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#151 of 163 Old 04-17-2002, 03:49 AM
 
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I have to say I see most of the points of view that have been presented in this thread.

I have read the Waldorf Critics site and they do have some good points. That *some* Waldorf schools teach bad science is a big problem. That children are labeled with one of the Four Temperaments in *some* Waldorf schools is both maddening and saddening. However, I don't like the general tone of the web site. To call all Waldorf schools a "cult" is a misnomer in my view. When I hear "cult" I think Jones Town, being forced to have sex with other members of the cult, and being forced on a special diet (not that special diets are wrong in and of themselves). Nothing that I have read makes me think that Waldorf schools are cults.

I have been reading Waldorf books and websites and I think they have some good points. I do think toddlers are big imitator of adults. I do think that forcing early studies on children or that forcing kids to be too advanced is a very bad thing. I do think that all natural toys are better that the mass produced schlock that lines the walls of toy stores. However, I don't agree with all of the Waldorf teachings I have come across. I will not actively discourage my daughter and her love of having books read to her. I will do extended breast feeding with my daughter as long as she wants to.

I also have been taking a Waldorf Parenting class here in town. I think it's been the largest waste of money I have ever done. I've learned nothing from it, and I don't think I am going to. I have had a chance to see the school and the students. I have yet to see a black child at that school. Mixed race yes, but not a single black child. I have seen boys playing war, and I have seen cliques. The most glaring thing about the school is the rampant classism. I wouldn't feel comfortable sending my daughter there.

All of that said, I have the amazing grace of living in an area with different Waldorf schools. The one in the East Bay is suppose to have computer classes and teach real science. I will take more classes, and would like to look around. I am also dedicated to doing Waldorf Home Schooling when the time comes. So far Waldorf has been the best teaching system I have come across.

From what I have learned so far the good in Waldorf theories *far* outweighs the bad. Yes, there is some bad to it. I have yet to find anything in this world that doesn't have both good and bad in it.

Elizabeth McKeeman
Momma to Annabelle 8/2/00
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#152 of 163 Old 04-17-2002, 04:38 AM
 
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by MomtoMia
[B]
Mary:

Meredith,

In my previous posts I've made it quite clear that this is exactly what I intend to do (pursue my own research, that is).

Debra:

Good for you. Never check your critical thinking skills at anyone's door. These kids belong to you and no one else. It is your job to protect and guide them. How refreshing to see someone up to the task.

Mary:

I've also made it quite clear that I've not yet developed an informed opinion regarding Waldorf or Anthroposophy -- beyond my opinon that Steiner held racist beliefs which are inexcuseable.


(Steiner's racist declarations seem to be undisputed by either side, on this thread anyway).

Debra:

Go to http;//www.waldorfcritics.org . Using the search butto, search racism.


Mary:

In doing so, my objective was to convey that alarm bells invariably go off in my brain whenever members of a particular group appear to resent examination of their system.


Debra;

Yes. Exactly. Education must be fluid. if examination is resisted, one must question.


Mary:
The validity of either argument become irrelevant as my internal monologue generates the following questions: Why are they so defensive? What have they to hide? Why won't they address the criticisms directly? Do they or do they not possess thorough knowledge of the material?

Debra;

Well, you are one smart Mama. Stay that way. Your kids need you. Don't be duped by Steiner. BTW, how many people here would want to leave your kids in the environment Meredith described? Do you want another kid biting, kicking and screaming to be handled by meditation?

I would not sacrafice my kid again. (I did once, and it took a lot of fixing.)


Mary:
If indeed there is no legitimacy to these criticisms, then the resistance to probing inquiries do a great disservice to the integrity of Waldorf, as it is this resistance ITSELF that begins to set off the bells.

Debra;

You are a smart one. If Waldorf is smart, they won't take you. I predict you would be an ardent critic. You sound too much like me. Just can't check those critical thinking skills at Waldorf's door.

Mary:

Do not worry, I tend to reserve judgment until after I've finished with my own investigation and it would be my guess that the the majority of thoughtful, diplomatic, and progressive thinking idividuals do the same. However, that does not preclude the discovery of a few insights along the way.

Debra;

We have sounded the bells. You either hear them or you don't. I've been around too long to invest myself in your decision. That said, know we will always hold a spot for you on our Waldorf Survivor list. We regularly pick duped parents up off the floor. We have lots of resources for your damaged kids too. If you want to go that route.

Would you want to be the mother of the boy in Meredith's post?
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#153 of 163 Old 04-17-2002, 02:10 PM
 
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Yes, I would be very happy if I were the mother of the son that Meredith is caring for. I would be happy that I had a care taker that was doing everything she could to help me raise a thoughtful, empathic and emotionally healthy child. I would be over joyed that in her off hours she was trying to find the best way to resolve a difficult situation. I would do cart wheels that she was on a list for other care givers and asked them for advice! Would that *all* day care centers did such research, had any level of knowledge, or were in constant contact with others in their profession.

Not that you asked me...

And who took her post from one list, posted it to the Critics list *without her knowledge or consent* and then posted it here *again without her knowledge or consent*.

Elizabeth McKeeman
Momma to Annabelle 8/2/00
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#154 of 163 Old 04-18-2002, 01:32 AM
 
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Hello
I just wanted to add that I went to 2 years of Waldorf parent child classes with my dd and she is now in a Waldorf inspired home school. I have talked with so many teachers and parents and have never heard of the problems with karma and bullying. I also wondered about all the handwork that is done in the schools, sewing, knitting, doll making, woodcarving. Are these not considered art? Painting and drawing are not the only mediums. My dd and I do so much art work at home that I would never feel that she is deprived. One thing I did notice on my first visit to the school is that the kids love school. I don't see that kind of enthusiasm from other 12 year olds I know, private or public school. I have read a few of Steiners books, but one I would recommend for anyone interested in the grades is School As A Journey by Torin Finser. It is the story of a class he taught from 1-8.
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#155 of 163 Old 04-18-2002, 02:01 AM
 
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Thank you for your support Elizabeth.

Meredith
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#156 of 163 Old 05-25-2002, 02:05 PM
 
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For all you Waldorf experts out there, how do you think a 14 yo boy entering 8th grade would fare at a Waldorf school here in NC that is opening a high school as well (so, he can stay for awhile). He has been in fairly traditional, unimaginative, boring and punitive schools most of his life thus far. Has had no Spanish, German, Eurythmics, little art, etc. Will this be more stressful than not? Can he blend in? Sweet, sensitive, very fun kid, but very conscious of being"cool." Any comments welcome! Thanks, Ann
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#157 of 163 Old 05-26-2002, 01:01 PM
 
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Not as a "Waldorf expert", but as someone who has seen similar children make the adjustment from being "grist" for the Industrial Age educational machine to anything less soul-draining, I'd say:

Most children struggle for 2 reasons:

1) There is nothing to push against, no nonsense rules, no arbitary judgments etc. The reliance on the system to provide children with an identity (as anti-establishmentarians, or not) disappears, and so children are left to re-discover themselves and their true nature.

Sometimes they push against nothing, and fall into a vacuum where they thrash around for a bit while they get their bearings.

2) There is no-one to "lead" them, and for a time they can get lost, even giddy by the freedom that they find themselves. Now, at last, finding their own direction, their own identity and inner voice without the tools that should have been provided by the Industrial Age Public Schools (of which I include the Waldorf System) can begin, and what to do with their time for themselves now can begin.

It sometimes takes time.

Now, although I am no Waldorf advocate, the Waldorf system may lend itself more to self discovery than his previous public school, and the above is likely to be true.

Hope this helps

a

The anti-Ezzo king
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#158 of 163 Old 05-26-2002, 03:01 PM
 
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Thank you "A" -- your response is actually very encouraging as to what I hope to happen for Oliver in this change. I assume you homeschool???? This is another option as well -- far easier on the pocket (assuming we even get major tuition assistance from Waldorf) and on the wheels since it will take 40 minutes each way to commute to Waldorf. Have homeschooled another middle schooler in the past and in many ways it is no small feat -- with the tendancy of the kid to do -- nothing.. but would consider it again... thanks again, Ann
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#159 of 163 Old 02-04-2005, 08:19 PM
 
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Greetings Ladies!

I am a new member of this site and a soon-to-be Waldorf teacher-in-training. I'd like to say that this thread has been very helpful for me, and I appreciate all the different views. I have to say that when I was reading Lisa's posts, I found myself thinking that what she was saying sounded exactly the same in tone as those who run the PLANS website (an anti-Waldorf website). When I read that in fact, she was involved with that website, I was not surprised. While that website really scared me a good deal into wondering whether I was making the right decision to become a Waldorf teacher, I also found so much of what they were saying to be completely strange to my experience. Although I am admittedly a newbie to Waldorf, I have friends who are teachers and parents going on many years, and all of them are just loving Waldorf so much. Their children apparently feel the same. My experience of the school has been wonderful as well. I'm not sure what else to say, as I don't want to become involved in any kind of hateful exchange, but I do think all interested in Waldorf should go to waldorfanswers.com and to the PLANS website as well in addition to comparing and contrasting their own experiences and those of the folks that they know. It seems to me that Lisa is quite bent on convincing others to feel just as she does and is not too concerned about negotiating viewpoints. That type of attitude in itself tells me a lot about whether or not I wish to listen to a person.

Cheerio,

Sarah
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#160 of 163 Old 02-04-2005, 11:01 PM
 
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Just moving this to the Waldorf subforum. I must have missed this one when settng up the subforums.

 
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#161 of 163 Old 02-09-2005, 12:18 PM
 
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My daughter attended two different Waldorf schools, one for Kindergarten through second grade, and the other just for third and half of fourth grade. The two schools were VERY different. The first school allowed a tremendous amount of parent involvement (I was the president of the parent/teacher assoc. for one year) and open discussion, the second one did not. The teachers in the second school totally controlled the school, and "innappropriate" teachers were rarely asked to leave as they were in the first school. By innappropriate, I mean teachers that really didn't have the skills or the temperment to teach the Waldorf way.

That said, I thought the Waldorf kindergarten was a magical year! The two teachers that my daughter had were kind, loving, and very conscious women. It was a wonderful way to start education with the creative play with natural materials, the singing, the foreign language exposure, bread and soup making, lots of outdoor play, puppet shows, finger knitting et al. First and second grade were also very good with the teacher my daughter had, however, discpline and respect seem to be a big problem in that class as it seems to be in many Waldorf schools. I think that there are several reasons why this is, the first being that many children with learning disabilities find their way to Waldorf schools because their parent's think that they just have different learning styles. Unfortunately, learning disabilities tend to lead to frustration and acting out behavior in the classroom. It also holds the class back to have a large percentage of children with learning disabilities.

My daughter is extremely bright and motivated, had no problem reading, and mastered school after Waldorf effortlessly. I feel that her love of learning was bolstered by the Waldorf approach in the first school. The second school was a huge disappointment. The teacher (who she would have had for 5 years) was critical, sarcastic, angry and rigid. Not a good fit. What's worse, many of the parents in the class seemed to be oblivious to the teacher's faults, or simply accepted them because they didn't know where else to send their child. My daughter's self esteem was plummeting at the hands of this woman. She became stressed (often felt sick before school).

There are some incredibly positive aspects of Waldorf education (the beautiful work they do in the main lesson books, lack of grades, less homework, more field trips, handwork skills such as knitting and sewing, woodworking, singing, recorders and string insturments, outdoor play in all weather, two languages, immersing themselves in the curriculum rather than just book memorization), and more, and yet the "pedagogy" of Anthroposophy scares me. The second school was very rigid in this philisophy, which is rarely understood by parents, nor shared much by the faculty, and there is definitely a policy that "teacher knows best". This was not the case in our experience.

Overall, I am glad our daughter had a Waldorf beginning, but I would encourage leaving after third grade, unless the teacher was outstanding. In all fairness, Waldorf teachers put a tremendous amount of energy and effort into their job. It's a life choice, not just a job. For that they should be commended. Not many people are up to that kind of challenge, nor should they be in that role for 8 years with one class.
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#162 of 163 Old 02-09-2005, 05:03 PM
 
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Wow! Thanks for you thoughtful reply amygreenwoman. Your experience reinforces the every school is different and needs to be reviewed before enrolling.

Our school is currently undergoing some changes. It will be more governed by the teachers now but there will still be a lot of parental input. The college of teachers recently dismissed the 5th grade teacher because of poor performance so I am encouraged that they are policing their ranks.
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#163 of 163 Old 02-13-2005, 11:22 PM
 
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You're very welcome!

Good luck.

-Amy
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