We love Prairie Moon Waldorf School. The staff, teachers, and parent community displays a sincere, genuine interest in nurturing healthy, responsibile children. The school fosters a mentality of caring for the "whole child" through integrated learning. My son attends preschool and is happy, content, and socially-adjusted. For me, I'm thrilled to know that my child is exposed to creative play where negotiation and cooperation skills are a must. In addition, the school's curriculum encompasses active participation which relates to critical thinking skills. I truly believe my child is being taught how to write a test verses how to take a test. I'm proud to be part of such a proactive educational environment. We look forward in supporting the Waldorf Association of Lawrence in years to come!
This organization, as well as Prairie Moon Waldorf School specifically, promotes the bizarre, racist, and cultish philosophy of Rudolf Steiner, a self-proclaimed occultist who called his beliefs "Anthroposophy". I would encourage anyone interested in Prairie Moon or Waldorf in general to research Anthroposophy and Waldorf critics and personal stories. Anthroposophy isn't specifically mentioned to parents when they inquire about the school; instead Prairie Moon is sold as a nature based, "whole child" school where students learn charming skills like gardening and bread-making. In actuality children below the age of around 7 years are denied books (older children make their own), writing instruments, black or dark brown crayons, paper with square corners, dolls with faces, or modern technology. All of the walls are lazured to allow "spirits to pass through". Children aren't taught to read before they lose their baby teeth so that the connection to the child's past incarnation is kept intact. They're denied black crayons or anything pencil-shaped or with sharp corners for the same reason. The children are surreptitiously assigned a "temperament" by the teacher on the first day and taught to that temperament. Bullying is not addressed or intervened with because Waldorf dictates that children must work out their "karma". The school is rife with superstition, rituals, incantations, and magical teachings that defy logic or scientific fact. For instance, when my son asked where the flame in a match came from when the teacher lit a candle prior to lunch, the teacher told him that the flame came from a "fire sprite" who lived in the match. When the match was blown out, the "fire sprite went to sleep". It is frustrating and infuriating to know that children (and more subtly, the parents) are indoctrinated into this bizarre cult without any amount of transparency and that it is the children who ultimately suffer with the bullying and academic delays that this type of school imposes.
Dear Ms. Aehrendsen, I'm sorry that you did not enjoy your experience at your son's school, wherever that was. It seems clear in your review, and I can verify, that your son has never attended our school. Not all Waldorf schools are the same just as not all public schools, or Montessori schools are the same. We do not deny books to our students at any age. You'll find books for the children in all of our classes, including early childhood. We do not deny them access to black and brown crayons, writing instruments, paper with square corners, or dolls with faces. It is true that we do not use electronic media in our school for learning but that's not uncommon in preK-8th grade schools that value the teacher-student relationship over a child's relationship with downloadable data. We could address each of your points in your review, but it's really not for us to do since it's clear that your review is for your son's school and not ours. We hope that you find a better fit for your family.
As a child psychiatrist, I believe I know what helps keep children healthy. This is such a positive joyful community for children to grow and thrive in, I love having opportunities to join in the activities at Prairie Moon. If my children were younger they would be going to this school. In addition the Waldorf Association of Lawrence has sponsored a monthly reading group, of which I have been a member for 3 years. Great discussions!
My two children are excited every Sunday night that next day their school week begins! They tell me each afternoon what they have done that day... a wonderful range of work and play, from maths, language and local history to playing the fiddle and climbing trees. My oldest daughter, who had no confidence in her ability to draw, is bringing me home beautiful pictures. And her academic work is stronger than ever. She's beaming. The teachers are so enthusiastic and interested in the kids... they communicate with us through email and phone. If we have any concerns, they respond immediately. We moved our kids to this school from what I considered to be a very good school in the area... This school is far exceeding my expectations.
My daughter has gone to Prairie Moon Waldorf School since she turned three. Since then, she spent 4 years in their mixed-age Early Childhood program and now is in Second grade. Every day she is so excited to go to school and partake in the multitude of ways in which learning is taught to the students...through movement, art, direct instruction, music, natural inquiry, play...you name it. This education has fostered in her a profound love for the process of learning and discovery; she loves her school, her teachers, and the experience of what a Waldorf education is providing to her.
My girls are going to this fabulous school. It is hard to get them in the van at the end of the day...they are always beaming when I pick them up. When we get home they are in a tree knitting and playing dress up. When they come inside and draw pictures from stories they have heard at school .and explain them to us at length...they happily practice different art techniques they have been shown. Then they knit some more. They are satisfied and inspired....and so are we.
After checking the beavers' progress building their dam, my son made plaster casts of animal footprints along the stream that runs a few hundred years from the school. My daughter came home happy, singing songs she had learned with her friends. What a great school! I am so delighted with Prairie Moon. My kids are having fun learning, exploring and discovering. The other parents are great. The teachers are creative, engaged and work well together. As a child psychiatrist myself, I know how important school is for a child's intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual development. I am grateful that this school is here for us.
This school has been amazing for my child and my family. The faculty work tirelessly at providing a rich, nurturing, whole child curriculum that respects and meets each child where they're at. By "whole child" I mean that when they learn math, it's not just done sitting at a desk—there's movement, music, and art in each subject. The students learn the subjects with their whole bodies. I especially love the fact that my child is not just having facts downloaded into his brain for rote memorization and having to regurgitate it back. Instead, he's learning HOW to learn, and his innate love of learning is being nurtured rather than squashed. I love that he will be with his 1st grade teacher all the way through 6th grade. His teacher will know exactly where he's at, what he needs and when, and he will be communicating that with us, the parents, all the way through. I love this school and my child loves it. His self-confidence around learning is big and bright, not stressful or fearful.
For information about Waldorf education, you can visit www.whywaldorfworks.com. Prairie Moon was founded by a group of parents and community members committed to bringing Waldorf education to Lawrence, Kansas. Since the initial impulse began in 1997, and then again in 2001, the school community has grown and blossomed. For the young children (ages 3-6), the school is a haven for childhood, allowing sufficient time for free play, outside play, the creative arts, practical work and rest (when needed). Seasonal verses, songs, puppet shows, fingerplays, and storytelling told in a weekly rhythm help to strengthen the child's ability to listen and concentrate, expand language development, foster memory growth, and create the foundation for long term literacy. In addition, movement and circle games also help improve physical coordination and dexterity, and build capacities for the understanding of mathematical concepts. The grades program (grades 1-6) has seen many successes, particularly for children who have been 'burnt-out' on learning in mainstream education. While even children who do well in mainstream education, when coming to Prairie Moon have a new initiative and develop a love of learning that they may not have experienced before. The grades curriculum is an experiential process that brings the 'facts' alive and the children are more readily able to grasp the concepts. They receive specialty classes in handwork, movement and language (German).