Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
Totally disagree with you. Waldorf kids are prepared to face the world as individuals and do quite well in college. I don't think you know what you are talking about.
Well, it is quite a few years since I properly researched the fundamentals of Waldorf, so my "facts and figures" are from memory, not from my hot-link armory.
I have never said that Waldorf children are not prepared to face the world as individuals.
I hold the view that they are generally well ballanced individuals. Mostly, I suspect, this is more because they come from loving families than because of any educational advantage gained from "edu-spiritulism" (Anthroposophy).
"Do quite well in college". What does that mean? Compared to what? If we take a sample of parents with similar backgrounds (mostly educated and/or caring or professionals) that do NOT send their children to Waldorf schools, do you think these children will do less well at college than Waldorf children?
And there is another thing.
Waldorf education was
born in the depths of a desperate time, and much of the anatomy of a school is a good antidote to the early mechanisation of the work place, (wooden toys, gentle music, discussion opportunities, art etc..). However, it has always been about preparing children for the rigures of industrial life, (though at the elite end of it) and I can hardly think of a better example of industrialization in education than the post modern university system we find undergrads in today.
Very different from the elite university educational environment of Steiner's time! But closer to the stratification of victorian society, and the struggles of individuals to both fit in and elevate themselves into a better earning bracket through self-improvement.
The Steiner system itself is from the victorian period, authoritarian, deeply paternal and socially un-enlightened, though we, blinkered by our own industrialized existance (that is almost all of us) may not at first clearly and immediately understand where the fault lies.
The fact is, in a marvelously victorian manner, Steiner takes the worst of the obviously bad environment and replaces it with something else (and by default better, since almost anything is better than for example, 9 year old girls working in rows, blindly following rules in large rooms, whether it be the modern US classroom, or a match factory etc),
The big question is, is his program of education, (harp by a certain age, no violin before (whenever because the child's spirit is not ready or whatever), no "dark" colours, only those of the rainbow (so help me!), discourage children from drawing machines (cars, planes, anything man-made) etc), an education that can be considered one that empowers children, and readies them for the Information Era?, or could we call that a left-over of another age along with his other ideas that place coloured people as "sub"-species, no "interbreading" with Jews, etc?
The growing middle classes, the industrialists and the monied intellectual class of which Steiner was a part was able simply to buy a different environment for their children, protecting them from the uncomfortable realities of latter-day imperialist industrial society.
These days, some of the schools may well have progressed, (banning Jews is simply not any longer acceptable in most scools) and there may not be the continuous analysis of the development of the spirit through paintings and colours. And schools do still allow children to run around outside etc. None of these things are bad, but the fundamental point I'm am making is that these schools are founded on a reactionary principle of the late 19th century.
For many people, that is fine. Perhaps they see the world largely as a continuation of the Industial Age, or perhaps they feel that the reaction to 19th century European Imperialist Industrial Society is enough.
Or maybe they don't think about any of this.
School systems that still plant their roots in the 19th century and have not adapted far enough for the Information Era will simply be irrelevent to today's four year olds.
Empowerment for an Industrial Society in the Industrial Age is different from empoerment for an Industrial Society in the Information Era.
Subtle, but different.