Here goes - thoughts and feelings on Waldorf and Anthroposophy and Anthroposophists - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 156 Old 08-06-2008, 11:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
ema-adama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,392
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
So, I'm aware that there are people who feel they need support after a Waldorf experience, and my curiosity piqued as I wondered what on earth Waldorf could have done to a group of people that they require support.

Let me start by saying that I am ambivalent. On the one hand I grew up with parents who are anthroposophists and sent me to a Waldorf school for all my schooling. I also had a year before university in a Camphill Village which I cut short to 9 months after having an awful time there.

So, now I am a mum and I have definite leaning towards a Waldorf education for my family (this is not an issue now as DS is only 6 months) and find that there are many things in the Waldorf approach to education that appeal to me, such as meeting the childs developmental needs and creating a protective environment for children. I am concerned about little children being taught school material when they should be out playing, and by the same token am concerned about little children glued to the TV when they should be out playing. I guess I am very protective of my childs right/need to be a child and given nurturing opportunities - not forced to grow up too quickly. These are my general concerns.

I am well aware that Waldorf schools have their difficulties - however I am only familiar with Waldorf schools in South Africa, the States might be different. But, I am curious to know what about Waldorf creates traumatic experiences. Surely you have good and not so good schools? And any enterprise with people involved has politics and politics can be nasty.... I am also sure that you have better and worse teachers.... I know that I did. I am trying to understand what exactly it is about Waldorf that traumatizes, is it the Anthroposophy, or the people? Are expectations being unmet on both the side of the school and the side of the parents? Is there something inherent to the curriculum that is traumatising children? Are there people who are more inclined to find themselves isolated and hurt? (I know that I can be more inclined to interpret events in a traumatic way - and am trying not to do so in various situations in my own life) In short what are the core issues that make Waldorf so loved or hated.

Anticipating possible problems, I think I would object to any kind of dogmatic ideology being taught to my child, but being educated outside of Waldorf does not ensure no ideology will be dished out... here in Israel it is particularly scary and possible, but I guess anywhere in the world as well!

Also, I am a non-vaxing non TV watching mum and want my kids to have playmates that they can play with...

Anyway, so back to the original question, I haven't really shared my feelings... accept that I am ambivalent, which right now is my predominant feeling

I hope this can be a thought provoking thread for all mamas wherever they stand.

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
ema-adama is offline  
#2 of 156 Old 08-06-2008, 12:52 PM
 
littleanniesky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I get very very nervous speaking up here, because I want to speak my peace, not be discredited for my experience. In my opinion this experience of ours is not up for debate, it happened, this is OUR perception and I really don't want to pour my heart out here and have folks try to tell me I have it all wrong.

There were many good things about our Waldorf experience. We made lifelong friends. We shared years of life, big important years. Laughter tears and everything in between. We all spent time on the board, on the parents committee, raised money, dug gardens, built schools, took field trips, cleaned classrooms and made costumes.
And we spent hours and hours of our lives, frustrated, angry, complaining about the things which in the end, drove ALL of us away. We all now have children who are thriving in both public and private schools which are not Waldorf. So we know that at least, perhaps a good foundation was laid at Waldorf, but unfortunately, the follow through...it aint there.


SO with that in mind AND speaking for myself and myself only.. here is what made us leave:
1.it was the hypocrisy.
2.It was the "my way or the highway" approach to conflict resolution.
3.It was the pretty organic frosting outside and the rock hard cold inside.
4.It was the consistent inabilty to RUN and manage a school.
5.It was the trial by fire teaching and unsupportive collegues, teachers with more experience not willing to mentor, but instead criticising and sabotaging eachother.
6.It was the teachers inability to take any feedback, without then somehow turning on the kids.
7.It was the rhythm and the reality that the only real rhythm is the lack of any.
8.It was the money grubbing atmosphere, and the constant reminders of how little the teachers make.
9. It was the school with no grass, no cafeteria, no auditorium, no office, no sports teams, not an ounce of extra curricular at $12,000 a pop!
10.It was the pervasive unhappy atmosphere, the mistrust and the paranoid faculty.
11. It was the lies, the many many lies.
12. It was the vilification of public and any other form of education that goes on, preying on the fears of young parents, and capitalizing on our protective parenting . Where, instead of cultivating confidence and honesty, reassuring parents that they are in fact doing a good job, they constantly, in their own little ways, are pointing our how poorly we do our job, and in fact how lucky we are to have found them! Therefore, parents start to fear that every choice they make is not "Waldorf" enough, they feel the need to explain decisions and choices they make in their own homes. They take the weak and make them weaker and more dependant, not strong and independant.
13. It is the fact that everytime a family leaves for WHATEVER reason, they NEVER think it is their fault. They see it all as OUR loss, our BIG mistake, there is absolutely no accountability, NONE, period.



I have decided that I would prefer to live in this world. Not Waldorf. I would like to make this world a place better for my children and their children and I want my children to be happy and confident, not frustrated and kept in the dark.

that is probably enough for now...
littleanniesky is offline  
#3 of 156 Old 08-06-2008, 01:13 PM
 
frostysarah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 142
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by littleanniesky View Post
1.it was the hypocrisy.
I would love more explanation here.

Also, I would love to know which of your reasons for leaving were "Waldorf" reasons and which were due to poor running of the school etc. Or do you think the two are intertwined?

BTW, you don't have to worry about a debate from me. I'm asking because I'm curious, plain and simple.
frostysarah is offline  
#4 of 156 Old 08-06-2008, 02:05 PM
 
Attached Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 2,837
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I haven't personally had a problem with Waldorf, but I would never send my child to a Waldorf school due to the spiritual underpinnings of anthroposophy. While they say it's not a religion, it is def a spiritual belief system, one that I by and large totally disagree with.

Teachers will tell you that, while they are anthroposophists, the school is open to anyone of any belief. Meanwhile, your child will be indoctrinated in anthroposophy. Everything done is done for a reason - an anthroposophical reason. The type of dancing they do is supposed to communicate with spirit guides, they believe dwarfs and fairies are real entities to help us in life and that's why they encourage those stories - not just because they are beautiful and imaginary.

I think maybe that's what another pp means about hypocrisy - they coat everything with a culturally relevant idea such as organic, natural, artistic, when in reality those aren't the reasons behind what they do. The art shown to children and that they draw is supposed to affect them in some anthroposophical way etc.

If you want to learn more, google some negatives about waldorf and about anthroposophy. You'll come up with quack stuff and with some legit concerns. Also, just reading some archives on the other forum is very revealing. I've read a lot of stuff about discipline and organization where kids are being abused and it's just totally ignored and the parents made to feel they are making it up, things like that.

I love a lot of Waldorf - love much of the way things are done for the natural and holistic aspect of it. These are just my reasons why I'd never send my dd. The Waldorf school near me even has "Sunday services" that children can attend. And all the teachers are required to read Steiner's occult book and other of his spiritual teachings.
Attached Mama is offline  
#5 of 156 Old 08-06-2008, 02:08 PM
 
littleanniesky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think, in the end, it was the burnout, the constant looking the other way, rising above it, and the awareness that our relationship with the school was resembling a very unhealthy codependant relationship. I spent way too much time talking about parts that bothered us and almost NO time talking about what we were happy about.
and honestly, as my kids got older, REAL issues came up. I in no way want to minimize the concerns of preschoolers and Kindergarten parents. I/we were there once. And cared deeply about protecting our childrens enviroments from physical and commercial clutter. It is just, eventually they do grow up and so whether or not their toys are plastic or wood, whether they play red silks or flat crayons, with American Girl dolls or not, that is a royal waste of my time to debate. Who cares!!! I mean really, Kids go to some Waldorf schools in Limos, and some walk on bare feet. Are we really going to nit pick over a Red sox logo on my childs hat? Really, this is what takes hours in meetings. And I am sorry, I think it is stupid. Life is too damn short and my time too precious. Skin cancer trumps logos on hats in my mind, so hats are good, if they are worn, and boys wear baseball hats and so, end of story!!!it really does not matter!!!Oh but to them, it does.....:

and this is just a mosquito bite of an issue...compared to many others...later, gotta go to the pool
littleanniesky is offline  
#6 of 156 Old 08-06-2008, 03:03 PM
 
LindaCl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,151
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have two Waldorf ed students from preK to high school now. The school is located in an area with many other Waldorf schools, and there is a lot of cross fertilization between them. My children's school is solid financially. I couldn't tell you how they accomplished this originally. This year's economic realities are going to be a financial test, I think, because I know of many families who are leaving because of personal financial setbacks. The school isn't so well endowed financially that it can afford to support the same level of services while at the same time experiencing a plunge in paid tuitions.

Though there are things I would change, and definitely room for improvement in the school, the experience has been cake compared to what we witnessed or were subjected to as parents of children in the public schools. I know people who have left the school for many different reasons, some going to other Waldorf schools, and by the same token I know many who have left other schools, including other Waldorf schools, to come to this one. I don't know any who left Waldorf over anthroposophy, even though there are relatively few anthroposophist families and most of the families have little interest in it except maybe in getting a little background in some of its child development ideas. The biggest reason families left in the early grades was because they moved away, and maybe most of them enrolled their children in other Waldorf schools--quite a few at least. The second biggest reason they left in early grades was because of special needs, sometimes learning and other times behavioral. It's just a fact that such learning challenges can be served well in a Waldorf classroom, but when you have classes of 25-30 students (with individual personalities, all of them tricky in their own way and also tricky together as a group), one class teacher and a small army of special classes teachers, there are a lot of variables to all have to work well together for the inclusion to succeed well. In high school grades, students who leave usually do so because of the academic grind (the work load is much more demanding than average public schools here) or because they're restless for something new. What's interesting is how bonded this group of students tend to be even after they leave. (They remind me of your children who once they move out to their own apartment continue to drop by daily to say hi, grab a hug and maybe stay for dinner )

The stories I hear on the internet look very different. I don't think they have much in common with each other either when it comes to specifics, except in the sense that they feel burned or fed up, like emerging from a bad relationship. I do have to say that a LOT of people choose Waldorf because they've fallen head over heels for it, an almost romantic attachment, probably because it's so beautiful, so warm, and promises so much. People have super high expectations, and the fall is a long way down if the situation wasn't a good one. The schools are little communities, a family almost, and lines get blurred between the professional and the personal. I grew up in a very small community and depending on the personalities of the people holding sway in them, they can be pretty volatile sometimes.
LindaCl is offline  
#7 of 156 Old 08-06-2008, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
ema-adama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,392
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Ok, this was not quite the direction I had intended for the thread. I think I had more in mind a discussion on some of the more difficult aspects of Waldorf and ideas as to whether this was something inherent to Waldorf or personal incidents that have hurt individuals. I also know that it is hard to stick to facts as there are so many interpretations and each person will have their own story - but where possible to please keep the language as uncharged as possible

I can say that I never did any sort of dancing that communicated with any spirit guides, but I did do folk dancing.... And I know about disagreements on logos with this being a hotly debated topic - as is the length of girls skirts and how much of the torso needs to be covered when at school and the status of facial hair on boys... all rather annoying topics that seem to polarise people into very strong camps - so my question is, is this something inherent to Waldorf - or just part of belonging to the human race?
There has been mention of poor conflict resolution, and again, I am wondering if this is inherent to Waldorf, or is this a personal thing - some people are better at resolving conflict than others, irrespective of their religious or philosophical persuasions... and some teachers just do not have the skills to communicate with parents in an optimal way - again does this mean that Waldorf teachers per say do not know how to communicate?

I know that there can be a tendency to vindicate other mainstream schools - I had a 2nd language teacher who would always shout at us how lucky we were to be in this school when she was loosing control - and ironically she had no clue about Waldorf education and I guess thought it was some sort of a cushy experience for kids - dunno. But I remember my father saying explicitly that he would not tolerate teachers ripping other schools off - Waldorf is not and should not be on some sort of pedestal... I know that he also gets supremely irritated with teachers getting OCD about their pet hates (one rather conservative religious woman really could not tolerate seeing shoulders and belly buttons of girls and kept up her vigilance for years much to the exhaustion of her colleagues)

Anyway, I need to get off the computer. I look forward to reading more.

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
ema-adama is offline  
#8 of 156 Old 08-06-2008, 03:45 PM
 
AngelBee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: New Brighton, MN
Posts: 20,762
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
:

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

AngelBee is offline  
#9 of 156 Old 08-06-2008, 05:02 PM
 
LindaCl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,151
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ema-adama View Post
And I know about disagreements on logos with this being a hotly debated topic - as is the length of girls skirts and how much of the torso needs to be covered when at school and the status of facial hair on boys... all rather annoying topics that seem to polarise people into very strong camps - so my question is, is this something inherent to Waldorf - or just part of belonging to the human race?
My perspective is only that of a Waldorf parent, not a Waldorf student, but my view is this is just people, not Waldorf. The only thing is that as a private school, they're still able to establish policies when they wanna, and public schools are much more hamstrung about how enforceable just about any dress code can be. What's Waldorf is that there's a developmental component to it. The dress code's handling of logos is not a political or moral statement about commercialism, for example, but comes from Waldorf's sense of what's imaginatively healthy for young children, and there is no ban on logos at the middle school. Similar goes for rules about make up or dyed hair, which is considered perfectly fine in high school but a kind of "growing up too fast" for 4th grade. In reality, I have found the school to be extremely laid back about enforcing the dress code. Few teachers are comfortable about being dress code police except in extreme cases or when they think the student is testing to find some boundaries.

Quote:
There has been mention of poor conflict resolution, and again, I am wondering if this is inherent to Waldorf, or is this a personal thing - some people are better at resolving conflict than others, irrespective of their religious or philosophical persuasions... and some teachers just do not have the skills to communicate with parents in an optimal way - again does this mean that Waldorf teachers per say do not know how to communicate?
IMHO it's a people thing as well. And it can work either way. Sometimes the teacher misses the boat, but it's just as likely sometimes that it's the parent. Sometimes it's not a communication problem, but a problem of a parent wants something addressed one way and the teacher doesn't and that's that. It's real life. But its also where the professional and personal blur, because parents, who've been so close to the goings on, participating in the community and included in so much at the school, are all of a sudden butting up against the cold reality that the teachers, not the parents, are the ultimate decision makers about what happens in the classroom.

Quote:
But I remember my father saying explicitly that he would not tolerate teachers ripping other schools off - Waldorf is not and should not be on some sort of pedestal... I know that he also gets supremely irritated with teachers getting OCD about their pet hates (one rather conservative religious woman really could not tolerate seeing shoulders and belly buttons of girls and kept up her vigilance for years much to the exhaustion of her colleagues)
My pet peeve would be the teachers who teach what to think instead of how to think. (Unfortunately, the majority of my college professors attempted to tell students "what to think", though for purposes of argument, by college we should be relatively independent minded enough to exercise our own judgment in accepting or rejecting it.) It's a huge no-no in Waldorf to educate students by programming them with our own "fixed ideas", because the goal is directly aligned with Steiner's philosophy of each individual being a unique and creatively, intellectually and morally free human being. I'm so grateful most all of my children's Waldorf teachers took this to heart and succeeded in being very mindful not to do this for the most part, because that's so important to me in educating my children and it is supposed to be the whole point to this system of education in the first place.
LindaCl is offline  
#10 of 156 Old 08-06-2008, 05:08 PM
 
littleanniesky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Ede mama, I think it is wonderful that you opened this forum and I think perhaps we should try to simply let it unfold. People have things to say, and it will get emotional, but we are talking about our children here, and that is heated.
It has been my observation that, yes, some teachers do handle conflict better than others, but because of how the school is governed, it is survival of the fittest and the biggest bully teachers usually get their way the most. teachers are offered things like the position of college chair, but they are afraid of the responsibility and so they defer and give it back to the same old bossy teachers and sooooo nothing changes and teachers leave, sometimes in droves...and guess who gets hurt..these children who they tell us are so precious. Then they say things like 'children are very resilient" etc etc and thus I say, well then why are we trying so hard?

As times are a changing in the world are child rearing, so are schools. Parents are way way way more involved. Many public schools are rising to the occasion and despite the "no child left behind" hoops, are thriving. I have been completely humbled by how sweet our public school is. AND, it is run, like a school. Things get done, people actually have jobs to do them! Amazing how this works!
littleanniesky is offline  
#11 of 156 Old 08-06-2008, 05:31 PM
 
frostysarah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 142
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ema-adama View Post
I think I had more in mind a discussion on some of the more difficult aspects of Waldorf and ideas as to whether this was something inherent to Waldorf or personal incidents that have hurt individuals.
I could probably give my opinions here if I knew which specific aspects you mean. If you said so, and I'm missing it, just pretend I'm four and tell me again. I have pretty clear personal opinions on most things I've heard people blame on Waldorf schools, but it's not like I have one blanket opinion that "OMG, yes, all these problems are really just these people misinterpreting things and Waldorf schools can do no wrong!" or something, so in order to share the opinions, I'd need a situation to address or something. If that kind of discussion is not what you want, then I guess I'm still lost.

Quote:
I can say that I never did any sort of dancing that communicated with any spirit guides, but I did do folk dancing....
Did your school not teach eurthythmy? I could be wrong, but I think that's what was being referred to. At least, I've heard that claim before, and didn't care much so never bothered to look into it more.
frostysarah is offline  
#12 of 156 Old 08-06-2008, 06:04 PM
 
LindaCl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,151
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by frostysarah View Post
Did your school not teach eurthythmy? I could be wrong, but I think that's what was being referred to. At least, I've heard that claim before, and didn't care much so never bothered to look into it more.
Steiner considered all of the arts to be spiritual activities, essentially.
LindaCl is offline  
#13 of 156 Old 08-06-2008, 11:48 PM
 
Deborah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: the Seacoast of Bohemia
Posts: 6,282
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 73 Post(s)
The problem I have with the critics of waldorf and anthroposophy is the mirror image of the problem they have with me...denial.

I've mostly had good experiences. Does that mean I'm stupid? That I can't see the awful stuff going on all around me? Possibly.

I'm not going to try and tell anyone that the bad stuff that happened didn't happen. I'd really appreciate it if people stopped telling me that the good stuff that happened didn't happen

No, I'm not talking about anyone in this thread--just my experience that waldorf critiques always end up at a point where there is total denial that anyone could ever have any positive experiences at a waldorf school...

On eurythmy--I've done lots of it, as a kid and as an adult. It isn't actually a spiritual activity, in and of itself. Doing the movements doesn't connect children or adults to the spiritual world. Seriously. One of my close friends is a professional eurythmist. She mentioned that in eurythmy school (4 years, full-time study) one of her teachers said, speaking quite sternly: "Eurythmy is NOT a path of spiritual development. If you want to develop spiritual capacities you MUST do meditative work and the various exercises on whichever path you choose. We cannot require this work. It is a free deed. But don't ever think that doing eurythmy, in and of itself, will awaken any special capacities or awareness." (Not an exact quote).

What I've seen kids get out of doing eurythmy, IRL: graceful movement, the ability to avoid bumping into other people, better understanding of geometry...stuff like that. I've never heard of anyone who started seeing angels because they did the vowels or consonants
Deborah is online now  
#14 of 156 Old 08-07-2008, 04:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
ema-adama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,392
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaCl View Post
My perspective is only that of a Waldorf parent, not a Waldorf student, but my view is this is just people, not Waldorf.
I find myself inclined to think this, but realise that this could be my own bias. I guess I have been taken aback by the intensity of some people's negative experiences and was hoping that there would be comments that could explain why people were so very very hurt. Perhaps there is no definite answer (duh, of course there isn't) but I am looking for an answer that will address my needs


Quote:
But its also where the professional and personal blur, because parents, who've been so close to the goings on, participating in the community and included in so much at the school, are all of a sudden butting up against the cold reality that the teachers, not the parents, are the ultimate decision makers about what happens in the classroom.
I know that this is an issue with the school my parents work at. It's a tough one to call as people have access to more and more information, they want to be partners in decisions that affect themselves and their children. This can also be a really good thing as for instance I am not inclined to go with my doctors on pretty much any issue, particularly if it is some sort of protocol thing. Perhaps there is a problem with this analogy? Having said that, I also believe that teachers need to be left to do their job and should not be having to deal with parent lobbies on every small detail - provided they are doing their job of course (a fine line and difficult one to call as each parent could have a very different idea of what a teachers job is I guess)

Quote:
My pet peeve would be the teachers who teach what to think instead of how to think.
Yip, agreed for pretty much any educational institution
And really tough to do

Quote:
Originally Posted by littleanniesky View Post
but because of how the school is governed, it is survival of the fittest and the biggest bully teachers usually get their way the most. teachers are offered things like the position of college chair, but they are afraid of the responsibility and so they defer and give it back to the same old bossy teachers and sooooo nothing changes and teachers leave, sometimes in droves...and guess who gets hurt..these children who they tell us are so precious. Then they say things like 'children are very resilient" etc etc and thus I say, well then why are we trying so hard?
Not having ever been staff at a Waldorf school I cannot really comment on this, but I am suspecting that this is not something that every Waldorf school encounters - and I might guess that it is a smaller perhaps newer school that would have this difficulty. But yes, this would definitely be a problem....

From frostysarah
Quote:
I could probably give my opinions here if I knew which specific aspects you mean.
Here is how I opened the thread.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ema-adama View Post
I am trying to understand what exactly it is about Waldorf that traumatizes, is it the Anthroposophy, or the people? Are expectations being unmet on both the side of the school and the side of the parents? Is there something inherent to the curriculum that is traumatising children? Are there people who are more inclined to find themselves isolated and hurt?
Quote:
Did your school not teach eurthythmy? I could be wrong, but I think that's what was being referred to. At least, I've heard that claim before, and didn't care much so never bothered to look into it more.
Yes, I did eurythmy and was a typically rebellious child who managed to make her teacher cry (when I was about 14)... I personally felt like it was something thrust on me and have never really been a fan - but I am sure it did not do any harm and might have even been beneficial. (I remember when I was studying Occupational Therapy as a bit of a joke for myself I analysed eurythmy with OT concepts and it came up with it being a gross motor learning opportunity with elements of rhythm and co-ordination - something like that anyway - it was a while ago. But I was struck by the correlation with little children learning through 3d experiences - ie movement and that euythmy might be addressing this :?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deborah View Post
The problem I have with the critics of waldorf and anthroposophy is the mirror image of the problem they have with me...denial.
Yes, I guess this could be a fundamental aspect to the problems and debates. I also guess that these debates do little to change anyone's mind, other than maybe the OP (me that is). But for me it is really helpful to be hearing as many different ideas and experiences as possible.
Quote:
What I've seen kids get out of doing eurythmy, IRL: graceful movement, the ability to avoid bumping into other people, better understanding of geometry...stuff like that. I've never heard of anyone who started seeing angels because they did the vowels or consonants
Well put - the part I bolded. And, interesting what you have observed with regards to geometry and relation to space. I find that reassuring as maybe it is not such a wacky past time as I have been inclined to believe. I have assumed that it is good for children, but that I am clueless to understand how and why and kinda assumed that the eurythmists themselves also might not really know. But I realise there could be parents that would think that it is a bias to attribute any good to eurythmy... but for my purposes I found all that you wrote on Eurythmy made sense

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
ema-adama is offline  
#15 of 156 Old 08-07-2008, 06:04 AM
 
orangewallflower's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 454
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Ema, I am really glad that you started this thread, and your question is such an interesting one. Your question as I understand it is, are people who consider themselves Waldorf survivors traumatized because of something inherent to Waldorf and anthroposophy, because of the unique situation of the Waldorf school that they were involved with or because something is wrong with them.

I don't think that it necessarily boils down to anthroposophy, but I do believe that it has to do with the culture of Waldorf. Waldorf really works for many families. You are so lucky to be going into decisions about doing Waldorf or not with an insider's view. You know what it is like to be a Waldorf student and so you have a clear picture of what you dc's education will be like. I believe that you also know a fair amount about anthroposophy which also helps a lot. Most of us go into Waldorf only knowing what we have been told, and what we have happened to read.

I think that Eurythmy is a good example of why Waldorf is tough for someone like me and some of the others who had a really hard time being involved with Waldorf. I want to know the reason for the way things are, and if they don't work very well or if there are clear better alternatives, then I want to talk them through. Deborah said above that Eurythmy is not a spiritual practice. When I first heard about Eurythmy it sounded pretty good to me. Now that I understand that it is almost universally disliked by Waldorf students beyond fourth grade, that Eurythmy teachers more often than not struggle to manage their classes (I never, in my entire public school career saw a teacher crying; it is common for Waldorf specialty teachers) and that it is there precisely because it is a spiritual practice invented for and prescribed by Rudolf Steiner. Most deeply troubling to me is this last bit. The whys of Eurythmy are (as far as I know) never explained clearly to the parents. If Eurythmy isn't spiritual, then why in the world aren't other sorts of movement classes offered as well? Why not square dancing? Yoga? Contradancing? Tapdancing? Why is Eurythmy so important that every Waldorf school everywhere teaches it to all its students despite the fact that it is disliked and effective teachers are very difficult to come by? These are the sorts of questions that someone like me asks. When we discover that Eurythmy is taught to help students with their Etheric Sheath, and this has not been explained to us because we aren't deemed "ready" for that information we are likely to be lefting feeling angry and offended. Eurthmy teachers know very well why they are doing what they are doing and they have deeply spiritual goals.

So that is a small example. I don't think that there is necessarily something inherently wrong with Eurythmy. But for someone like me, there is something very wrong with not disclosing the deep whys of Eurythmy even when directly asked. I do think there is something inherently wrong with Waldorf schools and the Waldorf movement for not having a culture of honest self-critique that would allow them to examine the reality of the situation (unhappy Eurythmy students, unhappy Eurythmy teachers) and figure out a path to improvement. Because I am someone who does this naturally (examines the situation, thinks critically about it, comes up with alternatives and wishes to discuss them) Waldorf is a very poor fit.

I really don't mean to imply that happy Waldorf parents aren't critical thinkers nor that all schools have struggling Eurythmy programs. (And I do believe that it has benefits as described above.) I am just trying to illustrate what might drive some people bonkers about Waldorf.
orangewallflower is offline  
#16 of 156 Old 08-07-2008, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
ema-adama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,392
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by orangewallflower View Post
]Ema, I am really glad that you started this thread, and your question is such an interesting one. Your question as I understand it is, are people who consider themselves Waldorf survivors traumatized because of something inherent to Waldorf and anthroposophy, because of the unique situation of the Waldorf school that they were involved with or because something is wrong with them.
Thanks, I am glad that I started this - it's gonna be a far more interesting journey than I had thought it could be, and also harder than I thought it could be. I just would like to add that I did not mean to say that there is something inherently wrong with people who feel the need for support after Waldorf. I think I was trying to say that perhaps in the relationship that exists between a school and its parents, there are parents who are more prone to find fault and therefore possibly be more open to being so hurt. I was working on the assumption that if I am gonna be unhappy somewhere it doesn't really matter if I change where I am, sooner or later the same reasons for my unhappiness are going to follow me. Not meaning to insult people here or on other threads, but perhaps the issues are not only with anthroposophy or Waldorf or Anthroposophists, but also with the parents themselves :... but I also do have in the back of my mind the phenomenon of mums who would sit in the school cafe waiting for their children bad mouthing various teachers and ideas and kinda stirring. It was unpleasant to witness and I am sure very hurtful to teh teachers involved. Again, it might be warrented - the teacher might be pretty clueless on something that the parents feel is essential, but there are more positive ways of dealing with the issues - or not! I guess what I am hearing is that there is no positive way of dealing with conflicts. But, I cannot believe that Waldorf per say is the problem here... perhaps people who do not know how to communicate and hide behind ideology is a problem - but you don't need Waldorf for that.
Quote:
You know what it is like to be a Waldorf student and so you have a clear picture of what you dc's education will be like.
Maybe, maybe not. I think so much depends on the school itself. I think Waldorf has much to offer, but if I can't find a stable school and I don't like the class teacher, I would have to find another option... at least this is what I am thinking for now. I do not believe that Waldorf at all costs is the way to go - but when it is working, it can be very beautiful.
Quote:
I believe that you also know a fair amount about anthroposophy which also helps a lot. Most of us go into Waldorf only knowing what we have been told, and what we have happened to read.
I know a bit, after trying to fit in with an anthroposophically minded youth group and also my stint in a Camphill village... but it's not for me. I really can identify with child development ideas, but do not have the time or inclination to read through Steiner books. Having said that I do not think I would have a problem with my child being taught by someone who is into anthroposophy - provided they are sensitive and capable people.
Quote:
The whys of Eurythmy are (as far as I know) never explained clearly to the parents. If Eurythmy isn't spiritual, then why in the world aren't other sorts of movement classes offered as well? Why not square dancing? Yoga? Contradancing? Tapdancing? Why is Eurythmy so important that every Waldorf school everywhere teaches it to all its students despite the fact that it is disliked and effective teachers are very difficult to come by?
I am working on the assumption that probably most people do not know and might think they do. I think it's possible that the children don't like the teachers, not the eurythmy itself. When I remember the classes it was the teachers and their quirks that bothered me more than the movement itself. I kinda enjoyed mastering complicated rhythms with stepping and clapping and having to listen carefully to music - but I really disliked the wafty very fragile type that was employed to teach us. I know that now there is an experienced teacher in my old school who is really getting through to the children/young adults. And we did do folk dancing and now there is also creative dance and ball room I think as well. Again, this is my personal experience linked to a specific school.
Quote:
These are the sorts of questions that someone like me asks. When we discover that Eurythmy is taught to help students with their Etheric Sheath, and this has not been explained to us because we aren't deemed "ready" for that information we are likely to be lefting feeling angry and offended.
I can see how this would be very annoying. It would tick me off as well, especially if someone implied that I am not ready for something with it being implied that I am backward or not evolved enough or whatever form it takes.... but that's me with my issues of not having my needs addressed... still, I personally am OK with not knowing what they are trying to do, so long as the teachers aren't proselytizing (is that the word?) and the children and doing their thing, I do not see eurythmy as inherently dangerous - at least not enough of a barrier to keep my out of Waldorf. For now.

Quote:
Eurthmy teachers know very well why they are doing what they are doing and they have deeply spiritual goals.
Perhaps, I never got into this with a eurythmy teacher

Quote:
I do think there is something inherently wrong with Waldorf schools and the Waldorf movement for not having a culture of honest self-critique that would allow them to examine the reality of the situation (unhappy Eurythmy students, unhappy Eurythmy teachers) and figure out a path to improvement. Because I am someone who does this naturally (examines the situation, thinks critically about it, comes up with alternatives and wishes to discuss them) Waldorf is a very poor fit.
I think that not examining realities happens in many different situations, I guess each for different reasons. On the one hand I am suspecting that if the question was not asked too directly, you might find that there are teachers on staff who are also frustrated by the eurythmy teachers and are wondering how to solve the problem - but also they are sticking to their guns on the optimal situation being that eurythmy is offered... again, for me this is not too big of an issue. But I can see how it would be frustrating to have to support something prescribed by Steiner and go with it without understanding why, especially if you like to know what is going on and have reasonable answers to your questions.


OK, so this is my little pet at the moment, as I am really enjoying being able to sort out what I am thinking and feeling and assuming and perhaps not questioning. Thank you so much for posting

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
ema-adama is offline  
#17 of 156 Old 08-07-2008, 10:23 AM
 
littleanniesky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 25
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
just to clarify..our former Waldorf school is npt a young school , unless young is 25 years old. It is a big school and in the world of Wadlorf and it is considered a "strong" school. It is in a fast growing top places to live city.
littleanniesky is offline  
#18 of 156 Old 08-07-2008, 10:25 AM
 
Attached Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 2,837
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Whether or not all of this article is true, I think you might find it interesting. It explains a lot of the hidden meaning in anthroposophy, how Steiner believed that only anthroposophists would be able to rule the world in the future and how Waldorf is an indoctrination of children into anthroposophy so they will be the ones capable of ruling. Thus the secret meanings behind everything, which the article explains somewhat and thus the secrecy from parents who would likely think Steiner's views were quakery.

Click on this link, hit edit on your tab at the top of your computer screen; and then click on find, type in anthroposophy in the find bar that will pop up at the bottom of your computer screen and it will bring you to the article in question.

Here is one quote directly from the Waldorf association. "With Waldorf, you must look deeper. As written in their magazine, "Anthroposophy Worldwide" 4/2000, p 12, " The press agent has to convey the outer appearance of things rather than the essential core. A deep esoteric background is necessary to make the essential core comprehensible." (Referring to their new press agent, Ursa Krattiger who has been hired to help them further deceive the public.)"

And here is the definition of the word "esoteric" that the Waldorf association used.
es·o·ter·ic (s-trk)
adj.
1.
a. Intended for or understood by only a particular group: an esoteric cult. See Synonyms at mysterious.
b. Of or relating to that which is known by a restricted number of people.
2.
a. Confined to a small group: esoteric interests.
b. Not publicly disclosed; confidential.
Attached Mama is offline  
#19 of 156 Old 08-07-2008, 11:06 AM
 
DimitraDaisy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 119
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Delurking, this thread is just too interesting... Thanks for starting it, ema-adama!

Okay, first off, quick introduction: I am from Greece, living in the UK, in the third and final year of a full-time Waldorf teacher training course, and hopefully working part-time in a small Steiner school this coming here. I have what I consider a fair understanding of anthroposophy (although I also have to say my patience with Steiner's prose is somewhat limited). I am not an anthroposophist. A fair amount of what Steiner said rings true to me, and in time I often come to see wisdom in what sounded like nonsense to begin with, but there's also things that annoy me. Most of all people who take Steiner as a guru...

I have also visited a few, mostly small, schools in the UK, and heard descriptions of many others from fellow students. I've been in classrooms and teachers meetings and chatted with a few parents and a lot of teachers. And I have of course I supposed to be studying Steiner education and I have written essays on all this stuff.

I don't have any children (yet), so I don't really know what it is like from a parent's perspective, but I can imagine that I would find it difficult to hand my children over to a school, unless it was a well-run one and I trusted the class teacher. At the moment I think I am more likely to homeschool any future children we have. Probably using Enki at that too. I think there are some great ideas in Waldorf but that a lot needs to change for it to begin to live up to its potential.

That out of the way, the way I see it, your question is whether the things that seem to upset people about Waldorf are inherent to Waldorf somehow, and if yes, which ones and how. A fascinating question, as I said. I have long been struck by how traumatised people seem to be by all this. I don't really have an answer as to why this is, but I do agree with whoever said that there is something about Waldorf that makes people fall in love with it to begin with. Unfortunately there is also a lot in it that causes people to fall out of love with it, too. To take the relationship metaphor a little further, that it seems to me that Waldorf schools are the kind of partner that refuses to change, refuses that there is even a problem.

Another thing seems to be that people form unrealistic expectations. I suppose that goes along with the falling in love thing. It may or may not be that schools encourage the forming of those expectations. I expect that some, perhaps many, schools do, although most likely that is not done on purpose but rather through a series of unhappy coincidences. I find that a lot of things in Steiner schools are done through a series of unhappy coincidences.

But I believe that what I wanted to say (I can't be sure, it was a couple of hours ago that I started this post) is that one of the reasons it is difficult to talk about 'Waldorf' in general is that there is no such thing. There are the ideas and guidelines Steiner gave. There is Steiner/Waldorf school tradition, which I expect varies from country to country (although perhaps not enough). There is the culture surrounding Waldorf -- the kind of people it attracts (which also varies I think) and the thing those bring with them. And then there are the individual schools and teachers, with their individual traditions and beliefs and problems and so on and so forth. And yet all this, and more, is labeled 'Waldorf'. And if there is one problem with Waldorf education, it probably is that the relationships between those things are nowhere near being clearly defined. That, and the huge gap between theory and practice.
DimitraDaisy is offline  
#20 of 156 Old 08-07-2008, 11:56 AM
 
fluttermama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 946
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Is there something inherent to the curriculum that is traumatising children? Are there people who are more inclined to find themselves isolated and hurt? (I know that I can be more inclined to interpret events in a traumatic way - and am trying not to do so in various situations in my own life) In short what are the core issues that make Waldorf so loved or hated.

I think this can be true...and on the other hand toxic people can be found everywhere and anywhere and that includes Waldorf. Our situation was one where I would never send my child to the school after what happened but I did embrace Waldorf homeschooling. I realized that the teacher who did what she did was a toxic person but that did not make Waldorf curriculum in itself toxic.
fluttermama is offline  
#21 of 156 Old 08-07-2008, 12:34 PM
 
frostysarah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 142
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I can't answer your questions, because I don't know. I think there's something to be said for the hard fall after falling in love with something - of course there's an emotional response of betrayal. What I don't understand is why there's a fall to begin with. Our school is very up front and open about Steiner and anthroposophy. I don't get why some schools aren't, and would feel equally deceived and pissed if I got into a school only to find it wasn't what it said it was. I think it's weird.

It also seems obvious that different Waldorf schools are very different in other ways as well. I don't see any teachers crying, we don't get a ton of fundraising requests, the administration has been very stable, I see kids doing all sorts of physical activities that aren't eurhythmy, we don't get a lot of "God" in blessings and songs, plus a ton more things I just edited out, because who cares? It's really hard to generalize when the differences are apparently so great.

I will add that I do think there are people who are more likely to feel hurt by things, but I am probably one of them. Again, if I was very involved in a school and then felt cast out, I'd be as hurt as anyone in that thread. If I was told that I was raising my kid wrong by people I had trusted and held in esteem, I would have a hard time with that. I just don't see any of that at our school: whether it's because I'm naive and inexperienced, or because schools really are that different, time will tell I guess.
frostysarah is offline  
#22 of 156 Old 08-07-2008, 01:49 PM
 
LindaCl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,151
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attached Mama View Post
Whether or not all of this article is true, I think you might find it interesting.
Oh, it's invariably interesting to read the theories cooked up at Camp PLANS. Conspiracies to achieve world domination using eurythmy, toy gnomes and magic water color talismans to brainwash little "Manchurian Candidates" in the Waldorf schools-drat. Where the heck is Batman when we really need him?
LindaCl is offline  
#23 of 156 Old 08-07-2008, 02:26 PM
 
LindaCl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,151
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by frostysarah View Post
It also seems obvious that different Waldorf schools are very different in other ways as well. I don't see any teachers crying, we don't get a ton of fundraising requests, the administration has been very stable, I see kids doing all sorts of physical activities that aren't eurhythmy, we don't get a lot of "God" in blessings and songs, plus a ton more things I just edited out, because who cares? It's really hard to generalize when the differences are apparently so great.
Same here. But I saw my child's teacher cry-back to school night, public high school, after a parent asked if she planned to take the class to a more technical level because her child felt that the work they were doing was pretty basic. My sixth grade teacher cried, again public school: first man I ever saw cry in my life.

And the Waldorf school my children attend does do way more movement than eurythmy. There's a whole other system of Waldorf movement called spacial dynamics (the difference between eurythmy and spacial dynamics is kind of interesting). There's what's called "games" class. That's a required part of the curriculum. There have been lots of competitive athletics from seventh grade on, and several types of dance have been taught also, including ballroom, swing and contra. And morning circle is full of different movement exercises. And my high schoolers like eurythmy a lot-there's an eurythmy elective offered that turns many students away because there's more demand for the class than there is physical room for.

Special teachers do have it rough sometimes. I think it's a very tough tough job teaching special classes here because they deal with a whole school of students in all age groups, virtually at the same time. Some teachers don't have the classroom management skills that are needed to engage with students revolving in and out of the special classes. The tendency of the faculty is to believe that if a teacher is having trouble discipline-wise, it's because they aren't loving what they're teaching enough, or that their students are under challenged. I've never been an elementary school teacher but I believe it's more complicated than that. Some who try to teach just don't have in themselves the kind of personal presence and demeanor that will instill harmony and engagement from the students. And special teachers may have what it takes for some ages of students, but just don't have it with others. I've seen this quite often, actually, where teachers' impact on the class is completely changed after taking on or giving up classes of certain grade levels.
LindaCl is offline  
#24 of 156 Old 08-07-2008, 03:40 PM
 
Attached Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 2,837
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaCl View Post
Oh, it's invariably interesting to read the theories cooked up at Camp PLANS. Conspiracies to achieve world domination using eurythmy, toy gnomes and magic water color talismans to brainwash little "Manchurian Candidates" in the Waldorf schools-drat. Where the heck is Batman when we really need him?
I would think it was funny and brush it all off too - if it weren't for the fact that Steiner is quoted in his books as saying these things and the current Waldorf organization doesn't seem to have progressed to far out of it as evidenced by their quote that much of what is done is too esoteric for parents to be told about it - keeping in mind that esoteric means mystical, only for the initiated, secret etc.

Believe me - I grew up in an organization that people called a cult - I know only too well how some people can twist and start rumors about anything that is different.

I'm sure there are some Waldorf schools that don't follow Steiner's views on these things, that are really only into "Waldorf" because it's beautiful and artistic and holistic etc. But judging by quotes from Steiner (who granted is long dead) and by the current Waldorf "administration", the school is still deliberately choosing to keep a lot of stuff secret.

While true beliefs and how those vary in individual teachers and schools vs how they are held by the organization may be very difficult to discern, the simple fact that there *is* a belief that some of the reasoning behind things is only for the "initiated" is more than enough to make me as a parent feel very uncomfortable.
Attached Mama is offline  
#25 of 156 Old 08-07-2008, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
ema-adama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,392
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attached Mama View Post
Click on this link,
I think LindaCl covered this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DimitraDaisy View Post
Okay, first off, quick introduction: I am from Greece, living in the UK, in the third and final year of a full-time Waldorf teacher training course, and hopefully working part-time in a small Steiner school this coming here.
Hi there. This sounds like an interesting choice, what brought you to the UK and to deciding to study to be a Waldorf teacher - if you want to share.
Quote:
I have what I consider a fair understanding of anthroposophy (although I also have to say my patience with Steiner's prose is somewhat limited). I am not an anthroposophist. A fair amount of what Steiner said rings true to me, and in time I often come to see wisdom in what sounded like nonsense to begin with, but there's also things that annoy me. Most of all people who take Steiner as a guru...
I agree with both elements of what you are saying - there can wisdom that is not immediately apparent, and people who make Steiner into some sort of guru are annoying

Quote:
I don't have any children (yet), so I don't really know what it is like from a parent's perspective, but I can imagine that I would find it difficult to hand my children over to a school, unless it was a well-run one and I trusted the class teacher.
Good point, for any school I think

Quote:
At the moment I think I am more likely to homeschool any future children we have. Probably using Enki at that too. I think there are some great ideas in Waldorf but that a lot needs to change for it to begin to live up to its potential.
I am interested to know why you would choose to home school, especially after training to be a Waldorf teacher - again if you feel comfortable sharing.

Quote:
That out of the way, the way I see it, your question is whether the things that seem to upset people about Waldorf are inherent to Waldorf somehow, and if yes, which ones and how. A fascinating question, as I said. I have long been struck by how traumatised people seem to be by all this. I don't really have an answer as to why this is, but I do agree with whoever said that there is something about Waldorf that makes people fall in love with it to begin with. Unfortunately there is also a lot in it that causes people to fall out of love with it, too. To take the relationship metaphor a little further, that it seems to me that Waldorf schools are the kind of partner that refuses to change, refuses that there is even a problem.
This makes sense to me, the falling in and out of love thing. But what I don't get is that it is inherently a Waldorf issue not to change or acknowledge that there is a problem. I am inclined to believe that this could be more of a human issue - annoying and very difficult to deal with - enough of a reason to leave a school, but again I am not sure that I see this as inherently a problem that waldorf schools, but rather a problem existing in education generally.

Quote:
Another thing seems to be that people form unrealistic expectations. I suppose that goes along with the falling in love thing. It may or may not be that schools encourage the forming of those expectations. I expect that some, perhaps many, schools do, although most likely that is not done on purpose but rather through a series of unhappy coincidences. I find that a lot of things in Steiner schools are done through a series of unhappy coincidences.
Again, I agree with the idea that expectations are not clear or could not be clear from both parent and school... What other things have you found to be done by unhappy coincidence?
Quote:
But I believe that what I wanted to say (I can't be sure, it was a couple of hours ago that I started this post) is that one of the reasons it is difficult to talk about 'Waldorf' in general is that there is no such thing.
This is worth thinking about!!!!
Quote:
There are the ideas and guidelines Steiner gave. There is Steiner/Waldorf school tradition, which I expect varies from country to country (although perhaps not enough).
Here I can offer my personal experience and say that there are differences. What used to be a Christmas festival, in my old school has become a festival of light to include Dewali, Chanukkah, Christmas and any other tradition that would like to participate. Not everyone loves it and it took a while, but I think this was an important step
Also it was fascinating to see a Waldorf school here in Israel and see how similar but different it is

Quote:
There is the culture surrounding Waldorf -- the kind of people it attracts (which also varies I think) and the thing those bring with them. And then there are the individual schools and teachers, with their individual traditions and beliefs and problems and so on and so forth. And yet all this, and more, is labeled 'Waldorf'. And if there is one problem with Waldorf education, it probably is that the relationships between those things are nowhere near being clearly defined. That, and the huge gap between theory and practice.
This is a new idea to me - and one that I will want to think about more....
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluttermama View Post
I think this can be true...and on the other hand toxic people can be found everywhere and anywhere and that includes Waldorf. Our situation was one where I would never send my child to the school after what happened but I did embrace Waldorf homeschooling. I realized that the teacher who did what she did was a toxic person but that did not make Waldorf curriculum in itself toxic.
I think this is very brave of you to say and to be able to articulate so clearly. Thank you

Quote:
Originally Posted by frostysarah View Post
I can't answer your questions, because I don't know. I think there's something to be said for the hard fall after falling in love with something - of course there's an emotional response of betrayal. What I don't understand is why there's a fall to begin with. Our school is very up front and open about Steiner and anthroposophy. I don't get why some schools aren't, and would feel equally deceived and pissed if I got into a school only to find it wasn't what it said it was. I think it's weird.
Good point about being up front and deceiving or not deceiving. But I guess not all parents get it when they are given information and perhaps choose to see things that they want to see and don't see things that later become difficult for them... I know prospectives exist in schools and are given to parents, but I would guess most parents would have deeper questions or be looking for subtleties that are not addressed. As PP said, most schools are probably not out to actively deceive, but it happens through a series of coincidences and a mix of poorly matched expectations

Quote:
I will add that I do think there are people who are more likely to feel hurt by things, but I am probably one of them. Again, if I was very involved in a school and then felt cast out, I'd be as hurt as anyone in that thread. If I was told that I was raising my kid wrong by people I had trusted and held in esteem, I would have a hard time with that. I just don't see any of that at our school: whether it's because I'm naive and inexperienced, or because schools really are that different, time will tell I guess.
As I have already said, I know that I am more likely to be hurt and I know that this makes me vulnerable. Also something that worries me when I think of finding a school - any school. Yes, being cast out and being told you are raising your family wrong would be awful! I have had to challenge my parents beliefs in weaning at 9 months or something like that and also getting all tied up in knots about whether infants should be leaning to be independent or not - but these issues are not really for this thread
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaCl View Post
There's a whole other system of Waldorf movement called spacial dynamics (the difference between eurythmy and spacial dynamics is kind of interesting).
Are you referring to Bothmer Gym? (I think that is how you spell it?)

I really appreciated your whole post LindaCl, but I am really really tired after a marathon of babe not going to sleep - so am slipping up on personal responses. But I do appreciate what you are sharing and your personal experiences coming from such a positive place. I think I am starting to wonder if there is perhaps a need for interested parents to have a check list of things to assess in a school before they commit? Or maybe that is a bit anal, or maybe parents already do..... but perhaps there can be 'clues' to which schools are more likely to be open to change or more orthodox or more professional or more homey. And maybe get a better match on expectations - but I think I am over simplifying... and T I R E D

OK, I need to sleep. If I have missed anyone who posted after I started my reply, I look forward to reading your posts.

Megan, mama to her little boy (Feb2008) and introducing our little girl (Dec 2010)
ema-adama is offline  
#26 of 156 Old 08-07-2008, 05:08 PM
 
LindaCl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,151
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attached Mama View Post
I would think it was funny and brush it all off too - if it weren't for the fact that Steiner is quoted in his books as saying these things and the current Waldorf organization doesn't seem to have progressed to far out of it as evidenced by their quote that much of what is done is too esoteric for parents to be told about it - keeping in mind that esoteric means mystical, only for the initiated, secret etc.
Steiner said a lot of weird things, but he didn't say that he was trying to take over the world. Sorry, it is funny but in a way, not...my two children are very real people who are the victims of this fanatic conspiracy theory, not Steiner. (All Waldorf students are, members of Steiner's "New World Army" to these tinhat conspiracy kooks) This is what was going on. Steiner lived in a time and place where schools were places that were intended to create a certain kind of student, one "kind" being good Catholics or Protestants, and another good servants of the state. These schools were not designed to "take over the world" necessarily, but simply to prepare for the right kind of future. All schools do this, there is a future goal to all education. It's a forward looking vision, any education is. Government invests in schools in the US because it considers schools an "investment in our future", graduating students are told "you are our future", like that. Originally here, education was seen as necessary for democracy. Lately a lot of people think education's goal should be to train a necessary work force. Steiner's vision of the future was one which called for individuals who were able to think and act of their own free mind and heart, and not to be servants of any state or church doing what they're "supposed to do" or acting in a certain way because they're "supposed to"; it was a 100% humanistic vision he had that the "I" of each person need be free of dogmas or prescriptions imposed upon them. The Waldorf school wasn't a training camp for any particular kind of future except one in which each unique individual is fully realized and free captain of his or her own ship. It may have been idealistic, but Steiner thought the needs of the future demanded individuals acting in complete freedom. His intention was a humanistic education where students each find their own purpose and meaning, but after the conspiracy theorists twist what he said around for a while it's transformed into "plot to take over the world".

Similar twisting going on with the "esoteric" clip. The anthroposophist organization hired a media person, and when describing what the media person was supposed to do was describing the scope and the limitations imposed by "mass media" as an information source. It's something like the difference between getting political information from a 30 sec radio ad or billboard compared with a policy paper published by the Rand Institute. We're talking a grand total of two people hired specifically to handle higher profile media stuff for the german anthroposophical society because that's what they're experts in, the peculiar challenges of communicating through mass media. That doesn't necessarily have anything to do with schools deliberately withholding information about anthroposophy to parents.
LindaCl is offline  
#27 of 156 Old 08-07-2008, 05:36 PM
 
Attached Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 2,837
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaCl View Post
Steiner's vision of the future was one which called for individuals who were able to think and act of their own free mind and heart, and not to be servants of any state or church doing what they're "supposed to do" or acting in a certain way because they're "supposed to"; it was a 100% humanistic vision he had that the "I" of each person need be free of dogmas or prescriptions imposed upon them. The Waldorf school wasn't a training camp for any particular kind of future except one in which each unique individual is fully realized and free captain of his or her own ship. It may have been idealistic, but Steiner thought the needs of the future demanded individuals acting in complete freedom. His intention was a humanistic education where students each find their own purpose and meaning, but after the conspiracy theorists twist what he said around for a while it's transformed into "plot to take over the world".
Individualism in anthroposophy and Waldorf is not at all the same as a 100% humanistic vision wherein the individual is free of all dogmas or prescripstions put on them. It's actually, according to Steiner, the exact opposite.

In Steiner's "Universal Human", p 16-17, he claims that the Initiate cannot have any personal ideas and views of his own, or he will never know objective truth. He states, "The person in whom anthroposophical wisdom appears must be completely unimportant compared to this wisdom; the person as such does not matter at all."

Boldings are mine... I don't like a system in which my child is participating in things that *all* have an underlying anthroposophical reason and wherein she is not supposed to have any personal ideas or views of her own and wherein she is completely unimportant compared to the anthroposophical wisdom being put into her.

In my opinion, this is exactly why many people experience Waldorf as unbending: because anthroposophy is more important than the individual.
Attached Mama is offline  
#28 of 156 Old 08-07-2008, 05:41 PM
 
Attached Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 2,837
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaCl View Post
Steiner said a lot of weird things, but he didn't say that he was trying to take over the world.

Steiner's writings show that he believed in reincarnation and that he believed that anthroposophists, because of their higher evolution, would be the ones to lead or rule in the coming ages. Those who had not been initiated into anthroposophical wisdom would not have the capabilities necessary for leadership.

I never viewed this so much as a "take over the world" philosophy so much as I viewed it as a radical belief in the necessity of indoctrinating children into anthroposophy - born out of a genuine belief that it's what they need for the best life rather than out of a belief that then Steiner can take over.

The philosophy of evolving to the highest human potential in each reincarnated life that one has is a basic principle of waldorf/anthroposophy. You Are Your Child's First Teacher and Rainbow Bridge both talk about it, even going so far as to say that maybe it is, after all, a good idea to not breastfeed so long so that the child does not take on too much of the mother's personhood which could hinder their pesonal evolvement to their personal highest potential in this life.
Attached Mama is offline  
#29 of 156 Old 08-07-2008, 05:55 PM
 
orangewallflower's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 454
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Friends, I would like to make a request, and you can take it as just that. Can we please not use links in this discussion? I think that there is some interesting and some flawed stuff at the PLANS website, and I think that discussion about it is best done there. They have their own Yahoo group that would be well served by new voices showing up. I am not opposed to talking about articles, but if you do, how about if you sum them up in your own words and relate them to your own experience. I am simply unwilling to follow those links, and while I think this conversation is incredibly interesting, I just can't participate if this is the turn we are taking.

It might also help if we all could go to the User Agreement sticky and refresh ourselves about what we have agreed to. These contentious threads almost always get shut down, and when they do it is usually because of repeated UA violation. How about it we just don't go there and keep the conversation respectful, compassionate and alive? I think that we all have a lot to gain if we can accomplish this.
orangewallflower is offline  
#30 of 156 Old 08-07-2008, 06:18 PM
 
Attached Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 2,837
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by orangewallflower View Post
Friends, I would like to make a request, and you can take it as just that. Can we please not use links in this discussion? I think that there is some interesting and some flawed stuff at the PLANS website, and I think that discussion about it is best done there. They have their own Yahoo group that would be well served by new voices showing up. I am not opposed to talking about articles, but if you do, how about if you sum them up in your own words and relate them to your own experience. I am simply unwilling to follow those links, and while I think this conversation is incredibly interesting, I just can't participate if this is the turn we are taking.

It might also help if we all could go to the User Agreement sticky and refresh ourselves about what we have agreed to. These contentious threads almost always get shut down, and when they do it is usually because of repeated UA violation. How about it we just don't go there and keep the conversation respectful, compassionate and alive? I think that we all have a lot to gain if we can accomplish this.
I take it you are referring to me. I only posted one link and I also followed up on that link in further posts so it's not really necessary to read the link.

What is PLANS?? The link I gave was not to any "plans" thing and I thought the joke about it was just a joke I didn't get. Now I'm mystified....

I fail to see how quoting Steiner on anthroposophy is contentious... I understand that not all Waldorf/anthroposophists believe him, but quoting him and why I disagree with that aspect of Waldorf/anthroposophy is answering the OP's question. I don't for a second believe that all Waldorf people believe his views, but I do know (I'm near the largest anthroposophical community in the US) that many do. And simply put, in answer to the OP's question, that is why I and some others have a problem with Waldorf. And my "problem" is only a small one. I don't hate Waldorf; we go to festivals and activities at nearbye schools and incorporate many Waldorf ways into our home.
Attached Mama is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
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