can we re-touch on the topic of waldorf schools and religion? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 07-19-2007, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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anyone have any info. i have dh all gung ho about dd and all our kids going to waldorf schools (we'll figure out finances later) but now hes researching waldorf while at work and coming up with all these pages about waldorf being religious (like that waldorf critics.com) and him being mr. atheist now is very against that :
anyone have any info on the religious aspects of waldorf schools? im ok with whatever religion they teach b/c i will also teach dd our religion at home.
but i need info to show dh that takign our kids to waldrof schools is the best thing. and i personally dont think there is a PERFECT school out there anywhere so you have to take a few bad things wit hthe good. waldorf school overall to me have far more good than bad.

Waldorf mama to Autumn DD 9/05 and my Spring DD 4/08 Winter baby due 2/11
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#2 of 9 Old 07-19-2007, 02:35 PM
 
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I can understand your predicament. My husband is not religious and I am a Baha'i and I will raise my daughter in my faith. My husband is also a bit suspicious of schools with a religious base but my argument to him was that he wouldn't discount a private Catholic school if it was the best education offered simply because of the religious component, so it is the same with Waldorf. I think anthroposophy is a relatively unknown spiritual philosophy in the mainstream and that makes it more worrisome for agnostic/atheist parents. Personally, I don't think it is a necessarily a bad thing for children to be exposed in an educational environment to spiritual/religious beliefs that are different from their families. It will be a good springboard to discuss what I believe and why and to find similarities between the two (most religions have the same moral underpinnings).

Sorry I don't have anything helpful to say but I just wanted to tell you that I am in a similar situation with my husband!

"Hey, I've got nothin' to do today but smile." - S & G
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#3 of 9 Old 07-19-2007, 03:39 PM
 
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i went to a waldorf school, am an atheist and will be sending my dd to kindergarten in sept to a waldorf school.

i believe in the educaiton, it is a classical liberal arts education taught in a holistic manner - perfect for my dd and our family.

do i cringe when there is a verse with the wrod god in it - for sure! do i see the value of her hearing it and in the future asking me about it - for sure! it allows for conversation and experience in this world, that has a heavy slant towards religion so an awareness of it and conversation about it is good in my opinion.

also, having gone to K-8 at a waldorf school i remeber no "religion", no mentioning of anthroposophy/spiritual science, and came out an atheist.

just as a heads up though, 3rd grade does hear bible stories, for the sake of the story, not for any type of indoctrination :-)) but many non-religious folks really cringe during thisr grade...
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#4 of 9 Old 07-19-2007, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you both of you! i remember in the video i watched them talking about 3rd grade bible stores which doenst bug my dh b/c they teach them liek how they teach mythology.

Waldorf mama to Autumn DD 9/05 and my Spring DD 4/08 Winter baby due 2/11
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#5 of 9 Old 07-19-2007, 03:55 PM
 
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Yes, the Bible stories in third grade are just as religious as the Hindu mythology in 5th grade as the Egyptian mythology in 5th grade as the history of the middle ages in the 7th grade (which is full of religion).

I'd have a very hard time teaching any history or literature without mentioning religion, it has been a large piece of life on this planet for good and ill.
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#6 of 9 Old 07-19-2007, 09:02 PM
 
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Hey, I'm in the same spot with the atheist dp...
I'm glad to hear it's 3rd grade, maybe by then he'll be so into the school he won't mind... (or not, knowing dp )
He doesn't know much about anthroposophy, so doesn't care, but he has a visceral reaction to Christianity.
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#7 of 9 Old 07-19-2007, 09:07 PM
 
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Hey Deborah, so eloquently put and true!

I can see how atheists have a really hard time with waldorf. Most of the anti waldorf sites are full of them. I think you definitely have to acknowledge that the education has a spiritual component to it and if as a family that is against your personal values then I could see it as a conflict. For myself I don't have a problem with spirituality. I see it as very important. I just don't want one doctrine taught as the only path. I love the fact that waldorf is inclusive of many.

So yeah, it might be tough convincing DH to be on board if he is an atheist but maybe he can appreciate the sampling of different religions which sort of offers your child choices vs. telling them which path to take. After all, he would ultimately want your children to choose which faith they are drawn to later down on the road, right? This gives them an introduction to various ones. I guess I would put it to him that way.
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#8 of 9 Old 07-19-2007, 09:41 PM
 
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The other group that has been strongly involved in the waldorf critics groups are "fundamentalist" christians. I don't actually have a prejudice against this group in general (my sister is one), but I do find it odd to see atheists and fundamentalist Christians joining together to attack certain streams. In addition to waldorf, I've seen them work together against alternative medicine (quacks). Just odd. I wonder what it is about, cause usually there is a lot of hostility there, see any discussion about evolution, for example.
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#9 of 9 Old 07-19-2007, 10:03 PM
 
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I'm not religious at all myself, nor am I an anthroposophist. I have two Waldorf "lifers". One is atheist, and the other has a kind of amorphous religious belief, without following any particular religion. If your husband is concerned about stuff "out there" on the internet that Waldorf secretly indoctrinates students about religion and other such, it's pure nonsense. The internet is good at boosting the mileage for kook rumors and legends. It's not hard on the internet to find every kind of "so and so knew so and so and they said such and such", and the tale can even have an element of truth to it, but would generalizations also necessarily be true?

But Waldorf is not a strict separation kind of education either. For people who are offended by themes, references, traditions or people which can be identified to religion or a particular religion (and I think both religious and non religious people are pretty touchy about these things today), it can get complicated. Waldorf schools say blessings, they learn stories from the Bible and other religions, and in the early grades, there appear these "magical" beings in the play and pageantry, such as angels or gnomes.

If your husband is okay with this, and is more or less worried that his child is going to be converted or that there is preachy stuff going on in the school, that's very, very, very unlikely. But we all have our own yardstick, and what makes me cringe is different from the next person. I have no problems with school regarding their handling of Buddha or Moses, the angels, and so forth. Just take my son, the atheist. A lot of his favorite books have religious themes; he's loved the "His Dark Materials" series, for example. But he is cringing his way through one of the books he was assigned to read for this class he's taking for extra credits at another school--not Waldorf; the book is more like a personal religious "testimonial", one trying to persuade readers toward religious faith. He views the former books as "literature", the latter feels to him like an "intrusion".
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