Waldorf on co-sleeping & extended breastfeeding - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 12-02-2004, 07:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Okay, had our Parent/Teacher conference 2 weeks ago and was told yet again where Waldorf stands on both. They basically said that "Waldorf did not approve". My DD is 4 and still doing both. They claim that it interferes with the development of her "astral body".

A few parents are making a big stink about it (present company included) and the Parent Community Organization is getting involved, yah!!!

I have to say, this bugs me , I do not make my parenting choices lightly (that includes paying big $$$'s to send my children to Waldorf), so I take offense to the implication that I am 'wrong' in practicing FB & EB. They should stay out of this area. What would Steiner like a 9 month old (suggested weaning age) to be fed? Bio-dynamic formula?, & what should a family of 5 do if all they can afford is a 1 bedroom apartment?(they think every child should have their own room). A bit elitest, I think.

Anyone else get this line of comments? I'd be interested in knowing how other Waldorf schools around the country feel about this. BTW, it was not just my dd's teachers, this was throughout Early Childhood (2 kinders, 1 nursery, & 3 playgroups).

Thanks for your imput!
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#2 of 4 Old 12-02-2004, 02:09 PM
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I have a cousin who's son (same age as my ds) is in Waldorf school. She did family bed and eb. I know their school also has parents sign an agreement not to have television in the house or at least to disallow children from watching it. They disallow character based clothing in school as well. If I remember correctly they also serve organic, vegetarian food in this particular school. I haven't met too many other parents but of those I have met and seen at school fairs they appear to be rather the earth parent type and it wouldn't suprise me to know that even if school didn't approve of fb and eb that they did it anyway.

You have to remember the roots of Waldorf. Steiner was a wealthy philosopher. What we would now call new age. Even the theosophical society thought he was too far fetched. His life was far different from the school system he designed for the children of the probably very poor workers of the Waldorf Astoria Cigarette factory.

I love many of the ideas of Waldorff education myself, but there were too many areas where there was such intollerance that I was uncomfortable with the idea of following my own needs in contradiction to them.

I like that you are working with other parents to resolve the issue some way or another.

Don't be disheartened this type of thing happens in all styles of teaching. I ran into it with Montessori toilet learning with my dd. It was in such contravention to who she was and her development at that time. Her teacher used to berate me regularly for what I chose to do at home because it was considered so damaging. After all she had been doing this for 10 years and this was only my 2nd child so she knew better. I chose to use pullups at home. My child great all day at school but when she got home just couldn't have such control. I figured it was better for her to be clean and dry and happy rather than wet and peeing on the furniture, carpets and herself all evening long as well as be exposed to my trying to deal with it. We were all so unhappy trying to use cloth at home. The teacher told me she would never learn my way. Lo and behold, little by little, day by day, just as I predicted on the time-table I laid out she became dry all the time.

But, not to hijack your thread, the point is you do find this in every paradigm. You need to do what you think is best.
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#3 of 4 Old 12-02-2004, 04:06 PM
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Every school is different and every teacher is different. Our Kindergarten teachers EB and co-slept with their own children. I have never heard them discourage co-sleeping. I have only heard them discourage EB once and it was in regards to a particular 5 year old who was having severe difficulty at school. If EB doesn't interfere with a child's independence or well being which is true for the majority of children, then nothing is said.

Our school seems to be most concerned about rhythm in the day, eating organic and healthy, plenty of sleep, and no electronic media. You sound like you have a dogmatic teacher on your hands. One thing some teachers seem to fail to realize, is that Waldorf is not stagnant and it must grow and change with the world. Our master teacher who is from the Netherlands recognizes that and has been a great influence on the college of teachers. She has supported EB, co-sleeping, and she also recognizes that many families have two parents working so the school needs to offer after school care and summer camps.

Continue to fight back and educate your teachers. I remember reading somewhere about an anthroposophical nurse who addressed these issues and corrected and updated Steiner's advice. I'll look for that link.
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#4 of 4 Old 12-02-2004, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by bluglass
You have to remember the roots of Waldorf. Steiner was a wealthy philosopher. What we would now call new age. Even the theosophical society thought he was too far fetched. His life was far different from the school system he designed for the children of the probably very poor workers of the Waldorf Astoria Cigarette factory.
Sorry bluglass, but Steiner was never wealthy. He was born into a family of Austrian peasants: I believe his grandfather may have been a gamekeeper on a big estate or something of the sort. His father worked for the Austrian railway system as a stationmaster. They were as poor as the cigarette factory workers. He supported himself through several years of higher education by tutoring. Later he kept himself afloat by writing newspaper articles: theatre reviews, book reviews and so forth. He finally found steady work editing Goethe's scientific works for the definitive edition.

He was occasionally mocked for having a peasant's accent.

Even after he became a well-known 'guru' I can't recall anyone describing him as living high on the hog.

On the EB question, there is an anthroposophical nurse who has been critical of the dogma around this, but I'm not sure of her name. Rhys Smyth Freed or something sort of like that. Anyone know her?

I feel as though this is a question that needs to be openly and thoroughly debated. I've never actually heard definitive arguments on either side, so my position is just to let people do whatever they want and live with whatever the consequences might be. My daughter started out with both of her babies sharing the bed (one at a time, she didn't have twins ) and with the first she did a very gradual move into a side-sleeper, a somewhat lowered side sleeper and then eventually into her own room. The second one only lasted a couple of months, even with the side sleeper and then started sleeping in the crib, and finally they were forced out of their own bedroom. He only sleeps well alone! I guess he didn't read the books about how great it is to share a bed with your mom and dad. She is also very structured with her breastfeeding, feeding on demand for the first couple of months and then working deliberately to build a very predictable rhythm. Neither of her kids was offered the option of demanding milk on their own after the first few months, it always came at the time that mom thought best. DD was weaned at 21 months, we'll see about DS. My thoughts: they are her children, she makes the decisions. Her approach seems to work well, they are both happy, healthy, bright and developing as they should.

I think waldorf used to be much more rigid about the extended bf than they are now, but it probably varies by school.

Good luck sorting it all out.


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