Saturday, June 9, 2012

Parents Warn Prospective Parent\

Original poster: "I went to a toddler group at our local steiner school today
and it was just lovely. There was such a calm atmosphere and my daughter adored
it. We've been thinking about schools for a while now and I wondered if anyone
had any good (or bad) experiences of a steiner education, in preschool, primary
and secondary levels. Many thanks in advance."

One poster: "I have a young nephew who attends a Steiner school. I have also
attended several of the school's fundraising events, and all I can say is that
my impression is not good. The kids are allowed to run wild, with no basic
manners or social skills in evidence. The parents all float around wearing their
hand-knitted-in-Peru ponchos, totally ignoring their kids' inappropriate
behaviour. The kids appear to be dab-hands at climbing trees, building bonfires
etc, but there's no great evidence of anything more academic than that. They
have to wear clothes made entirely of natural fibres, and are not allowed TV or
computer games, and "ordinary" kids' toys are frowned upon. However the thing
that most shocked me was that the teachers (who get called by their first names)
actually visit the kids' homes to inspect their bedrooms, and ensure there is
nothing "inappropriate".
My DS attends the local state school, and he is thriving under the routine and
discipline, and his literacy and numeracy are very good. IMHO children need a
bit of well-structured discipline. It pays dividends in the long run, and better
equips them for the real world, where you can't just wander off to look for
ladybirds whenever you fancy."

Another poster: "I think if you want a Steiner school which would not discourage
reading before the age of 7, you have to find a "poor" Steiner school, if you
see what I mean... one in which the teachers are not too really doing the
Steiner thing 100%... I do know of parents who have been called in for a talk
when it became clear in the Steiner nursery that their under 4s were allowed to
paint at home. This was considered by Steiner to be too early to be allowed to
use a paint brush and those nursery teachers were conscientious Steiner teachers
and put some pressure on the parents to stop painting at home.
I would also recommend you to read as widely as you can regarding anthroposophy
before sending your child to a Steiner school - there are an awful lot of books
which Steiner wrote himself. Then you have to look at your own school and try to
get an impression of how they implement Steiner´s ideas. This is not so easy, I
think, as a parent."

In the end:

Original Poster: I just wanted to thank you all for your posts! I've had some
lovely PMs too from people who were a bit worried about airing their views in
public - so thank you for those too!

To be honest I'm intrigued! The school seems lovely, the literature looks good,
the staff seem nice, the toddler group continues to be nice and the kids seem
happy...but there are so many people with bad experiences of Steiner it does
worry me. And there doesn't seem to be any middle ground - people have either
had horrific or amazing experiences.

So I'm left confused...albeit more informed! Thanks again"

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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.