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Wow, I'm totally freaked out about Waldorf now... - Page 2

post #21 of 214
Just for the record, we unschool, and none of my 3 kids learned to read until age 8 or 9. But they went then from 3 letter words to reading everything (above "3rd grade" level) in a month or so, with full comprehension, and dramatic voices when reading aloud. So that aspect of Waldorf does not bother me in the last.

Even tho I read at age 4.

I do think Waldorf has a religion behind it. A certain Germanic early 20th century, almost Nazi philosophy, that is kind of scary. It is quite precise and guides all the educational processes. Karma, reincarnation, brain devlopment, human perfection, etc. Some of it may be good, and some of it may be proved by modern science, but why are they not more upfront about it? the Hearthsong catalog makes it seem all innocent and fairy-tale-ish, but there is much more underneath.

Their idea of the paintings as talismans of the soul...pretty far out stuff. And I am a hippie, and comfortable with much far out stuff.
post #22 of 214
I just lost an incredible detailed post, so now Ill be quick.
We homeschool but if we schooled we would school waldorf. Mostly because of all the excellent peopl who I know that schooled there. Intersting, well rounded, well learned, whole people.
I dislike the religon part, but none of waldorf adults I know are very religous or cult like. The NO's - no black, No character clothes, NO TV!!! Its a little stifling. The $$$. 20 grande for 2 kids *ouch*. The fact that the school was started for factory workers kids and its become ... well no for factory workers kids. Methinks Rudolf would not be please.
post #23 of 214

ok i found some stuff on

the black crayon

http://www.openwaldorf.com/art.html
lilyka I used oak meadow and have some stuff from it this year I don't know how it compares to waldorf schools but you can pm me with any questions you might have
I will try and answer..
post #24 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by CerridwenLorelei
the black crayon

http://www.openwaldorf.com/art.html
lilyka I used oak meadow and have some stuff from it this year I don't know how it compares to waldorf schools but you can pm me with any questions you might have
I will try and answer..
You just sent me your 1st grade syllabus!!! HI!!

cool link
post #25 of 214
Thread Starter 

It's the "hidden" part that bothers me, too...

as well as all the "no's".

Why not be upfront about all the karmic stuff, the soul stuff? I do not like being misled. I am not a mindless sheep who "doesn't understand" -- TRY ME. I find that attitude to be incredibly patronizing.

I considered Waldorf because I want my children to receive an education that is as freeing as possible -- allowing them to become the people of their own potential, expressing their creativity and discovering with an open mind. I do not wish to exchange the shackles of traditional mainstream schools for an equally dogmatic prison -- even if it is a soft peach colored one.
post #26 of 214

ahh so you

are formerly sg and now VL at Edgy Rowantree?
post #27 of 214
I am not an expert on Waldorf and don't know really anything about Anthroposophy, but I have read a lot of Waldorf childhood books and my mom is a Waldorf preschool teacher. (she was not into Waldorf when I was a child)

Here's my point of view: I think the Waldorf philosophy can look a little "different" or even "weird" at first glance, but I think it is important to look at WHY they do the things they do. It's not just because they like wearing flowy dresses and making crafts of natural materials. It is all based on a philosophy about child development and what is truly appropriate for young children. It is different because they don't overwhelm with children with overstimulating environments, they trust that children have an innate desire to learn and can be trusted to learn with out having to be taught formally in the early years. So much of the Waldorf philosophy, particularly regarding young preschool children, is now being confirmed through brain research. The delayed reading (see Jane Healy's books), the importance of play, the limited/no TV viewing, the influence of color on emotions, etc. we are now learning about how these things effects children's brains and Waldorf is right on track as far as what children in these years really need.

For me personally, that is the bottom line. I just feel like of all the choices out there, Waldorf is most what I want my children to get in their early years.

I know that Anthroposophy is a part of Waldorf, and I do think they should be up front about it. The way I look at it effecting what happens in the school is that the teacher recognizes my child is not just a physical being, but a child made of body, mind, and spirit. And I am cool with that. The rest of Anthroposophy I really haven't read anything about.

I guess my main point is that it is easy to look at something and think, "Wow! That's really wierd!" But I think it's important to actually find out WHY they do it and the theory behind it because it may actually make sense when you think about it.

Just my 2 cents!
post #28 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaryLLL
. A certain Germanic early 20th century, almost Nazi philosophy, that is kind of scary.
We chose Montessori, but would have had a Waldorf option in our old town. That said, I was glad I chose Montessori when I had to review a book with a collaboration from Hans-Joachim Mattke, author of Waldorf Education Worldwide. The book was When a Child Is Born: The Natural Child Care Classic by Wilhelm Zur Linden, and was the most rigid, disrespectful towards women and the feminie that I had ever read- right up there with Babywise, but under the guise of 'spiritual parenting'. I sent a scathing review to the media outlet I was writing for and we sent it on to the publisher. Although Waldorf did not write the book , the endorsement and forward by Mattke certainly left an odd feeling for me.
post #29 of 214
Thread Starter 

That's the other thing that really bothered me...

the lack of diversity issue.

I can understand the cost of Waldorf tuition can be prohibitive and sometimes ends up drawing a pretty homogenous student population. But that's not what I'm talking about. What about their *teachings*? From what I saw in their early childhood programs, everything is based upon Western European traditions. Contrast this with the private mainstream preschool and Montessori schools I visited, both which not only had globes but posters of children from all over the world, ethnic dolls and books about Chinese New Year in their reading sections.

Although I have not personally investigated a Waldorf high school, it appears that history is taught entirely from a Western European perspective. And what's up with this stuff about Atlantis and Vulcan?

As for the color schemes, I don't agree with the theory that all the colors should be soothing, even for very young children. Think of the teal ocean, orange and black tree frogs, brilliant blue-green peacocks, red flowers, a fiery sunset. The natural world is not pastel. Learning can be exciting and fun as well as calming and nurturing, so why shouldn't the colors reflect that?

(Sorry - I realized the original way I wrote this sounded kinda mean, hence the edit!)
post #30 of 214
I do like Waldorf schooling methods. DS's will go if they decide to school. DS1 did go to Waldorf preschool or one sem. The only thing I really don't like about their schooling is that for history lessons, they mostly teach mythology, etc. Not much mulit-cultural perspective. But if my kids decide to take the Waldorf route, I'm very willing to fill in the stuff I feel they're missing.
The colors are not all pastel. They are warm colors that are surrounding the children (walls, etc). But those are only used for the pre-K/K grades, and as the children get older, more colors are introduced into daily activities. They use all the other colors (yes, bright ones) with crayons, paints, etc.
post #31 of 214
It's all a matter of priority, I think. Like I said before there's a lot about Waldrof I'm sceptical about, but most of it's pretty harmless stuff. There's a lot of stuff in public school I'm extremely sceptical about and I think much of it is very harmful. So, i'll put up with no black crayons (we have em at home ), pastel walls, and floaty marionettes, in place of standardized testing, lack of creative play, pushing kids much too hard much too young.

RE diversity, this is my biggest concern about it and I think it depends very much on the particular school. Our school does emphasise Christian festivals which mean nothing to me whatsoever but individual teachers choose to teach about other cultures, festivals, holidays, religions, etc. I've heard it said that waldorf kids are "worldly" because of the depth of their understanding and compassion for humans of all background and cultures. Another school may teach about Diwali and Kwaanza but that doesn't necessarily mean kids are being taught respect for humanity, kwim?

Also, here in the UK Steiner schools are heavily subsidized by the government, and the one we go to is in a multicultural city and in a few yrs will be free to all. That means it is 9 a bit) more diverse than I'd have expected, and I'm sure MUCH more mixed than waldorf schools in the US. If we were still there there'd be no way I could have even considered Waldorf, and I'm not sure I'd have wanted to because of the privelege involved.
post #32 of 214

Just for the record, Waldorf has nothing to do with Nazism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaryLLL
A certain Germanic early 20th century, almost Nazi philosophy, that is kind of scary. It is quite precise and guides all the educational processes. Karma, reincarnation, brain devlopment, human perfection, etc. Some of it may be good, and some of it may be proved by modern science, but why are they not more upfront about it?
Waldorf schools had a mixed interaction with the 3rd Reich. They survived at first but were enventually shut down by the Nazis because the purpose of the education is to raise independent thinkers and people of strong will.

I think the schools are upfront about the background. Anthroposphy is not taught to the children unlike Catholic schools were Catholicism is taught to the children. The children never learn about karma or reincarnation which some but not all the teachers believe in. The teachers are usually Anthroposophists and the school is influenced by this just as most schools in the USA are influenced by the mostly Christian teachers. Most students who graduate do not become Anthroposphists.

Many schools offer classes in Anthroposophy and about Rudolph Steiner and who he was. Parents rarely show up. The literature our school sends out clearly states how Waldorf schools developed. They don't go into the details of Anthroposophy because it is not a school for Anthroposophy but anyone with a library card or internet connection can quickly find out anything they want about it.

As a side note, we have two families leaving our school, one who is Jewish who decided the school is too Christian and another family who is Christian who decided the school is too Pagan! Everyone has their own perspective and no school can meet every parents expectations.
post #33 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by rowantree
I just lost an incredible detailed post, so now Ill be quick.
We homeschool but if we schooled we would school waldorf. Mostly because of all the excellent peopl who I know that schooled there. Intersting, well rounded, well learned, whole people.
I dislike the religon part, but none of waldorf adults I know are very religous or cult like. The NO's - no black, No character clothes, NO TV!!! Its a little stifling. The $$$. 20 grande for 2 kids *ouch*. The fact that the school was started for factory workers kids and its become ... well no for factory workers kids. Methinks Rudolf would not be please.
We like no TV and no media character clothes. It is one of many reasons why we chose Waldorf. I found it to be freeing to the children's imagination. Instead of repeating what they saw on TV they develop their own ideas.

I do agree with you about the cost and it is something we have been struggling with at our school. We don't receive any outside support so tuition pays for everything - buildings, utilities, teachers' and staff's salaries and medical, tuition assistance. Education isn't cheap. Every student who receives tuition assistance is receiving it because another family is paying more. This is not a bad thing because it brings more diversity to the school but you can only raise so much money this way.
post #34 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlohaDeb
as well as all the "no's".

Why not be upfront about all the karmic stuff, the soul stuff? I do not like being misled. I am not a mindless sheep who "doesn't understand" -- TRY ME. I find that attitude to be incredibly patronizing.

I considered Waldorf because I want my children to receive an education that is as freeing as possible -- allowing them to become the people of their own potential, expressing their creativity and discovering with an open mind. I do not wish to exchange the shackles of traditional mainstream schools for an equally dogmatic prison -- even if it is a soft peach colored one.
Dogma is a relative thing. I have never found our school to be dogmatic yet others have. The school is very upfront but they don't talk about karma or reincarnation because they don't teach that to the students. They do talk about the soul. The motto is "Educating the heart, head and hands". Most people understand heart to mean soul, head to be academics and hands to be handwork. It is the spiritual recognition of the child is what attracted me to the school.
post #35 of 214

Cultural Diversity is reflected in the school materials.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlohaDeb
the lack of diversity issue.

I can understand the cost of Waldorf tuition can be prohibitive and sometimes ends up drawing a pretty homogenous student population. But that's not what I'm talking about. What about their *teachings*? From what I saw in their early childhood programs, everything is based upon Western European traditions. Contrast this with the private mainstream preschool and Montessori schools I visited, both which not only had globes but posters of children from all over the world, ethnic dolls and books about Chinese New Year in their reading sections.

Although I have not personally investigated a Waldorf high school, it appears that history is taught entirely from a Western European perspective. And what's up with this stuff about Atlantis and Vulcan?

As for the color schemes, I don't agree with the theory that all the colors should be soothing, even for very young children. Think of the teal ocean, orange and black tree frogs, brilliant blue-green peacocks, red flowers, a fiery sunset. The natural world is not pastel. Learning can be exciting and fun as well as calming and nurturing, so why shouldn't the colors reflect that?

(Sorry - I realized the original way I wrote this sounded kinda mean, hence the edit!)
The Kindergartens have dolls of all colors. In 1st grade the children hear fairy tales from all over the world. They learn Spanish and Japanese. They celebrate festivals from all over including Westren European ones. The school is more European than anything because of how it developed but people from many countries have taken it and made it there own. Last year, there was a teacher in training from Tanzania who did her in-service training with our Kindergarten. The children learned songs and dances from Tanzania as well as hearing many stories. It all depends on the school. We have a multi-cultural committee who is constantly working on improving things. I have heard repeatedly from graduates that they feel they are more open to other cultures than their public school friends because they have been shown the humanity behind everything. They have learned how we are more alike than different.
post #36 of 214

You are so lucky Muse!

Quote:
Originally Posted by muse
Also, here in the UK Steiner schools are heavily subsidized by the government, and the one we go to is in a multicultural city and in a few yrs will be free to all. That means it is 9 a bit) more diverse than I'd have expected, and I'm sure MUCH more mixed than waldorf schools in the US. If we were still there there'd be no way I could have even considered Waldorf, and I'm not sure I'd have wanted to because of the privelege involved.
I think I have said that before!
post #37 of 214
yes, i do appreciate this about our move to the UK!

But, it's interesting, I was there today with the parent toddler group and there is one dad that goes there who's black, with his bi racial daughter. he complained to the teacher about a song we sing at snack time that says "all the men have gone to plough...". It's been bugging me too, the old fashioned sexism in it. She just sort of laughed and dismissed him. Hmm.
he and I got talking about it and he said he was surprised that there they wouldn't be "more PC", and I said I didn't think of Steiner as particularly PC. But he pointed out that they have dolls of all colours, and said when he first came to look around he saw a big picture of a black Madonna and baby and that helped him consider going there. But when I asked if his daughter would continue at playgroup there he said, "naaaah,no way" and gave a wink as if to say, "are you kidding me?". Too bad, but I think whatever they do there to try to be accessible they are still appealing to a small largely middle class white people, myself included.
post #38 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by muse
It's all a matter of priority, I think. Like I said before there's a lot about Waldrof I'm sceptical about, but most of it's pretty harmless stuff. There's a lot of stuff in public school I'm extremely sceptical about and I think much of it is very harmful. So, i'll put up with no black crayons (we have em at home ), pastel walls, and floaty marionettes, in place of standardized testing, lack of creative play, pushing kids much too hard much too young.

RE diversity, this is my biggest concern about it and I think it depends very much on the particular school. .
I agree with you, I would choose it as the better of 2 evils for sure. There is lacking in diversity in the waldorf schools here, but I honestly think that it is more diverse than the public schools in our area. :9
I know ALLOT of people who like the no TV thing, I understand the philosophy behind it, yes. But watch pretty slim TV and what we watch we like and learn from. Allot of Jeff Corwin, Weather channel, ykwim? I just dont like someone else making the choice for me.
post #39 of 214

TV viewing discouraged but not strictly enforced

Quote:
Originally Posted by rowantree
I agree with you, I would choose it as the better of 2 evils for sure. There is lacking in diversity in the waldorf schools here, but I honestly think that it is more diverse than the public schools in our area. :9
I know ALLOT of people who like the no TV thing, I understand the philosophy behind it, yes. But watch pretty slim TV and what we watch we like and learn from. Allot of Jeff Corwin, Weather channel, ykwim? I just dont like someone else making the choice for me.
Most of the Waldorf families I know do watch some TV. Especially when visiting relatives. The teachers don't normal bring it up to a family unless they see a child showing effects of watching too much TV. Some children can process it better than others. We have never had a teacher say that our child needed to watch less and we do let them watch a video occasionally (never on a school night) as well as see movies especially during the summer. Other parents have been told to cut out the TV because the child was overstimulated by it. I have never heard of anyone being tossed out do to watching TV.

One thing I have found funny is that other parents will often ask you if you have a TV and if you let the kids watch it before they will send their kid over for a playdate. Kind of like they tell you to ask whether a household has a gun or not in standard parenting advice!
post #40 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by muse
But, it's interesting, I was there today with the parent toddler group and there is one dad that goes there who's black, with his bi racial daughter. he complained to the teacher about a song we sing at snack time that says "all the men have gone to plough...". It's been bugging me too, the old fashioned sexism in it. She just sort of laughed and dismissed him. Hmm.
The issue of sexism came up in our playgroup and the teacher basically said that to her the issue is equal respect, not equal treatment.
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