A Safe, Healthy Haven: Waldorf Questioners/Concerns Thread - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 801 Old 12-04-2005, 04:48 PM
 
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I have posted about some of our experiences in this forum before so I have been hesitating writing about them again. Just in case there are some who have not read them, I will try to describe as quickly as I can what happened to us. Just to save time I have pasted parts of my old posts, so sorry for the repetion for those of you who have read my them before.
So here I go………….
My son started a Waldorf Kindergarten at age 3 ½ (at this particular school they had the preschool and Kindergarten in one class). Because we moved he went to another Waldorf school when he was 5 and ½.
When it was time to go to first grade, at age 6 and ½ he was unable to focus in the classroom of 20 children. He had difficulty following the teacher’s instructions and had a hard time sitting still. Also his drawing was not the same level as most of his peers. After a month he was deemed to be too” immature” to stay in first grade and was sent back in Kindergarten. At the time I did not question the decision. I trusted them.
Staying back in Kindergarten was a big mistake. My son became very unruly, disruptive and refused to participate in the activities. In particular he hated all the circle games and eurhythmy. All this only made the Waldorf teachers even more convinced that my son was still not ready for first grade.
We 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 from sensory integration problems. Sensory over stimulation also explained why my son could not focus in the first grade classroom. It was not because he was too immature, but because there was too much stimulation in the Waldorf classrooms. The set up, which is rows of desks with the teacher in the front and lots of copying from the blackboard, is not an idea setting for allot of children.
It was one of kindergarten teachers who first suggested that my son see an Occupational therapist. However once he started going to one she disapproved of what the occupational therapist 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 son’s teachers refused to even allow her to visit the class room! Anyway just a few weeks before my son’s 7th birthday some so called Waldorf "expert" on children with learning problems saw him and maintained that my son STILL was not ready to go to first grade! She (the “expert”) even made fun of the OTs report saying, "what is dyspraxia? I can't even pronounce it!" Her only advice was that he was not incarnating properly into his body and he would have to go to a Waldorf school for children with special needs This was the final straw for me. I never took our son back to that kindergarten again.
We put our him in a Montessori School instead. He continued seeing the Occupational therapist. My son made wonderful improvements. To my great relief the Montessori teachers have had no problem getting him to learn and to follow and do the work. Within a few months he learned to read and write, do basic addition and subtraction. And he loved it! Everyone who knew him commented on how much happier my son seemed after I pulled him out of the Waldorf school.
His Montessori teachers all shook their heads in disbelief over the fact that he was held back in Kindergarten another year for they felt he was so ready to learn!
It has been 6 months now. My son is thriving in his new school and all his behaviour problems are improving. I am still getting used to him not being considered a "problem" anymore! I look back and it is so clear that Waldorf was so, so wrong for him. I see he was bored in Kindergarten and angry for being sent back there. I see it never suited his personality.
In both the Waldorf Kindergartens and the 1st grade there was allot of unstructured free play with not enough supervision. This was a problem for allot of children not just my son. From the beginning now I remember parents complaining about all the bullying going on, kids hitting and getting hit, with the teachers either saying they were not aware of it or acting like it was not a problem. I did not want to see it at the time, but it was always there. Waldorf definitely brought out the “wildness” in my son and I experienced allot of another children mostly little boys who had difficulties there as well.

So we try to move on and for the most part we have moved on. But I guess I still keep coming back to this forum because even though everything is getting better, I still feel anger, sadness and pain.
I feel angry with the teachers for sending my son back to Kindergarten. I feel angry with my self for going along with it! The move back to Kindergarten really hurt my son’s self esteem and it will be a while before he will catch up academically. This makes me sad. The Waldorf teachers really made me feel like the worst mother in the world, like it was my entire fault he was acting up in the classroom. That really hurt. It really hurts to have people say such horrible things about your child.
What also hurt is that none of the other parents even bothered to call us when we left. Afterwards when I ran into any of the parents of my son’s former Waldorf classmates they did not even want to know any thing about my son, that the child who was once a “problem” was no longer a problem and was now thriving!

Anyway sorry for going on for so long but I really needed to get this out.
Thanks for giving me the chance to vent!
Lorraine
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#62 of 801 Old 12-04-2005, 09:33 PM
 
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Qoute; none of the other parents even bothered to call us when we left. Afterwards when I ran into any of the parents of my son’s former Waldorf classmates they did not even want to know any thing about my son, that the child who was once a “problem” was no longer a problem and was now thriving! Quote.


Doesn't that just bite to be ostrasized from your community? I'm glad you've found an atmosphere more in line w/ your son (my DS also has sensory integration issues so i understand) Try the ocean waves, or if you're not near the ocean get out in nature and try to forgive...it really will make *you* feel better and forgiveness doesn't nullify your own pain, it just helps you to put it behind you so you can truly move on JMO

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#63 of 801 Old 12-04-2005, 09:35 PM
 
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PS, The qoute was from jalilah

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#64 of 801 Old 12-04-2005, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, jalilah,

Do you see the similarities between your son's treatment and mine?

The same self esteem problems were present for my child, too.

So often, "holding the child back in Kindergarten" seems to be the common "remedy". But it does not always work, as I tried to explain to my fellow colleagues (sp?). They just got angry and felt insulted that I questioned their authority. Not all teachers are this way, but I have seen it all over the country in Waldorf settings, and it underpinned my experience at the school that hurt us so badly.

Unfortunately, it has been my experience (and see a similar quote from Clementine earlier, too) that most Waldorf teachers are trained in Waldorf Ed., but not in any extensive education outside of it.

Waldorf teacher training does not include anything for learning about disabilities or anything outside what they consider the "norm". (I was trained in Waldorf Ed. after graduate school in Elementary Education for public school ed.). Remedial/Curative training is a totally separate program, and most schools don't have remedial/curative teachers like you would find in public or other private schools.

Here is where Waldorf thinks Anthroposophy is enough to judge and assess a child. Not so.

The irony is that you see Waldorf teachers speaking as if out of authority, when their education is sometimes limited just to Waldorf education - and they can teach in a Waldorf school even before finishing or even starting training.

Some of the teachers in my school had not even been to college when they started teaching, let alone Waldorf training, either. Not to say anything bad about those who don't go to college, but in that line of work, it is imperative... especially when you are effecting others' lives so profoundly and negatively.

Thank you for your strength in telling your story and we are here for you.

I am so glad you and your family are happy and healthy now.

Peace,
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#65 of 801 Old 12-04-2005, 11:11 PM
 
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Beansavi, You are so correct in the fact that most Waldorf teachers are'nt trained in curative work outside of anthroposophy. My DS definately had some learning disabilities (dyslexia, bipolar?) I hate to label, but he has issues...his teacher actually admitted that they had little training and reccomended a Waldorf curative 'expert' We traveled to take him to see her and got the same info that any OT could've offered but i was greatfull that his teacher admitted the shortcomings of the Waldorf model (she didn't put it that way)

Jalilah
So, you were so right in protecting your DS by yanking him out of a school that only had the answer of holding him back in K, that can do such harm to his self esteem plus not help the behavoir problems, even exasperate them (much like beansavi's story)

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#66 of 801 Old 12-05-2005, 02:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good for both of you for reaching out here.

Peace,
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#67 of 801 Old 12-05-2005, 05:53 PM
 
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I have been following the thread and I am go glad that all of you are able to share your difficult experiences with Waldorf....it is very hard to feel like you are against the majority in a group that is meant to give a minority group (natural mamas) a voice. So Kudos.

I have a few thoughts and concerns of my own. My DD is three and she expressed the need to have some pre-school experience, as did I with a baby at home. My first DD is a very creative, high energy child who I have a hard time keeping up with. We looked everywhere and I felt all of the preschools fell below until we saw the Waldorf school. It was so warm and I loved the emphasis on imaginative play, baking, and wooden toys...you all know what was appealing about Waldorf. She has been very happy there in the 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 group a few days a week and I have loved it, too. But a few things have really bothered me that I have let go, but now see may have grown into bigger issues with others as I read the thread. I'll try to be brief but here are my thoughts:

* We were pretty curious how heavily the spiritual aspect played into the school and particularly into the pre-school class. As we asked questions I felt that they were trying to feel us out and give us the response we wanted. We saw pictures of angels and the Madonna and child (mother and child we were told). I read some of the older childrens blessings in the pamphlet we were given and God was mentioned which didn't fly with us, but the younger childrens verses seemed more about reverence to nature which passed with us.

*After a few weeks we had parent teacher conferences in which our dd's main teacher sat with us and just said what a delight our dd is, and i was like "okay, are there any problems at all?" to which she said no, and really I wondered why we came at all because nothing was said. Then the next day the assistant pulled me aside to say that dd had bonked another child on the head in a toy struggle and she asked her to take a little alone time. I was fine with that and really wanted to know so I could talk to DD about it myself but I asked her if that was the first time she'd see aggressive behavior in my dd or if it had always been the case and she said she's seen it since the beginning. I thought to myself, why didn't Miss M bring that up at the conference? It seems like she turns her back on bad behavior and ignores it.

*Related to my last comment, dd's teacher is a very sweet woman, almost so sweet and childlike that I have a hard time relating or even conversating with her. Has anyone else had this problem?

*Finally, my problem with the school is that there is no requirement for getting in other than if you can pay, it seems. It makes sense to me that if you are striving for a certain environment to execute your philosophy then you would want to accept children who were being raised in waldorf homes...but this is a town with a only a handful of private schools and many people with money. They put their kids here but know nothing of Waldorf philosophy and drop their kids off in Hummers wearing batman/spiderman/shrek/whinnie the pooh clothes and lunch boxes. I understand the school has financial interests, but is it true that some schools hand select waldorf families in an attempt to stay true to their roots? It seems sell-out-ish (not a word, i'm sure).

I loved the suggestion on making a list of all the things that made one fall in love with Waldorf in the first place, the aspects of it that you would like to keep alive, to define your own sense of parenting/teaching separate from Waldorf, so you can detach yourself from the aspects that don't fit.

I have always had a hard time fully embracing an idea that has one or few founders or leaders, as opposed to things that are not associated with one group. I thought of this when I read about the anthroposophy vs. AP parenting earlier in the thread. When an idea or movement is centered around one person and their teaching's it makes me nervous, where as breastfeeding or bed sharing was not one persons idea ("hey, I know, let's lactate out of our breasts and feed it to our babies! Okay!") it is just the way things have been, no questions, no theories, just survival...no amount of globalization can change that.

Please I hope some of this is appropriate and spurs some thoughts in other readers. Does any one out there have similar experiences/thoughts?
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#68 of 801 Old 12-05-2005, 05:57 PM
 
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Also! Sorry I forgot...

I am increasingly feeling uncomfortbale about moving DD to the Kindergarden class. Her preschool class is 8 kids, then kindergarden is 20!! How can two people watch 20 kids and still maintain a warm, playful environment. I haven't sprent time in a kindergarden...is it possible? I suppose this is not unique to Waldorf but schools in general but I had to put it out there.
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#69 of 801 Old 12-05-2005, 06:12 PM
 
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Hi Everyone,

It is sad to hear what a miserable time some families have with Waldorf Schools. I can so relate to that trust in their authority even though I really ought to have known better.
I mean I knew that teachers only studied Rudolf Steiner and that all the tutors were his followers and yet I still really wanted to believe that they did as they say, truly understand the child! In retrospect I can see that it was a mixture of my desire to fit waldorf into my ideals and I am also certain their realization that this was the way forward for them to gain new families and teachers.
To add to beansavi's comments it was true that KG teachers had often been teaching for years in Steiner Schools before they undertook the formal training. Their qualification would not enable them to be a teacher in any non-waldorf setting.
I am surprised Jalilah that they put your child back down to KG as that would generally be frowned upon in waldorf circles. Over here they supposedly assess children before they are allowed to leave KG and go into the grades. Attending KG does not guarantee a place in Grade I either. No wonder he was so upset but it got him out of there and I would say that was a very good thing. Being too "awake" (in their eyes) seems nothing much short of a crime in the waldorf world I feel.
Don't worry about the anger, get on with better things. You will find it surfaces every now and again and like me may find you feel that you were really dumb sometimes. Just let it all go. It is a massive organisation and in my opinion does not function in a healthy way, bound to make those of us who want a more professional approach see red!
Take care,
Columbine
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#70 of 801 Old 12-06-2005, 06:36 AM
 
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[QUOTE=mama_nomad*After a few weeks we had parent teacher conferences in which our dd's main teacher sat with us and just said what a delight our dd is, and i was like "okay, are there any problems at all?" to which she said no, and really I wondered why we came at all because nothing was said. Then the next day the assistant pulled me aside to say that dd had bonked another child on the head in a toy struggle and she asked her to take a little alone time. I was fine with that and really wanted to know so I could talk to DD about it myself but I asked her if that was the first time she'd see aggressive behavior in my dd or if it had always been the case and she said she's seen it since the beginning. I thought to myself, why didn't Miss M bring that up at the conference? It seems like she turns her back on bad behavior and ignores it.

*Related to my last comment, dd's teacher is a very sweet woman, almost so sweet and childlike that I have a hard time relating or even conversating with her. Has anyone else had this problem?



QUOTE]

There is much to provoke thought and discussion in your post. I can understand where you are coming from with your questions having had two children go through KG and also worked as an assistant. Anyway I have just highlighted this part to answer for now.

When I was working as an assistant a very lovely woman was the teacher and I liked her a lot. She had a really natural ability to work with children which was separate from her waldorf ways. However, I was always concerned about the way that she never seemed to tell the parents when they came to collect their children if they had either been hurt or had caused hurt to others physically. The events seemed not to be recorded at all either. Certainly I was not asked to countersign anything which bearing in mind I was a witness I would have expected.
My children were in a different KG and I got so fed up with them having to tell me at home what had happened to them, we are talking bruises and bites here, that I phoned the teacher and insisted that I was informed directly by her about these incidents. In the first KG we tried I was once mortified by another parent coming to tell me that my son had attacked her child. The teacher had said nothing when I collected him but I had noticed he seemed very upset. As I was doing work around the school I caught up with the teacher a couple of hours later to find out about the incident. Turned out he had been hit by another child, retaliated and then been chastised by the older boy whom he then hit out at. My question was then as now, why did a child step in rather than a teacher? This was the only time my son has ever hit out at anyone other than his sibling. The teacher merely said that she had been planning to speak to me about it sometime!
My feeling is that it creates a strange relationship between parent and child if these events are effectively kept secret. As an assistant I was told that I was not to converse with the parents about the children. I later learned as we were going up the grades that the teachers there did not like the parents to interfere with the discipline and that that was why we were not told if there were problems. My children were very open though and tended to own up to me about their misdemeanours anyway. The teachers did not appear to be very happy that I knew so much whenever I approached them to get their view.
Sorry I have rambled on a bit. I did eventually have to withdraw my children from their WS because I had so little faith that their basic safety needs were being taken care of. I am not talking about rough and tumble stuff as my children physically are bold in the outdoor life and very competent in their bodies. However, I do expect to be told if my child has been injured or had an accident or behaved seriously innappropriately. I am just not happy with an environment that doesn't communicate these things to parents.
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#71 of 801 Old 12-06-2005, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mama Nomad and Columbine, (by the way, you are both great in speaking out so gracefully--thank you.)

Woah-um, my family's experiences were soooo similar regarding the experience of:

A)
"Oh everything's fine with your child", and then one day the teachers used my child's behavior against me in a faculty meeting when I brought up the parental concern over lack of supervision on the KG teachers' part. (I was a teacher, too). I had not heard there was a problem with my child until that moment and had even asked about my son directly and was told "No, he's great" by his teacher.

The faculty chair suggested we look in my son's file and see if there were incidents recorded. There were none.

Then guess what? I was put on probation for being a parent who looked in the files-but I was also the head grades teacher who went in the cabinet all the time for work and it had been the faculty chair's idea to look for documentation of behavior problems for my child and others. The rest of the faculty didn't care and strung me up anyway... so "twilight zone".

And these things defame the parent and child because it gets around the community. It is slander.

B)
I, too, have seen colleagues and other Waldorf/Anthroposophy people who are "sticky sweet" and never really answer your questions directly. It is a common topic amongst even those of us who were still in Waldorf when creeped out about it.

My personal opinion is that it is a defense mechanism on the part of the excessively sweet person. Many people are only familiar with the surface of Anthroposophy but still want to buy into it completely when they are in Waldorf. Eugene Schwartz (Millennial Child) has discussed this at length at a conference and says it usually occurs in KG teachers. IMO, They may be afraid you'll ask something they can't answer and they may be too proud or nervous to just refer you to someone else.

Those are the experiences I wish I would have taken more seriously in the beginning. I literally would ask a question and they would answer a different question (that no one asked), avoiding the actual point altogether.

Is there an "energy shakes" or "shivering from the creeps" icon here?

Blessings to you all. I am going to get our den ready for the neighborhood kids coming in and out all day in the snow we had yesterday.

Georgeous!
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#72 of 801 Old 12-06-2005, 03:17 PM
 
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Huh....interesting. Columbine--It's a shame that teachers wouldn't want to work together with parents to clue them in on what discipline (if any is going on) so as not to create inconsistancy for the child. When I found out about the hitting, my DD and i had some talks before and after school about finding new ways to handle a toy squabble, b/c i told her that we don't hit our friends or anyone else, that is not what hands are for, and she knew what was expected. so why wouldn't they be telling her something similar so there is consistancy, and it is a problem that is addressed at home and at school. it makes me nervous that there would be any secrecy about discipline at a school, either there is no disciple happening or discipline that i wouldn't agree with......

"sticky sweet" is the perfect way to describe it....other mothers and i have joked about how that type of person can switch over into a non-teacher role, or does she talk to her husband that way!? we've also joked that the only way to cope is to maybe open up a bottle of jack daniels the minute school gets out.....

luckily for us i have seen accident reports being written out when a child gets hurt (and it's happened once with our DD) but they seemed like honest kid-cidents. but one big accident happened between two girls and one ended up with a scratch on her face. it seemed innocent but it was actually the father (who's mom is a plastic surgeon) who threatened to sue the parents of the other child....anyways it got messy but i heard all of this through the grapevine of the other parents and when I asked DD's teacher about the incident and what was coming of it, she again would not directly answer my questions at all, like she was coached not to or like you said Beansavi, she was afraid of anwering or to nervous to refer me to who was handling it. if it was to be private, then she sould have said, "at this time we can't discuss the details" , but still IMO it would have been better to immediately send out a memo to the parents informing them that a situation occured that is being handled, instead of it being all said behind backs and closed doors.

glad this thread is alive and well by the way...
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#73 of 801 Old 12-06-2005, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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glad this thread is alive and well by the way...[/QUOTE]mama nomad


Me, too!
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#74 of 801 Old 12-06-2005, 04:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thought it might be nice to have this up front again, for any new people who have not had time to weed through the other pages of posts.

Beansavi

Quote:
Originally Posted by beansavi
Okay, me again...

I want to maintain this thread as a supportive "lounge" environment, rather than an educational or debate-oriented thread, so I thought I would begin a new topic of conversation for those of us who have left, or been kicked out of the Waldorf movement.

Some issues my family has dealt with and ways to handle them are as follows:

1) Leaving the built-in, automatic community network, which includes friends of our children and friends we have made as parents.

This can be a lonely, yet liberating, transition time.

2) The pain of "I thought we were friends but now many in my community are literally telling me they "don't want to get involved", or "don't want to know about all the traumatic details" of what we went through. The school is "working" for their children, and so, that is "all [they] need to know".

Again, when we go through trauma, our friends are the ones we normally turn to for support. When many of these are no longer a resource, times can be very lonely indeed.

3) It is time to begin reaching out to family, being honest about what you went through (even if they think you were crazy for putting your kids there in the first place after hearing the story), and making new friends or reconnecting with those not involved in Waldorf. Expand your horizons.

4) It is also a good time not to underestimate the fact that you may be needing (and the chances are good for this) family or individual counseling, to gain perspective again.

Counseling helped my family enormously, because when an outsider scoffs immediately at some of the treatment you have received, it is very liberating to realize just how ridiculous some of the behavior you have gotten numb to really is.

5) Make a list of what worked for you in Waldorf, and what drew you to it in the first place. You do not have to give these things up. My children still have the tradition at Christmas that Santa sat by the fire carving in the old-fashioned way, a wooden toy for them as he and Mrs. Claus talked and thought about my kids only. I made up this tradition myself, and really enjoy looking at the Ostheimer and Kinderkram sites like The Wooden Wagon. However, I no longer order from companies that identify themselves as Waldorf associates or supporters. I also do not go to Waldorf craft fairs, etc.

What I do do is find the basic core of what was already existing within myself that Waldorf aligned with and thus drew me in: for me it was the crafts, songs, underlying spiritual acknowledgement, colors and textures. These elements are still very prevelant in my life and the lives of my family members.

By doing this, I have separated my identity from that of Waldorf. Losing our individual identity can be a common problem, and rediscovering it is crucial to our happiness and fulfillment.

Want to add anything? Please jump in!!!

Peace,
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#75 of 801 Old 12-06-2005, 05:23 PM
 
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Thank you beloved K, Beansavi and Columbine and all for your kind, supportive words!

Beansavi you wrote: <Do you see the similarities between your son's treatment and mine?>

Yes and I have seen it other times too. Something similar happened to another little boy the year before us (he was put back in KG after a month of 1st grade and then started acting up in KG and finally left the school in the middle of the year. It should ahve been a warning to me. I voiced my concerns about that happening again when they first talked about putting my son back in KG, but was told that our circumstances were so "different", insinuating that the mother of the boy that left had so many problems and that was the cause of the boys behaviour. They probably spoke that way about me too after I left!
My husband just met someone at work who has a son the same age as ours. This boy was also in a Waldorf school until a few weeks ago He was also kept back in Kindergarten last year and finally they took him out . My husband is convinced Waldorf is more for girls than boys. Well I know it is supposed to be for both and I actually know of a few girls who had difficulties there as well, but it really does seem that it’s more often the little boys who run into problems at Waldorf!

Beabsavi wrote: <Waldorf teacher training does not include anything for learning about disabilities or anything outside what they consider the "norm". (I was trained in Waldorf Ed. after graduate school in Elementary Education for public school ed.). Remedial/Curative training is a totally separate program, and most schools don't have remedial/curative teachers like you would find in public or other private schools.>
Here is where Waldorf thinks Anthroposophy is enough to judge and assess a child. Not so.>

My sons WS actually had a good remedial therapist. She was the only one who I felt understood and saw the good in my son. I feel like she disapproved of what was going on but could not really speak out against it. We remained on very good terms with her. If all the teachers were like her we might have stayed.
This is the main reason I cannot recommend Waldorf.(the other is lack of supervision and intervention) The majority of teachers don’t have a cue as how to deal with different types of children, with different learning variations. Yet they claim to be so knowledgeable about child development. It is Scary isn’t it?
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#76 of 801 Old 12-06-2005, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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jalilah QUOTE:

This is the main reason I cannot recommend Waldorf.(the other is lack of supervision and intervention) The majority of teachers don’t have a cue as how to deal with different types of children, with different learning variations. Yet they claim to be so knowledgeable about child development. It is Scary isn’t it?[/QUOTE]

Yes, jalilah, it is scary...
and disappointing...
and humiliating...
and ridiculous...
and sad...
and irresponsible to all beloved children.
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#77 of 801 Old 12-07-2005, 03:24 PM
 
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i am sorry i hope this is not violating the purpose of the thread since it is not for educational purposes but I was not sure where else to turn...I am confused by the Advent Spiral. i googled it and have more questions than answers now. you know i am already skeptical about the spiritual/anthrposophical side of Waldorf, especially with a pre-schooler in her first year right now....

can you not candy coat what Advent spiral is all about for me, from a ex-Waldorfers perspective?

DD is supposed to participate in it this afternoon and i haven't decided i'm down. it seems appealing in a mythological, ritual sort of way but i don't like trying out something if i don't know the true meaning. (classic at our school--I didn't know about this until yesterday...arg)

again, sorry if this is not where you want the thread to go.
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#78 of 801 Old 12-07-2005, 05:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's okay, mama nomad.

I didn't mean we shouldn't ask questions like yours, I really meant that I just wanted to maintain the protective, friendly vibe of this thread. Ask away.

For me, having been a Waldorf teacher, the advent spiral was celebrated at our Waldorf school as a kind of Winter Solstice ritual, also corresponding to Creation (a spark in the darkness), Archangels, etc.

Basically, it is the darkest time of year, and the children are told they are "going within", both spiritually and physically/symbolically in the ritual (spiraling inward through greenery in front of the rest of the school to light a candle somewhere along the way), to kindle and maintain the "light within" during this time of darkness.

The way it corresponds to Archangel Michael is that he is sort of the Archangel that is, according to Anthroposophy, "watching over mankind" for his turn at a three hundred year cycle, as well as being a symbol of light for this epoch in human history. The "Michael and the Dragon" story predominates in the fall (getting darker...), and now we are moving into winter.

"The Advent Spiral" is often the name Waldorf schools give to this ritual, and so studying what "Advent" is in Christianity will help you, too.

Peace,
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#79 of 801 Old 12-08-2005, 07:22 PM
 
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Thanks, we couldn't go anyways b/c of the snow and ice. It does seem like a beautiful serene ritual that you could put your own nature-y spin or spiritual spin on. What freaked me out was the two websites that mentioned Steiner talked about the birth of an Aryan nation.....sounds a little racist but that seems like a big bag of worms, YKWIM?
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#80 of 801 Old 12-09-2005, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes I do KWYM about the racism thing, and it is a very real issue in the Anthroposophical and Waldorf worlds... I have mentioned it earlier in this thread that Steiner felt the distance you had travelled toward God (the more "evolved you are") shows up in your physical characteristics such as facial and bone structure, as well as handicaps, and race is no exception to that lengthy, heated discussion.

The Spiral of Light is definitely a beautiful ceremony and I never had a problem with it, personally. It was one of the things that drew us in as a family, along with the singing, wooden toys, ethereal colors of the classrooms...

My Question

Over the last three days I have experienced the "coincidence" of several different families expressing their concerns to me about the "ego" that floats around a Waldorf school.

My question is, does Waldorf draw people who naturally "need" to be in a position of authority or superiority? I am not asking this to be rude, but it seems that over and over again I experienced, and hear others' experiences that the "bottom line" to their troubles was a group of people at the school did not appreciate being questioned about their decisions, or told less than wonderful things about the school. People have seemed to get shunned for this big time.

There also seem to be two separate power structures: the one the school says is the power structure,

and

the actual power structure or click that involves several families who discuss things and make decisions under the table.

What is that intangible "attitude", and why haven't AWSNA and the Anthroposophical Society in America acknowledged and discussed it at one of their many conferences?

I have actually written both of these organizations regarding this issue, stating that I was questioning the attitude and apparent clicks that make the real decisions/influence the rest of the school in a strong way because I cared about Waldorf, but both groups just seemed to speak vaguely and not even acknowledge that they clearly "knew what I meant".

I am definitely not some fanatic who is pushy and confusing when I write or call an organization, but rather, I am a well-centered teacher and mother. And these head organizations still couldn't/wouldn't talk about it.

In my opinion, this attitude and hidden power structure is the number one reason Waldorf is not more successful and continues to lay a path of hurtful feelings amongst its former families and children.

Peace,
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#81 of 801 Old 12-09-2005, 06:26 PM
 
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I think that any group or organization or industry that goes against the main stream has a tendency to feel clique-ish, and fulfill a role for many members of a sense of belonging, that being a member completes them. The attitude seems like a defense mechanism, because so many other mainstream people reject the casue (otherwise it would BE mainstream)-- I am speaking very generaly b/c I do not know much of anything about the Waldorf organization, except for my own experience. But when any org/or business is run with personal conviction and deep emotion behind it I think it can less success, than if you left certain more business-sided aspects of it up to business professionals who are really unbiased on how they feel about the actual product or service or whatever.

I was pulled drawn to Waldorf b/c it came the closest to the type of education and environment I desired, which I think is the case for a lot of people in this education crisis we face in america today--people want alterantives, and like someone said before they want Waldorf to fit so badly, they ignore certain aspects that don't fit. but I have also met people who seem to be into things purely for that sense of belonging, whether it be the natural movement or an area i am familiar with, the body mod movement.

it is common for humans to go a little overborad when they get into a position of power, and use it to satisfy their own desires and longing. it sounds like if there was more organization higher up that did not have any alterior motives and true goal was the success of the movement, so any behind the scenes, clique-y behavior was not tolerated, it seems like there would be much more success.

it is always hard when you believe in something (natural/home birth, breastfeeding, religious convictions) to not feel something negative toward someone that does not hold the same beliefs. and we all know that has led to some pretty ugly behavior......

i don't know, those are just some of my initial thoughts.
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#82 of 801 Old 12-10-2005, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mama nomad, I see what you are saying and agree.

(I address the rest of this to everyone)

When I speak about "cliques", I mean that within the very school there tend to be cliques that excluded other members within that same school, and thus the actual power structure lies within the cliques rather than the perceived power structure of the school. (People are on committees, boards, and guidelines for confidentiality are established, but there is loose playground/parking lot/bar stool talk that goes against the honor code people are supposed to be representing in the literal school structure guidelines that everyone is supposed to adhere to-these are in an official AWSNA book everyone is supposed to read.)

Regarding "success"... to me, personally, Waldorf being successful means Waldorf having a more positive effect on those who have devoted themselves and their families to the Waldorf or Anthroposophical movements.

To me, it's about quality, not quantity (mainstream vs alternative).

A lot of those I have spoken to who have been hurt (myself included) were heavy and positive contributors/participants who got "steam rolled" by the cliques within the Waldorf school and Anthroposophical movement at large, and the ego associated with them.

Has anyone else had these types of experiences here?

Happy Saturday and
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#83 of 801 Old 12-14-2005, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to say that I am (as many of us are) going to be pretty pre-occupied over the next couple of weeks not only with the holidays, but getting everything together for our first homebirth (yay!).

I hope you all have a happy and restful holiday season, and I will check back with you soon...

Happy Holidays and
Peace,


Sincerely,
Beth
a.k.a.
Beansavi
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#84 of 801 Old 12-17-2005, 09:31 AM
 
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I wish you the best of Christmases and all good luck with that home birth Beth. Look forward to hearing from you in the New Year!
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#85 of 801 Old 12-18-2005, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Columbine. All the best to you, too. I will pop back in when Iget a chance or have any "news"....

Peace,
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#86 of 801 Old 12-28-2005, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Happy New Year everybody.

I am working towards another type of educational certification and hope to one day find it a more professional, friendly, and fulfilling teaching experience... since teaching is my joy and my calling, as is family life.

Please keep this thread going and maintain this nice place for people to speak freely. I'll be around...

Peace,
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#87 of 801 Old 12-30-2005, 06:37 PM
 
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How come i can't open your picture? it says photo inaccessible--contact owner.
but by all means if you are busy giving birth just ignore this!!


happy birthing and happy new year!
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#88 of 801 Old 12-31-2005, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey, I wish I were giving birth...but the right time is not yet, I guess...it's just that fun time of taking five full minutes to get out of bed three times a night to pee!

I'm working on the darned link---it only works for me so far. I may need to post the picture somewhere else on the computer and then link it to that. But that would mean I knew anything about computers---ha ha!!!!

Thanks for the happy birthing and new year wishes!!!!
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#89 of 801 Old 12-31-2005, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Guys,

Alright, I can't tell if it works because it always works for me but no one else! Let me know...

Peace,
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#90 of 801 Old 12-31-2005, 11:24 PM
 
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Link Not working.......

 
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