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Lake Champlain Waldorf School

  • 4.5

(10 reviews)
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Lake Champlain Waldorf School
359 Turtle Lane
ShelburneVT 05482
(802) 985-2827

Ages: 3 - 14+

Cost: Tuition varies by grade, ranging from $7,000 to $15,000. Check school for details.

Parking: Yes

Features:

The Lake Champlain Waldorf School is part of the international, independent Waldorf School movement, committed to realizing the unique possibilities of each child. For more about their school, check out the FAQ.

They offer three programs:

Early Childhood
Morning garden (3-4 year olds) and Kindergarten (4-6 year olds) programs center on creative play.

Grade School
Students in first through eighth grades are educated in a way that develops and balances all aspects: intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual.

High School
The curriculum helps students engage with the world, offering an integrated curriculum that weaves the arts into an excellent and demanding academic program.

Additionally, they offer summer day camps for boys and girls ages 5 - 15 on the Shelburne Campus location.

A glimplse into the Lake Champlain Waldorf School (video)

10 Reviews

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lmacik

  • 5

Reviewed on 01/27/2017

My first grader is absolutely delighted with language, numbers, music, art, his peers and teachers, what more could a student ask for?

Lake Champlain Waldorf School
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truthseeker

  • 5

Reviewed on 03/19/2015

We have been involved with the LCWS for 9 years now, which in itself tells you a lot. We began with the parent-toddler program, which taught us more than any book or other parenting tool we sought out about what young children need to thrive. We saw such differences in our then 18 month old and we have continued to witness the wisdom behind the pedagogy as that little toddler now navigates his pre-teen years. At first, we did not know whether we would stick with Waldorf throughout the grade school years, mostly because we wondered whether the emphasis on anthroposophy would strike us as too much. It has not at all. Sure, Steiner's views on child development undergird the entire approach, and he discusses topics that our increasingly non-spiritual world finds uncomfortable. For the scientifically inclined, you will be happy to know, however, that so much of what Steiner wrote back before scholars had honed the scientific method now finds backing in evidence-based approaches.

From the parent-toddler program to the kindergarten, to the grade school, we have had amazingly positive experiences. We have found the approach of having the same teacher from 1st through 8th to be a gift. Our teachers truly know our children, and love them, and work in partnership with us to parent them. I have not at all felt an iron hand, as one of the reviews implies.

As a parent from a dual-income household, who does not have the ability to give to the community as much as I would like, I understand the review that mentions that some folks get appreciated more for the volunteerism that they can offer. I have pondered this issue myself but in the end I think it has more to do with me feeling guilty/bad that I do not have more time to give and less with me not being valued. There are many ways in which parents can help/be involved and there are many levels of involvement. This community does not engage in finger pointing and recognizes that everyone does the best that they can. I have certainly always felt that way.

There's so much to say about this remarkable school. I do not have experience with other Waldorf schools, so I cannot compare it to those, but I have read testimonials by people who left other Waldorf schools and it struck me that their reasons were unique to those schools and did NOT apply to LCWS. My husband and I feel blessed that out of all the Waldorf schools out there, our children get to attend this one.

LCWS provides an open atmosphere that honors diversity and cultivates compassion and understanding. Are there wrinkles to iron out? Sure. There always will be in any context that involves that many people, most of them children! At the end of the day, though, I want a school that supports and honors the entirety of my child and that models compassion. You would be hard-pressed to find a place that can do that better than LCWS.
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Lake Champlain Waldorf School
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sgalper

  • 5

Reviewed on 06/20/2012

I attended the Lake Champlain Waldorf School from morning garden through 12th grade. That totals 15 years of Waldorf education! I had a wonderful experience and I feel like I can attribute who I have become to an education that fulfilled all of my needs. I was cared for by my teachers and my fellow students in a way that prepared me for my Waldorf high school experience, my college experience, and my post graduate life. I learned to use my whole body in life, not just my head. Waldorf taught me to be a thinking, feeling individual and I am forever grateful. I was, if anything, over-prepared for my freshman year of college, thanks to a rigorous high school experience where I wrote many a thesis paper, but I was also ready emotionally. The friends I made there are part of my family and my teachers continue to advise me even though I am no longer their student. I loved my education and I can only hope that more children have the chance to experience what I did....more

Lake Champlain Waldorf School
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Momster

  • 3

Reviewed on 05/14/2012

The pros: a lovely, holistic, arts-based education that integrates intellectual, emotional, social, physical, and artistic skills. The cons: an extremely dogmatic approach to education (if Rudolph Steiner didn't say it nearly a century ago, they won't do it now) that effectively ignores the needs of academically and intellectually gifted children. While our children loved the arts education, handwork, and ample movement time, they complained of boredom academically and felt a palpable lack of recognition/validation from their teachers. Teachers also have absolute authority here, and almost no student input/autonomy is allowed. The curriculum is inflexible, and students get little opportunity to explore ideas or facts that are not explicitly detailed by the teacher. (Those lovely hand-written textbooks each child writes are full of text and drawings that mimic the teacher's work almost verbatim.) The lack of clear authority in the school can also be a problem (the school is governed not by a single director, but by a College of Teachers). The buck, apparently, stops nowhere. You may also want to reconsider if you don't agree with Anthroposophy, the spiritual beliefs that lie firmly behind the Waldorf Education. Essentially, Waldorf child development theory is dedicated to helping your child re-incarnate from his/her spiritual body into his earthly existence. (Early reading and intellectual focus is thought to interfere with this process, so is actively discouraged.) This school is therefore a good fit for students (and parents) who don't ask too many questions about the pedagogy. ...more

Lake Champlain Waldorf School
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snowflake

  • 5

Reviewed on 04/18/2012

My daughter has been at this school for 4 years and absolutely loves it. She does not want to miss a day of school. The school has a strong understanding of child development and a deep respect for the children. The school raises the WHOLE child and my daughter is thriving. I couldn't ask for anything more for her childhood.

Lake Champlain Waldorf School
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Bergamot

  • 5

Reviewed on 05/14/2010

We partake in the Star Garden program, alongside our two year old daughter. It is a fantastic moment in time, each week, as we watch her bloom like a little flower with her peers. She talks about her friends, the teacher, the school pets, and the snack for days afterward. We have definitely experienced hugely positive things from this school. Our daughter does not attend daycare and has never had a sitter. We wanted her to be able to socialize with children around her age in an environment that mirrored our home life. Waldorf was a perfect fit for us and we hope to continue through the grades and high school.

I hope the negative review below is not something we come to realize about this place. I worry about the lack of supervision and I am disturbed to learn of the bullying and river accident. Those woods are ever close and without proper supervision, I agree, accidents will occur. I am all for allowing children the freedom to explore but they are not adults and they can make poor choices... some that could be avoided by the watchful eye of a teacher. Learning by discovery is a wonderful concept but at the same time I'd hope to avoid a tragedy in the process.
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Lake Champlain Waldorf School
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MaureenWheeler

  • 5

Reviewed on 10/08/2009

My family has been at the Lake Champlain Waldorf School for 10 years. We have experienced the Morning Garden, Kindergarten, Grade School and even all 4 years of High School as we had a boarding student live with us. In short - we have seen it all and we love it! I feel blessed every single day that my children are in an environment that is nurturing their intellect, creativity and humanity so exquisitely. I HIGHLY recommend this school and in 10 years have not experienced the complaints listed by the first reviewer.

The culture of the school is one in which each individual needs to take personal responsibility for their own words and actions. It would not be a good fit for a parent that wants to demand change and walk away without being a part of the resolution. As a community we are all called to rise to our highest potential and to be a part of the process. I know this has helped me to become a better parent and without question, it has made my children more capable people.

There is a reverence for nature that permeates the teaching and culture of the school that I especially appreciate. The curriculum meets the children in very meaningful and consciously chosen ways to mirror their own stages of development. A question asked frequently at the faculty is "How are the children being held?" It is not a literal question, rather it is asking how the students developmental milestones and specific needs are being supported. I continually see the faculty strive to put the experience of the children as the major factor in making all school decisions.

Long after my children graduate from the High School I will still be a part of this community.
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Lake Champlain Waldorf School
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lilycanter

  • 1

Reviewed on 09/18/2008

I had great hopes at Waldorf for our two children. Unfortunately, while I think the pedagogy is to be admired (lots of hands on art, music, nature), etc., theory and practice often differ.

It's a lovely idea to have the same teacher through all grades, but my experience is that the teachers were not qualified to teach some of the more rigorous courses at the 6th, 7th & 8th grades such as physics, anatomy, upper level mathematics, and writing. In fact, teachers that were not Steiner trained filled in.

I also found the lack of supervision on the grounds and on trips (including foreign trips) to be very disturbing. The woods are not as benign as one would imagine - as one student who fell through the ice into the river one year would know. When we were there, students were allowed to run willy-nilly and teachers were not aware when conflicts and bullying occurred.

And, as a minor irritation, I did find a certain amount of hypocrisy. I had maintained a TV free household and looked forward delaying the exposure of some information to my children. I got the impression that as long as one paid the hefty tuition, no one would comment on what families let their children view or listen to, or how they repeated it at school.

Additionally, there is (to me) a club mentality. If you can afford to devote extra time to the school (because both parents don't need to work or have very flexibile schedules) then you definitely earn "brownie points" for yourself and your children from the community leaders.

I very much approve of the Steiner methods of teaching (even as I disagree w/ anthroposophy), but I felt the LCWS was imbued w/ varying agendas other than education and community building.
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Lake Champlain Waldorf School
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espenshade

  • 5

Reviewed on 09/09/2008

My children have been there for the past 9 years. I love the school and the parent community. The teachers are just extraordinary--caring, bright, creative, love to teach. My children thrive there and love going to school each day.

Lake Champlain Waldorf School
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whimsy

  • 5

Reviewed on 04/17/2008

Our experience at the Lake Champlain Waldorf school has been such a positive one. Both our daughters have flourished there and we have made many wonderful friends.The community at the school is such a strong and inclusive one with many opportunities for parents to be involved.

Lake Champlain Waldorf School