Saturday, June 9, 2012

Parent Discovers Bullying at Waldorf

"I had watched the first few classes of children at our school grow up. By the
time they were teens, I noticed that they had several behavioral patterns that
were alarming to say the least and very surprising for all that Anthroposophy
had touted as its effects.

These children were incessantly and intensely cruel toward the younger children
at the school, they were frequently seen rolling their eyes at the adults in the
community (both faculty and parents) and they were behaving in ways that were
not reflecting absorption of the values that Waldorf espouses - in fact, the
ways in which they were behaving were typical of children who've been
overcontrolled for too long and were angry.

To me, this all speaks of other kinds of lessons well-learned such as "Do as I
say, not as I do" i.e. teaching noble ethics such as the idea of reverence for
all beings and yet having some severe blind spots in reality that result in very
strange behavioral double standards that do not reflect any such concept (and,
in fact, reflect the extreme opposite - apathy for all/other beings).

Back then, still being the mother of younger children, I thought that this was
'normal' and that I should just chalk it all up to 'teenage rebellion' and
hormones, etc. Now I know otherwise. In fact, I am grateful to know dozens of
teens and young adults who are kind, thoughtful people and, interestingly, none
of them have ever been involved in Waldorf. The fact that ALL of the older
children I observed at the Waldorf school behaved this way to varying degrees is
quite striking to me and definitely not possible to write off as a nuance of

In fact, I believe that it is the result of
highly-coercive/authoritarian/paternalistic rearing and educating that utilizes
varying types of force and shaming as effective tools. That style of
rearing/educating is reflected in other schools of thought than just
Anthroposophy, to be sure, but the interesting thing to note here is that
Anthroposophy promotes itself as being a most natural, healthy, loving,
supportive, nurturing and evolved method. To me, it is most influenced by the
very prevalant (and therefore nearly invisible) anglo-Christian

And, to clarify my stance ~ I would have felt totally ok and respectful of the
situation had these aspects been clearly expressed, especially when I and others
asked pointed questions regarding these matters. That way, I could have made an
educated decision about whether Waldorf was right for my family or not early on
instead of many years into our community and educational experience. Instead, I
experienced a pattern of avoidance to answer, answers that resembled fluttering
butterflies that were 'beating around the bush' and, at best, fancy answers that
felt like they had been heavily-scented with artificial floral constituents from
some PR rhetoric manual. THAT is my point of contention about all of this. My
opinion is that the facts of their beliefs and agenda need to be made waaaay
more clear and especially not hidden for fear of "people misunderstanding their
meaning" as if parents should routinely be distrusted to think intelligently for
themselves and make their own educated decisions about what is best for their
family and children."

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You may ask, "where are all the 5=Star reviews?" Well, the problem with those reviews is that many tend not to be too honest. I have included 4-star reviews that appear honest. Often, gushing reviews are placed by teachers and administrators - as some comments here indicate. "This school educates the whole child!!!" - 5 stars - by Anonymous... I say baloney! Notice, many of the reviewers have been misled by Waldorf and are still buying the PR, even after having been disappointed. Feel free to comment but understand the intent of this blog. Comments are no longer moderated.