Originally Posted by browneyedsol
Unfortunately, a limited understanding of diversity seems to prevail in Waldorf schools.
This is my experience and opinion, as well.
Originally Posted by browneyedsol
Presently, the most difficult refelctive peice for me in leaving Waldorf is the prickly awareness that there is real "community" only for a chosen group of families. The rest are often left to struggle and wonder in the periphery what it takes to feel "in community". For many families I have listened to and shared with, there comes a time when an unexpected awareness of thier exclusion floors them. It is loaded with shame and judgment. Feelings of disillusionment abound. How is this good for families? Waldorf education and anthropsosophy strive toward a higher consciousness in human interactions, but somehow fail to see the walls they create socially. I see that striving toward higher consciousness as a very good thing that may scatter some hopeful seeds for a distant future, but I have also come to realize that there an awful lot of wheels spinning in one place as whole groups of children pass by, many sorely needing a more whole way of becoming educated.
Oh my goodness this was so well-articulated that I want to quote it a second time after you, beansavi! Browneyedsol, I couldn't agree more with what you've said so well, here. Further, I want to note an interesting phenomenon that occurred in my experience at our Waldorf school ~
I had watched the first few classes of children at our school grow up. By the time they were teens, I noticed that they had several behavioral patterns that were alarming to say the least and very surprising for all that Anthroposophy had touted as its effects.
These children were incessantly and intensely cruel toward the younger children at the school, they were frequently seen rolling their eyes at the adults in the community (both faculty and parents) and they were behaving in ways that were not reflecting absorption of the values that Waldorf espouses - in fact, the ways in which they were behaving were typical of children who've been overcontrolled for too long and were angry
To me, this all speaks of other kinds of lessons well-learned such as "Do as I say, not as I do" i.e. teaching noble ethics such as the idea of reverence for all beings and yet having some severe blind spots in reality that result in very strange behavioral double standards that do not reflect any such concept (and, in fact, reflect the extreme opposite
for all/other beings).
Back then, still being the mother of younger children, I thought that this was 'normal' and that I should just chalk it all up to 'teenage rebellion' and hormones, etc. Now I know otherwise. In fact, I am grateful to know dozens of teens and young adults who are kind, thoughtful people and, interestingly, none of them have ever been involved in Waldorf. The fact that ALL of the older children I observed at the Waldorf school behaved this way to varying degrees is quite striking to me and definitely not possible to write off as a nuance of personality.
In fact, I believe that it is the result of highly-coercive/authoritarian/paternalistic rearing and educating that utilizes varying types of force and shaming as effective tools. That style of rearing/educating is reflected in other schools of thought than just Anthroposophy, to be sure, but the interesting thing to note here is that Anthroposophy promotes itself as being a most natural
, healthy, loving, supportive, nurturing and evolved
method. To me, it is most influenced by the very prevalant (and therefore nearly invisible) anglo-Christian dogma-as-default.
And, to clarify my stance ~ I would have felt totally ok and respectful of the situation had these aspects been clearly expressed, especially when I and others asked pointed questions regarding these matters. That way, I could have made an educated decision about whether Waldorf was right for my family or not early on
instead of many years into
our community and educational experience. Instead, I experienced a pattern of avoidance to answer, answers that resembled fluttering butterflies that were 'beating around the bush' and, at best, fancy answers that felt like they had been heavily-scented with artificial floral constituents from some PR rhetoric manual. THAT is my point of contention about all of this. My opinion is that the facts of their beliefs and agenda need to be made waaaay more clear and especially not hidden for fear of "people misunderstanding their meaning" as if parents should routinely be distrusted to think intelligently for themselves and make their own educated decisions about what is best for their family and children.