Maybe it's time to be moving on the the "Waldorf" section of the AWE website. We have:http://www.americans4waldorf.org/Waldorf.html
"Waldorf or Rudolf Steiner education is based on an anthroposophical view and understanding of the human being, that is, as a being of body, soul and spirit."
That's good! That's honest. Well done!
"The education mirrors the basic stages of a child's development from childhood to adulthood, which in general reflects the development of humanity through history from our origin, far back in past times up to the present."
The "basic stages of a child's development" is an interesting statement. Who decided what the basic stages of a child's development are, that such a phrase should be tossed around so carelessly? The answer is Steiner decided what the basic stages of development are and pretty much nobody else (among reknowned educators) agrees. Not being one to brush right past something like this, I'm wondering what could these basic stages of a child's development be? If they are "basic" - I guess we must all be familiar with them. In case anyone here isn't, here they are:
"The Three-Fold Concept of Man as a whole person, fully developed in willing (doing), feeling and thinking is mainteined throughout the Curriculum." [I'm leaving a bit out here to keep the quote short enough to comply with MDC guidelines]
"In the early years from birth to age seven visual memory dominates. As the child matures from ages seven to fourteen, his feelings emerge in strong combination with story memory.
"Emphasis in the middle years (grades 1-8) of the Waldorf curriculum is appropriately placed on the feeling-filled experience
"Finally, with adolescence from age 14 to 21 comes the "ah-ha" of ideas, thoughts and concepts through logical insight."
[From "Waldorf Education - A Family Guide" - Article "Creating a Balance of Thinking, Feeling and Willing" by Rene Querido - p53]
So the "basic stages of a child's development" are based on the mystical number 7. - Age 7 = change of teeth, Age 14 = onset of puberty, Age 21 = adulthood.
So, now we are faced with the question - how do these "basic stages of a child's development" relate to the "development of humanity through history from our origin, far back in past times up to the present."?
Let's not spend too much time here - there's more:
"While anthroposophy forms the philosophical and theoretical basis of the teaching methods used in Waldorf schools and is reflected in the attitudes of many Waldorf teachers and in the general structuring and orientation of Waldorf education during the different stages of development, anthroposophy is not taught as such to the students in the overwhelming majority of Waldorf schools world wide. "
Here's our favorite misrepresentation. It's even hedged a little here using "overwhelming majority", just in case. Again, and again we see this claim being made and have to look carefully at what is being claimed in each case. Anthroposophy is not taught as a subject. It is definitely taught in all Waldorf schools and everything that is taught almost without exception is filtered through Anthroposophy.
"If anthroposophy is taught in some form by an individual teacher, this is done against the basic Waldorf tradition and in complete contradiction of the intention of Waldorf education, as expressed by Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education."
And once again, it is the "individual" and not the system that is at fault when something goes wrong. The individual teacher, the individual school, the individual incident, the individual community of parents... The reality is that it is the system that causes these problems. This is, in no way, saying anything against Anthroposophy - as a belief system and religious practice. The objection is to the deception that it is not in the curriculum and is not taught to children - when in fact it is and without many parent's knowledge or approval.
"In the future, Waldorf schools may increasingly be based on school vouchers. This will make a basic Waldorf oriented education freely available to all as one option among others, irrespective of the socioeconomic status of the parents."
Again this is another statement that shows up to diffuse concerns about diversity. Much of this stuff seems almost boilerplate Waldorf website material.
Anyway, the AWE website deserves props for providing many links to other sites. It loses marks for not representing Waldorf in the fair and balanced way that it claims to do. More to come...