View Full Version : BK-Ft Greene/Clinton Hill/Bed-Stuy/Prospect Hts Thoughts on Brooklyn Waldorf vs The Co-op School of Fort Greene?

09-28-2010, 06:53 AM
We have a 2 year old and are in the process of scouting/visiting schools for Fall 2011. We live close to the Waldorf & Co-op school? Can someone provide an opinion of these schools? Also considering the Montessori Day School in Prospect Heights. Thank you

09-28-2010, 07:36 PM
I only have experience with the Waldorf program personally, though I have friends at both of the other schools you mentioned. I am looking at the others too for our daughter.

We have done the Parent-Child classes there and found them to be warm and lovely. The routine is the same for the entire 10 weeks- so you might get bored (I did), but the kids didn't seem to. They relished the routine actually. I feel like it really helped my daughter to see washing hands as necessary, but also fun and just part of life- and ditto about cleaning up after an activity.

We had Carol for both our classes and think she is wonderful. She guided the children through the daily routine and playing with generosity and empathy. I also like that she finds their behavior humorous at times.

The routine started with general play, then cleanup, then making bread, cleaning up the tables, circle time, playing, eating bread and apples, circle time and goodbye. Simple. In general, the philosophy is about basing the days and routine on rythyms. In the classroom, you won't see any plastic anywhere and most of the items of play are handmade. It is definitely a privilege to be in that kind of environment. Some parents who were interested in the Waldorf program were uncomfortable that there shouldn't be "screen time" for the kids or that there is such an emphasis on the natural world. I'm not sure if they really discourage "screen time", but I would check into that if that was of interest to you.

Not having done anything more than the 2 parent-child classes, I can't comment on the preschool/ elementary.

In the past the program was not well organized with lots of unreturned calls, but they seem to have remedied that recently.

Also, not sure that this is the right program for a really spirited child as the atmosphere is totally mellow and so the kids that did have more energy or were more active ended up looking and probably feeling out of control- when in reality, they weren't.

Other note: Your child would have the same teacher throughout their whole school experience there. The teacher follows them up through the classes.

09-30-2010, 07:18 AM
not that i have any real understanding of the diff philosophies at these schools, but we also considered those 3 schools and ended up at coop. the biggest hurdle with all of them it seems is getting in! but that said, here are my thoughts on the 3 schools: waldorf is beautiful and so intention and a place I would have loved, however not for my son. he is a very active guy, pretty typical boy stuff, and i could have seen him tearing all of the beautiful tissue paper flowers off the wall in one fell swoop of his "sword" . they do go out quite a lot at waldorf but none the less, the very serene environment there seemed a little incongruous with my son's exuberant boy-energy! as for MDS, it was also a great place but didnt seem quite right for my kid--what i gathered about montessori is that the toys are meant to be used in a particular way as they are designed with much intention. again, while it probably would have been great for my son to learn, a little less structure seemed more to his vibe. coop seemed a good fit bc it was a real straightforward play-based environment created and maintained by a lot of value-driven parents which lended a certain amount of intentionality to the more free-formed concept. all of these schools are amazing and i loved them all--all very intentional and child-centered. it just took actaully visiting them to get a gut sense of where my son would fit in best. good luck!!

09-30-2010, 01:16 PM
I have to say I totally agree with Mamalala's thoughts about how the active/energetic kid and the Ft. Greene Waldorf program may not be a good match (and actually the poster above referenced the same issue). It was not a good match for my son- I felt like he was too active for that mellow environment, but my daughter thrived in it.

11-06-2010, 02:29 PM
The best way to choose any preschool is to attend a tour and get a sense of how your child will react within each school's environment. All things being equal, if a school is safe and enriched it can be "seed on fertile ground". How you feel about the different early childhood philosophies may make more of a difference to you than to your child. Montessori Day School, Brooklyn Waldorf and the Coop School are all wonderful rich and quite different places. The Coop School, being a coop, requires a limited time commitment in the school; provide snack twice a year, serve on a regular committee, and do some fundraising. As a former member of a different coop preschool I can say that the time commitment was minimal but the opportunity to become part of the community was a life changing experience for my family. The Coop School and Montessori Day school are stand alone preschools, but Brooklyn Waldorf continues into the upper grades and will be a preschool through 8th grade program when it reaches capacity. They are also soon to be moving to a new location in Claver Castle. You can do a little more reading about Montessori education http://www.montessori.org and Waldorf http://www.waldorfanswers.org/Waldorf.htm