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Originally Posted by sntm
Stripping it of all the philosophical/religious verbiage, what does that really mean to my child if he attends to a Waldorf school? How does it affect how he is taught?
|So, in most Waldorf schools, is anthrosophy just a basis from which teachers formulate their teaching philosophies or does it infiltrate everything they do? Are they (sorry if I offend) like Scientologists or Kabbalaists, looking to convert every person they can to their POV?|
|How do I tell which occurs at the school I'm looking at?|
|And, for that matter, what is the basic philosophy of anthrosophy?|
|In case you didn't read my other thread, I'm just looking for a wonderful school that celebrates my child's unique spirit,|
|encourages his creative side,|
|allows him to play like a child without stifling his growth,|
|and accepts his serious business like side and love of transportation vehicles and bugs.|
|I don't need one with a philosophy just like mine, as long as they don't push a philosophy contrary to mine, KWIM?|
Originally Posted by LindaCl
As far as “religious” festivals go, we have Michaelmas, which again is consistent with the traditional St Michael's Day festival, one of the so-called “Christian Feast Days” which, like *many* religious festivals, was probably a European pagan equinox celebration originally and later “Christianized” by medieval missionaries. Since it conveniently tied together with the end-of-harvest celebration, the Feast of St Michael continued to be quite popular in parts of Europe long after most of the others were forgotten.
And at Christmas time, there is a “Shepards Play”. The other school-wide festivals have no religious elements at all.
|There are the festivals of St Martin’s,|
|plus Mary in the midst of the Advent spiral|
|(along with her portrait on the wall of the kindergarten and even first grade classroom).|
|Not to mention the Paradise play (Adam and Eve) and The Three Kings play,|
|I was being generous when I said ‘esoteric Christian’. It’s really religious spirituality of the occult Christian variety. And that’s without even beginning to mention the curriculum itself – which in its entirely is esoteric Christian wisdom, in the form of educational pedogogy for children.|
|And no, the ‘Michaelmas’ Steiner and anthropsophists celebrate, has nothing to do with the pagan equinox. Heavens, it’s the very antithesis of all things pagan, given Steiner was anti-pagan. The Waldorf Michaelmas festival is Steiner’s appropriate-for-modern-spiritual-seekers, esoteric-Christian spiritual-warrior celebration. Steiner identified Michael as the ‘right hand of Christ’ – who with his sword and might will vanquish the evil that strives to turn us away from the Christ path. Nothing ‘feasty’ about any of that.|
Originally Posted by beansavi
As someone trained in Waldorf Ed. and who help found and taught in a Waldorf School, I would say that all you need to know to answer your question is that
Waldorf Education is Anthroposophy. Literally.
Originally Posted by PikkuMyy
<So when the children were learning about straight and curved lines on their first day of kindergarten, the teacher showed them on the board, had them draw them in the air, draw them on their neighbor's backs, draw them with their feet and chins, then draw with chalk, then go outside and find them in the buildings and nature.>
Wow, in both of the Waldorf schools that my son attended there was never as far as I know, any guidance like you described for the drawing and painting.
At 6 my son was still just scribbling and held the crayons or brush with an immature writing grip. They never corrected this. In fact they discouraged me from helping him, saying that this would all improve on his own when he was ready.
It did not. So when my son was 6 the teachers concluded that he was too immature to go on to first grade. Staying back in Kindergarten was a big mistake. My son was bored out of his brains with another year of kindergarten. He started acting up and refusing to participate in the circle games and eurhytmy(spelling?)(which he never really liked to begin with), which only made the teachers even more convinced that my son was still not ready for first grade. I finally got outside help and took my son to see an occupational therapist who confirmed that he had both fine and gross motor skill delays known as dyspraxia resulting form sensory integration problems. The OT confirmed that his motor skill delays, his inability to write or draw well would not get better on his own.
It is ironic that it was one of his kindergarten teachers who first suggested that my son see an Occupational therapist for once he started going to one they,the Waldorf teachers, disapproved of what she did. The OT usually liked to visit the schools of the children she was treating to see how they were doing and then give the teachers advise, but my sons teachers refused to even allow her to visit the class room! Finally some so called Waldorf "expert" on children with learning problems saw him and even made fun of the OTs report saying "what is dyspraxia? I can't even pronounce it!" This was the final straw for me. I pulled him out of Waldorf into Montessori. We continued seeing the OT. My son has made wonderful improvements since then. His writing and drawing are still "behind" his age level however to my great relief the Montessori teachers have no problem getting him to learn an to follow and do the work.
So it is interesting to read your post that Waldorf addresses fine and gross motor skills because I was under the impression going from our experiences, that they did not. Anyway the charter W schools sound like they might be better than the traditional ones!
Originally Posted by littlebearsmum
Plain english coming up - i'll tell you the things I like about how I see anthroposophy affecting how teachers at a waldorf school treat my child (IMHO as a parent expert only)
waldorf teachers believe that children are not in their class by coincidence - that they have all been brought together purposefully(ie by divine means) - that includes the whole class, their families and the teachers (and indeed that flows into the entire school community) How is this useful to me as a parent: it means that my sons kindy teacher treats the children with respect and there is an underlying feeling of rightness, community and purpose in their interactions.
Anthroposophists believe that after you die you experience all your interactions from the other persons perspective. How is this useful to me as a
parent: It means they are very kind to my child!
The teachers believe that children come with a destiny, that even as a small child they are a person to be encountered and understood for who they are and what they are bringing into this life. How is this useful to me as a parent: It means that my son's unique self and being is honoured, celebrated, cherished, nourished, upheld, protected and guided.
the teachers believe children should be given the opportunity to grow up slowly, take their time being "socialised" and "educated". They believe that excessively premature intellectual teaching methods are depleting to a childs life forces and they become prematurely aged as a result.(ie he will learn to read and write in class one instead of kindy!) How is this useful to me as a parent: it means my child in kindergarten gets to be in a peaceful oasis for a few hours each week before we plunge back into the everyday world of supermarkets and noise and the violent and overly sexual media imagery all around us. it means he gets to play and dream and watch bugs and paint and dig holes and cook and eat good food and get dirty and muddy and just be the kid that he is without any pressure to take on all the schoolwork,exams and rigorous testing which is just around the corner for the rest of his long life. it means he gets to slow down - and hey he is only five!
These beliefs also mean that some of the things they do in the school can seen odd, oldfashioned and unusual to the rest of us. You will have to work out for your self if you can see how the big beliefs translate intothe smaller actions and if you can live with them. For me it makes it so obvious why the walls are painted in soft shades, why the teachers are calm and constant intheir manner, why families are asked to restrict tv, why junk food is discouraged, why festivals and community is celebrated, why it is so right for our family.
Hope some of this helps and I hope it was plain enough. follow your heart and your hopes for your son
Originally Posted by jalilah
I wrote in my previous post that in Kindergarten my son was did NOT receive any guidance in drawing (not taught straight lines ect.)
When children have significant delays in their motor skills they need help early on. My son needed help much earlier than he received it.
Lauraess, in one of your earlier posts you wrote about how you were worried that if your son were kept back a year it would be a psychological blow to him. My son is the same age as yours. He was kept back in Kindergarten last year and it was a great blow to his self esteem and it was completely unnecesary. It should not have happened.
Originally Posted by beansavi
Yeah, IMO, Waldorf is Anthroposophy made into an educational curriculum.
|We (trianed Waldorf teachers) were taught to respect the child's Karma with us more than the child's parents.|
|So, if the parents had problems with religion (i.e. 3rd grade Old Testament stories), then we were told to just teach the kid the "Truth" anyway, if not more subversively...|
Originally Posted by beansavi
So, if the parents had problems with religion (i.e. 3rd grade Old Testament stories), then we were told to just teach the kid the "Truth" anyway, if not more subversively..
Originally Posted by Pete
And that's exactly the problem with a religious or faith-based school system that doesn't clarify to parents it's religious underpinnings.
Originally Posted by LindaCl
The 3rd grade Old Testament stories are no secret in our school. Since it is my understanding that they've been pretty standard in the traditional Waldorf curriculum forever, its very peculiar to hear that attempts are made by some teachers to keep this from parents. AWSNA lists it as if it were pretty standard.
"Primary Grades 1-3 ....Folk and fairy tales, fables, legends, Old Testament stories."
I do understand, though, if teachers teach it to the class even against a particular parents wishes. The curriculum in a Waldorf school is set by the teachers, and a parent doesn't have veto power over a particular course in the curriculum. If parents don't want their child to hear these stories they shouldn't chose a school that always teaches them, imho.
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
But Pete, everything is taught as 'truth'.
|My child is studying Native American culture in the 4th grade with a special emphasis on the Northwest Coastal Indians and the stories they are taught are treated as truth as were the fairy tales, the saints and hero tales, the fables and the Old Testement stories. Everyone of these is a 'truth' to someone. I haven't seen any preference given to any of these.|
|What I like about Waldorf is the respect given to all 'truths' because they are universal 'truths' of mankind. The Native American storyteller came to my child's class and told his 'truth' about Raven. Last year, the Jewish families in the class shared their 'truth'. Next year it will be the Greek 'truth'. Until 8th grade when my child will have been exposed to the 'truth' from many cultures.|
Originally Posted by Pete
Well, some parents have a problem with this... and Waldorf schools need to make this clear to parents. And the reason, I contend, that these myths are taught as "truth" and not myths (which would be just as - if not more - valid for children) is that myths about the spirit world, generated by Steiner, are truths to Anthroposophists. It prepares children to believe that myths are truths - it sets them up for a religious belief system that Steiner believed was absolutely necessary for children.
It promotes the acceptance of truth based on myth and softens the kids up for Steiner's own truths and Steiner's own confused representation of "facts".
This is a spiritual education - nothing more. Call it "universal truths", call it "wisdom traditions", call it "universal knowledge" - it still has no basis in fact - it is spiritual. Nothing wrong with a spiritual education - except that parents need to be informed when this is what is being provided to their children. When AWSNA says the children will study myths and the Old Testament, that doesn't tell parents that they will be expected to believe it.
Originally Posted by lauraess
-PETE, is there testing in school that you are aware of that shows the children are 'beleiving' it? --
|I mean, lets face it, most parents dont realize their kids are growing up to believe in this 'confused' system of consumerism and Greed and selfishness yet when they are at school anywhere in the country thats what they're getting.|
|It's not so much in the books of course, Sntm, but all around them with the other kids, the lifestyles, the talk, the clothes, the media, the food. It's just my opinion ( and others I know too) that Anthroposophy isnt what you need to worry about.|