Everything I ever read about waldorf mentions anthroposophy. So it was easy to do a little more research about it and think about whether that's ok with me. There are certainly things about it I don't agree with, so I would eveluate a school myself before considering sending a child to waldorf without me. I have never encountered anything in my parent child class, or in the visits with the school where we plan on doing another parent-child class, that made me uncomfortable.
I am not a waldorf advocate by any means, but there are certainly pluses and minuses to it. Different schools and teachers seem to adhere to principles of anthroposophy to different degrees, you have to investigate to figure it out. (a past thread on support in Waldorf schools for extended BF was an example....anthroposophy would not support it, but many people have had ebf teachers and other ebf parents in school...) Too many parents I think just send children somewhere and never do any research. More reading on Waldorf and Anth. will explain stuff like the singing, the decor, and use of stories/puppets. Some of which is kind of wacky, IMO. But there's tons of stuff in modern life that have a basis in things I don't buy 100%, but their basis doesn't necessarily affect me, yk? Some things, to me, seem to be culturally German, too, and others holdovers from customs more common earlier this century...not just unique to Waldorf. And many of their quirks, IMO are no more damaging and probably less so than what most children encounter in a conventional school environment, or through typical kind of student or teacher interactions. We've all heard stories about hair raising things at regular school, too.
I have done no detailed anthroposophical reading or study groups, just scanned a few things, more reading *about* it (like the historical basis in theosophy) -- some interesting common roots of the new age and neopagan movements there. And I have read a great deal from the critics site. I think they spin things a little extremely in many cases. I am not sure I would accurately define anthroposophy as a religion or a cult...in many ways it just doesn't fit the definition of either word. It might be more closely compared to some sort of spiritual philosophy or world view...perhaps Buddhism is a better comparison? Considered a religion by some, a philosophy by others, and can frequently be combined or compatible with other religious beliefs? And secondarily, while it does underpin the teacher training, unlike in an overtly religious school, this philosophy is not taught *to* the children even though it influences how the children are taught.
Issues I have, externally, with Waldorf is that in some cases the advocates seem a little hide-bound and too traditional - and not always in helpful ways...more adaption would make it more compatible with modern American culture and values, and could still contain the unique waldorf priorities...some seem too take Steiner a little too literally instead of inspirationally, I think I'm trying to say. One interesting lecture I saw the transript of (though the critics site) and another article I read (montessori vs waldorf) seems to recognize that fake smile/automaton teacher attitude that was mentioned...it was depicted to be burn out, and lack of stimulation...repetition and isolation, rather than a stimulating environment for the teacher. So perhaps a more externally focused school environment would help keep the teachers engaged and recharged. I was wondering if some of the charter/public Waldorfs might be managing to do that.
But even with all that, if it's not right for you, certainly don't do it!