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Wow, I'm totally freaked out about Waldorf now... - Page 3

post #41 of 214

I think you are right Muse.

[QUOTE=muse...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.[/QUOTE]

We keep working on it! We want to maintain the character and the parts we love while appealing to more minorities. There is the problem also that because there are so few POC other than Asians, it is hard to interest other families of color. My child's 1st grade will have one African American child, two Hispanic children and several Asians out of a class of 27. The African American's mother is a Waldorf pre-school teacher who is originally from England as is her husband. One Hispanic is from Mexico. We tend to attract more foreign people of color than we do American ones.
post #42 of 214

I like this idea within reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarasprings
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.
I think this is pretty much how our school handles it. It is hard with old songs and poems to take out the sexism without losing the original beauty. My church has stripped the reference to a masculine God and made it all neutral in all of the hymns. Some of the older hymns have lost a lot of their beauty and poetry because the new words don't flow as well.

Also, the school doesn't discourage girls from playing with boy stuff or vice versa. In fact nothing is labeled as girl vs. boy stuff. One of the most popular girls in 2nd grade is a complete tomboy.

The worst example I have heard of sexism in our school was a couple of years ago. The 7th grade were making shoes and teacher had the boys make leather shoes while the girls had to make felt shoes. The girls were pissed but the teacher was an old school, stick in the mud taken out of retirement to lead the class because the original teacher flew the coop so there was no changing his mind. The girls rebeled by making the most fanciful, outlandish felt shoes they could think up. Needless to say, the teacher was allowed to return to retirement after 8th grade and not asked to return.

The 8th grade teacher this year is a tomboyish lesbian so I think the kids get exposed to all sorts of people.
post #43 of 214
Rhonwyn would you mind emailing or pm'ing me. I have some questions about the school your children attend and you have the pm feature turned off. If you'd rather not I'd understand.

TIA!
Kristin (another Seattle mama)
post #44 of 214
Rhonwyn would you mind emailing or pm'ing me. I have some questions about the school your children attend and you have the pm feature turned off. If you'd rather not I'd understand.

TIA!
Kristin (another Seattle mama)
post #45 of 214

Curious about the emphasis on fairies and things "ethereal" in the early grades

We don’t have a Waldorf school in our area, but we get the Hearthsong and Magic Cabin catalogs, and some of the folks in the hs group I've started attending seem to be kind of "Waldorf-y" -- lots of fairy stuff, etc. My almost 4 y.o. dd has zero interest in that kind of thing I show her the catalogs and once checked out a book for her about fairies. (Not because of Waldorf – I just liked the pictures!) She didn't care for the book, and she has a hard time finding things in the catalogs that she likes. She's not into dolls, and has no use for "play silks", dress up clothes (unless it's the fire-fighter costume at her preschool :LOL), or anything else like that. She prefers shorts or pants to dresses. She's not a tomboy -- she's not really into traditionally “boy” things either. She tends to like more gender-neutral activities like puzzles, reading, exploring nature, bike riding, etc. NOT that I’m complaining – far from it! I just wonder how a kid like mine would fit into a Waldorf scenario. If she wouldn’t fit in, then how “diverse” can the program be? Race and class aside, how about diversity of personality and interests? I’m honestly just curious about this. I’m not necessarily down on Waldorf. (Although I am taken aback by some of the white-supremacy stuff in their background. Have to wonder about that “color theory”, KWIM?)
post #46 of 214
I don't think those are boy vs. girl issues. Your dd may just not be suited for Waldorf shools. To each his own, after all . My DS is very boyish, would much rather wear grey and black and dark blue clothes. But he LOVES his doll I made him, and I don't know how he would live without his playsilks. Also, I'd recommend getting playsilks, even if you don't think your dc would play with them. They can really spark imagination in unexpected ways!
post #47 of 214
dready*mama...your kids and your house are beautiful!! I love the snow around your house! We live in a snowbelt, but it is more suburban.

My dd also enjoys reading and nature, but also enjoys fairies and animals...she can go through the Magic Cabin catalogue and mark $1,000. worth of stuff..and that is on the first couple of pages :LOL
post #48 of 214
After I posted I realized I didn't really answer the question if your dd would "fit into" the waldorf environment. Although my ds is not really into fairies, etc. He is really into trolls, elves, tomtens, more "boyish" things, and there's no pressure to embrace fairies. It does seem as the catalogues sell lots of fairie stuff, maybe just b/c it's prettier and sells better, kwim?

Thanks, mom4tot, c'mon over and visit!
post #49 of 214

Sure, let me figure out how to turn it on!

Quote:
Originally Posted by momtokay
Rhonwyn would you mind emailing or pm'ing me. I have some questions about the school your children attend and you have the pm feature turned off. If you'd rather not I'd understand.

TIA!
Kristin (another Seattle mama)
I am kind of a dork when it comes to these boards. I have limited time so I don't bother with the smiley's etc.
post #50 of 214

We have had several tomboys in the class you could give a rip about fairies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by luv my 2 sweeties
My almost 4 y.o. dd has zero interest in that kind of thing I show her the catalogs and once checked out a book for her about fairies. (Not because of Waldorf – I just liked the pictures!) She didn't care for the book, and she has a hard time finding things in the catalogs that she likes. She's not into dolls, and has no use for "play silks", dress up clothes (unless it's the fire-fighter costume at her preschool :LOL), or anything else like that. She prefers shorts or pants to dresses. She's not a tomboy -- she's not really into traditionally “boy” things either. She tends to like more gender-neutral activities like puzzles, reading, exploring nature, bike riding, etc. NOT that I’m complaining – far from it! I just wonder how a kid like mine would fit into a Waldorf scenario. If she wouldn’t fit in, then how “diverse” can the program be? Race and class aside, how about diversity of personality and interests? I’m honestly just curious about this. I’m not necessarily down on Waldorf. (Although I am taken aback by some of the white-supremacy stuff in their background. Have to wonder about that “color theory”, KWIM?)
There are a lot of other things that go on that have nothing to do with fairies or other floaty things. My ds is only interested in fairies that bring cash as in the tooth fairy! He did great in Waldorf K but he spent most of his time digging and catching bugs. During inside play, he used the trestles to make ships, cars, boats, buses, shops, etc. One of the girls in his class then and now (2nd grade) plays with the boys all of time and rarely does girly stuff. She is the queen of the pack and the boys think she is the greatest. Waldorf classes spend a great deal of time outdoors especially in Kindergarten. In Kindergarten, they go for a walk almost everyday and some are specifically nature walks. They don't force any of the kids to play fairies but they do talk about fairies, gnomes and tomtens. I don't think they talk about trolls much because of the scary factor for some kids.

Lastly, on the 'white supremacy' thing. I think it depends on the school and how the faculty interprets that stuff (color theory, etc). One of our best teachers is from the Netherlands and she always says that Waldorf has to grow and learn. Steiner never meant it to be stagnant. He didn't anticipate after school care or many other things but his ideas can be adapted to today's realities. In many ways he was a product of his times. I am sure that he would reevaluate much that he said if he lived here and now. Many of our founding fathers in America had slavery and racism issues also but they were able to produce wonderful documents such as the Constitution.
post #51 of 214
When Rain was 5, we met a little girl her age who had been going to the Waldorf school in Sacramento, which is where the big Waldorf teaching college is. She had been drawing a person with brown skin and the teacher came over and told her not to use that "mud color", and gave her a peach crayon to use instead. The child was Black, which makes it even more offensive... but come to think of it, all the pictures of people I've ever seen created by Waldorf kids have been peach-skinned children, including the ones drawn by the bi-racial former Waldorf student I taught in the bay area.

dar
post #52 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
She had been drawing a person with brown skin and the teacher came over and told her not to use that "mud color", and gave her a peach crayon to use instead. The child was Black, which makes it even more offensive...
:
post #53 of 214

That is truly awful!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
When Rain was 5, we met a little girl her age who had been going to the Waldorf school in Sacramento, which is where the big Waldorf teaching college is. She had been drawing a person with brown skin and the teacher came over and told her not to use that "mud color", and gave her a peach crayon to use instead. The child was Black, which makes it even more offensive... but come to think of it, all the pictures of people I've ever seen created by Waldorf kids have been peach-skinned children, including the ones drawn by the bi-racial former Waldorf student I taught in the bay area.

dar
I would have serious questions about that school. My kids regulary draw people of all colors. My son's calender page for January has a picture of Martin Luther King giving his 'I have a dream!' speech. (The calender was made by son and he drew the picture.) The school has a big assembly for Martin Luther King day. His class celebrates Kwanzaa and during the saints and heros portion of the curriculum, they learned about John Henry. It really depends on the school and the teacher's committment to diversity.
post #54 of 214
Thread Starter 
post #55 of 214
Quote:
She had been drawing a person with brown skin and the teacher came over and told her not to use that "mud color", and gave her a peach crayon to use instead. The child was Black, which makes it even more offensive... but come to think of it, all the pictures of people I've ever seen created by Waldorf kids have been peach-skinned children, including the ones drawn by the bi-racial former Waldorf student I taught in the bay area.
Wow! I understand that this kind of thing varies school by school, but this isn't the first time I've heard of incidents like this at Waldorf schools, although it *is* the most blatent and harmful to the child. It seems like this would really trouble the good Waldorf schools. Isn't there some sort of accreditation required to use the name "Waldorf"? (I know Montessouri has no such thing, however.) That kind of story gives all Waldorf schools a black eye. As the parent of bi-racial children, that would probably clinch my decision not to send them (if I were considering it, which I'm not), and it further turns me off to the whole idea of Waldorf. It only takes one incident like that to do lots of damage to a child. Even if a school in my area seemed very open to multi-culturalism, I would be worried that there might be some undercurrents in the cirruculum or the environment that could undermine their sense of self. Even people who are trying to understand and respect cultures not their own can come off as patronizing if they aren't careful. I know individual teachers in *any* school can be a problem, but hearing stories like this leads me to wonder if there aren't some negative racial vibes woven into the very fabric of Waldorf education, (or perhaps anthroposophy, which influences Waldorf. ?? I know nothing about that though, so I'm just wondering out loud. Don't mean to offend anyone!)

Rhonwyn, I don't mean to burden you with this question, but you seem to be the one here with the most experience with Waldorf, and your school sounds like an exemplary one. I'm wondering if there have been any families of color in your school during the time your kids have been there? I would be curious to know if they felt any weird racial vibes. Your school sounds wonderful, and I'm sure it is! Sometimes black folks have a more finely tuned prejudice radar, though. I know my dh occasionally has been uncomfortable in situations where I thought everyone seemed friendly and normal. He notices things I'm oblivous to sometimes. It's almost never something deliberate or malicious -- it's much more subtle, like an unspoken judgement or something. The person doing it might not even be aware of it. (We white folks can be pretty blind to our own prejudices, especially if they aren't too glaring.) I would assume that if there are several minority families who have stayed, it would probably mean they're happy with the school.
post #56 of 214

Minority population at our school

Rhonwyn, I don't mean to burden you with this question, but you seem to be the one here with the most experience with Waldorf, and your school sounds like an exemplary one. I'm wondering if there have been any families of color in your school during the time your kids have been there? I would be curious to know if they felt any weird racial vibes. Your school sounds wonderful, and I'm sure it is! Sometimes black folks have a more finely tuned prejudice radar, though. I know my dh occasionally has been uncomfortable in situations where I thought everyone seemed friendly and normal. He notices things I'm oblivous to sometimes. It's almost never something deliberate or malicious -- it's much more subtle, like an unspoken judgement or something. The person doing it might not even be aware of it. (We white folks can be pretty blind to our own prejudices, especially if they aren't too glaring.) I would assume that if there are several minority families who have stayed, it would probably mean they're happy with the school.[/QUOTE]

In next years 1st grade, there will be 1 African American child, 2 Hispanic children and several Asian children. The rest of the 27 are white. (This is what I can tell from appearance and names. We haven't taken a poll.) In this years 1st grade, there is one African American girl and several Asians. In 2nd grade there is one Hispanic boy from Mexico. Not sure about 3rd grade. There is one girl in 4th who is mixed but you would never be able to tell as she takes after her white mother. Her father is really cool with very long dreadlocks. Not sure about 5th or 6th but in 7th there are 2 girls of color who I think are African American.

I'll ask the mother of next years first grader about the racial vibes at the school and also what she thinks about Steiner. The mother is from England and is studying to be Waldorf teacher. She currently has a Waldorf pre-school. I am really curious about this because I want more diversity at our school.
post #57 of 214
My take on it is that there are some remnants, which many waldorf adherents have rightfully discarded, of old racism and genetic/eugentic theory popular in the 20's. Note this was pre-Nazi, so I do not favor the Nazi comparison...the Nazis took some attitudes that were fairly popular and mainstream and made madness out of it. In fact, the Germans borrowed many *american* eugenic theories and writings. So racial hierarchies and other strange gentic theories have a long historical track. People that adhere too closely to this I think get caught up in steiner-worship and forget that many people of the time promoted similar principles. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water - many steiner/waldorf things are great, But it seems dubious to me when poeple can't see what's abusurdly dated and racist today. And waldorf schools and teachers that still espouse this stuff should be smacked upside the head. And if they continue to be such an insular environment, it's less likely to happen.

The two waldorf schools I have seen both incorporate non european culture, art and depictions of people- proof to me that a school, if it chooses, can be more progressive and shed the more offensive stuff. They also have a mixed student base...but not as mixed as the surrounding community. I plan in the fall in maybe asking some of the families what they think about the whole steiner racial vibe thing.
post #58 of 214
The more I learn about Waldorf philosophy the more distasteful I find it to be. It seems to be racist, sexist, AND anti-attachment. I really don't get why it is so popular among the attachment-parenting community?
post #59 of 214
I wish we were closer to a waldorf school so I could check it out.Heres my 2 cents for what it's worth.Homeschooling has fortunately allowed us to incorporate many ideas,Whatever works Kwim?The net has a wealth of resources on waldorf.Waldorf books .com,waldorfshops .net etc,Some of the ideas work relly well with wiggly kids and they're fun.But i guess thats the joy of hs you can pick the best and leave the rest.I love some of the art instuction books I've come across.If only they'd teach goethes colour theory in ps!
post #60 of 214
Saintmom, did you read the above comments about the color theory? ABout how it is used to teach children that all people should be peach-colored?! Are you giving a thumbs-up to that??
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