FAQs

Click on a question below to learn the answer to these Frequently Asked Questions.

If my child has not been in a Waldorf school before, how easy is it to transfer in?

DWS Grades Students Working TogetherOur experience is that it varies with the temperament of the child, how well he or she adjusts to changes, and the grade of the transfer. Generally, through grade 5, the transition goes smoothly with slight adjustments to a new learning environment, artistic activities, and foreign languages.

In grades 6-8, sometimes extra tutoring in Spanish and a musical instrument can help a student “catch up” to the level of the class. In the High School ninth grade is the optimum year to enter, although tenth and eleventh graders have found our approach suits them well. In the High School, during the admissions and visit process, we look at the applicant’s transcript to determine if the sequence of math courses or the level of foreign language integrates with ours, and overall if the student has an academic record appropriate to the level of work already taking place in the High School. The Denver Waldorf School classes, K-12, are known for welcoming new students in a friendly and inclusive manner.

What is the thinking behind the recommendation that all forms of media be eliminated in the early years?

DWS Girl Performing at Fall Assembly_webThroughout the Waldorf movement, one of our major goals is to increase the neural pathways in the brain, thereby optimizing overall brain functioning. This is especially important for areas of discrimination and critical thinking – lifelong skills.

The TV screen, video games, movies, apart from the content on the screen, all lay down simple, repetitive neural pathways and actually shut down those areas of the brain that activate higher level thinking skills and powers of discrimination.

Furthermore, for young children, their primary means of self-development is through healthy movement, active play, and fantasy, which arises out of an innate capacity to form images. This capacity for imagination, so strong in the young child, is what we at The Denver Waldorf School highly value, consciously cultivate, and see as the basis for critical thinking skills that emerge in the adolescent.

How large is the typical class at The Denver Waldorf School?

Starflower Class PhotoKindergarten: 18 children with a lead teacher and an assistant in each of our preschool-kindergartens.

Grades 1-8: Ranges from 18 to 28, with certain subjects or electives split in half.

High School: Generally 10-12 in the track classes and in the Main Lessons.

Do you have a full Waldorf program?

Yes, we do, Kindergarten through Grade 12 – academics, music, drama, eurythmy, practical arts, movement, foreign languages, and handwork. Please see the Curriculum menu and click on the section you are interested in.

In what ways are parents involved at The Denver Waldorf School?

Parent involvement at DWSParents are vitally important to the smooth functioning of The Denver Waldorf School: Board of Trustees, Finance Committee, governance and long range planning, Parent Council, festivals, fundraising, class trips, support for the teachers, organizing parent education evenings. Opportunities abound for parents to contribute their unique skills and energy to the school community.

Will my child be prepared for college?

DWS Senior in Peru Absolutely! The High School program offers a strong college preparatory curriculum, with 90% of our graduates entering four-year colleges and universities upon graduation, 5% entering two-year colleges, and 5% choosing alternate career plans.

While the how and why of what we teach is uniquely Waldorf, the curriculum not only exceeds all state requirements for graduation, but also provides a depth to learning and thinking skills that is unparalleled.

Read more about the Results of Waldorf Education.

What happens if my child and the Class Teacher do not get along?

DWS Teacher & Student at Walkathon

Our experience is that this situation is rare between the child and the teacher, because the Waldorf emphasis on honoring and supporting each child’s individual unfolding and life path allows for a great embracing of differences. However, if the relationship hits a snag, frequent communication between teacher and parents ensures that any difficulties are resolved as quickly and as cooperatively as possible.

How do you work with giftedness?

Main Lesson Book IllustrationThe Waldorf ideal is to value all expressions of humanity, and so we see every child as gifted in his or her own unique way, to be appreciated for both strengths and weaknesses. Our approach emphasizes balance in the three distinct ways that human beings relate to the world: through thinking, through the life of the emotions, and through physical activity.

In the curriculum all three aspects are cultivated. Although our methodology is such that all children are taught the same curriculum, a child who is gifted in certain areas, such as in music, science, or the arts, may go deeper or do more advanced work within the general classroom setting.

What help is available for remedial work?

The Denver Waldorf School has the Care Group who both assess and work with students in grades 1 – 6 who have learning issues, as well as a full-time reading tutor. When a child’s needs extend beyond that of the Care Group, we recommend outside tutoring or consultation. At the High School level, teachers are available for extra help but will recommend outside tutoring when necessary.

Is The Denver Waldorf School affiliated with any religious denomination?

MS Students Ready to do Maypole 2013 WalkathonNo, we are not. We do, however, recognize that each human being in his/her essence is a spiritual being with a destiny to fulfill. The role of education is to support the unfolding individuality, but without any religious dogma.

We honor various spiritual traditions and have confidence that, in our fundamental nature, human beings are alike, part of a global humanity.

How do you handle discipline?

Approaches to discipline are varied and relate directly to the age of the child, his/her temperament, and any unique needs of the child. Parents are often surprised at how cooperative and peaceful our classes are, because the age-appropriate curriculum, the artistic activities, and the amount of movement in the day all help to keep students engaged in their learning. When needed, a teacher meets with parents to discuss discipline issues and formulate a plan.

What are you looking for in selecting a child and a family?

First and foremost, we want to be able to meet the needs of the child, so during the admissions process and the student visit, we make sure there are no issues beyond our ability to handle them. Also, we find that a child’s success is further enhanced when parents understand and support our unique philosophy and educational approach. Towards this goal, we encourage you to ask us questions and become informed about the depth, breadth, and multifaceted aspects of our program.

Are you an art school?

Math, Science & Art at DWSWhile many artistic activities are woven into the daily experience of our students, we do not consider ourselves an art school. Rather, the arts are the context in which academic work is embedded.

We believe that drama, painting, handcrafts, singing, instrumental music, and eurythmy are highly important subjects which children need to study in order to reach their full potential, and to help them build confidence in bringing their creative ideas into the world.

Please contact Leigh Rhysling, Enrollment Director, with additional questions at 303-777-0531 ext. 106 or enroll@denverwaldorf.org.

Our sincere thanks to the Shining Mountain Waldorf School for allowing us to use a modified version of their FAQs for our website.