Sending Your Kid To A Waldorf School May Be Surprisingly Affordable

Choosing the path for your child's education is a big decision for most parents. The many educational philosophies, as well as tuition costs for some of these schools, all factor into this decision. So how much is a Waldorf school in general? Tuition costs can vary dramatically from one school to another.

In general, the price of Waldorf school tuition will vary depending on your geographic location, as noted by the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA). Still, fans of the educational philosophy say the investment is worthwhile, especially when compared to cost of similar private schools. "Quite a few private schools in our area are 20 to 50 percent higher [than us], I would say," said Jenny Helmick, teacher and nature program coordinator of the Waldorf School at Moraine Farm in Beverly, Massachusetts, in U.S. News & World Report. To learn more about the specific tuition costs for Waldorf schools in your area, use the Find a School directory from AWSNA to contact your nearest school.

Don't let the initial tuition number scare you away from the school, however. For many families, need-based financial assistance is offered at Waldorf schools. For instance, the Brooklyn Waldorf School offers 20 percent and 40 percent tuition assistance levels for families in certain financial circumstances. Contact the school you're interested in for more information about their financial assistance offerings.

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Plus, many schools offer sibling discounts on tuition for multiple kids at the same school. Sending all of your children to the same Waldorf school may save you a little money overall.

For tuition-free options, consider the public Waldorf schools in the US. The list of public Waldorf schools is provided by the Alliance for Public Waldorf Education, and it may feature some institutions in your area. They're pretty scattered across the US, and California has the majority of these schools by far. But if your area has a charter school program, for instance, then there's a chance one of these schools is based on the Waldorf philosophy.

The Waldorf approach to education has a few key elements that differentiate it from other schools, and this makes it attractive to many families. Founded by Rudolf Steiner and Emil Molt in 1919, the Waldorf education emphasizes imaginative learning that helps children realize their potential, as explained by the AWSNA. For instance, students design their own textbooks for the curriculum, as shown in the AWSNA's tweet.

The educational system has also been praised by many prominent people. "Waldorf Education draws out the best of qualities in young people. While this is not an instant process, the values they learn provide a lifelong platform from which to grow," said Gilbert Grosvenor, President Emeritus of the National Geographic Society. That lifelong love of learning is another hallmark of the educational philosophy.

So if a Waldorf school feels like the best option for your family, be sure to check out the options in your area. Speak with educators at the school and visit open house events. Just remember that a Waldorf education may be more affordable than you first suspected. For families lucky enough to live near the public Waldorf schools, it's free.