A Critical Review of Waldorf Resources - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 165 Old 08-22-2005, 10:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sometimes when we look at Waldorf resources, what we don't see is often as important as what we do see. As some "Support-Only" threads are posting links to Waldorf resources, and the content of those resources cannot be challenged there in an open discussion, the validity of such resources can be examined in this thread for accuracy, misleading statements and omissions. Also, as some websites link to other websites (as with the example below) as time permits, the links can certainly be examined for their validity as well. Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

In this recently posted link to a Waldorf school in South Africa, http://www.imhoffwaldorf.org/default.asp we see a very nice and colorful website of Waldorf kids playing and Waldorf crafts displayed. What we don't see is any mention of Anthroposophy - at all. Considering Anthroposophy is the basis of Waldorf education, this apparent omission seems rather blatant.

Without knowing that Waldorf schools are steeped in Anthroposophy, one is hardly going to be tempted to choose one of the seemingly unrelated links buried deep within the web pages. It's dishonest - plain and simple.

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#2 of 165 Old 08-22-2005, 10:30 PM
 
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I clicked on the link; the very next thing I clicked on was the FAQ link at the top left. Included was a pretty detailed outline of Steiner and Anthroposophy along with a mention about religion, plus a write-up on the religious festivals (impressive, given most schools don’t mention anything about the religion). Now, all of that took maybe 15 seconds (no exaggeration) so I’ll have to ask what the issue is here?
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#3 of 165 Old 08-22-2005, 10:48 PM
 
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Pete> would you give up already... tired of seeing your threads.. could you just go rock the boat somewhere else???? please?
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#4 of 165 Old 08-22-2005, 10:50 PM
 
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I don't know Pete or his posts, but what's the big idea? I mean, if someone's asking a question about some aspect of Waldorf and he has some critical feedback, that's one thing, but this is pretty trollish.

This comes from a mama with plenty of her own reservations about waldorf... but this ain't the place
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#5 of 165 Old 08-22-2005, 10:58 PM
 
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ahh, perhaps it would be trollish if i didnt know pete's posts. Take a look for yourself. Maybe i'm wrong but It appears to me that what pete is so good at is bringing up all the points to be critical of and then doing just that.
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#6 of 165 Old 08-22-2005, 11:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks - but I'll keep the thread going anyway as I think it is important to look at how Waldorf resources describe Waldorf and Steiner.

Thanks Alanoe, I tried every sub-page but must have missed the FAQ. I'll go back and take a look.

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#7 of 165 Old 08-22-2005, 11:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, I guess this is what Alanoe is referring to:

" Rudolf Steiner (1864-1925) was an Austrian philosopher, scientist and humanitarian who has profoundly influenced Western culture."

This is an exaggeration at best. Steiner was not a scientist - and he didn't profoundly influence Western culture. But leaving that for the moment...

"He worked with scientists, artists, doctors, ministers of religion, teachers and industrialists to help transform our civilisation. "

I'd be interested in hearing what scientists Steiner worked with. I'm guessing they are talking about Goethe's writings.

"His work is best known through Waldorf Education, BioDynamics, Anthroposophical Medicine and Architecture. His scientific investigations of the spiritual world led to the development of Anthroposophy, The Wisdom of Man."

And as far as I can tell, this is the only mention of Anthroposophy. Again, I could be proven wrong, but there is still nothing that connects Anthroposophy to Waldorf education in what I've read here. Am I still missing something?

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#8 of 165 Old 08-22-2005, 11:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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One more thing - I didn't notice the link originally, but apparently an arsonist burnt several buildings in this school to the ground. Very sad.

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#9 of 165 Old 08-22-2005, 11:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by lauraess
Pete> would you give up already... tired of seeing your threads.. could you just go rock the boat somewhere else???? please?
I've been intimidated by lots of people for many years - simply for speaking out honestly about Waldorf's problems. I'm quite accustomed to rude comments like the one above. If you want to avoid reading what I have to say - you might start by skipping my threads entirely.

In the mean time, I've made assertions that Waldorf isn't being up-front with information about its connection to Anthroposophy. If I am going to support this assertion, examining Waldorf resources and websites is absolutely necessary. I'm sorry it rubs some people the wrong way when someone like me puts a lot of energy into taking a critical look at Waldorf. That's about all the apology I'm prepared to give for saying what I feel is important.

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#10 of 165 Old 08-23-2005, 01:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Pete
So, I guess this is what Alanoe is referring to:

" Rudolf Steiner (1864-1925) was an Austrian philosopher, scientist and humanitarian who has profoundly influenced Western culture."

This is an exaggeration at best. Steiner was not a scientist - and he didn't profoundly influence Western culture. But leaving that for the moment...

"He worked with scientists, artists, doctors, ministers of religion, teachers and industrialists to help transform our civilisation. "

I'd be interested in hearing what scientists Steiner worked with. I'm guessing they are talking about Goethe's writings.

"His work is best known through Waldorf Education, BioDynamics, Anthroposophical Medicine and Architecture. His scientific investigations of the spiritual world led to the development of Anthroposophy, The Wisdom of Man."

And as far as I can tell, this is the only mention of Anthroposophy. Again, I could be proven wrong, but there is still nothing that connects Anthroposophy to Waldorf education in what I've read here. Am I still missing something?

Pete


Just scroll down and you'll see the connection -- it's very similiar to what Linda wrote about Waldorf Ed.:

[/QUOTE]Rudolf Steiner & Education

Rudolf Steiner (1864-1925) was an Austrian philosopher, scientist and humanitarian who has profoundly influenced Western culture. He worked with scientists, artists, doctors, ministers of religion, teachers and industrialists to help transform our civilisation. His work is best known through Waldorf Education, BioDynamics, Anthroposophical Medicine and Architecture. His scientific investigations of the spiritual world led to the development of Anthroposophy, The Wisdom of Man.

His background in history and civilisations coupled with his observation in life gave the world the gift of Waldorf Education. It is a deeply insightful application of learning based on the Study of Humanity that helps develop consciousness of self and the surrounding world. Steiner';s perception that although external conditions in our time are changing as never before, the essential nature of humanity remains; in particular, the stages of human development through childhood follow a natural pattern unaffected by short term social change.

The task of educators remains to prepare children for an unpredictable future by nurturing healthy development from the inside, to provide the right nourishment at each stage of physical, emotional and spiritual growth. This kind of education had its origin in the first school established by Rudolf Steiner for the children of workers at the Waldorf cigarette factory in Stuttgart in 1919. He developed a flexible curriculum that has evolved with time and has been adapted to local conditions in the various countries where Waldorf schools are found."[QUOTE/]

I think they did a fine job showing the connection.

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#11 of 165 Old 08-23-2005, 01:34 AM
 
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Can someone explain to me exactly what is Anthroposophy? I am seriously researching all education options right now and had checked out Waldorf on the advice of some lists and am very interested in EVERYONE's opinions on it, good and bad. Thank you for your honest information.
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#12 of 165 Old 08-23-2005, 08:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BoyGirlTwinsAPMama
Can someone explain to me exactly what is Anthroposophy? Thank you for your honest information.
Hi,

Anthroposophy or spiritual science is the esoteric Christian philosophy that underlies Waldorf education. It’s very similar to Theosophy, even Scientology in some ways (belief in reincarnation, and advancing though levels of esoteric knowledge, for example). And Rosicrucianism is perhaps the closest as far as similar Christian spiritual-religious belief systems go.

Anthroposophists though consider it Steiner’s direct (clairvoyant) spiritual revelation and not a belief system at all. It’s a deceptively clever argument, as it allows teachers to dismiss claims that the Waldorf curriculum is Anthroposophical (or even Christian for that matter) – the idea here being that the curriculum content is ‘pure spiritual revelation’, and that Anthroposophy is simply the ‘means’ by which Steiner clairvoyantly channeled this pure spiritual information.

Regardless, that’s an irresponsible and deceptive way to go about the business of establishing public educational centers. The bottom-line is Waldorf simply wouldn’t exist if not for Anthroposophy, which is what Pete appears to be pointing out. Teachers selling Waldorf without providing a thoroughly detailed description of Anthroposophy and all it entails, would be similar to someone selling you a beautiful car without a motor.
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#13 of 165 Old 08-23-2005, 10:14 AM
 
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What is so sad about this deception is that the waldorf schools and teachers are, in so many ways, so beautiful. Technically, no one is deceiving parents because any parent can do her own reasearch and consult her own gut and intuition. However, I think this information should be volunteered, and instead my experience was one of being put off, lots of guarded double-talk and weird energy.

THere is so much to offer in Waldorf, I think - I wish parents were more freely given the whole picture.
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#14 of 165 Old 08-23-2005, 10:52 AM
 
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Originally Posted by benjalo
What is so sad about this deception is that the waldorf schools and teachers are, in so many ways, so beautiful. Technically, no one is deceiving parents...
I disagree. Not just technically but in reality, they are deceiving people: very consciously in fact. They consciously and by choice withhold and do not tell parents these things.

I’ve stated here a few times that teachers are not racists, or abusers. I agree that many if not most are decent human beings. The problem – as with all fundamentalist, dogmatic religious, spiritual and philosophical thought – is Steiner’s Anthroposophy itself. I can’t say it doesn’t belong in schools, because teachers should be free to believe as they wish. But it’s certainly and without a doubt the reason for all the many problems in Waldorf communities.
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#15 of 165 Old 08-23-2005, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by benjalo
What is so sad about this deception is that the waldorf schools and teachers are, in so many ways, so beautiful. Technically, no one is deceiving parents because any parent can do her own reasearch and consult her own gut and intuition. However, I think this information should be volunteered, and instead my experience was one of being put off, lots of guarded double-talk and weird energy.

THere is so much to offer in Waldorf, I think - I wish parents were more freely given the whole picture.
I very much agree. And there are many GREAT Waldorf teachers who are hampered by the deception. Waldorf COULD be beautiful - why not try to do what we can to make that happen? Imagine that "weird energy" and where it goes when parents aren't around. It goes to the children. Better to surround children with people who have nothing to hide and can be honest and straightforward about their beliefs and how they apply them. Putting children around deceptive people is not healthy, IMO.

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#16 of 165 Old 08-23-2005, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by alanoe
I disagree. Not just technically but in reality, they are deceiving people: very consciously in fact. They consciously and by choice withhold and do not tell parents these things.
Yes, I agree with this too (and I guess when I agreed above, I wasn't agreeing to the part about teachers technically not deceiving parents). This is, of course, my complaint.
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I’ve stated here a few times that teachers are not racists, or abusers. I agree that many if not most are decent human beings. The problem – as with all fundamentalist, dogmatic religious, spiritual and philosophical thought – is Steiner’s Anthroposophy itself. I can’t say it doesn’t belong in schools, because teachers should be free to believe as they wish. But it’s certainly and without a doubt the reason for all the many problems in Waldorf communities.
I don't agree with this. Anthroposophy itself is not the problem, because many people really like Anthroposophy and want their kids immersed in it. The problems come from not divulging the presence and application of Anthroposophy in the schools and the extent to which it is part of the curriculum and the teacher training, etc. Nobody would really care if there were Anthroposophy schools - they have a valid right to exist. People care when they are disguised as something else - and that's why it's important (in this thread) to examine exactly how they are being disguised in promotional materials.

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#17 of 165 Old 08-23-2005, 12:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Pete
I don't agree with this. Anthroposophy itself is not the problem, because many people really like Anthroposophy and want their kids immersed in it. The problems come from not divulging the presence and application of Anthroposophy in the schools and the extent to which it is part of the curriculum and the teacher training, etc. People care when they are disguised as something else - and that's why it's important (in this thread) to examine exactly how they are being disguised in promotional materials.
I suppose it’s worth looking at. But really, there’s not a lot to it. Teachers hide and don’t reveal the anthroposophical connection in any sort of in-depth manner. And that’s typical of most every school. Also, when speaking with parents, teachers promote Steiner as a scientist; yet within their own circle he’s recognized as a spiritual clairvoyant and occult master. Parents need to be aware of that, is all.

And it has everything to do with Anthroposophy. Steiner’s ‘secret’ mystical society creates secretive followers. All very spiritual, sacred and hush-hush. Plus there are the enrollment concerns: best not to reveal too much in that regard. It’s honestly not much more complicated than that. Human nature, etc.
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#18 of 165 Old 08-23-2005, 01:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Pete
Imagine that "weird energy" and where it goes when parents aren't around. It goes to the children.
exactly


and alanoe, you're right - it is active deception. What I was trying to say is that any parent can get the information if s/he is willing to do the work. Of course the teachers should not be secretive.

What is it about this spiritual aspect that needs to remain hidden? I mean, when Waldorf teachers receive their training, what is the reason they are given for not sharing all this with parents?
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#19 of 165 Old 08-23-2005, 02:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by benjalo
What is it about this spiritual aspect that needs to remain hidden? I mean, when Waldorf teachers receive their training, what is the reason they are given for not sharing all this with parents?
Teachers are not specifically told or taught to be secretive. But an occult-sacred, spiritual-reverential atmosphere is specifically cultivated in teacher training. The students are made to understand they’re learning something profound and mysterious, and it’s certainly implied and even made explicitly clear that one doesn’t strive to openly share all of that with the ‘uninitiated’ so to speak.

This is where that ‘we teachers know what’s best’ attitude is developed and cultivated. And it’s really more a ‘we Anthroposophists know things others don’t’ dynamic. It’s all fine while teachers are together in training, but once they’re all out in the real world, they bump into parents who of course expect simple and down-to-earth honesty and openness. But again, teachers have been prepared and trained to ‘secretively’ tip-toe around the Anthroposophical facts. And that’s really where that initial lack of candidness originates, which can further lead to serious and intentional deception on the part of the hard-line Anthroposophical teachers in particular.
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#20 of 165 Old 08-23-2005, 03:41 PM
 
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Here's what's available at my local Waldorf School and I suspect that
many if not all of these resources are available at most Waldorf Schools:

(WE = Waldorf Education A = Anthroposophy)

1. Open House days or evenings where WE is discussed & questions
can be answered.
2. Parent/teacher meetings alone or in groups as parents of a class
3. School brochure or website with links to information about Anthroposophy
4. Parent study groups on various WE/A related subjects
5. Foundation year program studying anthroposophy
6. Parent e-mail list with opportunities to ask questions, find resources
7. School library and bookstore with WE and A. related books available
8. School newsletter where local A. Branch calendar & activities are listed
9. Conferences on WE/A by well-known WE teachers, A speakers, etc.
10. Plays, festivals, fundraising events open to the public where materials
books, etc. are available about WE/A.
11. Waldorf or A related subscription lists or boards (See Deborah's resources
again)
12. Local A branch library or the larger A lending library.
13. Many bookstores now carry Steiner books. Amazon (and other services)
has many used A - related books.

There are 30 books and 6000 lectures -- most is available in English
translated from the original German.

There are surely more examples, this is what I came up with in five minutes of thought.

As Deborah (Nana) has been listing in the Resources section on the board,
there is a massive amount of material available for anyone who wants to
understand WE/A more in depth. There is no effort to hide this information.
Just google "anthroposophy" and see.

That said, I think that one area of improvement in the Waldorf Teacher
training could be finding how to help Waldorf teachers explain what they do and why they do it in ways that are both clear and accurate and understandable for parents. I think the perception of defensiveness and arrogance arise when a teacher is asked a question and feels unprepared or simply falls back on "well that's how we do it" or worse, "Steiner said so".

I would also like to see Waldorf teachers have materials available that
show how much of what we consider to be essential Waldorf (limiting
exposure to media, computers, knitting as a good small motor activity -- even for boys, etc. -- is finding increasing public acceptance as research or experiencences schools or parents make support these fundamental principles. I look for these articles all the time; Know News is a good resource, too. http://www.knownews.net/?k=100

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#21 of 165 Old 08-23-2005, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Serena Blaue
There is no effort to hide this information. Just google "anthroposophy" and see.
Unfortunately, incoming parents don't know they need to google "anthroposophy". They are not told about anthroposopy, and if they are, it's in the vaguest terms. They don't know it is the basis, the foundation for everything that happens in the school, and they certainly don't know that it influences even the curriculum. They need to *know* that they are supposed to google "anthroposophy" and they need to *know* why they need to google "anthroposophy". And, as we saw with our first posted school website above, schools generally don't connect anthroposophy with Waldorf very realistically.

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#22 of 165 Old 08-23-2005, 08:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
Unfortunately, incoming parents don't know they need to google "anthroposophy". They are not told about anthroposopy, and if they are, it's in the vaguest terms. They don't know it is the basis, the foundation for everything that happens in the school, and they certainly don't know that it influences even the curriculum. They need to *know* that they are supposed to google "anthroposophy" and they need to *know* why they need to google "anthroposophy". And, as we saw with our first posted school website above, schools generally don't connect anthroposophy with Waldorf very realistically.

Pete

Dear Pete,

I gave 13 examples of how parents can get to know about
anthroposophy at the school near me and you fixate on
googling?! Gee whizzies, why?

If you go to the links http://www.imhoffwaldorf.org/links.asp
you will find an extensive list of resources, incluing anthroposophical
and Waldorf resources. I hope this relieves your concerns!

Serena
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#23 of 165 Old 08-23-2005, 11:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Serena Blaue
Dear Pete,

I gave 13 examples of how parents can get to know about
anthroposophy at the school near me and you fixate on
googling?! Gee whizzies, why?

If you go to the links http://www.imhoffwaldorf.org/links.asp
you will find an extensive list of resources, incluing anthroposophical
and Waldorf resources. I hope this relieves your concerns!

Serena
What I mentioned about googling applies to every one of the 13 resources you gave. Parents need to know about Anthroposophy or have heard about Anthroposophy to ASK about Anthroposophy. Typically, parent orientation evenings and such are not forthcoming about the role of Anthroposophy any more than websites are. And no, your belief that this list is adequate only gives me more reason to be concerned.

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#24 of 165 Old 08-24-2005, 09:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Serena Blaue
Here's what's available at my local Waldorf School and I suspect that many if not all of these resources are available at most Waldorf Schools:

1. Open House days or evenings where WE is discussed & questions can be answered.
2. Parent/teacher meetings alone or in groups as parents of a class
3. School brochure or website with links to information about Anthroposophy
4. Parent study groups on various WE/A related subjects
5. Foundation year program studying anthroposophy
6. Parent e-mail list with opportunities to ask questions, find resources
7. School library and bookstore with WE and A. related books available
8. School newsletter where local A. Branch calendar & activities are listed
9. Conferences on WE/A by well-known WE teachers, A speakers, etc.
10. Plays, festivals, fundraising events open to the public where materials books, etc. are available about WE/A.
11. Waldorf or A related subscription lists or boards (See Deborah's resources again)
12. Local A branch library or the larger A lending library.
13. Many bookstores now carry Steiner books. Amazon (and other services) has many used A - related books.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
Unfortunately, incoming parents don't know they need to google “anthroposophy”. They are not told about anthroposophy, and if they are, it's in the vaguest terms.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serena Blaue
I gave 13 examples of how parents can get to know about anthroposophy at the school near me and you fixate on googling?!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
What I mentioned about googling applies to every one of the 13 resources you gave. Parents need to know about Anthroposophy or have heard about Anthroposophy to ASK about Anthroposophy.
Serena Blaue’s list of 13 resources go well beyond simply ‘googling’. She addressed your concerns and identified the many ways her school approaches this question, including being proactive in introducing parents to Anthroposophy. I read this exchange and wonder if this discussion is for argument’s sake only.

I will say her list is atypical. Most schools certainly don’t hold parent study groups in Anthroposophy. Waldorf education, yes. And in general, most of the reading material made available to parents is, again, Waldorf-specific and often written by teachers or parents. And it’s generally geared toward a light and happy family presentation of Waldorf, and minus all the deep and heavy Anthroposophical ponderings. And again in general, open houses and, in particular, parent meetings are not gatherings where dialogues on Anthroposophy ever take place. These get-togethers are geared specifically to Waldorf-related activities.

No, what’s not listed and is missing, is something along the lines of an ASWNA-produced Anthroposophical handbook, one which all Waldorf Member schools would be responsible for distributing and sharing with prospective parents. Among other things, it would identify: Steiner as a clairvoyant spiritual scientist; the esoteric Christian component; exactly how Steiner’s Anthroposophy finds its way into a Waldorf school’s curriculum, festival life, and community development workings.
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#25 of 165 Old 08-24-2005, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by alanoe
Serena Blaue’s list of 13 resources go well beyond simply ‘googling’. She addressed your concerns and identified the many ways her school approaches this question, including being proactive in introducing parents to Anthroposophy. I read this exchange and wonder if this discussion is for argument’s sake only.
OK, I'll address them one by one. Sometimes I'm just pressed for time.

"1. Open House days or evenings where WE is discussed & questions can be answered."

I know literally dozens of people who have tried to ask about Anthroposophy at such evenings. The topic is definitely NOT Anthroposophy and people who host these evenings are quite accustomed to receiving the question. There is a one or two sentence response that says something vague like "Anthroposophy is a philosophy that some of our teachers may study. It is not in our school." This not only shuts up the parent asking the question but it puts any other parents who had questions about Anthroposophy at ease. Parents who want to ask deeper questions are told that this is not the right place - or are told to ask privately after the meeting. If a parent does this, it's usually two people they must face and the two people can be quite convincing. They might even be told about some wacko critics who are trying to "smear" or "demonize" Waldorf education.

"2. Parent/teacher meetings alone or in groups as parents of a class"

In order to go to parent/teacher meetings, the parents must have already enrolled their child in the school. This is unacceptable. After the parent has been misled into enrolling is not the appropriate time to offer resources about Anthroposophy.

3. School brochure or website with links to information about Anthroposophy

Again, the parent has to KNOW to look up Anthroposophy. Additionally, the links to Anthroposophy are not going to include sites where the "difficult" material is displayed or discussed. Links to the "Bob and Nancy" site and AWSNA site are not helpful to parents seeking an unbiased look at Anthroposophy. In fact, such links are as misleading as teachers saying "Anthroposophy is not in our Waldorf school".

4. Parent study groups on various WE/A related subjects

Again, PARENT study groups. Too late!!! The information needs to come BEFORE they are parents at the school. And parents are unlikely to join a study group about a religion they don't belong to just to find out what Anthroposophy is. They should be told up front - before they enroll their child.

5. Foundation year program studying anthroposophy

Again, you suggest that anyone interested in Waldorf should have to invest a tremendous amount of time and effort learning about Anthroposophy - when a few accurate sentences at the first parent orientation would be enough to let them know Waldorf is not for them.

6. Parent e-mail list with opportunities to ask questions, find resources

Parent e-mail lists are not allowed in our Waldorf school. We have a "Communications Protocol" that restricts parent communications. And, again, you are talking about parents and not prospective parents.

7. School library and bookstore with WE and A. related books available

I wouldn't disagree that a prospective parent could wander into the school library and pick up a book by Steiner. Usually, this requires some awareness of the influence Anthroposophy has on the school, but yes, Steiner is mentioned on the websites much more than Anthroposophy is, so a prospective parent looking for information on Steiner could buy a Steiner book and discover Anthroposophy pretty much by chance.

8. School newsletter where local A. Branch calendar & activities are listed

Prospective parents don't receive these typically. And you are asking prospective or even current parents to participate in local Anthroposophy lectures and seminars after they've been told Anthroposophy has nothing to do with their child's education.

9. Conferences on WE/A by well-known WE teachers, A speakers, etc.

Same thing as above. Some parents WILL sit through a conference or lecture about Anthroposophical medicine but many will consider it something they are not interested in because they've been told Anthroposophy is not part of their child's education.

10. Plays, festivals, fundraising events open to the public where materials books, etc. are available about WE/A.

You're double-dipping here. Yes, books again - we already covered this in the library question. Sure, books are available to parents and non-parents and prospective parents.

11. Waldorf or A related subscription lists or boards (See Deborah's resources again)

If they happen to find them. Most of the lists Deborah has provided are "support only" lists. That's very nice - except that people who express a dissenting opinion about Waldorf are booted off the list and their remarks removed. It's a "safe" place because it is not open to criticism. People looking for the truth about Waldorf are only misdirected by sites like these.

12. Local A branch library or the larger A lending library.

OK, so triple dipping... Yes, anyone can pick up books on Steiner - even Borders has them. The questions are - how do they know they need to and why should they have to?

13. Many bookstores now carry Steiner books. Amazon (and other services) has many used A - related books.

Got it... Read Steiner books and you will know what you are getting your child into - maybe. Even reading Steiner doesn't prepare parents for the strange behaviors exhibited by many if not most Waldorf teachers at many if not most, if not ALL Waldorf schools.

The point is Waldorf should tell prospective parents, up front, and long before they plunk their money down and make a decision that affects their child and their family, that Anthroposophy is not only part of Waldorf education, but that it IS Waldorf education and that everything that happens in a Waldorf school is based on Anthroposophy. It's not up to the parents to seek out sources of this information - it is Waldorf's responsibility to tell them - not by making source materials about Steiner available to them, but to TELL THEM directly.

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#26 of 165 Old 08-24-2005, 02:30 PM
 
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All parents at our school should be very well aware that Waldorf education was developed by Rudolf Steiner, who based it on principles and ideas from anthroposophy. They are *not* told it "Isn't in the school". Obviously, the anthroposophy is in the methods, practice, and view of child development teachers use.

Parents *are* told "Anthroposophy isn't taught in the school". We all know that the teachers study it and use it. We all know this, though the parents probably all have their own interpretation what that means exactly. So would the teachers~~I GUARANTEE they don't all agree what this means exactly.

At our school, the parents know about Anthroposophy and they have ample opportunity to learn about it if they don't know what it is. The school displays books, it has a library that the adults can check out the books. They can ask the teachers, they can ask other anthroposophists who are in the parent body. There is even the occasional "Anthroposophy 101" offered during the evening, with very limited attendance by the way. And the wide body of information available on the internet has already been mentioned here.

I see a lot of tension about this question on some internet messageboards about the anthroposophy issue, and it seems most of it is focused on the teacher and their anthroposophical "motivation" for doing this or that. There really isn't that much dispute over what actually goes on in the classroom curriculum. What you see on display on visiting days, or outlined in the curriculum guides, or written up in the literature about Waldorf, that's what you're child is going to get. There is no secret little Anthroposophy 1A class that doesn't show up in the curriculum guide or anything like that. What you see is what you get.

But it seems some people become uneasy about what the teacher may have taken from the anthroposophy. For example, does the teacher believe they have karma with my child? Does the teacher think Steiner was clairvoyant? These are questions that go into the teacher's state of mind, and motivation, and though one can argue that answers to those questions may influence the child or the relationship between teacher and child, this is kind of a gray area where actually very few teachers are expected to divulge their personal beliefs like this. I can see why some parents are disturbed by this, but I wanted to kind of emphasize it is a very gray area there. Not all teachers are anthroposophists, and in my observation they vary a great deal in what they bring from anthroposophy to their own teaching and understandings about children. There really is no *code* to being an anthroposophist, so I'd be interested to hear from some what the definition of "anthroposophist" is to them. There is no official dogma attached to it that I'm aware of.

But nonetheless, I think it's interesting that in the case brought against Waldorf in public schools, the judge made it clear that the personal views of anthroposophists about the spiritual side of Waldorf education were irrelevant to the case judging whether or not the teaching itself was religious, saying "the anthroposophists' motivation is not at issue".

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#27 of 165 Old 08-24-2005, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by LindaCl
All parents at our school should be very well aware that Waldorf education was developed by Rudolf Steiner, who based it on principles and ideas from anthroposophy. They are *not* told it "Isn't in the school". Obviously, the anthroposophy is in the methods, practice, and view of child development teachers use.
Maybe "obviously" to the parents, but not so obviously to the prospective parents. That's more the issue here. Let them know BEFORE they are parents in the school.
Quote:
Parents *are* told "Anthroposophy isn't taught in the school". We all know that the teachers study it and use it. We all know this, though the parents probably all have their own interpretation what that means exactly. So would the teachers~~I GUARANTEE they don't all agree what this means exactly.
Well, to me this means they are lying - but yes, we won't all agree on this. I've presented a pretty fair case here describing how Waldorf curriculum is absolutely filled with Anthroposophy. Saying it isn't "taught" is misleading - it is taught but not as a separate subject. It's this kind of misleading language that is the very reason why you can "GUARANTEE teachers won't agreee what this means exactly" because some see it clearly and some choose to split hairs.
Quote:
At our school, the parents know about Anthroposophy and they have ample opportunity to learn about it if they don't know what it is. The school displays books, it has a library that the adults can check out the books. They can ask the teachers, they can ask other anthroposophists who are in the parent body. There is even the occasional "Anthroposophy 101" offered during the evening, with very limited attendance by the way. And the wide body of information available on the internet has already been mentioned here.
Again, you are talking about PARENTS - not prospective parents. This is confusing the issue Linda. The Waldorf Resources we are reviewing here are the first thing prospective parents look to when considering Waldorf. If those resources are misleading, and if the very first parent orientation is misleading, then we really have a case of fraud existing - to the tune of $6000 - $9000 per case. Oh, sorry, legal talk makes people nervous...
Quote:
I see a lot of tension about this question on some internet messageboards about the anthroposophy issue, and it seems most of it is focused on the teacher and their anthroposophical "motivation" for doing this or that. There really isn't that much dispute over what actually goes on in the classroom curriculum.
Um... yes there is. There's lots of dispute about what goes on in the classroom curriculum and what goes on in the classroom that is not mentioned in the curriculum.
Quote:
What you see on display on visiting days, or outlined in the curriculum guides, or written up in the literature about Waldorf, that's what you're child is going to get.
Boy, talk about generalizations... That's exactly wrong Linda. It is NOT what your child is going to get - it is what Waldorf schools want to make you think your child is going to get. Otherwise, why all the deception? Why not be honest and straightforward with prospective parents about what Waldorf is and what it is based on? Prospective parent's first exposure to Waldorf is intended to draw them in under a false pretense. Plain and simple.

Quote:
There is no secret little Anthroposophy 1A class that doesn't show up in the curriculum guide or anything like that. What you see is what you get.
Anthroposophy permeates every subject - not just in Waldorf schools but in real life. It does not require its own class - it's in EVERY class.
Quote:
But it seems some people become uneasy about what the teacher may have taken from the anthroposophy. For example, does the teacher believe they have karma with my child? Does the teacher think Steiner was clairvoyant? These are questions that go into the teacher's state of mind, and motivation, and though one can argue that answers to those questions may influence the child or the relationship between teacher and child, this is kind of a gray area where actually very few teachers are expected to divulge their personal beliefs like this. I can see why some parents are disturbed by this, but I wanted to kind of emphasize it is a very gray area there.
Nobody is asking teachers to divulge their personal beliefs - but Waldorf schools and they way they teach are based on a set of beliefs that should be divulged to prospective parents. Once a prospective parent has accepted those beliefs, then it becomes their responsibility as a parent to understand or be comfortable with the particular teacher's personal beliefs to the extent the teacher wants to share them.
Quote:
Not all teachers are anthroposophists, and in my observation they vary a great deal in what they bring from anthroposophy to their own teaching and understandings about children. There really is no *code* to being an anthroposophist, so I'd be interested to hear from some what the definition of "anthroposophist" is to them. There is no official dogma attached to it that I'm aware of.
I like how you qualify the statements above. Sure there's a "code" to being an Anthroposophist - just like there's a "code" to being a Christian. It isn't so much a list of things Anthroposophists carry around with them, as it is a set of behavior patterns that are derived from attention, focus and acceptance of the religious philosophy of Steiner. Someone just posted a link about this on another site - I'll reproduce it here if you like.
Quote:
But nonetheless, I think it's interesting that in the case brought against Waldorf in public schools, the judge made it clear that the personal views of anthroposophists about the spiritual side of Waldorf education were irrelevant to the case judging whether or not the teaching itself was religious, saying "the anthroposophists' motivation is not at issue".
Actually, I think that was not in contention at all. And that's not the issue here at all - but a nice diversion. What is the issue is the many Waldorf Resource materials that are often the prospective parent's first encounter with Waldorf are intentionally misleading to omit information about the underlying philosophy that governs Waldorf education and that most Waldorf teachers accept as a life philosophy or religious faith.

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#28 of 165 Old 08-24-2005, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Here's a link to the article mentioned above.

http://members.aol.com/kitmac/workon.htm

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#29 of 165 Old 08-24-2005, 04:40 PM
 
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Pete

There's not much point in a back and forth "Does Not", "Does Too" type of thing. If you disagree, specifics would be helpful.

And the only specific you offered where there's really anything to discuss was the link you offered in support of your argument about what anthroposophy "is", an article that I'm guessing you couldn't find one in a hundred anthroposophists actually Agree With. What's the point to this? The author of it is essentially laudatory about Waldorf, biodynamics and other such initiatives which began before Steiner died. She criticizes the fact that anthroposophy hasn't really produced any innovative new disciplines since then. The theory she makes to explain this is essentially a lot of he said/she said soap opera rumors about Steiner and a woman and whether or not he was very nice in the way he dumped her and talked to her in public.

What's the point? Prospective parents should be given this to read? Gimmeabreak.

This is just too bizarre.

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#30 of 165 Old 08-24-2005, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Pete

There's not much point in a back and forth "Does Not", "Does Too" type of thing. If you disagree, specifics would be helpful.
What "specifics" did you have in mind Linda? Read the entire thread about Waldorf curriculum and how it is infused with Anthroposophy. Is that specific enough for you or are you expecting me to name which teachers are teaching which things?
Quote:
And the only specific you offered where there's really anything to discuss was the link you offered in support of your argument about what anthroposophy "is", an article that I'm guessing you couldn't find one in a hundred anthroposophists actually Agree With.
Of course Anthroposophists wouldn't agree with this assessment. So what? I don't think it's possible to find two Anthroposophists that agree on anything frankly. That's why we have to go to sources like Steiner to find out what Anthroposophy was intended to be and to sources post-Steiner to find out what Anthroposophy has become. You are welcome to provide your own sources describing Anthroposophy - this is not a closed thread. People who are outside of Anthroposophy see it differently than people who are caught up in it. That should be obvious.
Quote:
What's the point to this? The author of it is essentially laudatory about Waldorf, biodynamics and other such initiatives which began before Steiner died. She criticizes the fact that anthroposophy hasn't really produced any innovative new disciplines since then. The theory she makes to explain this is essentially a lot of he said/she said soap opera rumors about Steiner and a woman and whether or not he was very nice in the way he dumped her and talked to her in public.
I thought the article made a lot of good points - and frankly Steiner was a petty little man about some things - it's nice to point that out to the "Steiner is God" people sometimes. And really, not too much has come of Anthroposophy since Steiner died. It's pretty much a dead movement. There are a few people trying to move it along - like Prokofieff, but he's way out there as far as I'm concerned. Nothing really new - just rehashing and microwaving the Steiner leftovers.
Quote:
What's the point? Prospective parents should be given this to read? Gimmeabreak.
Nope. I didn't say that now did I?
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This is just too bizarre.
Let's let each person judge for themselves.

Pete
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