or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at School › Waldorf › Returned:What should Waldorf schools tell prospective parents?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Returned:What should Waldorf schools tell prospective parents? - Page 3

post #41 of 148
But Lida, the Steiner books are still being published, now, in shiny new paperback!
Why?
post #42 of 148
Linda( I misspelt your name)

Do you have a reference and a date for that example please? Thanks.

This book :
"From Comets to Cocaine
Answers to Questions
18 discussions by Rudolf Steiner
The remarkable discussions in this volume took place between Rudolf Steiner and workers at the Goetheanum, Switzerland, who chose the varied subject matter. Steiner took questions and usually gave immediate answers. The astonishing nature of his responses, their insight, knowledge and spiritual depth, is testimony to his outstanding ability as a spiritual initiate and teacher.

Accessible and stimulating, the records of these sessions are both entertaining and profound. Steiner discusses, among other things, nicotine and alcohol; the causes and timing of illness; pregnancy; vegetarian and meat diets; the human ear, eye and hair colour; influenza, hay fever, haemophilia; planets and metals; mental illness; the ice age; the thyroid gland and hormones; beavers, wasps and bees; the nose, smell and taste; and jaundice, smallpox and rabies.

Previously published as Health and Illness, Vols.1 & 2."

Was re published in 2003.
Although admittedly sanatised, the text still has this quote in it


"The earth was once young. Now it is past its prime, it is growing older and some day will perish from old age, though not in the way described by materialists. We are aldready faced with some of the signs of the earth's old age. Therefore, the entire human race has been weakened in regard to the driving force that moves food substances through the body. So what part of the population is going to be the first to disappear from the earth? Dark people can last longer, for they possess greater driving force; blonds have less and become extinct sooner. The earth is indeed already into its old age. The gentleman who asked the question pointed out that there are fewer blonds around than in his youth. [my addition- the question is found on p. 69 and reads: I would like to know why people with blond hair are becoming increasingly scarce.] Because the earth has less vitality, only the black and brown peoples attain sufficient driving force; blonds and blue-eyed people are already marked for extinction becasue they can no longer drive nourishment with the necessary force through their bodies."

p. 82

"You can understand a phenomenon like the gradual extinction of blonds if you comprehend how nourishing substances penetrate into both the eyes and hair, the colouring of which is closely related. "


"Hair is indeed like plants, which are placed in the ground and whose growth is subject to light. If light is unable to draw nourishing substances all the way into the hair, it remains blond. If a person is more closely tied to matter, the food substances penetrate the hair completely and counteract the light; then he gets black hair."

Origionally this was in Health and Illness as

"If the blonds and blue-eyed people die out, the human race will become increasingly dense...Blond hair actually bestows intelligence. In the case of fair people, less nourishment is driven into the eyes and hair; it remains instead in the brain and endows it with intelligence. Brown- and dark-haired people drive the substances into their eyes and hair that the fair people retain in their brains.”

So I suppose the recent editions attempt to make the ideas more palatable!
post #43 of 148
(Have a nice day - : )
post #44 of 148
Linda,it needn't be a huge discussion about the book, just a small point as to why this racist material is still being published as recently as 2003 in new editions, new shiny covers, new sanitised text bearing the same message.

It is relevant to this discussion, as Oriole, nolimum and I are intersted. And as to why the anthroposophists don't denounce thes passages, rather than still publishing them.

I don't think it needs a new thread, but I'm happy to discuss it with you if that's what you'd like, rather than answering it here[smile]
post #45 of 148
Linda, did you find a reference/date for the book about the negros etc from US state schools? Just out of interest? Thanks.
post #46 of 148
Calynde, does this make sense to you? Are the school thriving would you say? I just happened upon this, and wondered what you thought in the context of your post saying how in Switzerland the schools and anthroposophy are two a penny as it were. Things could well have changed by now though.

Apparently , acording to a 2006 article,( so it could be out of date) here
http://www.aktion-bildungsvielfalt.de/

Enrollment in Swiss Waldorf schools has declined 25% since 2000 (from
8000 to 6000 students). The Swiss Steiner schools organised a series of events to raise their profile.
post #47 of 148
(Have a nice day-
post #48 of 148
(Have a nice day-
post #49 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lousli View Post
I'm in Montessori training right now, so I wanted to address this. Maria Montessori personally was Catholic ...

It did not inform all the other decisions being made in the classroom...

They do not teach any religion as part of the curriculum, subtly or otherwise.

There are a couple of stories that mention God, but in our training we were given both this version and another version which omits any reference to God or a creator of any kind.
...
Good to know! I so wish Waldorf schools would do the same. I know that Steiner's spiritual philosophies influenced everything in the schools- from the decor to the lesson plans- but I just wish a school would take all that and use it without including all the "mumbojumbo"reasons.


Quote:
Originally Posted by orangewallflower View Post

OWF: This is, I think, the greatest misconception about Waldorf. It is decidedly teacher-led. It may be teacher-led in an innovative and creative way, but children are always doing what the teacher asks, in the order they ask it. The only time during the school day (please note that I am talking about the grade school, not pre-K or) that children choose what to do is recess. the nice thing is that there is plenty of recess time. But I think that this is one of the ways in which Waldorf tells parents that it is "alternative" education and lets them fill in the blanks. Most of us assume that alternative means things like emergent curriculum and choice of activity. This was my very purpose for starting this thread. I don't think that being teacher-led is *necessarily* bad, but it certainly isn't what a lot of people are looking for.

...

OWF: It is still important, though, to go visit your prospective school and give it a serious look. It could be that the extraordinary positives would outweigh the negatives for you. So many people are happy in Waldorf! Just ask lots of questions.
Thank you for the clarification.

I doubt we could afford Waldorf anyway, but luckily we have plenty of time to research, research, research! DD is only just 2.

I am trying to keep an open mind, but it's hard since some people are so extremely against it, and others are so extremely for it! It's difficult to find someone with a truly objective stance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaCl View Post
There's a tendency for the picture of Waldorf education to be painted all one color. We lean towards extremes these days.

Waldorf is child-centered, but it's not, especially in the younger years, particularly "child led". The nuance doesn't lend itself well to pin-up posters and catchphrases.

Take some of these questions about creativity and copying. In the earliest years there is copying; not everything is copied, but there is copying. Waldorf students create their own Main Lesson books, which are their text books literally, and the content they're to put in them follows a given form, especially in the beginning. So a typical 2nd grader does not compose much for their books, they record in them what the teacher has composed for them. There are reasons they do this, one of them being this regurgitation helps them absorb the lesson by involving them interactively. But a typical 6th grader composes most of the content, according to an outline and content requirements. Another example, painting "class" after kindergarten will have specific techniques taught, it's not a "do your own thing" any more than it would be in any other typical art class. It's like music that way. But that's not all there is, there are also ample artistic assignments where that's exactly what it is, more of a "do what you want" exercise. (Actually very few painting exercises ever look much at all like a lazured wall.)

I think that's why things sound so confusing. Nothing in Waldorf fits that neatly really in "all this and none of that", and maybe people tend each to just focus their lens a little differently.
Thanks for even more clarification. I understand the system a little better now. I think the regurgitation concept is a valid one. I know my toddler learns by imitating over and over again. And I also like that the older children will compose their own, allowing for more critical thinking and fuller processing.

And I was kind of generalizing when I said the paintings look like the lazured walls. I just meant that watery water-color pastel paintings seem pretty prolific in the examples I've seen.
post #50 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by calynde View Post
I just feel the need to chime in and say that in many (most) other parts of the world, the schools are called Rudolf Steiner schools...so no misconceptions about whose philosophy the whole thing is based upon. Anthroposophy is an everyday word in these parts (Switzerland)...everyone knows what it is...even if they don't know all the details or whether they find it valid or not. There are doctors EVERYWHERE with anthroposophic medical qualifications (I was even assigned one through my first HMO! before I even knew what it was) and there are even restaurants that serve the "grain of the day" based on Steiner's philosophy. It's just one more set of ideas...nothing so peculiar about any of it.

Also, even public schools here in Switzerland do A LOT of copying and repetition of the teachers. This is in large part a European phenomenon (or at least a Germanic one). Letting children choose each and every thing that they do and learn is very modern and largely very American...individualism is not the order of the day everywhere in the world! So some of these things that are listed as "Waldorf" are actually common here across the board. Just an FYI should such things interest anyone.

And the last thing I want to add is that Steiner lived and spoke and wrote a very long time ago! Some of these racist references were unfortunate but true signs of the time in which he lived...in the US included!!!! It does not mean that today's Waldorf teachers, schools or even anthroposophists believe in this stuff or let it speak to their work now, in a modern, multi-cultural world. He is not around to write and think today, but I think you will find that most currently published Waldorf-related books are much more in keeping with today's values.

I am one of those people who believe wholeheartedly that it is primarily the job of the parents to investigate all aspects of a school (public or private), what motivates the teachers and administrators, and what drives their educational philosophies....the information is always out there! There are so many books, websites...there are so many fans and so many critics...no shortage of perspectives to be found. And not all schools are created equal...again whether Waldorf, public, whatever.

If you aren't ok with pink walls and rounded edges and children who copy their teachers...then Waldorf is not for you. And neither is the Swiss or German public school system either! hehe
Really? So is it a recognized religion? Is it like Christianity, where all the outdated junk from the Old Testament is kind of brushed off as irrelevant and just a sign of the times? (Although, there are gillions of Christians who still consider a lot of the Old Testament to be just as important as the New Testament, even when it directly contradicts Jesus's teachings... )

I am really interested in a comparison of European/Germanic/Swiss schools with American Waldorf schools, if you care to elaborate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattBronsil View Post
Oh please! That's like saying if an agnostic were her teacher, she would be viewed as a person that needs to not make decisions about religion.
Yeah. So? An agnostic teacher would either encourage further inquiry into all religions, or simply omit all of it from interactions with students. It is totally neutral, and open to questions. It's a teacher's job to provide such an environment.

This is totally different from a Christian's point of view, which is that their belief is the Ultimate Truth, and anyone who does not believe is incorrect, and needs saving.

That is pretty cut and dry, and it colors the the lens through which they view people.

Anyway....
post #51 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoliMum View Post
Really? So is it a recognized religion? Is it like Christianity, where all the outdated junk from the Old Testament is kind of brushed off as irrelevant and just a sign of the times? (Although, there are gillions of Christians who still consider a lot of the Old Testament to be just as important as the New Testament, even when it directly contradicts Jesus's teachings... )
I'm not sure I understand where the first question came from, but see where you're going with the second one. I think that everywhere you look in real life, you find people do this routinely, towards religion, politics, ethics, psychology, everything...they focus on what they want to keep or they agree with and ignore or give new interpretations to the rest. And thank heaven they do, is my thinking. It's the extreme fundamentalists, the ones who adopt everything wholesale, literally and faithfully, no matter what it says, that get us in trouble.
post #52 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoliMum View Post
Good to know! I so wish Waldorf schools would do the same. I know that Steiner's spiritual philosophies influenced everything in the schools- from the decor to the lesson plans- but I just wish a school would take all that and use it without including all the "mumbojumbo"reasons.
Well, isn't that what some people have been complaining about--that Steiner's "mumbojumbo" reasons are too covered up? Those argument go along the lines of, "we like the pink walls, but how come parents aren't told Steiner had a mumbojumbo explanation in lecture such and such about pink walls?"
post #53 of 148
(Have a nice day-
post #54 of 148
Quote:
This is totally different from a Christian's point of view, which is that their belief is the Ultimate Truth, and anyone who does not believe is incorrect, and needs saving.

That is pretty cut and dry, and it colors the the lens through which they view people.

Anyway....
Ignorance
–noun the state or fact of being ignorant; lack of knowledge, learning, information, etc.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ignorance
post #55 of 148
Only a quick one, as I'm i n a hurry.
Linda , I was talking about Atlantis, which I think you'll find is Plato's mythical island, used as an allegory or metaphor for paradise, eventually flooded when man becomes too used to it's riches.
post #56 of 148
The fact that the myth of Atlantis runs through Hindu and Greek mythology, confirms the fact that Atlantis is "mythical", a metaphor, where as Steiner believed, as do anthroposophists, it was a real place where the first humans evolved.
The story of Manu, holds powerful significance in anthroposophical circles, so its' suggestiveness in the context of the atlantis story is all the more potent.

Bernard Lievegoed from his THE BATTLE OF THE SOUL ( 1993 ):

"Rudolf Steiner once said to Pfeiffer that he had started the Waldorf school and the threefold social order to make the incarnation of Manu and his helpers possible. Let us hope there are enough active anthroposophists to accomplish what Manu needs for his development. And let us hope anthroposophists will recognize him once he is here."


"The threefold social order of Rudolf Steiner is particularly a preparatory work to bring about a future incarnation of Manes. I once discussed with Rudolf Steiner the question of when would be the proper time for the application of etheric forces for technical uses. He said that this would be when the threefold order is established. He said that Manes could not find a suitable body yet, that all the forces he would be able to bring to an incarnation would be destroyed by modern education. Therefore he said that Waldorf education needed first to come into being and that the threefold social order must also come into being.
Therefore I would see it as our immediate task to bring about this threefold order first through thought and then through action, so that Manes can incarnate. By karma, Manes' incarnation would be due by the end of the century. Whether this will be possible I do not know, but if the threefold social order and Waldorf education were established he could incarnate. I see it as our task to make the preparations so that he can incarnate again."

Ehrenfried Pfeiffer
THE TASK OF THE ARCHANGEL MICHAEL
1946

I wonder how many people know that Steiner Waldorf schools rae in place for manu to reincarnate
post #57 of 148
Thanks for the sources of the racist stuff linda, I hadn't come accross them before, very interesting.
The point about comparing these two things as you have done, is that the quotes you gave caused uproar, and anyone reading them is horrified.
On the other hand, the Steiner stuff is still around, available, some even re published. Who is to know if anthroposophists are around who believe and use it in the education? There are certainly anthroposophists who discuss these hierarchical race systems constantly, and seemingly don't think they're an issue. The fact things are so covered, hidden, evasive, only goes to arouse suspicion. If it was openly denounced by the Gotheneum or something it would ease the speculation. Who knows what the First Class anthroposophists hold as belief? It is all esoteric after all.


To get back to the origional post though, isn't it a good idea for the schools to provide information about the salient points of anthroposophy?

Particularly as it holds so many varients and difficulties, it would seem more than appropriate to give the main core.

For instance, reincarnation seems to be the central theme, the childrens souls, as well as the wonder and awe of spirit worlds, angels, St Michael in particular, and why this archangel is so important, the songs and festival surrounding him are hugely significant, because he is the ruling spirit of the age, since 1879:
""in 1879, in November, a momentous event took place, a battle of the Powers of Darkness against the Powers of Light, ending in the image of Michael overcoming the Dragon" Rudolf Steiner.

Anthroposophists consider Michael to be the administrator of cosmic intelligence, who 'dwells on the Sun'.Steiner Waldorf schools celebrate the Michaelmas Festival (the festival of 'strong will') during the Autumnal Equinox (September 29).

Also why the medieval practice of the temperaments is used so much in the classroom.

I think it's hugely important for the schools to be forthright about these things from the outset.
Is anyone in this discussion an anthroposophist?
Or on the path?
post #58 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluetrain View Post
Who is to know if anthroposophists are around who believe and use it in the education?
That's right...who knows? And who knows if their kids' public school teacher is motivated by such beliefs? Or their church's youth minister? Or? Who else?

To another poster: Anthroposophy is not considered a religion here...just a philosophy. My point was that it is a commonly known philosophy, not that so many read about it or practice it. It's certainly not Christianity, though a lot of the philosophy has its roots there. There are Jewish anthroposophists, Buddhist anthroposophists, etc. Christianity is a part of western civilization, and it is reflected in many of our festivals and public holidays...whether we believe in it or not.

And I wouldn't worry about any teacher (of any faith or other persuasion) feeling the need to save the soul of or convert your child to anything. I personally have never met a teacher (certainly not a Waldorf teacher) who had anywhere near enough time for that sort of thing.

I also have no idea whether or not Swiss Steiner schools are thriving in their enrollment or not. I suspect some are and some aren't just like anywhere. My guess is that a decline in enrollment would have more to do with finances than with parents finding out about hints of spiritual science influencing the curriculum. I'm quite certain that parents here know better than that. As I said before, it's commonly known.
post #59 of 148
[QUOTE=bluetrain;11068003]
Quote:
Originally Posted by calynde View Post

As to researching and findng out before hand, I had very limited access to the internet then (4 or so yrs ago). We live in a rural area.
Just wanted to say that it seems you have come a long way since then! You've had more posts in a month than I accumulated in a year when I first joined...and a link to a site in German to boot! And so many references....

I'm so sorry that you've had a bad experience. Nobody deserves that. It's good you got out of it and presumably into a better situation for your family. But let's try not to turn this into one big conspiracy theory. At least not here. The "Waldorf Support" thread in "personal growth" (as I'm sure you know?) is alive and thriving for people with your similar experiences. I for one think you've made your point for the sake of this thread, which was initially a good question! And obviously a complex one!

edited to add:
Although I taught for one academic year at a Steiner high school here (one subject, no spiritual stuff involved!), my ds is not attending a Steiner school (or any school at the moment). I also definitely saw some problematic issues at the school, mostly organizational though. I am also not 100% sold on the entire curriculum...I am one who would like to see it updated/modernized a bit. We use a lot of Waldorf elements in our "homeschooling"...I am indeed a Waldorf "cherry picker". Despite my personal views on it, I still know several families who are totally thriving within traditional Waldorf and I believe wholeheartedly that it can be an enriching educational experience. I also know many, many families (both here and in the US) who have experienced very real trauma at their public schools. And even a couple of good friends who love to share about their Catholic school nightmares. Perhaps different problems and traumas, but big problems nonetheless. Just wanted to let everyone know where I'm coming from! :-)
post #60 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by calynde View Post

edited to add:
Although I taught for one academic year at a Steiner high school here (one subject, no spiritual stuff involved!), my ds is not attending a Steiner school (or any school at the moment). I also definitely saw some problematic issues at the school, mostly organizational though. I am also not 100% sold on the entire curriculum...I am one who would like to see it updated/modernized a bit. We use a lot of Waldorf elements in our "homeschooling"...I am indeed a Waldorf "cherry picker". Despite my personal views on it, I still know several families who are totally thriving within traditional Waldorf and I believe wholeheartedly that it can be an enriching educational experience. I also know many, many families (both here and in the US) who have experienced very real trauma at their public schools. And even a couple of good friends who love to share about their Catholic school nightmares. Perhaps different problems and traumas, but big problems nonetheless. Just wanted to let everyone know where I'm coming from! :-)

Calynde, an excellent sum up, thankyou.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Waldorf
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at School › Waldorf › Returned:What should Waldorf schools tell prospective parents?