Saturday, June 9, 2012

Waldorf School Testimonials

This article has generated a lot of testimonials from people who have been associated with Waldorf schools.  Here are a few of them:

26 May 2012 10:58PM

I do not think this means what you think it means.

I thought the Steiner theories would interest me, thirty years ago when my kids were little. I didn't read a few exerpts. I read his books on education, I read the training materials for his teachers, and I listened to contemporaries who sent their kids to the schools. You may have had an excellent subjective experience with the schools- that does nothing to change or moderate my opinion of his idiotic, uninformed, and downright wrong theories about children, life, the universe, and how everything works. You might as well induct them into the New Order of the Golden Dawn, or Scientology, or the maunderings of Swedenborg.

26 May 2012 9:41PM
I am a demonstrator at a farm museum where we were visited by a Steiner school once. I have never met such an obnoxious bunch of children in all my life and recommended to the management that they accept no further visits from said school. I should add that I am blacksmith and one time RAF pilot so well used to the more robust side of life but those children were something else.

26 May 2012 8:47PM
Our children went to a Steiner school until the penny dropped about the reasons why certain things were taught and done in a particular way; we whipped them out sharpish.....(and yes, attempts were made to change left handedness of one of our children, and as far as I know at this particular school I know two other left handed children who they have tried with recently too, so this is apparently still going on)
If anyone has any doubts about anthroposphy in the classroom, read the teacher training reading list and course content...... Jeevan Vasagar certainly should have:
School isn't a place where karma, past lives and consulting with angels should play any part in making judgements or decision about children, let alone their education. If Steiner's work  wasn't referred to so comprehensively in all areas of these schools, from the shape of the typeface to the colours on the walls, not to mention the content of the curriculum, it would be less alarming.
I understand that immersion into Steiner's beliefs is a staged process, and teachers are exposed to his more new age beliefs before gradually invited to study his more unusual creeds. It's more like a path of initiation than an education system. "Some are caught so it's worth the feeders who slip by" was how someone put it.
Within school communities,  angels, astral bodies and karma are "normalised". While I don't  think for a moment that the schools are full of racist bigots, to normalise connections between skin colour, eye colour and spiritual  advancement can never be far away, however gentle and spiritual the  sentiment. The schools are quite open about classifying the children  by medieval temperament,  which includes their body shape, pallor  and  physiognomy, and use these as tools  to help in their "child study"  sessions. In my view this is dangerous, anti-theraputic, anti  scientific, anti-intellectual and luminously wrong.

26 May 2012 2:48AM
Response to JonathanKent, 25 May 2012 9:11PM
I went to a Steiner school and a girl in my class was left-handed but forced to write with her right. She was taken to the doctor to prove that she could use her right but was just choosing to use her 'wrong' hand. However this was twenty years ago so I would hope things have changed

25 May 2012 11:48PM
I worry a bit on Steiner schools as the perfect breeding ground for almost disappeared contagious diseases: measles, rubella, mumps, whooping cough, they could even bring tetanus back, with their love of gardening and walks in the forest. This because the view of steinerians, and of most of the parents that choose this schools, regarding vaccination is that is something dangerous, to be avoided in favour of a more "olistic" approach.
A sentence like this:"A reductionist biology which states or implies that the human body is a machine … is not one which nourishes the adolescent's deepest concerns. The current theories are just that – theories. They have not been in existence long and though presented as 'truth' they will inevitably change" should be enough to exclude the Steiner schools from every form of state help, I don't want my tax money to pay this. Thanks.
PS: Actually the bit I about changing theories is very interesting, it shows clearly how they just don't get the essence of the scientific method. Of course theories will change in time: In science a theory is valid untill somebody "falsifies" it with a repeatable experiment, and proposes a new one, that will then stay valid until somebody else will falsify it. Mind you, some theories are pretty hard to falsify...
There is no absolute truth, it is not religion.

25 May 2012 10:35PM
I was considering studying to become a Steiner nursery teacher when I read the website for the training college and came across a case study of a school which said - the teacher plays the lute while the angels lulled the children to sleep. I couldn't do it - as an alternative primary level education I think Montessori is better, it has an extremely well developed, intelligent maths curriculum and materials, science, geography, well designed reading and writing methods and materials, good geography materials (check out the trinomial and binomial cube from the maths materials and you can see the woman was a genius) and curriculum as well as all that creative/alternative stuff parents are looking for that seems to be lacking in mainstream. In a good montessori school children can get both and not miss out on the solid learning they need to survive in the world. In that sense it is more balanced than Steiner.

25 May 2012 9:58PM
I grew up near a Steiner school (near Gloucester) and had lots of friends who had attended it. Many had real problems adjusting to thr world...getting and holding down work, dealing with the reality of everyday life. They would often struggle emotionally and underachive. However I have brother with developmental disabilities who could not cope with state school and would have benefitted by being at a Steiner school.

25 May 2012 9:22PM
I love almost all of the approaches of Steiner education, the gentleness, the softness and the humanity.
But I cannot send my kids to a school that demeans science - not the technology, but the process - as I have discovered in my life that the understanding of the natural world offered by science is one of the most beautiful of human achievements. I include Darwin and Einstein as part of this endless human project.
If you read Steiner's book the Kingdom of Childhood, he dismisses General Relatively with what I took to be a strong done of anti-semitism. Even with that issue aside, I have studied Relatively and its it one of the wonders of the human world - alongside the greatest art and literature.
Perhaps one day the Steiner movement will start to think for itself and modernise, not normalise, but incorporate the best of human values with the best and highest of all human achievement.
The you would have a real human force to reckon with. In hope... Dr Ben Lane (ex plain theoretical physicist now environmental technologist).

25 May 2012 9:17PM
Response to 0800, 25 May 2012 8:49PM
Look at how Steiner kids end up as adults. Are they evil, damaged, misinformed, ignorant, unhappy, unemployable, bored, suicidal, miserable, anti-social, zealots etc?
Yep, I know a family of three siblings, now in their thirties, all Steiner educated. One committed suicide a few years back. One is a recovering addict. The other is now a research scientist but talks passionately about her "wasted years", struggling to reach the level of her comprehensively-educated peers so as to get research posts and funding.
The suggestion that no kid who had a Steiner education didn't have a difficult life subsequently is fatuous and ridiculous.
You are quite obviously an idiot.

25 May 2012 9:12PM
I chose a Steiner school for the Kindergarten years, because I considered that a 4 year old didn't need to learn to read / write and research the internet for facts on bees. They could learn about bees by encountering them (experiential learning) and their time was much better spent playing freely in a beautiful environment and cared for by teachers who cared for them as human beings.
The problem I saw was that, once a child hits the 'classes' (age 6 and a half-7) the esoteric aspects of the education become too much and undermine a perfectly lovely way of teaching. i.e. Steiner schools are non-denominational, but really... they are based on Anthroposophy, which is the science of man from an esoteric point of view. The problem is that they wouldn't admit it. As an insider in the school, I once heard a senior teacher admit that 'we can't tell the parents that the education is based on Esoteric Christianity'. So the main issue for me was that they weren't being honest. This deceit was my main reason for taking my children out.

25 May 2012 9:11PM
I've been interested in Steiner education since interviewing someone who went on to be a well known author who went to the Steiner school in Forest Row in Sussex. She couldn't read until she was 12 or 13, something she says she was never made to feel was a problem, but went on to write several very well thought of novels.
However recently I talked to someone else who went to the Forest Row school who said that left handed children were made to write with their right hand while holding a crystal in their left. That struck me as ante-diluvian, a realthrowback to Steiner education's 1920s roots, if true.
Has anyone else encountered this? If so I couldn't send my child to such a place

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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.