Waldorf Critics - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 109 Old 03-13-2006, 09:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
cass's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 41
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I wanted to share this interesting website for anyone else that's looking into Waldorf:

http://www.waldorfcritics.org/

I always try to research things from all perspectives so that I can make an informed decision.
cass is offline  
#2 of 109 Old 03-13-2006, 10:43 PM
 
canndw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 242
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Yes, I was a correspondent on their email list several years ago. I think by this time most waldorf parents, and anybody doing waldorf research on the internet, have seen the critics' material.

Some people read the critics' stuff and are swayed away from Waldorf, some aren't.

David
canndw is offline  
#3 of 109 Old 03-14-2006, 02:08 PM
 
LindaCl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,151
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I saw some of their earliest material about the same time we enrolled our son, though back then it was featured on a personal website. It had this very sermony, these demons will surely lead our youth to hell-in-a-handbasket quality to it, the kind of tone which usually just gets me rolling my eyes.

I mostly forgot about them completely until a few years later when I contributed to a messageboard someplace, giving my opinions about using TV to teach children in the classroom (Channel One--is it still in use?). My older children were in a public high school and some of their teachers were infuriatingly poor educators, many of them using way too much TV, and one in particular didn't even pretend it was educational. He'd bring in Seinfield episodes to use in his World History class.

Anyway, I was sharing my opinion about how poor a teacher TV is, that kids watch way too much at home, and that it made no sense whatsoever to supplement it even further by giving up valuable class time so kids could watch even more of it. When I was asked why I wouldn't even approve if they were watching educational programming, I shared some of my views about the characteristics I look for in education, and mentioned that my younger children were in Waldorf, where among other things, television certainly isn't viewed as a good educational tool.

Well.....................that comment certainly stirred up some of the bats lurking in the belfry . I was immediately labeled as some kind of dangerous kook, and prejudiced warnings were issued against me, in the third person, as if I wasn't right there. A kind of "BEWARE of CULTIST!!", complete with CAPS and !!! The supposed proof that I was a cultist was to be found in my "occult" user name - Ursa Major. My identification with the Mama Bear was enough to trigger a mini-witch hunt against me. And guess where everybody was urged to go on the internet to "learn" more?

I too joined their email list later, so there were many more "interesting" new chapters to follow these.

Linda
LindaCl is offline  
#4 of 109 Old 03-14-2006, 06:23 PM
 
beansavi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Listening to Widespread!
Posts: 8,828
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by cass

I always try to research things from all perspectives so that I can make an informed decision.
I think that is the sign of a very wise Mama.

Peace,
beansavi is offline  
#5 of 109 Old 03-14-2006, 06:30 PM
 
beansavi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Listening to Widespread!
Posts: 8,828
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaCl

Well.....................that comment certainly stirred up some of the bats lurking in the belfry . I was immediately labeled as some kind of dangerous kook, and prejudiced warnings were issued against me, in the third person, as if I wasn't right there. A kind of "BEWARE of CULTIST!!", complete with CAPS and !!! The supposed proof that I was a cultist was to be found in my "occult" user name - Ursa Major. My identification with the Mama Bear was enough to trigger a mini-witch hunt against me. And guess where everybody was urged to go on the internet to "learn" more?
Linda
Lindacl,

That sucks. But at least the experience can give you a window into how those of us feel who got lablelled as bad parents or disgruntled kooks by people in Waldorf.

By these common experiences, we are able to see the others' perspective and understand how those of us hurt by Waldorf or PLANS or anyone have a need for working through those feelings and deserve to do so.
beansavi is offline  
#6 of 109 Old 03-14-2006, 07:42 PM
 
LindaCl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,151
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
That sucks. But at least the experience can give you a window into how those of us feel who got lablelled as bad parents or disgruntled kooks by people in Waldorf.
I'm not sure it would be a fair comparison. The person accusing me didn't know me at all. And she didn't know anything about Waldorf education. She joined the witch hunt because she was paranoid after reading a bunch of semi-hysterical nonsense she saw printed on a website that had been periodically spamlinked to the list we were on, and of course once she started this panic, that spurred others to pile on a little bit. Very juvenile, and the person who first accused me apologized shortly after and admitted it was seeing this website that got her worked up, nothing more.

What I took away from this experience was that there were people gullible enough to get carried away by the very same kind of over-the-top, alarmist rhetoric that makes me even that much more skeptical. What happened to me there wasn't real life, and what was actually unusual is that we ended up on *good* terms. I say unusual, because when it comes to brouhahas between complete strangers on these internet messageboards, regardless of the topic, it usually ends up in a major league flame war.

So it really wouldn't be fair of me to compare what happened to me then to the kinds of major conflicts, especially personal ones, that others may have found themselves in. I was just giving an illustration of the influence the website has on some people.

Linda
LindaCl is offline  
#7 of 109 Old 03-14-2006, 10:46 PM
 
fluttermama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 946
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have never found much meat at all in the critics sites. I guess any type of school could have a website formed against it...or church, or organization. I believe most mama's who have the depth to get into Waldorf (as it is a deep, inner work type of education) usually have the depth to research what they are doing and to listen to their inner guide to lead them the right way.
fluttermama is offline  
#8 of 109 Old 03-15-2006, 09:48 AM
 
Rhonwyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: G less in Seattle
Posts: 2,778
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I would suggest balancing this site with others that are less agenda driven. Before deciding on Waldorf, I checked out this site and others. Thank goodness I didn't listen to the fear mongering and instead looked into the actual schools in my area.

www.waldorfanswers.com comes to mind as adding alternative perspective.
Rhonwyn is offline  
#9 of 109 Old 03-16-2006, 01:39 AM
Banned
 
ozhenya's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 38
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
it seems that most of what is written on the critics site is personal experiences and problem with individals from various waldorf schools. Similar things can and do happen almost in every other school. I don't see the need to lable something as "bad" from someone's personal experience with a particular situation.
One should always do their research about the ideology - idea, but also remember that it is all carried out by human beings and we all are not perfect.
The critics site shows how everything deeply depends on the particular school, the teacher circle and the particular teacher of your child and of course yourself (since you are abviously involved. it always is beneficialy to ask yourself "what am i doing to make the situation the way i feel it is? " when something seems to be going wrong. )

the best way to research everything is not by reading second sources, but by studying the original source. This might be very difficult, and take years, so of course we want to take the easy way out. But then we should try and take an educated easy way out. If you really will find that Waldorf (as in the waldorf education, not partcular schools or teachers) is right for you, then you will be able to find a good school or even start one if need be.
I think most of the problems discussed on the critics could be avoided if people were educated ont he subject and were not paraphrasing (with added new often contrary menaing) the original ideas.


Anyway, this is really a sore spot for me, as when i was younger my music teacher (not from a waldorf school and i went to waldorf) for years told me at every lesson that waldorf school is only for children with disabilities.... she had no idea what she was talking about. And neither did all the women on the bus that i rode to school... But they all thought they knew, since they all read the offensive article a mother/teacher wrote in the local newspaper after getting fired for telling REALLy scary stories to second graders during handwork.....

Anyway, i hope i don't come off as offensive, because that is definitely not what i intend it to be. And i hope i didn't write more than is appropriate here. Please forgive me if i did.
ozhenya is offline  
#10 of 109 Old 03-16-2006, 04:23 PM
 
RomanGoddess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Across the pond
Posts: 2,051
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhonwyn
I would suggest balancing this site with others that are less agenda driven. Before deciding on Waldorf, I checked out this site and others. Thank goodness I didn't listen to the fear mongering and instead looked into the actual schools in my area.

www.waldorfanswers.com comes to mind as adding alternative perspective.
I have reviewed the PLANS site. I have reviewed waldorfanswers.com, bobandnancy.com, the waldorf parents site (can't remember the name) and the website for a few waldorf schools. I have also met a family (but only one so far) who sent their son to Waldorf and I have to say that at the time, I had never even heard of Waldorf and I was pretty convinced that they had gotten themselves into a cult. They really did seem to be quite uncritical about following Rudolf Steiner and all that goes with it.

I have to say that there are some aspects of Waldorf that I find attractive - I love the fact that television and computer are pretty much banned. I love the fact that Disney, cartoons, and all other commercially imposed forms of fantasy are avoided. I love the fact that children learn to knit and to play a musical instrument.

There are also some things that I think Waldorf is just plain wrong about. I do not believe that academic learning should be artificially delayed until the age of 7. I think a child should learn when he or she is ready, whenever that is. Many children are ready and motivated to learn to read at 4 and add and subtract at 5, and should not be impeded if they desire to learn. I also disagree with the teacher-centred nature of the Waldorf classroom. I also disagree with introducing fantasy at too young an age. I am more for showing children as much of the real world as possible and waiting until a child turns 5 or even 6 to tell them fairy tales, etc.

But what really bothers me about Waldorf, apart from the foregoing, is the existence of sites like the waldorfcritics.org. I mean, let's face it, even if these people are "extremist" (and there is no reason to believe that they are, by the way - if Waldorf is as deceptive as this site says, then of course the pro-Waldorf sites are not going to be giving you the real goods) doesn't it bother you that that people are making these claims about what could be your child's school (should you choose)? Why are there no sites like this about Montessori, or Emilio Reggio or the catholic schools or evangelical christian schools or any other pedagogy, religious or otherwise? Doesn't it make you wonder??

That's my 2 cents.

Roman Goddess, mom to J (August 2004) and J (April 2009).    h20homebirth.gif signcirc1.gif
RomanGoddess is offline  
#11 of 109 Old 03-16-2006, 05:33 PM
 
bean0322's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 216
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
"Why are there no sites like this about Montessori, or Emilio Reggio or the catholic schools or evangelical christian schools or any other pedagogy, religious or otherwise? Doesn't it make you wonder?? "


This is a really good point -- and yes, it does make me wonder.
bean0322 is offline  
#12 of 109 Old 03-16-2006, 06:30 PM
 
Lillian J's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,065
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmlp
But what really bothers me about Waldorf, apart from the foregoing, is the existence of sites like the waldorfcritics.org.
<snip>
...doesn't it bother you that that people are making these claims about what could be your child's school (should you choose)?
[EDITED TO NOTE: I didn't realize this thread was in the Waldorf section when I responded to it - I thought it was in a general section - so I hope this wasn't an innapropriate post!]

Interesting perspective. I'm certainly not an extremist of any kind - never have been - and I actually loved the delayed academics - but I was on the critics' list for a while years ago because I had some very strong concerns about some things in a school my son had been in; and heard ongoing stories from a friend about similar things in another she worked in after having her children in that one; as well as hearing similar complaints from others I knew who had taught in them. But I gave up on the leaders of the critics' list, because they were so abrasive that they became their own worst enemies. I finally had to just give up and walk away from it . I also felt their criticisms about delayed academics ignored other research that has shown it to make a lot of sense; and it certainly worked well for my child! On the other hand, I've been attacked online when I've tried to voice any negatives about Waldorf - even by people who had never even had their children in one as I had and don't have any firsthand experience - so I basically don't even go there anymore.

The value of reading all the different sides of any of these issues is that at least you'll have your eyes open if your child is in a school situation where something doesn't quite feel right. The problems I saw usually involved parents trying to ignore what they knew to be true about their children's experience because they were so attached to the very lovely community experience and so attached to being "Waldorf parents." That's not just my fantasy - they admitted it to me afterward. It's not an easy dream to let go of - it's a beautiful vision. We had even moved near one of the schools in the assumption that we'd be using it all through high school - but we didn't get beyond the two years of kindergarten.

I also know people who've gone through the whole system, done absolutely fine, and are grateful that their children weren't subjected to the forced early academics they would have encountered in public schools. But their kids were outgoing, balanced, happy and self-confident from the beginning, had no learning difficulties, had a lot going on outside of school and with their families, and they breezed through with a good experience. And interestingly enough, those are people who never gave a hoot about being a part of the community - that wasn't one of their underlying motivations at all. I think that's a very important thing to examine in oneself.

A lot of it depends on how stable and happy your family life is, how bonded and supportive you are with your own children, how well you really listen to and respect them as people, and how conscious you are of your own needs. If you try to get your own emotional and/or social needs fulfilled from being involved with your children's school community, ~whatever~ it might be, you're getting tangled up in a very complicated dynamic where you might not end up being able to see clearly. - Lillian
Lillian J is offline  
#13 of 109 Old 03-16-2006, 07:08 PM
 
bean0322's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 216
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J


The value of reading all the different sides of any of these issues is that at least you'll have your eyes open if your child is in a school situation where something doesn't quite feel right. The problems I saw usually involved parents trying to ignore what they knew to be true about their children's experience because they were so attached to the very lovely community experience and so attached to being "Waldorf parents." That's not just my fantasy - they admitted it to me afterward. It's not an easy dream to let go of - it's a beautiful vision.

A lot of it depends on how stable and happy your family life is, how bonded and supportive you are with your own children, how well you really listen to and respect them as people, and how conscious you are of your own needs. If you try to get your own emotional and/or social needs fulfilled from being involved with your children's school community, ~whatever~ it might be, you're getting tangled up in a very complicated dynamic where you might not end up being able to see clearly. - Lillian
These are also great points -- thanks for sharing such insightful observations and advice. I see many, many parents doing what exactly what you've described.
bean0322 is offline  
#14 of 109 Old 03-16-2006, 08:54 PM
Banned
 
ozhenya's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 38
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmlp
There are also some things that I think Waldorf is just plain wrong about. I do not believe that academic learning should be artificially delayed until the age of 7. I think a child should learn when he or she is ready, whenever that is. Many children are ready and motivated to learn to read at 4 and add and subtract at 5, and should not be impeded if they desire to learn. I also disagree with the teacher-centred nature of the Waldorf classroom. I also disagree with introducing fantasy at too young an age. I am more for showing children as much of the real world as possible and waiting until a child turns 5 or even 6 to tell them fairy tales, etc.
What do you mean by "introducing fantasy"? (i am really curious i don't mean it as a judgement)
Things are only fantasy because we hava some notion of what is possible and what is not as far as our limited views can tell us. These things (meaning the possible and impossible) differ from culture to culture, from person to person. Children come to this world ready to take everything in. They look at things as they are as a whole and they see the most wonderful about them.
We are not introducing anything to a child by telling him stories. How can people be okay with "unreal" cartoon caracters that don't even have anything moral about them and not want to introduce fairy tales to their child. Real world is different to children than it is to us. They look at plants and bugs and they see their life in them. WE look at them and we see awful insects and useless green things. (okay not really so, but almost).

Children naturally imagine things, they use their imagination if we let them. By not letting them we are hindering something natural.
Waldorf is all about the real world: nature, the plants and rocks, natural fibers and animals, seasons. Plastic, polyester, and man built concrete cities are not real world. They are what we created. Of course that is where we live now and there is nothing we can do about it. But think of the reasons why it hapenned. I think Montaigne would have lots to say on this subject.

Also if you think about why a child would want to read and subtract early it will make sense. We live in the world where money is essential (have you seen the new "visa" poster adds on bus stops? it says "life takes visa" or something like that). We are all caught up in numbers. We are all caught up in neon letters on the fronts of stores. The Mall.....we take WALKS in the Mall. Where did the forest and fields go with cows eating grass and enjoying the sun...?
Of course our children seeing that as "real" world will want to know what everything is. It does not necessarily mean that they are ready to count or read, they are ready to start learning about the world and that's the only mean.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cmlp
But what really bothers me about Waldorf, apart from the foregoing, is the existence of sites like the waldorfcritics.org. I mean, let's face it, even if these people are "extremist" (and there is no reason to believe that they are, by the way - if Waldorf is as deceptive as this site says, then of course the pro-Waldorf sites are not going to be giving you the real goods) doesn't it bother you that that people are making these claims about what could be your child's school (should you choose)? Why are there no sites like this about Montessori, or Emilio Reggio or the catholic schools or evangelical christian schools or any other pedagogy, religious or otherwise? Doesn't it make you wonder??
That's my 2 cents.
This will probably sound completely crazy. But....
When an idea is mediocre, it will suit lots of people.
When an idea is more perfected, or just more thought through and closer to something universal, there will always be more opposition to it. SInce it is harder to understand. And most of all it is harder to put it to life ! To many interpretations, too many different personalities and reasons to join. Looking at history we can see that what was most ideals in theory never worked in real life. ANd not because the idea was flawed in itself, but becuase it is natural for human beings to want things for themselves, to forget to be openminded, etc..... And in Waldorf, where it seems they celebrate open mindedness you will often find close minded people. And the Geotheanum builds an underground garage, when many waldorf schools across the world are in need of funding. And the two most known assosiations/funds for waldorf schools will try to close up the school where the mentor teaches other teacher (of this poot country) cheaper than the teachers sent from the associations....
It is always like that. No matter where you turn. I have witnessed it with my own eyes. Schools that call themselves waldorf a re not necesserily waldorf. You need to know what it is and look for it.


Otherwise it's like saying that Communism is bad because it was a tyrrany. That does not make any sense. Those are two different concepts. And in reality it was a tyrrany, not communism. (this is not to say that i agree with everything in communism, even in theory)

Anyway, every parent's responsibility is to bring up their child well. Well can mean different things for different people.
And we have no way of knowing who is right and who is wrong.
ozhenya is offline  
#15 of 109 Old 03-16-2006, 09:01 PM
Banned
 
ozhenya's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 38
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J



I also know people who've gone through the whole system, done absolutely fine, and are grateful that their children weren't subjected to the forced early academics they would have encountered in public schools. But their kids were outgoing, balanced, happy and self-confident from the beginning, had no learning difficulties, had a lot going on outside of school and with their families, and they breezed through with a good experience. And interestingly enough, those are people who never gave a hoot about being a part of the community - that wasn't one of their underlying motivations at all. I think that's a very important thing to examine in oneself.


I am one of those people that went through the whole thing. And i definitely give a hoot about the community there. In fact I have a child right now and my ultimate goal would be to create a community around us, so that he can have a more balanced life.
And my mother was and still is a waldorf teacher and deeply involved in waldorf (and anthoposophy). And i am not just brainwashed to believe this. I did and continue to do a lot of studying on this. I also go to college where instead of textboooks we only read original sources. SO you can be sure that i truluy believe in research for oneself.
I know many and many people who have ghraduated from waldorf and yes some of them have problems. But what school does not have people who graduate it with problems?
I know many people that were "difficult" children, had learning disability and they all were doing poorly at theri schools untill they came to waldorf. And now they are doing great! Certainly their values are much higher than the average 21-year old.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J

A lot of it depends on how stable and happy your family life is, how bonded and supportive you are with your own children, how well you really listen to and respect them as people, and how conscious you are of your own needs. If you try to get your own emotional and/or social needs fulfilled from being involved with your children's school community, ~whatever~ it might be, you're getting tangled up in a very complicated dynamic where you might not end up being able to see clearly. - Lillian
this is true about anything, any place you are.
ozhenya is offline  
#16 of 109 Old 03-16-2006, 09:30 PM
 
Lillian J's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,065
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozhenya
I am one of those people that went through the whole thing. And i definitely give a hoot about the community there.
Just to clarify, when I said they "didn't give a hoot," it wasn't in any way meant as a negative. They had nothing against the community - they simply didn't have a need for a school community, and were very active in other things. What I was trying to say was that they weren't needy about it in the way that some of my friends were - which I think is a very good thing in any circumstance in life.

Quote:
I know many and many people who have ghraduated from waldorf and yes some of them have problems. But what school does not have people who graduate it with problems?
And again to make sure I was being clear, I made no reference to or innuendo about any Waldorf graduate. As I said, there are people who have a perfectly positive time all the way through.

Quote:
I know many people that were "difficult" children, had learning disability and they all were doing poorly at theri schools untill they came to waldorf. And now they are doing great! Certainly their values are much higher than the average 21-year old.
That's great! And I know some who have had a more difficult time there because of their learning disabilities. We've just known different people and seen different situations at different places and under different circumstances. Which doesn't make either of us wrong in our experiences.

Quote:
this is true about anything, any place you are.
Yes! Absolutely. Which is what I said in the quote you cited:
"If you try to get your own emotional and/or social needs fulfilled from being involved with your children's school community, ~whatever~ it might be, you're getting tangled up in a very complicated dynamic where you might not end up being able to see clearly." I guess I could have made the comment more inclusive - I guess I could have said "with your child's school community, or sports team community, or scouting community, or ~whatever~ but we were discussing schools, and actually, I haven't personally seen that particular thing happen with those things, but have seen it with schools. And Waldorf isn't the only kind of school I've seen it happen with either! Any school that provides a wonderful community experience for families can bring out that kind of need in parents. Which is why I worded it the way I did: "~whatever! it might be."

And I'm remembering why I don't like to talk about Waldorf.
Lillian J is offline  
#17 of 109 Old 03-16-2006, 11:03 PM
 
LindaCl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,151
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think I'll just say a couple more things before heading down for cover into the storm cellar, cause it's starting to look a nasty one might be headed this way.

First I'll explain my own answer why the simple fact that there *is* such a website dedicated to vicious attacks against Waldorf, [accusing them of all manner of heinous crimes, including their supposed relationship to Nazism, for starters, and, well, making children engage in Luciferian witchcraft rites, complete with candles and pentagrams, to name just another], is just not that impressive to me. In five seconds, I could find a hundred sites dedicated to denying the holocaust. In another five seconds, I can find a hundred more that are still trying to peddle the freakin' Protocols of the Elders of Zion, for gawdsakes. I don't necessarily stop to ask myself, "I wonder why there aren't also a hundred websites that deny genocide in Rwanda or in Cambodia?" and think to myself, "Sure makes me wonder if the Nazi holocaust is just a lie!"

There are certainly no shortage of websites I can find denouncing this one. Here's one from an organization that I was proud to support last fall after PLANS total failure and undeniable loss in court. http://www.americans4waldorf.org/Arguments.html

But one more thing before I dash for cover .

I don't expect everyone to love Waldorf just because I do. I don't expect everybody to agree that their way is better than anybody else's. I'm not surprised, but disappointed, that not all Waldorf schools are as 'together' as they should be, and I'm not surprised that some people have really awful stories to tell. I don't know of any school system that this can't be said as well. This is because Waldorf schools, like any other, are ~real~ places, not storybook never-never lands.

So I guess you could say I don't think that every individual critic of Waldorf should be lumped with this particular organization that the OP speaks of. I just wanted to emphasize this.

But I do think that a large part of why Waldorf supporters are often so prickly about Waldorf criticism is because they have to hear it thrown in their faces All the Time. And frankly too, Waldorf has so often been subjected to vicious and ignorant prejudice. My children's school had been burnt to the ground as a result of prejudiced rumors. At one point, other schools objected to playing in sports contests with the school. For a time here, students had to pass through a gauntlet of angry picketers just to get in and out of the school every day. There were death threats made after some crackpot made wild accusations in the local newspaper. And all this has just happened in my community. (I hasten to add that the community overall has been absolutely fantastic rallying to defend and support the school against attacks like these. Most people are both very decent and very sane.)

Linda
LindaCl is offline  
#18 of 109 Old 03-16-2006, 11:29 PM
 
lauren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: In a state of grace
Posts: 6,986
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
For any newcomers, please read the Sticky explaining the Waldorf subforum special guidelines. Thank you!!


http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=334425

 
lauren is offline  
#19 of 109 Old 03-17-2006, 12:54 AM
Banned
 
ozhenya's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 38
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by lauren
For any newcomers, please read the Sticky explaining the Waldorf subforum special guidelines. Thank you!!


http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=334425
DId i say something that violated the policy?
I am sorry if i came off agressive. I did not really intend it to be so.
I might have taken the pp post as more than what it really was. And the same things might have happened in response to my post. I just wanted to share my side. As it seems like there are a lot of generalities being thrown around any time, not just on this thread.
Just like LindaCl, I am sad about some of the things some of the waldorf schools did, or the way things were handled. But of course ther are just "real" schools and people.

I am sorry again if i offended anyone.
I am knew to this forum, but not new to the fact that i have to defend myself every time i tell someone i went to waldorf and liked it and continue to do so.
ozhenya is offline  
#20 of 109 Old 03-17-2006, 12:58 AM
Banned
 
ozhenya's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 38
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Linda, I do agree that being in a community just for your own emotional or other needs and ignoring your children's needs is not healthy for anyone.
But at the same time I do believe that community should be an essential part of a person. That is just my belief.
Everywhere i go right now the values of induvidual and materialistic values are put ahead of the community and it makes me want to raise my child in a community so much more. I think there are some very important values that can only be learned in a community.
ozhenya is offline  
#21 of 109 Old 03-17-2006, 02:08 AM
 
Lillian J's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,065
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Ozhenya, I think we all want community, crave community, benefit from community - community that supports and nourishes our values. It's just that when we want something/anything so badly, we mere mortals can sometimes become somewhat tunnel-visioned, even when our children are clearly having a difficult time in the particular community we've chosen, and don't belong there.

I just think we have to be stay very conscious about our motivations whenever our children are involved and are the link to whatever community it is that we want to be part of. They're the ones who have to live the daily reality of it.

Our objectivity can get all muddled in any kind of school community - I've also seen it in a very different kind of private school - not Waldorf - that had absolutely wonderful events where the children performed in delightful programs, and then the families all enjoyed potlucks, with their instruments coming out for lovely spontaneous sing-alongs of favorite songs while the children played - everyone basking in the camaraderie and warmth of the feeling that they were part of something very special and were providing their children with a wonderful school experience. But there were some very serious problems and dysfunction inside the classrooms for a number of the children - and parents didn't want to know about it, or in some cases knew about it but didn't want to deal with it because of their fear of the dreaded public school as an impossible alternative. It wasn't until I'd left the school that I happened upon parents who told me their children had been very unhappy there - but were doing fine in public school. And Waldorf communities offer even more attractive events - some of the most beautiful and amazing events I've ever experienced - so belonging to those communities can carry even more weight when sorting out our priorities.

I'm sorry if I took your post wrong - I might very well have read a tone of voice into it that wasn't there. - Lillian
Lillian J is offline  
#22 of 109 Old 03-17-2006, 07:05 AM
 
RomanGoddess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Across the pond
Posts: 2,051
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozhenya
What do you mean by "introducing fantasy"? (i am really curious i don't mean it as a judgement)
Things are only fantasy because we hava some notion of what is possible and what is not as far as our limited views can tell us. These things (meaning the possible and impossible) differ from culture to culture, from person to person. Children come to this world ready to take everything in. They look at things as they are as a whole and they see the most wonderful about them.
We are not introducing anything to a child by telling him stories.
By fantasy, I mean everything from Winnie the Pooh (which, by the way, was originally intended for children of around SEVEN OR EIGHT years of age, before the rights were purchased by Disney), all cartoon characters, talking animals, the tooth fairy (which should not be relevant before the age of 7 anyway), Santa Claus, Superman, and other characters that have been fabricated by adults and imposed on children. Note that I am not against fantasy altogether but I think it is appropriate to introduce it later, at age 5 or 6. I don't think it serves much purpose showing my 19-month old Peter Rabbit. She needs to learn what a real rabbit is first before she can appreciate that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ozhenya
How can people be okay with "unreal" cartoon caracters that don't even have anything moral about them and not want to introduce fairy tales to their child. Real world is different to children than it is to us. They look at plants and bugs and they see their life in them. WE look at them and we see awful insects and useless green things. (okay not really so, but almost).
Totally agree with you. My DD watches NO cartoons (and will not for a long time, if I have any say in the matter).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ozhenya
Children naturally imagine things, they use their imagination if we let them. By not letting them we are hindering something natural.
I could not agree more with you. But you are talking about imagination, not fantasy. Note that IMAGINATION is NOT the same as fantasy.

Fantasy is a retreat from the real world through mental perception of unreal images.

Imagination,on the other hand, is the process by which all the impressions taken from the real world are placed at the level of abstraction.

It is imagination that has enabled humans to master their environment and construct civilizations. Imagination has a sensory basis, and its construction in the mind has to be firmly established by reality. The more it is connected with the reality of the external world, the better one can use one's imagination to create.

Consider the inventions of Leonardo da Vinci, which were made into reality many years later. They were invented through the observation and knowledge of real things, real objects, and real elements in nature. He scientifically observed the flight of birds, for instance, before attempting to draw an object that was much later to become an airplane. Most scientific discoveries have come through someone's imagination.

Adults think that they are developing the imagination of children by making them accept fantastic things as realities. But even Waldorf educators acknowledge that this is not true. Showing children Disney cartoons of Cinderella and and Winnie the Pooh only serves to limit the child's own imagination in construction his or her own stories and even drawing his or her own pictures of what, for example, Cinderella should look like.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ozhenya
Waldorf is all about the real world: nature, the plants and rocks, natural fibers and animals, seasons. Plastic, polyester, and man built concrete cities are not real world. They are what we created. Of course that is where we live now and there is nothing we can do about it. But think of the reasons why it hapenned. I think Montaigne would have lots to say on this subject.
I think that this aspect of both Waldorf and Montessori is wonderful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ozhenya
Also if you think about why a child would want to read and subtract early it will make sense. We live in the world where money is essential (have you seen the new "visa" poster adds on bus stops? it says "life takes visa" or something like that). We are all caught up in numbers. We are all caught up in neon letters on the fronts of stores.
Numbers were essential even in the most primitive of societies, long before money was around. I think they are an inevitable component of the any civilization.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ozhenya
The Mall.....we take WALKS in the Mall. Where did the forest and fields go with cows eating grass and enjoying the sun...?
I live in France. We don't have malls (Thank God!!).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ozhenya
Of course our children seeing that as "real" world will want to know what everything is. It does not necessarily mean that they are ready to count or read, they are ready to start learning about the world and that's the only mean.
Totally agree. But, for example, my 19-month old loves to play with the light-switch in the hallway. She is fascinated by the fact that she can turn the light on and off. Should I stop her from doing this? According to Waldorf, yes, because it is "too mechanical" for her and she is not in the stage for doing mechanical things yet. What kind of arbitrary judgment is that? To my mind, it is the child who should be determining when he or she is ready for what by actually engaging in the act, not some adult who has arbitrarily decided based on the child's age or when the child has adult teeth or other criteria having no link with the child's abilities. If my daughter is turning a lightswitch on and off by herself, to me that means that she is ready for that kind of activity. If my daughter is starting to recognise letters and sounds in books, she is ready to begin pre-reading, whether she is 4, 5 or 7 at the time. If she recognises that we I pick up another apple, I now have 2 apples, she is ready to do addition (and indeed, she is already doing it). There is no need to artificially stall this process until she is a certain age.

Roman Goddess, mom to J (August 2004) and J (April 2009).    h20homebirth.gif signcirc1.gif
RomanGoddess is offline  
#23 of 109 Old 03-17-2006, 09:18 AM
 
Rhonwyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: G less in Seattle
Posts: 2,778
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J
Ozhenya, I think we all want community, crave community, benefit from community - community that supports and nourishes our values. It's just that when we want something/anything so badly, we mere mortals can sometimes become somewhat tunnel-visioned, even when our children are clearly having a difficult time in the particular community we've chosen, and don't belong there.

I just think we have to be stay very conscious about our motivations whenever our children are involved and are the link to whatever community it is that we want to be part of. They're the ones who have to live the daily reality of it.

Our objectivity can get all muddled in any kind of school community - I've also seen it in a very different kind of private school - not Waldorf - that had absolutely wonderful events where the children performed in delightful programs, and then the families all enjoyed potlucks, with their instruments coming out for lovely spontaneous sing-alongs of favorite songs while the children played - everyone basking in the camaraderie and warmth of the feeling that they were part of something very special and were providing their children with a wonderful school experience. But there were some very serious problems and dysfunction inside the classrooms for a number of the children - and parents didn't want to know about it, or in some cases knew about it but didn't want to deal with it because of their fear of the dreaded public school as an impossible alternative. It wasn't until I'd left the school that I happened upon parents who told me their children had been very unhappy there - but were doing fine in public school. And Waldorf communities offer even more attractive events - some of the most beautiful and amazing events I've ever experienced - so belonging to those communities can carry even more weight when sorting out our priorities.
- Lillian
I think you may have hit the nail on the head. A particular Waldorf school is not for every child. In Seattle, we are very fortunate to have two wonderful Waldorf schools. I have friends with one child in one and another child in the other because the fit wasn't right for both children at the same school. If these parents didn't have another great choice nearby, they might have stuck it out in bad situation for their child because of the parent's desire for a Waldorf education and community. I agree that many parents so desire the community that they don't see their children's struggles and they stay longer than they should and are very disappointed when they leave. I don't think you get this kind of intense community in many other schools so I don't believe the critics are as passionate. My child and I had a bad experience with Montesorri but I wasn't emotionally invested so I had no desire to start a Montesorri critics site.
Rhonwyn is offline  
#24 of 109 Old 03-17-2006, 09:35 AM
 
Rhonwyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: G less in Seattle
Posts: 2,778
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmlp
By fantasy, I mean everything from Winnie the Pooh (which, by the way, was originally intended for children of around SEVEN OR EIGHT years of age, before the rights were purchased by Disney), all cartoon characters, talking animals, the tooth fairy (which should not be relevant before the age of 7 anyway), Santa Claus, Superman, and other characters that have been fabricated by adults and imposed on children. Note that I am not against fantasy altogether but I think it is appropriate to introduce it later, at age 5 or 6. I don't think it serves much purpose showing my 19-month old Peter Rabbit. She needs to learn what a real rabbit is first before she can appreciate that..

Many Waldorf schools do have rabbits and chickens on hand so that children experience these animals in real life. The tooth fairy isn't really introduced until later and many families do not do Santa Claus because of the commercialization. They are more likely to follow their family or ethnic traditions such as Santa Lucia or St. Nicholas or Christkind.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cmlp
Adults think that they are developing the imagination of children by making them accept fantastic things as realities. But even Waldorf educators acknowledge that this is not true. Showing children Disney cartoons of Cinderella and and Winnie the Pooh only serves to limit the child's own imagination in construction his or her own stories and even drawing his or her own pictures of what, for example, Cinderella should look like.
Waldorf schools do not introduce images of these characters. They tell stories about these characters and allow the children to make the pictures in their minds.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cmlp
Totally agree. But, for example, my 19-month old loves to play with the light-switch in the hallway. She is fascinated by the fact that she can turn the light on and off. Should I stop her from doing this? According to Waldorf, yes, because it is "too mechanical" for her and she is not in the stage for doing mechanical things yet. What kind of arbitrary judgment is that? To my mind, it is the child who should be determining when he or she is ready for what by actually engaging in the act, not some adult who has arbitrarily decided based on the child's age or when the child has adult teeth or other criteria having no link with the child's abilities. If my daughter is turning a lightswitch on and off by herself, to me that means that she is ready for that kind of activity. If my daughter is starting to recognise letters and sounds in books, she is ready to begin pre-reading, whether she is 4, 5 or 7 at the time. If she recognises that we I pick up another apple, I now have 2 apples, she is ready to do addition (and indeed, she is already doing it). There is no need to artificially stall this process until she is a certain age.
In my experience, Waldorf does not artificially stall reading or numbers. Numbers were introduced in a very real manner of knitting. Knitting increases finger dexterity which helps writing and also encourages the use of numbers through counting stiches. Reading was not emphasized until 1st grade but the children were not discouraged from writing their names or recognizing letters. Rather oral learning and imitation were emphasized. My daughter knew all of her letters before 1st grade because she wanted to learn them and learned them on here own. My son on the other hand had no interest in letters and went to first grade knowing few. They both read above grade level now.

I think listening to what you believe is important to children, indicates to me that Montessori might be a better fit for you. As an engineer, who works with a great deal of imbalanced eggheads, balance was important to me. My children show clear strength in numbers and engineering but I wanted to have a more rounded education for them where art, music and natural beauty were featured just as strongly as numbers and reading.
Rhonwyn is offline  
#25 of 109 Old 03-17-2006, 10:52 PM
 
fluttermama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 946
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I sense a general misuderstanding on the side of the critics about why and how Waldorf philosophy does the things it does and when. I wonder if it would help to push through the fear (and anxiety producing sites), and find out for real for yourself in deep Waldorf research whether or not the things happening are evil.
fluttermama is offline  
#26 of 109 Old 03-18-2006, 09:59 PM
 
DashsMama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 859
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
This may be off topic I suppose, but it appears to me that the vocal Waldorf critics are a purely American phenomenon. I tried doing a few Google searches for "Steiner School critics Europe" and "Steiner School critics UK" and the only anti-Steiner hits I got were the US based waldorfcritics and such. Any ideas why this seems to be such an issue for us here in The States and not one for Europeans?

The first things that comes to my mind are these..
- Europeans are not nearly as religious as Americans and so would be less likely to be offended by the spiritual teachings of Waldorf education.
- Religious education, including saying verses and singing hymns is part of public school education in many European countries. Things like celebrating Michaelmas and Advent in school wouldn't even pop up on the radar as strange.
- Going by something that was mentioned earlier that rung true for me... Perhaps there is a stronger sense of community, family, and culture in Europe outside of the school setting, so Waldorf school is just like any other school and not a social club with all of the cliques and other BS that come with it.

What do you all think? European Mamas and Papas, is my idea totally whacked and off-base?

Judy mom to Dash (9), Corbin (7) and Will (3) :
DashsMama is offline  
#27 of 109 Old 03-18-2006, 10:38 PM
 
Lillian J's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,065
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by DashsMama
This may be off topic I suppose, but it appears to me that the vocal Waldorf critics are a purely American phenomenon. I tried doing a few Google searches for "Steiner School critics Europe" and "Steiner School critics UK" and the only anti-Steiner hits I got were the US based waldorfcritics and such. Any ideas why this seems to be such an issue for us here in The States and not one for Europeans?
I saw vocal critics in the list that were other than American - one in Australia in particular. They wouldn't show up in a Google search as such. I never thought about it, but I suppose they were a small fraction. However, it seems to me, as I recall, that criticism wasn't about the spiritual beliefs themselves so much as about the fact that the full impact of the spiritual beliefs in curriculum and day to day faculty decisions about individual children was not more clear up front so that people could make informed choices when they thought they were enrolling in a secular school. - Lillian
Lillian J is offline  
#28 of 109 Old 03-19-2006, 01:18 AM
 
Deborah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: the Seacoast of Bohemia
Posts: 6,182
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillian J
However, it seems to me, as I recall, that criticism wasn't about the spiritual beliefs themselves so much as about the fact that the full impact of the spiritual beliefs in curriculum and day to day faculty decisions about individual children was not more clear up front so that people could make informed choices when they thought they were enrolling in a secular school. - Lillian
Ya know, if the critics had just stuck to the one point about waldorf schools not being as up front as they could be about the education I doubt there would be any problem at all. The critics could have come up with a simple checklist of what they thought parents needed to know, schools could have looked at it and decided to what extent they wanted to comply with the suggestions and the conflict probably would have ended peacefully.

The history of the whole controversy is pretty complicated at this point and I'm not going to try to recap or summarize all the various exchanges, but the whole thing has gone a lot further with accusations than a simple lack of openness on the part of waldorf schools.

Deborah
Deborah is online now  
#29 of 109 Old 03-19-2006, 01:50 AM
 
DashsMama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 859
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Yeah, I am a little confused about Waldorf calling itself a secular education. On the one hand, they do not teach Anthroposophy directly to the students. Students are not taught the basic Anthroposophical meditation techniques or philosophy that is in Steiner's book "How to Know Higher Worlds" for instance. On the other hand, almost everything that is done is based on Steiner's spiritual science, and the morning verses and such mention God.

I guess it's sort of like studying Aikido or Kung Fu. There are definite spiritual traditions that guide the martial arts lessons, but to my knowledge that spiritual tradition is not directly taught to the students. Is Aikido or Kung Fu considered secular? I don't know. I have met Christians who were so uncomfortable with the spirituality in some martial arts that they felt they could not study them. Should martial art schools put disclaimers on their fliers saying they are based on Buddhist, Daoist, Shinto traditions, etc?

Like I said, I'm on the fence with the idea of Waldorf being considered secular. On the other hand, I have no patience for people who claim they didn't know about the spirituality present in Waldorf education. It has been blatent and obvious in every Waldorf school I have ever set foot in.

Judy mom to Dash (9), Corbin (7) and Will (3) :
DashsMama is offline  
#30 of 109 Old 03-19-2006, 02:49 AM
 
DashsMama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 859
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I cross posted with Deborah and just wanted to agree with her that the Waldorf critics often go far beyond the complaint that Waldorf's spirituality is hidden from prospective parents. I have been a frequent lurker on WaldorfCritics as well as OpenWaldorf (before it crashed) and some of the anti-Waldorf accusations are pretty extreme.

Judy mom to Dash (9), Corbin (7) and Will (3) :
DashsMama is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off