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Choosing Waldorf Steiner Education - I need the truth!! - Page 2

post #21 of 69

My son is in a Waldorf school and my understanding is that Anthroposophy is never taught in the classes.  The teachers have an understanding of it, study it, and like zoebird said, they have different levels of commitment to it, but it is not *taught* to the children.  Stories from different religions are brought to the class via the curriculum, but nothing is taught dogmatically. 

 

And I know this wasn't in the original post, but someone mentioned above that the "dreamy, thoughful" kids are more valued in a Waldorf setting and my experience is the complete opposite of that.  My son's own first grade class (now moving into second) was a bunch of wild hooligans!  :)  I know they will settle down, as their behavior seems pretty normal, but dreamy, they are not. 

 

A few different topics within the discussion caught my eye and I can't remember who wrote what at the moment, but a couple of articles popped into my head while I was reading and I thought I would share them - I hope they don't seem out of place without linking them to specifics in the conversation.

 

One is the Survey of Waldorf Graduates: http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/documents/Survey_WaldorfGraduates.pdf  Tells you statistics about graduates of the Waldorf system. 

 

One is an article called, "Is Waldorf Christian?" and while it doesn't fully relate to the original post, I think the over all article will have some good information: http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/documents/2_Is_W_Christian.pdf

 

Personally, I can't imagine a better education for anyone - yes, there are the diehards and I think zoebird is right in that each school is different.  Our particular school is pretty "normal."  And by that, I mean that we don't seem to have many "diehards."  People here could fit into the mainstream school settings well enough if they wanted.  However, when we were looking at schools last year, we visited one that seemed waaaaay out there.  Not every area has a choice of Waldorf schools, but yes, if you have options, you find the one that works for you. 

 

 

post #22 of 69

Anthro itself may not be taught, but I think it usually influences what is taught, when it is taught and how it is taught.

 

Using a trivial example -- Waldorf elementary classes frequently do not provide black crayons.  As a non-Anthro. parent, do you care that black crayons are not made available in class for the spirtual protection of your child? 

 

For me, the whole thing seemed a little like participating in the baptism of the child of a non-Christian. 

 

Many of the teachers are doing things a certain way because they believe it is to the spirtual benefit of the children in the classroom.  If you are a non-believer (so you think that the "ulterior" spirtual benefit is B.S.) do you find that those things were done to be creepy/offensive or irrelevant?  In the same way, I can see some a non-Christian parent not really caring a great deal about the baptism of their child (since they believe it means nothing anyway) while others would be greatly offended.

post #23 of 69

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Edited by accountclosed3 - 7/25/12 at 1:16pm
post #24 of 69

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Edited by accountclosed3 - 7/25/12 at 1:16pm
post #25 of 69

Thanks Zoebird.  I agree that something like eurythmy might have been a better example -- in each case an action which by itself is not harmful, but is engaged in for a specific spirtual purpose.

 

Obviously, for me personally, other people's intentions with regard to the "purpose" of the activity do matter -- even if on its face the activity itself is innocuous. 

post #26 of 69

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Edited by accountclosed3 - 7/25/12 at 1:17pm
post #27 of 69

Do a little searching around the keywords anthroposophy and bullying.   The stuff I heard coming out of programs that friends were originally enthusiastic about was enough to deter me.

 

post #28 of 69

This might be a bit OT, but can I just say, this bit of Zoebird's post was fantastic.  :-)  


Quote:

Originally Posted by zoebird View Post

People get upset. here was this beautiful school. this beautiful community. And now, because of ukulele excellence -- which should be celebrated -- i'm being ostracised! Haven't I made enough woolen slippers? have no not cooked enough rutabegas? where, oh where did I go wrong?

post #29 of 69

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Edited by accountclosed3 - 7/25/12 at 1:17pm
post #30 of 69

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Edited by accountclosed3 - 7/25/12 at 1:17pm
post #31 of 69

try "waldorf bullying" or "steiner bullying" too. 

 

There have also been stories posted right here on MDC.

 

If you add "karma" to the search string, you'll get even more.   And not just "it's a cult" stories, but actually people talking about their own experiences or the experiences of their children.  

 

post #32 of 69

I believe that you are going to find whatever you WANT to find.  If you want to find that Waldorf is "culty" and "bully-ish" and a terrible fit for the universe, then that is what you're going to find.  Personally, I see it as beautiful and welcoming and community-oriented and exactly the right education that the world needs - it might not be PERFECT for everyone, but it's a lot closer to perfect than the current mainstream model.  If you're having doubts and fear about it, then don't choose Waldorf. 

 

You can put those fears out to ANYthing in your life and find them there as well.  It's simply the Law of Attraction - you find what you seek.

 

I don't really understand this debate.  It's a simple choice, really. 

 

post #33 of 69

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Edited by accountclosed3 - 7/25/12 at 1:18pm
post #34 of 69

Kim John Payne is the author/speaker who commonly addresses bullying and social inclusion in waldorf schools.  You can Google for info.  Bullying is a known topic in waldorf schools, and addressing it is very different than in a regular school setting because of the view of karma, as well as supervision issues.

post #35 of 69

This has been an interesting read!  I never write in to forums, but here goes anyway...  I am a certified Waldorf teacher, and not (gasp - sacrilege!) an anthroposophist.  I am well aware of many of the issues with Waldorf schools, and just as aware of many of the issues with public schools.  For what it's worth, I got into Waldorf teaching because I am a scientist who studies brain development in children, and when I left Waldorf teaching I completed further studies in education and brain development at Harvard.  My research showed that the Waldorf educational system is so far (and I hope this changes) the best system for fostering healthy brain development in children.

 

Does this mean that every Waldorf school is perfect?  NO.  Does it mean that Waldorf is necessarily the right choice for your child or your family?  Of course not.  There are lots of considerations to make when choosing a Waldorf school: financial strain on the family (private schools are expensive, after all), a good fit with the class teacher (INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT), your ability to take things you don't believe in with a grain of salt (I still struggle with this at times), and many other personal considerations.  But it's a very good option, and worth looking into the schools in your area.  Of course you should question Waldorf, just as you should question the philosophy behind public schools, Montessori schools, Catholic schools - whatever.  Never just drink the kool-aid.  But question in a way that does not expect perfection: weigh the pros and cons, consider your individual family situation, and in the end, go with your gut.  If Waldorf feels right to you, great.  If it doesn't, then it's not the right place for you.  Both are valid conclusions.

 

Just on the finer points of some of the earlier posts: when I was a class teacher, our school closed due to under-enrollment (an area of the country where even public schools are under-enrolled).  All of my students (entering 5th and 6th) who went to public schools were not only not behind, they excelled.  And they were not dreamy.  One was.  The others were adorable, wonderful, hellions.  They were great.  Thankfully it was a Waldorf school, so when being in the classroom just wasn't working for us that day, I had the freedom to sigh and say, fine, suit up, let's head into the woods, study nature and yell our heads off.  That same freedom allowed me to walk them to the public library and allow them to use the adult study room to read on the days when they needed to feel more grown up and studious.  In 8th grade they were still writing me letters occasionally (in calligraphy, on parchment rolls) telling me how much they missed school.

 

For me, the evidence supporting healthy brain development would be enough.  But it's a lovely bonus to have children who can't wait to go to school every day, and miss it when they can't.

post #36 of 69

I am extremely intrigued by your statement that: 

 

"My research showed that the Waldorf educational system is so far (and I hope this changes) the best system for fostering healthy brain development in children. """ "

 

How did your research show this?  Is your research published anywhere we can read it?  Really -- for ALL children?

post #37 of 69

"I believe that you are going to find whatever you WANT to find "

 

And I believe that things have their own reality beyond what you wish them to be.  I believe the parents on the Life After Waldorf thread deeply hoped that Waldorf education was going to be a positive thing and found that it did not work for their families -- in part due to some of the less public/anthro.-based attitudes and beliefs in other cases due to teacher incomptence, poor school management, etc.

post #38 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by Izzybelly View Post

 I got into Waldorf teaching because I am a scientist who studies brain development in children, and when I left Waldorf teaching I completed further studies in education and brain development at Harvard.  My research showed that the Waldorf educational system is so far (and I hope this changes) the best system for fostering healthy brain development in children.

 

 

That's amazing. I'm guessing that you must have an enormous body of research to support such a generalized claim.  I know that when we were in waldorf there was much lamenting that there were few, if any, mainstream scholarly, well researched, bodies of work, so I would guess that research done under the auspices of Harvard would be well circulated in the community by now.  I'm curious if this was done within the school of education or the med school?  Do you have a link to your published work?

post #39 of 69


 To imply that those of us who had bad experiences in Waldorf were somehow wanting to find them is deeply insulting.   Most of us were initially attracted to Waldorf for the same reasons you were. We saw the beauty and believed we were doing the best possible thing for our children. To say we somehow attracted what happened to us there is just plain offensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mammom View Post

I believe that you are going to find whatever you WANT to find.  If you want to find that Waldorf is "culty" and "bully-ish" and a terrible fit for the universe, then that is what you're going to find.  Personally, I see it as beautiful and welcoming and community-oriented and exactly the right education that the world needs - it might not be PERFECT for everyone, but it's a lot closer to perfect than the current mainstream model.  If you're having doubts and fear about it, then don't choose Waldorf. 

 

You can put those fears out to ANYthing in your life and find them there as well.  It's simply the Law of Attraction - you find what you seek.

 

I don't really understand this debate.  It's a simple choice, really. 

 



 


Edited by raksmama - 7/14/11 at 9:37pm
post #40 of 69

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Edited by accountclosed3 - 7/25/12 at 1:19pm
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