Frequently Asked Questions
What does a typical school day look like?
The day begins as students enter the classroom and receive a greeting from their teacher, who pauses to make eye contact with each student and, in many classrooms, shake the students' hands.
In the Early Childhood program, the day includes creative play; circle time; ample outdoor time that might include a hike or a trip to the farm; a homemade, organic lunch; then rest and more outdoor play to finish the day.
Main Lesson, a one-and-half-hour period with the class teacher in the Lower School and a subject teacher in the High School, is the entry point to the Lower School and High School day. This "in breath" allows students to settle themselves and concentrate on the task at hand. Main Lessons are taught in three- to four-week blocks devoted to a particular subject (history, math, science, English, social studies, etc.). Main Lessons might include spelling in the 1st grade, a study of the Mississippi River in the 5th grade, a world geography lesson in the 8th grade, and a physics experiment in the High School.
After snacks and time outdoors, students move on to their specialty classes, which fill the rest of the day: Fine or Applied Arts; Spanish; Orchestra, Chorus, or Band; Handwork; and Eurythmy (a movement art exclusive to Waldorf schools).
After school, some students participate in the Equestrian Program, while others play sports or get involved in community service activities. Some have instrument lessons; others stay in our After-School program until 6pm.
What colleges and universities do your graduates attend?
More than 90% of Green Meadow's graduates attend college. Click for our High School Profile and recent college acceptances list.
Over 94% of Waldorf graduates nationwide attend college, with 88% completing their degree. This compares favorably with the 90% of private high school graduates that attend college and the 76% of private school graduates that complete their college career. Waldorf graduates are three times as likely to study social and behavioral sciences, and twice as likely to study science and math as the general United States population.
What career paths do your alumni take?
Green Meadow graduates go on to careers in such varied fields as business, education, information technology, law, medicine, politics, science, social services, and the arts. Meet our alumni.
Well-known graduates of Waldorf Schools internationally include Jennifer Aniston (actor), Matthaus Atkinson (NASA project engineer), Kenneth Chenault (CEO and chairman of American Express), Julianna Margulies (actor), Ferdinand Alexander Porsche (automotive engineer and designer for Porsche), Charles Rose (award-winning architect), Aram Roston (CNN correspondent), and Jens Stoltenberg (Prime Minister of Norway).
Do you have any programs open to the public, including homeschooling and unschooling families?
Yes! Learn more about our After-School Classes. These classes serve students in grades 1-12 and are an affordable, fun way to be part of our community.
All classes take place on our 11-acre wooded campus in Chestnut Ridge, just three miles from Bergen County, NJ. Courses are run by teachers, parents, and friends of our school.
These classes are designed to offer local students opportunities to stretch their minds and bodies while they develop new skills and friendships.
As a private school, what types of learning styles can Green Meadow serve?
Green Meadow is a school for students who fall within a broad but limited range of academic and social styles and who do not present severe and persistent learning differences or challenges. Accepted students with a diagnosed learning disability and/or a current IEP will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. In determining what learners we can serve, we recognize our capabilities and limitations and strive to meet each student’s needs with integrity.
Green Meadow students requiring additional academic or social support may be identified in a number of ways, including by teachers, the Lower School Educational Support Coordinator, High School Guidance Counselor, school doctor, or by parents themselves. A collaborative approach is taken in assisting teachers and parents in finding the additional support needed. While we have systems in place to support students who need certain accommodations, additional tutoring and remedial services must be provided by the parents. Parents seeking outside tutors or specialists may request a copy of our Practitioner Referral List. Testing to determine specific learning challenges may be requested through our local school district.
How diverse is your student population?
Green Meadow serves students from a broad range of socio-economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds, faith traditions, and belief systems. Our students come from many different kinds of families and many countries of origin; some speak languages other than English at home; and they travel each day from about 90 different towns in 13 local counties.
Most recent statistics show that our student body is 36% students of color (15% Multiracial, 11% Asian, 6% Middle Eastern, 2% African-American, and 2% Latino or Hispanic) and 64% White.
Read about our commitment to inclusivity in our Diversity Statement.
How do students transfer in or out of Green Meadow?
Each year, several students transfer into or out of Green Meadow. Depending on the grade level and the abilities of the particular child, we find in general that students transferring out are well prepared for their work in other schools. Students transferring in often need some time to develop their artistic skills and adjust to the academic rigor, the emphasis on critical thinking rather than test-taking, and the media policy.
What is your media policy and does it apply to parents?
Read about our media policy. Our media policy is geared toward our students, and parents are free to use media as they see fit. We ask that parents consider the effects of their media consumption on their family, however, and limit media use in the presence of their children in an age-appropriate way.
What is your policy on bullying?
Green Meadow has an active Social Inclusion Committee, made up of faculty working directly with students both in and out of the classroom. Our "justice without blame" approach to conflict resolution among students prioritizes accountability and self-reflection.
Our Student Social Action Committee (SSAC), made up of high school students, implements innovative solutions to teasing and bullying with younger students. The SSAC training, led by faculty, teaches older students to assist younger children, on the playground and in mediation of social conflict, and includes the creation of a buddy system that has proven very effective in reducing incidences of bullying on campus.
What extra-curricular activities do you offer?
Read our Athletics & Extracurriculars page.
What opportunities do you offer for parental involvement?
Green Meadow has a very active Parent Council, made up of volunteer delegates from each class, and offers many other ways for parents to get involved. Opportunities include (but are not limited to): class parent, parent meetings, parent/faculty dinners and other social events, parent handwork group, fundraising events, and class trips.
What is the difference between Waldorf and Montessori?
A very brief summary of the two approaches follows; we also encourage you to learn more from the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) and The International Montessori Index.
Waldorf Education serves children from birth through Grade 12. Montessori schools usually serve children from preschool through Grade 8. There is also a Montessori "Assistants to Infancy" program for babies and toddlers up to age 3.
Waldorf Early Childhood programs use natural toys, made of wood, silk, and wool. Montessori schools use Montessori-designed and -approved toys.
Waldorf classrooms are child-centered, teacher-led, and experiential. Children witness phenomena firsthand before they are taught the principles underlying those phenomena. In the early years, rhythm and routine are the cornerstones, building the child's sense of safety and trust in the world. In the Lower School, students begin their academic training through an arts-infused curriculum, alongside physical and social activities. In the High School, a rigorous academic program is complemented by sports, a rich artistic life, an international exchange program, internship opportunities, and many community service initiatives. The goal of a Green Meadow education is to help our students reach their full potential and impart purpose and direction to their own lives.
In a Montessori classroom, according to The International Montessori Index, "there is no limit to how long a child can work on something she has chosen. At any one time in a day all subjects (practical work, math, language, science, history, geography, art, music, etc.) will be being studied, at all levels, by children of mixed ages learning from each other, facilitated by careful observation, individual lessons, record keeping, and help of the teacher."
Many Waldorf Schools are accredited by the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA), which assures adherence to the Waldorf curriculum. Today, there are nearly 1000 Waldorf schools in 83 countries. In North America, there are more than 300 schools and 14 teacher education institutes in some level of development.
Montessori schools can elect to be accredited through the American Montessori Society (AMS). There are about 1,200 accredited Montessori schools in the United States. The Montessori method was developed in Italy around the same time as Waldorf Education, by physician and educator Dr. Maria Montessori.
The Waldorf curriculum was developed almost 100 years ago by Austrian scholar and philosopher Rudolf Steiner. Waldorf schools are usually called Steiner schools outside the US.
What advantages does a play-based Early Childhood program have over other programs?
A play-based program allows children to develop their gross and fine motor abilities and hone problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills. Time outdoors, immersed in imaginative play, is physically and psychologically healthy, decreasing stress and enabling children to work through everything they experience throughout the day, both individually and as a group.
What is unique about the Waldorf School’s approach to play, and what allows the children in our care to play creatively (even if they struggled to do so when they arrived), is that ample playtime is part of each school day. Playtime is both predictable and suitable in length for children’s play to unfold, develop, and transform.
In addition, Waldorf teachers understand the importance of the play environment and the materials that foster children’s imaginative play. Too many toys, or toys that are too defined and pre-programmed, inhibit children’s creativity and limit their developing imaginations. Our classrooms and outdoor play spaces offer open-ended play materials (like clothespins, cloths, benches, and wooden planks for building) that allow fluid, child-directed play, with objects transforming as the children’s scenarios change.
Here is one article among hundreds that supports play-based learning.
Is tuition assistance available?
Read our Tuition Assistance page to learn more.
Do you bus students, and from what school districts?
New York residents: New York state law currently requires school districts to transport private-school students to schools up to 15 miles away from their homes. Forms requesting bus transportation to private schools are due to the transportation office of the applicant’s local school district by April 1. Please contact your school district directly for more information or to obtain a form.
New Jersey residents: please research eligibility criteria and application procedures for private school bus transportation here.
What towns and counties do GMWS students come from?
Please see the map below. Please contact our Admissions Office (845.356.2514, x326 for Early Childhood Programs, x302 for Grades 1-12) with any other questions.