how effective the teacher is due to a lack of accountability (test scores, independent student work, PTA, etc) to evaluate teacher competence.

2. Learning issues handled through a Anthroposophical doctor and/or their own anthroposophical therapies. If they have issues with your child they will require that you see an "anthroposophical doctor" at considerable expense to evaluate your child. They often ask children to partake in "therapeutic eurythmy" which is a form of dance while enunciating vowel sounds that is supposed to cure a multitude of issues; again at great expense. All of this is done in the guise of helping your child learn. However, we found out later that most of these therapies are geared toward saving your child's "soul", or making them more open to seeing "spirits". You may also be asked to rub a potion with gold and lavender in a crescent over your child's heart 3 times before bedtime. If this sort of new age medicine makes you uncomfortable do more research. In the end, our child was tested in another setting and had no learning issues and is thriving.

3. In the early years once you're in, you're behind. If you do enroll your child there during the early years (k - 3) please know that if you decide to later to attend another school your child may be significantly behind academically relative to most schools, especially in the areas of reading and writing. What this has meant for a couple of families is that their child was put back in other settings to learn the basics. If you plan to stick it out then I am told most Waldorf kids eventually learn to read, but we ran into horror stories of kids not reading till their teens.

4. Hidden spirituality in the curriculum. We were assured anthroposophy was not taught. But our teacher was definitely an anthroposophist and used it's language in casual conversation and at parent meetings. Concepts like "astral forces" and "etheric bodies" were thrown around without detailed explanation. Karma, reincarnation, racism, astrology are all part of Rudolf Steiner's philosophy. Please educate yourself about the underlying concepts that DO drive the curriculum as well as how you're child is viewed, assessed, etc. The more you learn about Anthroposophy and Steiner the more uncomfortable you may become.

5. Rote, copy-cat teaching method. After two years there we found out that all the lovely pictures, sentences, math problems our child had written in her "hand-made" text book were copied directly from the chalkboard. Word for word sentences had to be copied exactly, not created or broken down and understood. Math problems were copied from the board, both problem and answer, or figured out through "movement" games. Pictures were teacher creations copied from the board.

6. Strange, esoteric and usually unpublished "rules". No black crayons, no immunizations, photography at school events is discouraged, no cell phones on campus, no wearing black, no synthetic fibers, no brand names on clothing, rattan baskets for lunches, no "light-up" shoes for students or visitors to campus, puppet shows are not for children under 6 (once inside young children were asked to leave at a Harvest Faire Puppet show after waiting in line for 1/2 an hour), I could go on, and on......

Former Waldorf Parent


I have not in the past responded to the negative comments about Waldorf schools, since I have assumed that people will understand that the listed websites are really off-base, and I do not want to encourage the kind of comments that I have read there, and now here. However, I want to add my voice to those speaking positively about the East Bay Waldorf School, since it saddens me that others may dismiss the education due to these comments. Our daughter is in third grade at EBWS, and we have nothing but good things to say about the education she is getting and the community of people there. To connect some of the strange things that Rudolph Steiner has written with the incredibly thoughtful and supportive education that children get at the school is beyond my understanding. I hope anyone considering the school for their children will recognize the value of the education. When our daughter was in kindergarten we ran across the negative website and were quite scared by it. However, we decided to trust our own experience, and now know that the information on the websites have little connection with the experience of families with the school and with Waldorf education. Susan
July 2002

We are considering moving our child from public school to the East Bay Waldorf School. I have read the recent and archived postings and am pretty familiar with the school's philosophies. Our son would be entering level 1. I am curious about experiences with this school, any pros and cons about the school, and what level of fundraising in addition to tuition is required. Thanks.


Our family is in our second year at the East Bay Waldorf school. There are two main areas of fundraising that parents can participate in.

The first area is for the annual fund. Our experience with this, over the two years, has been that the school announces the fund drive at some point in the fall, and in the newsletter, progress reports might show up. We know that participation has traditionally been close to 100%. When the fund drive was announced this year, the announcement included the total goal, with a break down of what kinds of donations would help reach that goal (ie X number of $xx donations, combined with X number of $yy donations, etc.) The range of donations went down to $10 or $5 I think. Our experience has been that there is pretty much zero pressure to donate at a specific level and our first year we were surprised when the reaction to our (what we thought very modest) donation was 'wow, that's great'.

The other area of fund raising at the school is at the Fall and Spring fairs that the school hosts. The donation you make here can be more in time than in money. Different parents put different levels of effort into these events, that's just going to happen regardless of the school. In another recommendation I mentioned how impressed I was with the teachers our kids have. I also must say that I am truly impressed with how much time and effort many parents give at these and other events at school. I have found that participating in the fall and spring fairs are great ways to get to know other families, beyond those with kids in our classes, and certainly has helped impress upon me the sense of community at the school. There are also work parties at the school where parents show up to work on gardens, or to improve the play areas. I've always enjoyed these because of the interaction with other parents and also for the sense of doing something physical for the school. There is an immediate feedback there.

There are lots of other ways to help out on projects throughout the year at the school. No one has ever pressed us to be involved in any of those, or to donate specific sums of money. Rob


I would like to add the perspective of a parent who has had children in BUSD schools for a decade, and now has a child enrolled at the East Bay Waldorf School. Although not a teacher myself, I was raised by two generations of inspired and inspiring teachers, and I have always enjoyed working with my kids' teachers. Berkeley's public schools have provided (so far as I can tell) a terrific education for my son, who is now a 9th grader at Berkeley High School. Our elementary school was ok for my daughter, but she is a different kind of learner, and I decided that she needed a different kind of school. I think we were very lucky to have an opportunity to enroll her in the 5th grade this year out at the East Bay Waldorf School.

Regarding the differences in pedagogy: there are many ways to teach a child. If you were to survey schools the world over, you'd observe that wide range of differences. Yet, my friends who were educated in India, Mexico, Canada, Germany, and Japan, and I are all, as adults, able to work together, and share friendships, and life. Hence, I don't think that there is one "right" way to teach. But I do believe that each child has a most natural way of learning, and it is our job as parents to figure out what that is, and provide these opportunities for our kids. The characteristics I like most about the Waldorf School include the serious consideration of child development in planning the curriculum, the thoughtfulness of instruction, and a culture of sincere kindness. Childhood is not hurried in a Waldorf School.

I have to agree with Rob -- Bernd Vey, the fifth grade teacher at EB Waldorf -- is truly one of the most remarkably gifted teachers I've ever met. He provides a stimulating classroom environment *and* thought-provoking and meaningful work for the kids to do at home, in math, and a variety of other subjects. The other teachers at EB Waldorf are similarly committed. The chief difference I've observed in math education this year compared to our BUSD elementary experience is that thoughtful experiences in math, educational experiences that are truly memorable, are supplanting my daughter's worst nightmare from her old school -- the "mad minute" drills, pages of math problems to be done under pressure of time and threatened failure. While that works for some kids, it was a complete turn-off for my daughter.

I don't know the 6th grade teacher, but another EB Waldorf parent who does tells me she, too, is stellar. Good luck with this important decision. And for other parents out there who fear their present school isn't working for their kids, take heart -- look at other schools, and do not be afraid of change. It can radically improve a child's experience in learning. Melissa, BHS and EB Waldorf parent


March 2002

I'm exploring sending my 6 y.o. to EBWS next fall (this will put him in 1st grade there.) He's curently in 1st at a fairly acedemic public school, and is miserable and struggling. Can anyone give me feedback on the teacher whom he will have for his full career at EBWS? I have heard there is something of a factional split among families at the school right now - can anyone illuminate the issues and problems? Are learning disabilities adequatley identified and dealt with? Are there graduates out there who have successfully moved on to other, more tradtional academic schools? What about children who attended the school then returned to public school; would my child be able to return to the public system without being hopelessly out of step? And how strong is the anthroposophist ideology at the school? We're really anxious and torn about this, thank you for advice!


My brother and sister graduated from the EBWS years ago and one is now attending UCSC and the other is a high school teacher in Berkeley. They both had an amazing experience at that school and talk about sending their own children there one day. Of course, each child is unique and making a match that works for your child is most important. If you would ever like to ask specific questions, my sister can be reached at. Hope this helps. Brennan
Regarding the East Bay Waldorf School, we spent the morning at the school today. I went in with fairly high hopes after having read some of the feedback here and talking to others about the theory behind Waldorf education. What we experienced was a big let-down. I would say unless you wholeheartedly embrace their views on media, pop culture, and ''screen'' time as they call it(any exposure to tv, computers, and the like), you will not be able to adjust to their environment very well. They require all children to not have any screen time up to age 10 and they take this very seriously. They have a strict dress code and look very negatively upon any kind of mass marketed products. One of the teachers on the interview brought up an example of a child sneaking in a ''Stussy'' labeled shirt and how wearing any sort of logo/advertising takes away from the uniqueness of the child. I did notice that she was wearing clearly labeled Birkenstock sandals, so I guess it must depend upon which products you are advertising.

I am sure this philosophy and approach works for some people, but it certainly isn't realistic for our family. Just my two cents. An East Bay Mom


I can't answer all of your questions but I'll do the best I can. I have three children at East Bay Waldorf. The oldest is in 8th grade and she has been there since kindergarten. The youngest is in kindergarten now.

The first grade teacher for next year has not to my knowledge been selected. The choice is normally made in the Spring. The person chosen is either a previous class teacher who has graduated a class (with perhaps a year break) or if there is no one like that then someone is recruited. There is a scarcity of Waldorf trained teachers so it has occasionally gone into the Summer before someone is selected. I know the current 8th grade teacher will not take next year's 1st grade. It is possible that the teacher who finished up his 8th grade a year ago may be interested. His name is Jeff Lubet. Although I had no direct experience with his class I found him on a personal level to very approachable, bright, energetic, and very dedicated.

I'm not sure what you mean about a factional split among families at the school. There is nothing major that I know of. There have been at times in the past some serious disagreements between some parents and the school and some people have left because of them. Very rarely people were asked to leave. But I think there is much less, if any, of that now than ever. I'm at the school quite a bit and I'm not aware of anything along those lines.

I think EBWS is much more tolerant of learning disabilities than most other private schools. They of course do not have a mandate to accept anyone as public schools do, but they will generally exclude children only if they cannot serve them adequately. A number of children at the school are involved in a program called HANDLE which deals with attention deficit and learning diabilities. There have been talks sponsored by the school about this program. I did some tutoring at the school in math and some of the kids have what I would term mild attention deficit problems.

I suggest you talk to the school about children moving on to public schools and ask for references. EBWS has a high school now, but I know of many kids who went to Berkeley High, Albany High, and other schools very successfully after 8th grade.

All Waldorf teachers are trained in a program that is based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. That body of teaching is termed anthroposophy. Some teachers would consider themselves anthroposophists and others would not although I think the majority are. But like most ''ism's'' it differs for everyone. Some teachers are more rigid about it than others, but frankly it rarely comes up for discussion. Anthroposophy is never taught per se in the classroom. I know that for a fact in my experience over the last nine years. However, Waldorf education is a spiritually based system. I wouldn't recommend it for someone who is not comfortable with that because it permeates the curriculum. For instance, the children typically say a morning verse. It is non-denominational but has spiritual overtones. They say a blessing before meals. There are pictures of Christ, Buddha, and other spiritual teachers on the walls(none of Rudolf Steiner except in the teachers room). For me the emphasis on common spiritual values and a non-materialistic view of the world is incredibly refreshing. The first time I went to the school I felt like I had entered an ashram. There was a sense of peace that I had never felt in a school before.

The last thing I would say is that the artistic approach to learning in a Waldorf school is absolutely incredible. It permeates the curriculum. There are pictures on all the walls. The children do some kind of artwork every single day. All the so-called academic subjects incorporate art to some extent. Larry


March 2002

Hi, We are interested in finding some information about the 6th grade classroom this year at Waldorf School. We are considering the possibility of enrolling our child at Waldorf next year for seventh grade. This is a hard decision specially because we don't know anything about the middle school there and we would be having our child in 7th grade again. We would like to know about the teachers, the students, the curriculum, homework load and whatever other information you may have (good or bad). We would appreciate your input. Thanks


We are considering moving our child from public school to the East Bay Waldorf School. I have read the recent and archived postings and am pretty familiar with the school's philosophies. Our son would be entering level 1. I am curious about experiences with this school, any pros and cons about the school, and what level of fundraising in addition to tuition is required. Thanks.
Our family is in our second year at the East Bay Waldorf school. There are two main areas of fundraising that parents can participate in.

The first area is for the annual fund. Our experience with this, over the two years, has been that the school announces the fund drive at some point in the fall, and in the newsletter, progress reports might show up. We know that participation has traditionally been close to 100%. When the fund drive was announced this year, the announcement included the total goal, with a break down of what kinds of donations would help reach that goal (ie X number of $xx donations, combined with X number of $yy donations, etc.) The range of donations went down to $10 or $5 I think. Our experience has been that there is pretty much zero pressure to donate at a specific level and our first year we were surprised when the reaction to our (what we thought very modest) donation was 'wow, that's great'.

The other area of fund raising at the school is at the Fall and Spring fairs that the school hosts. The donation you make here can be more in time than in money. Different parents put different levels of effort into these events, that's just going to happen regardless of the school. In another recommendation I mentioned how impressed I was with the teachers our kids have. I also must say that I am truly impressed with how much time and effort many parents give at these and other events at school. I have found that participating in the fall and spring fairs are great ways to get to know other families, beyond those with kids in our classes, and certainly has helped impress upon me the sense of community at the school. There are also work parties at the school where parents show up to work on gardens, or to improve the play areas. I've always enjoyed these because of the interaction with other parents and also for the sense of doing something physical for the school. There is an immediate feedback there.

There are lots of other ways to help out on projects throughout the year at the school. No one has ever pressed us to be involved in any of those, or to donate specific sums of money. Rob, East Bay Waldorf parent


I would like to add the perspective of a parent who has had children in BUSD schools for a decade, and now has a child enrolled at the East Bay Waldorf School. Although not a teacher myself, I was raised by two generations of inspired and inspiring teachers, and I have always enjoyed working with my kids' teachers. Berkeley's public schools have provided (so far as I can tell) a terrific education for my son, who is now a 9th grader at Berkeley High School. Our elementary school was ok for my daughter, but she is a different kind of learner, and I decided that she needed a different kind of school. I think we were very lucky to have an opportunity to enroll her in the 5th grade this year out at the East Bay Waldorf School.

Regarding the differences in pedagogy: there are many ways to teach a child. If you were to survey schools the world over, you'd observe that wide range of differences. Yet, my friends who were educated in India, Mexico, Canada, Germany, and Japan, and I are all, as adults, able to work together, and share friendships, and life. Hence, I don't think that there is one "right" way to teach. But I do believe that each child has a most natural way of learning, and it is our job as parents to figure out what that is, and provide these opportunities for our kids. The characteristics I like most about the Waldorf School include the serious consideration of child development in planning the curriculum, the thoughtfulness of instruction, and a culture of sincere kindness. Childhood is not hurried in a Waldorf School.

I have to agree with Rob -- Bernd Vey, the fifth grade teacher at EB Waldorf -- is truly one of the most remarkably gifted teachers I've ever met. He provides a stimulating classroom environment *and* thought-provoking and meaningful work for the kids to do at home, in math, and a variety of other subjects. The other teachers at EB Waldorf are similarly committed. The chief difference I've observed in math education this year compared to our BUSD elementary experience is that thoughtful experiences in math, educational experiences that are truly memorable, are supplanting my daughter's worst nightmare from her old school -- the "mad minute" drills, pages of math problems to be done under pressure of time and threatened failure. While that works for some kids, it was a complete turn-off for my daughter.

I don't know the 6th grade teacher, but another EB Waldorf parent who does tells me she, too, is stellar. Good luck with this important decision. And for other parents out there who fear their present school isn't working for their kids, take heart -- look at other schools, and do not be afraid of change. It can radically improve a child's experience in learning. Melissa


Mar 98

Elementary school - East Bay Waldorf School in El Sobrante, pre-K - 8th grade, with before and after school care, and a school bus from the Oakland/Berkeley/Orinda areas (and carpools). The arts are integrated into the curriculum. Along with academic subjects, children learn music (singing, recorder, strings), Spanish, German, drama, mythology, handicrafts (knitting, sewing), woodwork, and gardening. It is a beautiful 10-acre campus next to Wildcat Canyon park. Come to the May Faire! (phone 510 - 223-3570)

My older daughter was in the founding class of EBWS, and recently graduated from Wellesley with a double major in Psychology and French. My son graduated last year from the eighth grade and is now at the Urban School of San Francisco. My younger daughter is in sixth grade at EBWS. Feel free to e-mail me directly with questions. Bonnie


East Bay Waldorf High School

I highly recommend the East Bay Waldorf High School in El Sobrante for your son. The High School opened this fall with 21 students in its 9th grade class. Each year we will add another grade. The school is associated with a K-8 elementary school. Transportation is provided via two buses and numerous carpools. The school draws families from Alameda, Berkeley, Oakland, Orinda, Walnut Creek, Vallejo, even San Francisco!

Creative and performing arts are an integral part of the curriculum. My ninth grader is studying drama, starting with the Greeks. She and her classmates made tragic and comic masks the first week of school, and wrote speeches to go along with them. Every grade puts on a play every year. Last year's eight grade presented 'Twelfth Night' on an outdoor stage. Each student illustrates his or her 'main lesson' books. These become beautiful, treasured, and irreplaceable textbooks that sparkle with the individuality of the student.

For music in High School, the students sing in chorus and either play an instrument such as the violin or take up the recorder. Woodwinds or brass would make a wonderful addition to the orchestra, and the recorder workshop is lots of fun.

The school built a new volleyball court with sod on the upper five acres, where there is also a unique garden and wood-working building, and a garden. The ninth graders are swimming every Friday at the nearby 'Y' off of Richmond Parkway. They will be taking a ropes course next week in Occidental. The sports are a little different than in traditional schools. Biking trips, hiking, backpacking are some of the sports planned for the 9th graders this year.

Since the Waldorf high school is a much smaller environment than at a public school, I think it may well be a wonderful place for your child. Phone - 510-223-3570. Address - 3800 Clark Road, El Sobrante, CA 94803. Come to the Harvest Faire, Saturday November 18 (if not before) and see.

Bonnie


Dear All,
I am a Berkeley High graduate, Class of 2000, and now go to school at Occidental College in LA, California. I am writing first of all to express my enthusiasm about the East Bay Waldorf High School. During my senior year at BHS I interned three mornings a week at the Waldorf school, and have to say that the kids in that school are receiving an amazing, invaluable educational experience, one that transcends the bounderies of the left brain and educates the whole person. (I also attended the Waldorf school through eighth grade, and couldn't have had a better experience. I am still in very close contact with many of the kids in our graduating class, and we all feel, without an exception, that we are very lucky to have such an amzingly well-rounded educational experience.)

Steven


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