Oakland Steiner School
Rochester Hills, MI 48307
About This School
In 2010, Oakland Steiner School had 8 students for every full-time equivalent teacher. The Michigan average is 18 students per full-time equivalent teacher.
Student Ethnicity (2008)
Students Per Teacher (2010)
Oakland Steiner School Reviews
My daughter began attending Oakland Steiner when she was 3 1/2 years old. She is now 5, and I can't express sufficiently, in words, how blown away we are with the results. The schools has done far more than "educate" her, it has catalyzed her own blossoming into a confident, intelligent, considerate, and passionate individual.
My daughter was initially a little shy and closed off, and these amazing teachers and staff, brilliantly coaxed her out of her shell and provided the space that allowed her to feel comfortable in being her true self. Everyone we come in contact with, mentions how wonderful of a child my daughter is. Of course, much of this is, innate, but at this fragile age, rather than suppress her uniqueness, like most public schools, it has again, helped her blossom into her full potential.
We researched schools extensively prior to enrolling her into Oakland Steiner. We were very disappointed in the current state of the public schools, as well as, many of the private schools. Fortunately, we stumbled across this one and the rest is history.
The teachers, staff, truly embody the "ideal" role model, guide, and teacher, that parents are seeking. These teachers genuinely have deep love for all of their students, and the creative ways they go about educating them is astounding. The depth this philosophy delves into, regarding, educating the human being, is staggering.
Many will complain that they are all about money, but they must not have tried other private schools. These schools depend on donations and participation from parents in order to provide the excellent service. I am guessing the complaints are from folks who never experienced other private schools, which, generally, are 10 times worse!
In my opinion, there is no price tag to be put on the development of my children. I will not drive as expensive of a vehicle and own a smaller house, and do whatever it takes for that.
We currently have a hot lunch program that brings local, organic, home cooked meals to students two or three times a week. Our chef is a parent at the school who has a wonderful rapport with the children. She keeps their health, as well as their favorite foods, in mind when planning the menu. It's one of the many special touches that sets OSS apart from the mainstream.
As a mental health professional who has worked with children for over 16 years I believe that this form of education is the best educational setting for the WHOLE child's development. The strong emphasis on arts is based in the knowledge that playing an instrument, knitting/crocheting, being bi/tri-lingual, and perspective drawing creates and builds neural pathways in the brain--the kids are increasing brain capacity while participating in these classes. The school has made a conscious effort to improve science and math curriculum in recent years so they go from mediocre to above average, to excellent. My one child struggles in math, but is not being left behind. As far as reading goes, Oakland Steiner provides free remedial service and if you think your child is not reading well enough, they will assess upon your, or your teacher's request, and make suggestions. There is no reason for parents not to use multiple resources to assist their child's reading. Both of my children are great readers, (one needed help and one did not) and more importantly, ask to be taken to the library to get something to read--they enjoy it.
This is our 7th year at this school. Though there were tough times, our personal family concerns were heard and addressed, and along with the amazing experiential curriculum, is the reason why we stay. This is a community (more than just a school) as we know our children's classmate's parents, and there is a general air of connectedness and respect among the adults.
In the past 2 1/2 years the faculty has taken a hard look at parent concerns and other indicators of inappropriate conduct. Three teachers and 1 parent are no longer at the school. The school has been through many tough conversations and much soul searching to grow for the better.
We receive financial aid and I appreciate their method of issuing: You fill out an application based on not only income but assets, they refer to a financial "relationship", and are asked to state what you think you can afford to pay. They do not allow personal debt issues to persuade them but do take into consideration the loss of home value and job loss in today's economy. They will not issue any aid if you are not able to state what you believe you can afford. I believe this builds financial responsibility, as parents have to be proactive and not take hand-outs. Their approach avoids the dependency mentality that is inherent in the American government's (general) aid system.
This school is a community and has soul. I suggest coming for a visit and getting a sense for yourself.
Some reviews have said that Oakland Steiner School does not follow the Waldorf philosophy, which is not true. Oakland Steiner School does follow the Waldorf philosophy. There is often misunderstanding about how the philosophy should be implemented if parents do not actually understand what it is. Teachers and staff are always willing to explain and discuss any questions parents have, if the parents are only willing to make the effort to ask! Also the school is very willing to work with parents with difficulties, if the parents approach the school with an explaination of their hardships. One difficult thing about Waldorf schools is that there isn't one Principal. The teachers, staff and Board all work together to make decisions, so sometimes questions can get lost of they're not taken the proper place. One benefit of this is that the decisions are made in the best interest of the children and the school by many people, instead of just one person. The downside is that it can be difficult to find the right location for your question. But, this is easily resolved if a parent is clear about their question, and clearly asks who is responsible, then takes the question to that person. I know that was a long explaination, but I think it can often cause unnecessary complications. I have been with the school for 4 years, and my children are thriving there - it is the most incredible curriculum if you take the time to learn about it, and the teachers are amazing. The parents are also an inspiring group of people to spend time with. I am very happy with the school.
My sons teacher was very mean to him. She yelled at him for not being good at art or musical instruments. The teachers here are mean to the unartistic children and the ones who are allowed access to technology. Never send your child here
If you are looking for a school where children can thrive and actually learn, through experiences - this is the place. We have been a part of the school for 5 years and have enjoyed it tremendously, both of our children as well as us, the parents. The school encompasses a warm and nurturing environment with a remarkable curriculum. In addition to the regular academics, all children learn 2 languages, handwork, an instrument, gardening, physical education, arts, and woodworking. The teachers are dedicated and teach the children in a way that creates an eagerness to learn for the rest of their lives -- and it’s a deeper learning, not just memorizing for tests. The parent community is talented, resourceful, and welcoming. This is a very pleasant school where children can grow and prepare for their lifetime.
It is important to note that for the 2011-2012 school year, OSS teachers and staff were given raises, the budget is balanced and several new positions were created and have been filled by amazing new employees.
Our daughter attended OSS from preschool through her early elementary years. Although her teachers were fine, my husband and I became very concerned about disruptive children who joined the class, and the unwillingness of the teacher to resolve the situation in service of the class. As the school's finances became more constrained, teachers were regularly given pay cuts, programs reduced and classes consolidated. We're happy at another Waldorf school.
My daughter has been attending OSS for over 3 years now in the Children's Center. She has always had loving and caring teachers and has really blossomed as a social, polite and giving child. We look forward to next year as she enters the Grades. The community of parents has been a nice fit for our family as well.
Our son is beginning his second his second year at OSS and we could not be more pleased. The Waldorf curriculum entices children to learn and fully develop their innate imagination in a number of ways. The staff has made it a priority to nurture the students to create an environment of peace and creativity. The result is that our child asks if he can go to school on Saturday and Sundays. Choosing OSS was an enormous decision for us as parents, but we shutter to think of what would happen had we chosen another type of education. "Some children will succeed anywhere, others need this type of education".
OSS is one of three Waldorf schools in SE Michigan. We have enjoyed the kindred spirit of other families with common interests. Each year is punctuated with ceremonies, plays and activities. The garden is unbelievable. Every student is taught two foreign languages, liberal doses of music, art and science. I found http://www.whywaldorfw... to be a useful site to learn about Waldorf. We feel very fortunate to have this school near us.
I have to agree with the previous reviewer, although our circumstances were not as tragic, my daughter is currently in therapy still working on the emotional scars left by her Oakland Steiner kindergarten teacher. I love the Waldorf curriculum, but this school doesn't follow it, and there are many children in third, fourth and fifth grade that still cannot read and write. Parents are told not to worry, it is the Waldorf way, and problems are never really addressed. There is a heavy emphasis placed on a child's ability to craft and draw, which is great, but my daughter is a bit delayed in that area, and she was belittled, teased and openly compared to other students, by her teacher. Labeled as naughty, she began to act out. When this was addressed to administration, we were ignored, then told that it was because she watched too much TV. To be clear, we don't have cable, and do not watch TV, but we watched a family movie together once a week. By February of kindergarten, we were no longer taking her to class, just coming in for lunch, and playtime, after her teacher had left for the day. We had already paid tuition in full and were unable to afford to pay for another school. Because of the wonderful friends I made, and the parent community, I was willing to give the First grade teacher a chance, but thankfully by that time our financial situation had changed and we were not able to return. I have watched my friends children fall further and further behind, not have their issues addressed, be bullied by adults and children, have mixed age grades, because of a lack of qualified teachers, and have teachers dismissed because of poor administration.
Finally, after a year of being through with the school, they came back at us with some unfair, and previously agreed upon financial issues. They wanted money. We ended up fighting with them all summer over it, and finally went in with our piggy banks and paid them so they wouldn't send us to collections. At the very least, if you do make the decision to put your child here, make sure you get every agreement in writing. Do not trust them, because they will come after your heart, and then your pocket book.
I would seriously caution anyone from having their child attend OSS. While the Waldorf philosophy is great, this school does not apply it. There is much talk of nurturing childhood, maintaining the same classroom teacher from 1st - 8th grade, teaching children where they are at academically, providing a compassionate and loving environment, and a wonderful curriculum.
Sadly, in my opinion, this private school is really all about money. Along with high tuition, parents are constantly being asked for more and more throughout the year. They make you sign a tuition contract that they enforce even if circumstances change.
If you were to get transferred mid year, you would still owe your full tuition. If your child was diagnosed with cancer (as ours was) and you removed a sibling from the school - you would still be required to pay the full years tuition. My son's teacher -who we adored, was fired abruptly at the end of 2nd grade. (The main reason we enrolled at OSS was for our child to have the same teacher). We were assured the new teacher was going to be wonderful - not so. We decided to give her a try and were so amazed at how cold, mean, unapproachable and negative she was.
Just one week into the school year, our daughters (6 yrs old) cancer had returned and it eventually took her life 5 months later. During this time, our son had the worst experience at OSS. The teacher was the most callous person imagineable regarding our family and what we were going through. We did remove our son half way through the school year and the school is suing us for the remainder of the tuition contract. Our sons self esteem was shattered and it has taken countless hours of therapy and a wonderful new school to erase some of the things his teacher said to him. She made him feel stupid, inadequate, nervous and unteachable.
Don't be misled by all the "talk" about nurturing children - this is a business and they are all about the tuition.