Originally Posted by msm
Please pardon my reply; because I know that it will probably go on and on....But, I decided to look into the Waldorf school because my second daughter is very creative (according to her nursery teacher and myself), and being a teacher in a public school setting, I knew that this would get squealched. Our public school is very competitive and grade driven and I didn't want that for her. So I started to look into a Waldorf education which I thought would be rather art-based and holistic and a way to enhance her creativity. But I guess that I didn't know anything about anthroposophy and now that I'm reading all this about crayon colors, karma, reincarnation, linear drawings; I'm not so sure. I keep reading that it depends on the particular school, so that is why I was wondering how the Princeton Waldorf is run.
This is my own take on the situation:
A few people who have put their children into waldorf schools have had bad experiences. I do not (absolutely do not) discount or deny these bad experiences. I do, however, argue with the explanations that have been put forward to explain what underlies these experiences.
For example, it has been claimed that waldorf teachers believe in reincarnation and karma and therefore will not intervene when children are bullying other children. Now, logically, if this doctrine were actually a part of the waldorf model, all 800 or 900 schools, worldwide, would have a reputation for bullying problems. However, if you actually check with parents at various schools you will discover that some waldorf schools have never had bullying problems, others have had occasional problems, some have more problems and so on. It varies from school to school.
This situation is true of every single problem that I've ever heard described by unhappy waldorf parents. None of these problems are universally present in all, or even most waldorf schools. Therefore, logically, none of these problems are inherent in the educational philosophy.
A few years ago I was working at the Chicago Waldorf School. Most of the parents were aware of the anthroposophical backdrop of the school. Generally they weren't interested in studying anthroposophy, but didn't find it threatening to them or their children. Families left the school sometimes. Moving away was the most common reason. Finances was another, although the school had a generous tuition assistance program. Dissatisfaction with the class teacher arose sometimes.
There were two cases where the spiritual underpinnings of the school became a factor: both cases involved divorces and in both cases one spouse was using the education as a club to bash the other spouse.
CWS was a fairly religiously diverse school (Jewish families, Catholic families, various protestant denominations, Muslim families, a Hindu family) and was striving for racial diversity, but due to the high cost of the school and the fact that all the other private schools were also striving for racial diversity, they weren't having great success.
Does this help? Or am I muddying the waters still further?