Choosing Waldorf Steiner Education - I need the truth!! - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 69 Old 08-23-2011, 01:38 PM
 
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I've never known a Waldorf community that was ostracizing, or even judgmental.  Sure, you have those few outlier parents that can be difficult, but the communities as a whole pride themselves on tolerance, patience, acceptance, and respect. (In my experience anyways).  At our school, there are super-waldorf families, mainstream families, and everything in between-  And all are valued and respected within the community.  

 

I've never heard of anyone casting judgment on things such as soccer playing, reading and numbers, dietary habits, dress, etc..  Again, I can only speak from personal experience, but really-  I can't even imagine any parents or teachers raising a fuss about such things.  Many of the kids at our school are involved in extracurricular activities, and the children are all over the spectrum as to their style, interests or academics.  All of it is honored.  

 

The only thing that I've heard complaints about is some children bringing the 'pop culture' stuff into the school with them-  and I agree that it is frustrating when you work so hard to shelter your children from those influences, only to have it come up at school.  For example, I was a irritated when a parent played Lady Gaga (The Glee version, so no explicit lyrics, BUT STILL-) in her car during a field trip, which my daughter was riding in.  Did not appreciate that.  But it's not mainstream families vs. Waldorf families-  In other words, I've never perceived such 'class' warfare in our community, even when issues do arise.  

 

Anyways, no need to take away your daughter's beloved books, or refrain from allowing her to play soccer or whatever-  No one will blink an eye or think twice, unless they perceive that it is you forcing these on her when she is unwilling or unreceptive, in which case they might express concern but not so much judgment.

 

Hope this helps :)

 

 

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#62 of 69 Old 08-23-2011, 03:09 PM
 
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Thank you.  It helps tremendously.  I think what I'm gathering is that Waldorf schools can be very different from one another.  I read with a combination of laughter and horror  this excerpt from one of the senior posters in July:  

 

 

Quote:

Then something happens. You decide one day that -- as per your values -- it's totally cool that your kid is learning spanish out of sequence, or has taken up ukulele a year earlier than normal for that school, or that in fact, everyony sucks at eurhythmy, so you don't make your kid study it. 

 

tsk tsk goes the hard anthroposophist person in your crafting group. ooooh, that's BAD says the rather misinformed non-anthroposophist who doesn't want to be on hard anthro's bad side this week, as she gets tsked every other week. Teacher calls you in and says "why is your kid playing the ukulele? what is going on in your home? don't you know that his teeth aren't properly formed for the ukulele?" and you're wondering, WTF is going on?

 

Well, at this point, you've run into the issue. It's not that the school is going "Hail mary, with properly formed teeth, hallowed is your ukulele!" But rather that some schools take the teeth-grown-in-before-reading thing *very* seriously, and others don't really care. And how much the school does or doesn't follow that determines how the community *reacts* to whatever is unique in your family. Perhaps your child is scary gifted at ukulele, and you are seen as that pushy mom who forces your child to play the ukulele endlessly while you craft until your knuckles bleed for the annual fair. Oh no no no no no. that's not right, that's not what we do, that's not Steiner.

 

Now, as they say on project runway -- one day you're in, and the next day, you're alienated.

 

People get upset. here was this beautiful school. this beautiful community. And now, because of ukulele excellence -- which should be celebrated -- i'm being ostracised! Haven't I made enough woolen slippers? have no not cooked enough rutabegas? where, oh where did I go wrong? 

 

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#63 of 69 Old 08-23-2011, 08:18 PM
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#64 of 69 Old 08-24-2011, 12:52 AM
 
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I haven't either. We don't live in North America, though, so maybe the fact that most Waldorf schools are private in N. America (and MDC has a big N. American slant), has something to do with the sort of social control that people describe.

 

All I can say is that we're sort of moderately crunchy and we fit in very well in our Waldorf school. We do have a tv which DS can watch and he can play some limited computer games (no video games). This is pretty much par for the course with most of the kids in his class. Some parents are much more crunchy than we are (no tv, all hand-made clothes, etc.) and some are far more mainstream (one kid even has a TV in his room!). Same with food, etc.

 

Anyway, I absolutely believe people when they describe their bad experiences with Waldorf, but what they describe is very very far removed from our experience of an open, accepting community of lots of interesting people. Do I like all the parents? No. I even got into a bit of a tiff with one mom about some silly stuff with the school bazaar!  But I like the school, in general, and DS is *thriving* in a way he didn't at his public school.

 

Visit the school, talk to people, see what you think, and then make your decisions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamahawk View Post

I've never known a Waldorf community that was ostracizing, or even judgmental.  Sure, you have those few outlier parents that can be difficult, but the communities as a whole pride themselves on tolerance, patience, acceptance, and respect. (In my experience anyways).  At our school, there are super-waldorf families, mainstream families, and everything in between-  And all are valued and respected within the community.  

 

I've never heard of anyone casting judgment on things such as soccer playing, reading and numbers, dietary habits, dress, etc..  Again, I can only speak from personal experience, but really-  I can't even imagine any parents or teachers raising a fuss about such things.  Many of the kids at our school are involved in extracurricular activities, and the children are all over the spectrum as to their style, interests or academics.  All of it is honored.  

 

The only thing that I've heard complaints about is some children bringing the 'pop culture' stuff into the school with them-  and I agree that it is frustrating when you work so hard to shelter your children from those influences, only to have it come up at school.  For example, I was a irritated when a parent played Lady Gaga (The Glee version, so no explicit lyrics, BUT STILL-) in her car during a field trip, which my daughter was riding in.  Did not appreciate that.  But it's not mainstream families vs. Waldorf families-  In other words, I've never perceived such 'class' warfare in our community, even when issues do arise.  

 

Anyways, no need to take away your daughter's beloved books, or refrain from allowing her to play soccer or whatever-  No one will blink an eye or think twice, unless they perceive that it is you forcing these on her when she is unwilling or unreceptive, in which case they might express concern but not so much judgment.

 

Hope this helps :)

 

 



 

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#65 of 69 Old 08-27-2011, 07:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamahawk View Post

 

The only thing that I've heard complaints about is some children bringing the 'pop culture' stuff into the school with them-  and I agree that it is frustrating when you work so hard to shelter your children from those influences, only to have it come up at school.  For example, I was a irritated when a parent played Lady Gaga (The Glee version, so no explicit lyrics, BUT STILL-) in her car during a field trip, which my daughter was riding in.  Did not appreciate that.  But it's not mainstream families vs. Waldorf families-  In other words, I've never perceived such 'class' warfare in our community, even when issues do arise.  

 

 


I've been reading this thread because I have been interested in Waldorf for a long time. I did not choose a Waldorf school because I don't particularly like the one in the city I currently live in.

 

I'm using the statement above as an example of what makes me stay away from the waldorf community and wondering if people can explain the sentiment behind it. Why is listening to a song with non-explicit lyrics so bad? Is it simply because Gaga is pop and all pop culture must be avoided at all times? I worry about two things with getting involved with the Waldorf community:

 

Would my child be growing up too much in a sheltered bubble?

Will I be constantly jugded about something I do/eat/play/sing/watch because it's too mainstraim? I don't base my likes and dislikes on what is mainstream and what is counter-culture, so I could be the mom who plays Madonna or White Stripes in the car (non-explicit lyrics of course, although I don't sheild songs with swear words from my own child I wouldn't expose another).

 

Anyway, I'm just honestly curious. What would be okay to play in the car? Michael Franti? Stravinksy? Again, just using that as an example to understand the mindset of the community. I hate the idea of being judged or observed all time.  
 

 

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#66 of 69 Old 08-27-2011, 01:03 PM
 
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As a parent who is trying to raise a child without pop culture (at least for now), one of the reasons that I love Waldorf is that it provides the ONLY place I know of where you can send your child over to another child's house and know that they won't be watching TV or listening to Lady Gaga (well, no guarantees, but the chances are lower).

 

I don't think that it's "bad" to play Lady Gaga in the car, not at all.  If you don't want to raise your child in a "sheltered bubble," that is a totally valid parenting choice for you, and doesn't (in my opinion) exclude you from the Waldorf community.  But if I want to raise my child in a "sheltered bubble," I've pretty much got nowhere to turn - except possibly Waldorf.  Parents who would prefer that their child NOT be exposed to Lady Gaga likewise have almost nowhere to turn.  Pop culture is everywhere.  Parents who don't mind that their children are involved in pop culture (and there are certainly rational reasons for not minding - I am not judging that decision at all) are in the majority.  As someone in the minority, finding parents on at least a similar wavelength to me is a relief, a reduction in stress, and gives me a sense of being part of a culture more in tune with my beliefs, as opposed to being the one weirdo parent at another school who doesn't want her first grader watching TV, with all of the sense of isolation that engenders.

 

My family consists almost entirely of early readers and pea-counters.  I don't have a problem with that (and I'm a Waldorf teacher, too, who doesn't mind it in her students either).  I guess I just wouldn't teach someone else's pre-toothy child how to read while they were at my house if I knew that her parents were against it.  Silly example, but you know what I mean (I hope).


Cristina, mama to Isabel.  knit.gif Oh how I miss knitting.  And sleeping.  I miss sleeping.

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#67 of 69 Old 08-27-2011, 03:59 PM
 
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I agree with mamahawk - we've been in three Waldorf communities now and haven't experienced any judgements.  I know what the concern is, but I'm not sure why I know it - in fact sometimes I feel like the most "Waldorf-y" person in my class and my son watches a little tv, we have a wii, etc.  We don't listen to pop music because a lot of it, even without explicit lyrics, is inappropriate for children (all these love songs and "i want to be a billionaire" songs, etc...).  We do listen to classic rock at home and there are things that sometimes give me pause in those lyrics too!  But it's not a judgement if other people do. 

 

I highly recommend - and it might actually be part of the application process, but maybe not for such a young child - that your daughter visits the school for a few days in the classroom.  It will give you a good idea as to whether or not it's a good fit for her as a person and for you as a family.

 

 

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#68 of 69 Old 08-28-2011, 01:33 AM
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#69 of 69 Old 08-28-2011, 07:44 AM
 
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Thanks for answering my questions!

 

My values don't totally fit with the public school system, but often times I don't feel I'm a Waldorf fit either. Of course, I do not condone exposing children to inappropriate content and would never do it. And so far explaining to my child that we don't participate in or buy certain things has gone over quite well, but I know that can change eventually. I also don't want to be in a situation where I might be judged for being who I am. I didn't get a sense that this happened in theWaldorf community in the city I used to live in. I think it might be more intense at the school here. I had a pretty bad experience at a home daycare run by a woman who taught at the Waldorf school for 20 years. Here's one example among many - My husband is unfortunately a smoker, and although he NEVER smokes around children, she must have smelled it on him at pick up. She flippantly told me I better tell my husband not to teach my child to smoke. I thought I was going to punch her in the face. She was nutty and everyone I know who used her eventually pulled their child and her assistants kept quitting- but all the teachers at the Waldorf school seemed to love her and want her back. She also routinely left a small toddler to cry in a playpen during lunchtime in another room because she would not stop crying from separation anxiety. Maybe that's common at daycare situations but it saddened me.

 

Anyway, I will keep reading about Waldorf with interest.  

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