Tuesday, June 24, 2014

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BristolRover Thu 26-Jun-14 14:32:48
The only person I know who sent her children to a Steiner school bitterly regrets it, and has a son who has begged her never to "let the fucking hippies loose" on him again (the one plus point is that it taught him fluent swearing at an early age). He came out craving double maths, a uniform and a rigid timetable.

exexpat Thu 26-Jun-14 19:43:14
You might also want to google the Steiner attitude to bullying - there seems to be an attitude that it is the children's karma working itself out, so no one intervenes. And also their attitude to vaccinations and childhood illnesses. Scary.

I know some lovely people who have sent their children to Steiner schools, and even one who worked there. Obviously Steiner schools suit some people, but although they try to put themselves across as a more liberated, free-thinking alternative to mainstream education, in fact they are rigidly dogmatic about their educational principles and methods, which have been preserved pretty much as the distinctly weird
Steiner himself laid them down in the 1920s. I would not want to subject my child to educational principles based on karma, Lucifer & Ahriman, etheric and astral bodies and all that spiritualist nonsense.

mathanxiety Sun 29-Jun-14 08:21:18
Under no circumstances should you consider sending a child with SN to a Steiner school.
The way they teach (for example reading is not taught until a child loses milk teeth), the materials they use (gnomes to teach maths, other natural looking toys and dolls with no facial features), the decisions they make about promoting children up a class or retaining them (using head and neck measurements), the approach they have to bullying (all interaction between the children is about children finding their own karmic destiny and is not interfered with by the staff, so bullying can happen and it does), and most bizarrely, the way they approach Art are all based upon the theosophic philosophy of Rudolph Steiner, the 'occult science' he claimed was revealed to hm via clairvoyance. Anthroposophy permeates every single element of school life. It is not taught directly. But it permeates everything.

That being said, there is a lot of reference throughout the different class subjects to St Michael, demons, fairies, gnomes, holy people, OT stories outside of their Jewish or Christian context, the duality of dark and light.. There is a devil named Ahriman, personified in TV and other technology that admits outside thought into the home (computers, etc).

A student can get Art wrong in a Steiner school. Students are often not told what they are doing wrong in their Art, but they are allowed to know they are getting it wrong all the same. Colouring is done with large block crayons. No drawing of outlines is permitted (and no use of black or brown crayons and especially no use of the verboten markers in black or brown or any other colour for that matter). Students have to colour patches of the paper working from the centre outwards. Painting is limited to wet on wet watercolour and students are required to produce certain effects and stick to certain subjects. Self expression is discouraged. The point of art in a Steiner school is to 'cleanse' the child's soul and move him or her further along in a process of karmic self-actualisation. It's a moral exercise.

This is the point of the entire approach across all subjects, but in art it comes across most clearly. Teachers look for signs of karmic progress in the finished artwork. The ultimate aim is spiritual reincarnation of the child through Steiner education. Physical reincarnation is believed to be ongoing and cyclical. Individual attention to each child's different intellectual needs is not what you will find in a Steiner school -- children are made to fit into the Steiner mould. A child with SN is viewed as having a long way to go to attain spiritual reincarnation.

The most disturbing approach to a subject from an intellectual pov, one that reveals the Steiner philosophy and how deeply it is ingrained in everything a Steiner school does and everything it aims to do is the approach to history. History according to Steiner is the history of why white people are the superior beings. Students start to study history by immersing themselves in the world of myths and sagas with a heavy emphasis on Greek and northern European myths and heroes. The Greek and Aryan mythologies reinforce the idea of the superiority of white people. Myth and legend are elevated alongside factual history -- nonsense and intuition are elevated to the level of verifiable fact, or fact is dragged down to the level of superstition, whichever way you want to look at it. This happens in science too.

escaped Tue 01-Jul-14 14:12:31
I am talking from first hand recent experience of a steiner school.
We enrolled our child into this type of education based on their sales and promotional material and also their sincerity at open events. We are not hippies and we do not believe in anthroposophy. We didnt consider looking into the critics, as we simply didnt think it necessary, as we trusted what the school told us. This has taught us a very valuable life lesson! Do not trust or believe what they tell you, that is rule number 1. I applaud you for looking into this before you enrol your child into this kind of institution.
Our experience was not a good one. There are too many things to mention. Be prepared for the school to be secretive, misleading and not to tell you information regarding your child. Do not expect class reports, progress reports, notes or documentation of any kind to be kept or shared with you as a parent.
Our main issues were:
Bullying is out of control and accepted, dont expect bullying to be addressed or dealt with.
Safeguarding children isnt top on their priorities. Doors are unlocked and children often wander off around the building. The buildings are often unlocked, allowing anyone from general public to access the school and classrooms, without appropriate security. They are also allowed to climb as high as they like in trees without supervision.
Children are made to pray, chant and give thanks to god during the school day and before meal times. If the school say this doesnt happen (which they will), do not believe them, they will continue to do it behind your back. We do actually have a signed document from the school stating that they would not stop this activity and if our child didnt participate, he would he viewed as being disruptive. No facilities to eat food in school hall, it is all done in same classroom that they spend all day in. They do not deal with complaints and there is no central person responsible for anything in the school. They promote creativity, however they have to sit for long periods and copy exactly what the teacher does on blackboard and they are not allowed to use black crayons. The use of strapping weights around ankles and their inappropriate handling of children. There are endless things that I could detail of the eyebrow raising incidents that happened at this school. It is a dangerous shambles, steer clear.

There are many things I dont like about mainstream, however, experience has taught me that at least they are honest and truly bothered about children, I can say with certainty we did not get that from the steiner school we went to.
Please ensure that you read true accounts from critics, as a priority-this is the only way youll find out the facts.

We as a family have had an awful experience with steiner. I can only praise the hard work our sons teachers have since done to help bring our child back! He is now confident and is reading and writing! Steiner destroyed his personality and crushed his love of life-they tried to brainwash and control him.

There is an excellent blog to find current information : stop steiner in stroud, this will also provide you with other Useful links.
I hope you make the right decision.

Velvetbee Tue 01-Jul-14 15:01:53
Nasty accounts from my friends too, who tried Steiner before eventually home educating.
The little girl who was made to colour in a picture of Eve again because she had given her dark hair and 'Eve was blond'.
The boy who regressed in sleep and toiletting because he was bullied so badly but was told he was paying a karmic debt.
The mum who volunteered on nature trips but wasn't allowed to stop the children roaming all over the lanes including round blind bends because the 'nature spirits would protect them from any cars'.

From 2013


ZZZenagain Mon 27-May-13 22:03:16
what I keep reading is that they don't intervene in bullying because this is seen to be karma playing itself out. Wouldn't be good if your dc were on the receiving end. The schools look attractive and I do really like some aspects of it but not Steiner's philosophy as I understand it - and not the teaching of history. I have a big problem with that (as an historian)

JewelFairies Mon 27-May-13 22:03:41
I wouldn't go near and didn't after a disastrous one off session in a baby/toddler group where a hyperactive toddler was encouraged to express himself by hitting babies over the head with pine cones...

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Mon 27-May-13 22:05:57
all i know is that on my own website, which is just a wee thing about babies, whenever the subject of Steiner comes up we are invaded by trolls telling whoever will listen that it's all FABULOUS and any naysayers should shut up and stop being bitter etc.

the steiner lot google alert the name, they tweet each other with details of threads where the schooling is being discussed, and descend... those tweets are watched by the anti-mob as well, so the whole thing tends to go tits up quite quickly and quite poisonously.

OhTheHugeManatee isn't doing that, i hasten to add, she's a regular, and has always seemed to me to be perfectly sane and lovely. However, any organisation that needed to control its brand in quite such a rigorous way... i dunno... bit culty if you ask me.

Keeping in mind that Mumsnet threads are heavily moderated for criticism of Waldorf... these threads are older but the comments are very valid still.


CoteDAzur Fri 11-Jan-08 15:40:19
Rantmum - Waldorf Steiner schools come across as a gentle, art-based pedagogy, which is quite attractive to many parents. However, they see education as a means to facilitate the reincarnation of the soul in the child's body.

Their education is filled with things that seem only slightly alternative from the outside but have their roots in the pseudo-religious "Anthrosophy" that they adhere to - children can't use the color black in drawings (it is an evil color), they are discouraged from watching tv, listening to radio etc (a devil called "Ahriman" talks through electronic devices), kids are taught a funny dance called Eurythmy (to communicate with spirit world), they start the day with a longish prayer that talks about 'the spirit of God' and 'the soul that lives in me' (reincarnated?) etc

If you are comfortable with the above (and more) then Steiner schools are by all accounts a lot of fun and they encourage kids to be creative.

We came close to sending DD to the local Waldorf Steiner school but, personally, I would hate DD's little brain to be brainwashed with this nonsense. The staff & teachers' complete lack of honesty was also a turn-off.

Blu Fri 11-Jan-08 15:53:29
Rantmum - I have absolutely no personal experience of Steiner Schools - but i was attracted, like you, to the 'own pace' stuff etc, and almost considered exploring it fo DS.

BUT a friend withdrew her dd from a UK steiner school for reasons associated with the bullying and non-intervention by staff in children's disputes. The child concerned is mixed race and the comments she was getting were racially based. Then, having read some of the critical posts on Mn I read one of the critical websites where Steiner's own views on the role of violence were reproduced. In view of some experiences MN-ers posted, I began to wonder about the 'non-intervention' in bullying that occurs and Steiner's views on violence. Also possible refusal to deal with issues of race, that my friend experienced.

But ask your local school specifically how they deal with conflict between pupils and anything else that occurs to you. Your local school may be wonderful and just right for your child.

I have always found 'Steiner parents' to be quite evangelical about it.

TheodoresMummy Fri 11-Jan-08 22:10:53
I considered Steiner education for my DS, but have decided against it.

The kindergarten looked promising. Lots of ree play, outdoors lots of the time, part time hours.

But on further investigation it appears to be very controlled further up the school. Everything is copied from the board/teacher, all artwork looks the same, no books (fiction or non fiction) on the shelves...

Not my cup of tea.

I am not into their philosophy either, but don't find it any more offensive/ridiculous than Catholic or C of E schools.

Whereabouts are you ?

I have done a bit of research into 'alternative' schools.

northernrefugee39 Sun 13-Jan-08 13:46:40
Whooaah ! Lush and Stripey,
I'm sorry you're taking this so defensively.
Our family is certainly not the first to have had a bad experience of Steiner school.
We experienced appalling teaching, hints of race issues, bullying,chaotic classrooms, and other quite horrifying stories which I'm not going into here for various reasons which I hope you'll understand, and believe me- there were some horrors.

We bought into the creative natural, musical side of Steiner Waldorf- from the school's literature and website.We discussed it with two families who were there already. We visited the school three times, had an interview and meetings. Not once was anthroposophy, soul, spirit, reincarnation or any of the other central themes of Steiner Waldorf mentioned. We were emphatically told it was not religious- I can see the teacher telling me that now- and it was years ago.We read about Steiner as being a writer and philosopher who believed in freedom of the individual. We asked about Steiner , and what recommended books they had to help us as we embarked on this new education for our kids. We TRUSTED them. The two books they recommended didn't mention any of the anthroposophical stuff either.

It is well known apparently , that the wickepedia page on anthroposophy is monitored 24/7 to make sure it gives the right picture.

I read a book not recommended by the school- which touched on some of the more bizarre aspects- and when I asked the school- they said that the temperaments weren't considered important, and that reincarnation was only used in the context that the children have a past and a future.They said they only took what they wanted from Steiner.This reassurred us- they would take the creative and story- telling aspects- the music and in touch with the earth aspects,the woodwork and the knitting, and disgard the cosmic forces, soul, spirit world. This was after all , a liberal, international, progressive school.

Of course- this wasn't so. I soon learned that dividing the children into temperaments informed a great many choices made about the them, as well as cosmic and astral forces. Bullying wasn't dealt with as it interrupts the children's Karmic path. Left-handedness is a sign of an incarnation problem. And more and more bonkers ideas.

I take it that you feel it's ok to be duplicitous in the promotion of a school? Because that's what it is. You must feel it was your responsibility to trail libraries and the internet to find out about the main core of the curriculum of the school you are to entrust your children to?

Lush- I don't think it's liberal or creative either. The art is completely prescribed- it's been said a hundred times before- but it all looks the same- the wet on wet "paintings" progress from kindergarten nothings- where they're not allowed to do anything but wash- no lines, no points, no dark colours-reasons- all anthro soul, spiritual nonsense- to higher up the classes where they copy the teacher. But you must know all this. The wax block work in the main lesson books are a bit more individual.

The children listen to the same teacher for seven years- no text books, no audio visual stimulation apart from that- and then copy screeds and screeds of this teachers stories of myths, or local geography from the board.

My kids did actually get some good things from their time there- they were ahead in French and German, they could play happily in an orchestra, and anything that came after was child's play compared to what they went through- and what is still emerging.

Yes- we castigate ourselves for not finding out more- a common reaction to having left something like a cult. But they lie and they use the silent treatment when their backs are against the wall. This is one's children we're dealing with- it's not simple.

I feel, as you may gather - strongly that Steiner Waldorf should be open and accountable.

I'll find the links to the teaching myths at various ages, so the children can recognise their past lives- I'm surprised you missed that one - but there's certainly a ton of Steiner to wade through.

I'll find you some other links too if you like- about the superiority of the aryan race- or about Lucifer and Ahriman, or why the advent spiral is so significant.

northernrefugee39 Sun 13-Jan-08 19:59:49
Lush- when you asked about anthroposohy in the interview- I'm interested to hear what they said. Did they say- "We don't teach it to the children. It's not in the curriculum atall" ? That's the stock answer- because it's true- they don't teach it- they USE it.It informs everything they do.
And if the teacher is new, and underqualified- as one of my daughter's was- she had a higher certificate- whatever that is- and nothing but the Steiner training- they're "on the path" to higher knowledge themselves- so they don't really understand it anyway.
This particular teacher was mentored by the very anthroposophic elder teachers- just to make sure she didn't make any mistakes. And she was desperate to please them and have their approval- so loved the cosmic dream states and temperaments and all the other bunk.But sometimes, she let something slip, which the elder ones didn't think was appropriate for parents ears- you could see the confusion and fluster. Eugh!
northernrefugee39 Sun 13-Jan-08 20:23:07
The morning verse is a prayer- there's a quote of Steiner's confirming this- he said something along the lines of it really being a prayer but people shouldn't be told- I'll try and find all these links for you.
And Eurythmy- it's definitely about the soul and connecting to spiritual worlds - Steiner said something very precise about this. I'll try and find it all- but there's this -
"The vowel is born out of man's inmost being; it is the channel through which this inner content of the soul streams outwards.... If we utter the sound A, (as in mate) and take this out-going stream of the breath as the prototype for the Eurythmic movement, we find that this breath stream reveals itself to our imagination as flowing in two crossed currents. This is how the Eurythmic movement for A is derived.... --Rudolph Steiner

We can accomplish our work only if we do not see it as simply a matter of intellect or feeling, but, in the highest sense, as a moral spiritual task. Therefore, you will understand why, as we begin this work today, we first reflect on the connection we wish to create from the very beginning between our activity and the spiritual worlds....Thus, we wish to begin our preparation by first reflecting upon how we connect with the spiritual powers in whose service and in whose name each one of us must work." --Rudolf Steiner
http://www.eurythmy.org.uk/faq- On this eurythmy site they even say themselves
"By incorporating gestures that express soul moods, planetary and zodiac influences, the eurythmist also reveals what lives silently within the audible"
"The vital, life forces that surge through our etheric bodies include the forming power of the zodiac and planets. These can be made visible through their corresponding eurythmy gestures.
"By incorporating gestures that express soul moods, planetary and zodiac influences, the eurythmist also reveals what lives silently within the audible"
Like yoga? Maybe- but if my kids were doing yoga to connect with spiritual powers, express soul moods,and making visible their surging etheric bodies through the planets in dance clas- I think I'd like to be told.
northernrefugee39 Sun 13-Jan-08 20:33:23
It's discouraged to learn to read before the milk teeth come in anthroposophically they don't think they're spiritually ready until then- their milk teeth are formed by the mother's spiritual forces- and their own teeth come from the childs own forces built up from the spiritual world. That's the reason- not because it's what they do in Europe- although I happen to believe that later reading and more play is a really good idea. And i was glad my yopunst didn't learn 'til later because she caught up really fast.
I think it's a crying shame that Steiner Waldorf doesn't fill the gap that's so despereately needed- and there are some good things about Steiner.


Pilgrim Tue 10-Mar-09 13:44:31
The reason that Steiner Waldorf teachers are taught to delay reading is because the spirit of the mother resides in the childs baby teeth.

Teaching them to read too soon will dim and harden their spiritual development and potentially interfere with their ability to commune with higher worlds.

Steiner Waldorf is the educational wing of anthroposophy, which embraces the idea of reincarnation through the actions of karma. The main priority is to spiritualize the world by nurturing each child's soul as it evolves by successive incarnations into progressively higher racial forms.

disenchantedgnomie Tue 10-Mar-09 14:23:23
At first the Steiner experience will be wonderful and you will find yourself in awe of everything and everybody! Then as the years roll, you will start to see massive cracks appearing everywhere!

Do some serious research beforehand and definately concentrate the pros and cons to delayed reading.

My child cannot read, write or spell and she is *8 years old*! I am crying as I type this thinking about the terrible mistake that I have made for my LO.

BTW - I have namechanged and am a regular poster.

AMumInScotland Tue 10-Mar-09 15:05:53
I think the important thing is to avoid making any comments which could be argued to be libellous, as that is likely to get the comments and possibly the whole thread deleted. I totally understand MNHQs problems on this subject, and empathise with how parents who've had a bad time find it tricky to moderate their comments, which is why I tend to come onto these threads as someone not personally affected, but who was involved in some of the long and contentious threads and was very surprised and concerned about the experiences people had.

I think the question of why Steiner Waldorf feel such a need to ensure that all internet debate about them is cleased of allegedly libellous material is an interesting one. Of course all organisations are concerned for their reputation, but they do this to an extent I consider extreme.

However, there are websites which contain open criticism of Steiner Waldorf education and the philosophy behind it, and I would very much advise anyone considering it to look at all sides of the debate and consider the motivations of those involved before making a decision.

Nontoxic Tue 10-Mar-09 18:10:43
'Brides of Steiner' - that's hilarious! Must look that up.
Although I can't mention it to DH as he still turns purple whenever THAT place is mentioned.

We moved on three years ago and I still carry the guilt that I took my DCs from a perfectly good mainstream school and plunged them in to a world of teachers always being right, bullying being the child's karma and bad behaviour being tolerated as long as the child showed due reverence to the 'candle.'

I think it's very telling that the two positive posters are kindie parents - the system seems to get more wierd and ruthless the older the child gets, and also I think you can forgive a lot when your child is surrounded by such loveliness.

I' m very surprised that someone said they had books in their kindie - this is definitely not normal in a Steiner school.

Gnomie I hope you get things sorted out - it's true, if they're not educating your child you shouldn't have to pay.
I know someone who was contemplating suing them for all the fees she'd paid.

Maria33 Wed 11-Mar-09 15:06:04
For the OP.

I'm sure there are a number of great Steiner schools out there.

Sadly we weren't at one of them. The problem with a poorly run school is that it can be underfunded and under resourced. Often the teachers are inexperienced and trying to juggle management, admin and teaching roles on very low salaries. Parents take over the management of the school which leads (predictably enough) to in-fighting and cliquiness.

All of this can inevitably lead to a pretty poor quality of education for the children involved.

My advice would be go for it if the school is thriving, well run and you love it! Run for the hills if it's 'just setting up' or 'a little rough round the edges'.

I would hate for Steiner education to disappear completely from the UK education scene. I just wish the SWSF could sort it out and focus on building up a few well run modern Steiner schools and not allow Steiner schools to be opened and running in the unacceptable state the one we went to was.slim22 Thu 12-
Mar-09 03:49:00
my experience for what it's worth:

My son attended playschool at the london steiner house (regent's park).
I loved the whole cocoon athmosphere, back to nature, nurturing the child's soul with simple soothing repetitive routines,etc....

But I was well aware of what anthroposophy is and could 'decode' the language.
They ARE looneys. As long as you know and don't let yourself and your kids be manipulated in the long run, kindergarten is fine.

I used their set up in a purely opportunistic way because the athmosphere in their preschool was way better that any of the crap westminster/camden had to offer at a reasonable premium.

Censorship at Mumsnet

JustineMumsnet Belgium (MNHQ) Tue 08-Jul-08 08:52:17
Hello folks,
So here's the situation. As the law stands Mumsnet is viewed as the publisher of what you write. Right now there is nothing we can do to transfer the liability even if you would like to carry that liability as individuals. This is something we've written on and are campaigning against- (The Tories seem quite interested in doing something about it which is good.)

For a while now there has been a vociferous debate between 2 groups - pro-and anti-steiner - on Mumsnet, which as many have pointed out has often been a circular one. Consequently we took a decision after trawling through the reported posts in our inbox on an almost daily basis to ban those whose only purpose on Mumsnet seemed to be to conduct a pro-or-anti steiner crusade i.e. they didn't contribute to any other threads and they regularly posted with fairly dogmatic/extreme views on the issue.
We still find our inbox filled with reported posts and have received a fair few threats of legal action too. Here's the sort of mail we are getting:

"If I see her posting promotion of libel at Mumsnet once more, I won't
tell you about it, but ask Percy Bratt of Bratt and Feinsilber in Sweden
to contact you in cooperation with the legal representatives of The
Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship in the UK and Ireland
(http://www.steinerwaldorf.org/index.html), about your negligent
way of allowing libel to be published at Mumsnet and the one who is the
most fervent publisher of it to continue to publish at Mumsnet."

Some of the pro-Steiner group on the other hand have suggested that they will sue us for removing material and started a Yahoo group suggesting that our over-reaction is as a result of my PMT - do men still think this stuff?

So you can see it's all very wearing. We have no wish to engage in correspondence with Percy Bratt. Experience tells us that even if you think you're on the side of common sense it can still cost you a lot of time and money!

What's more, as we've said a few times we have no idea of the writes and wrongs of the argument. And though we are reluctant and saddened to stop folks having a voice on any issue, as the law stands we - Mumsnet - are legally liable for what is said on Mumsnet. So the upshot is we cannot allow posts that are reported as being defamatory to stand. Even if they might be true - which is of course a defence - but one that we can not be sure of.

We've suggested to the anti-Steiner group that they start their own forum. They are clearly very certain of the validity of their position and therefore presumably would be happy to fight any ensuing legal battles - in fact in their position I'd imagine they'd been jumping over themselves to have a high-profile court case if what they say is true, is indeed true.

Similarly we've suggested that the pro-Steiner lot follow up their complaints with the individuals involved rather than Mumsnet but again they seem reluctant.

So all in all allowing this discussion to take place on Mumsnet is/has taken up an inordinate amount of time and is without question ill-advised from a legal perspective.

So I'm afraid I think the time has indeed come to "shut it down". Our previous legal encounter seemed a cause worth risking the Towers for but given that we don't even know the rights and wrongs of this debate and that most Mumsnetters are not engaged in it, we think this is a fight to take elsewhere.


Mumsnet Towers

Mumsnet Reviews - Steiner School in Scotland

suzun Tue 24-Jun-08 14:32:41
I know there are lots of threads on this subject already but just wondered if anyone elses children have been ruined by the steiner education.

My dd has been bullied for the last 4yrs and have only just realised from threads on here about the Anthroposothy side. Yes i know after 4yrs.

DD was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome but now we have been told by the clinical psych that he believes she was wrongly diagnosed in the beginning and it was a result of constant bullying that was not dealt with.
She was bullied on a daily basis and there are also child protection issues which i wont go into.

She is now home educated and is almost a different child although will take some time to recover.

I really am furious and hoping to get a report from the psych to send to the school and also the HMIE are due to inspect soon and i want them to also have a copy.

There are so many thing that the school should be answerable to but you never get a straight answer.

My son is 8 and has had 5 teachers in the space of a year.I really want out of the school but my boys want to stay.
I'm sure it is because they know nothing else.

We are ostricised by my dds old teacher and really feel outside of the 'community'lol.

Both my boys will be so behind accademically that they will really struggle in a mainstream school and also they are not used to full days either.

A friend of mine was given 8,000 pounds by a uk steiner school to keep quiet about the bullying of his child by a steiner teacher.

There was a recent class trip and on the last night the boys and girls were allowed to stay in the same tent. These were 13/14 and 15yr olds :0

There are so many shocking things that i want to blurt out but have to be careful.

I find the teachers well most of them very odd and it seems to be the norm to swap partners there too.I'm not joking either .

We have just recieved a letter asking for a full years fees upfront by end of July. Has anyone had this type of thing happen.



northernrefugee39 Tue 24-Jun-08 16:46:51
Hi Suzan, I totally sympathise with this situaion, and have seen similar ones at Steiner schools before.
I'm so glad your daughter is recovering now she's left.
Our three children were at Steiner school for two/three years. There was horrendous bullying, some to our children and alot to others. It was physical and emotional. The teachers ignored it, as anthrposophically it's a past life situation which needs to be played out.
To deal with difficult behaviour in the classroom the children told us that two large male teachers were often brought in to physically drag the children out; one boy allegedly was dragged accross the room by his neck
Steiner schools seem to get away with things which in a normal situation would be called assault.
Health and safety was a big issue too; they don't worry too much, because guardian angels are watching the children; if an accident happens, it's karma.hmm

The school asking you for money does not surprise me one bit- they are disorganised wit paperwork on almost every issue, swet, bumbling and spiritual; but when it comes to asking for money, they turn into aggressive machines! I'm not sure wher you stand legally, (you may have signed something which promised to pay at sme point) but i would certainly look into this; particularly since your daughter suffered at their hands.

I've just finished writing an article of sorts about our experience, which I'm sending to a couple of journalists who were interested, and some websites.
It's focus is on the secrecy and deception about recruiting parents to seiner schools and not being up front about anthroposohy,the racial beliefs it's hinged on, and the appalling teaching and bullying.
Sound familiar?

barking Tue 24-Jun-08 17:27:07
Hi Suzan and Northern smile

The hardest part is making the decision, they will lead you to believe the modern outside world is not to be trusted, only feared. I so wanted it to work at the time (before I had access to the internet).

Its all about control. I feel so angry on your behalf, I would ask for your £8000 silence money and run as far away from the buggers as possible.

The central theme of anthoposophy underpins everything, steiner's idea of karma and reincarnation is incredibly disempowering to both child and parent, I believe you can take responsibility and make your own fate. Nature is free, you don't have to subscribe to a cultcommunity to be part of it.

We left, but we are still living in a steiner community, can you imagine the passive aggressive hell we're in, they can't even feel sorry for us for being ignorant, we are their worst nightmare as we know what lurks behind the smiles, silk scarves and rounded corners. We hope to leave soon, but until then I must be good and quiet and work out my karma on mumsnet wink

I have a couple of friends who work high up in mental health and these schools are famous, having a high concentration of fragile adults who weren't parented very well themselves and very angry and vunerable children.

Ah yes partner swapping,,,it must be that they are terrified of being intimate with anyone outside of the community. At least they don't have to go through all the agro of persuading the other half to adopt their new alternative lifestyle....all common in a cult environment.

suzun Wed 25-Jun-08 11:26:17
Thank you for you messages of support.
From what i have read and heard from lots of others about steiner education is horrendous to say the least.

I wish i had never stepped foot inside the school but truly believe Anthroposophy is hidden from the parents.

When people go to look at these schools all they see is sweet smiling teachers but there is a lot hidden behind those sweet smiles.

Northernrefugee i can relate to what you have been through with your children because i read your story on another thread.

I hope your childern are ok and recovering.

This person that STALKS you obviously dosen't like the truth but all what you have said i can totally understand.

You are telling the truth and these school can be very damaging to children.

It has taken us a lot of time to see behind those smiles but when we take my two boys out of the school we will tell our story.

My husband is a journalist and if we can help you in any way then we will.

People need to know what these schools are about and how the anthros are damaging our children.

I say spread the word and let people know.

Bws to you all on here

s xx

JaneGI Tue 06-May-14 19:25:40
Hope you don`t mind me writing on here but i have been thinking of this for that last few days. I was a child at a Steiner School in the 1970`s, bullying there was rife by Staff and Pupils alike, no one ever listened, no one ever stopped it, don`t know if i can go into it all because it is quite painful, but there was a girl in my class who was slightly different to everyone else because she had a medical condition that meant she was over weight. One particular PE lesson, i don`t exactly know what happened because i wasn`t there that day, some other girls in the class went into the changing rooms, stripped her and put stinging nettles on her buttocks, nothing was done about it because the idea was it was her own fault. I was a boarder there for some time and on regular occasions i had a boy come into my room at night who told me i would be dead in the morning. I also witnessed a teacher hit a child on the back of the neck so hard the child vomited. And witnessed another teacher drag a small girl by her hair along a path very hard because she didn`t want to go outside. I know this is an old thread but i just needed to tell some one. Thanks for reading.

Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School


Posted April 12, 2013

the school is very good for Nursery/Kindergarten, but after that is becomes " institutionalized" by forcing the ids to line up in rows of tables/chairs This begins in 1st grade, which becomes a culture shock to kids after the free-flowing natural learning environment of Kindergarten. Also, there is no limit to amount of kids placed in each class-some classes have 25 kids and ONE teacher! They NEVER add a second teacher, just trying to maximize profits over quality of education it appears. We transferred schools after Kindergarten. Also science isnt even taught until 6th grade, and then it is poorly taught. No wonder USA is so far behingd the rest of the world in science!
—Submitted by a parent

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Why Waldorf BULLIES

Why Waldorf BULLIES
KARMA and BULLYING in Waldorf Schools

One of the pillars upon which Anthroposophy is built is the notion of karma and with it, reincarnation. It is the child's karma to be connected with their Waldorf teacher, and the children in their classroom.

Bullying cannot happen in Waldorf schools because absolutely NOTHING is considered “bullying”. Teachers consider any unpleasant experiences a child has in Waldorf school as the child's KARMA. The child will be stronger for all the bullying they receive at the hands of their classmates (and sometimes their own teachers).

Here is Steiner discussing the karma of a child known to him who was killed:
"In the autumn we experienced the death of a member's child, a child seven years of age. The death of this child occurred in a strange way. He was a good boy, mentally very much alive already within the limits set for a seven-year-old; a good, well-behaved and mentally active child. He came to die because he happened to be on the very spot where a furniture van overturned, crushing the boy so that he died of suffocation. This was a spot where probably no van went past before nor will go past again, but one did pass just that moment. It is also possible to show in an outer way that all kinds of circumstances caused the child to be in that place at the time the van overturned, circumstances considered chance if the materialistic view is taken ... Studying the case in the light of spiritual science and of karma it will be seen to demonstrate very clearly that external logic, quite properly used in external life, proves flimsy in this case and does not apply ... The karma of this child was such that the ego, to put it bluntly, had ordered the van and the van overturned to fulfill the child's karma."
Rudolf Steiner, THE DESTINIES OF INDIVIDUALS AND OF NATIONS (SteinerBooks, 1987), pp. 125-126.

“The judgments man has in physical life on earth are, in fact, different from
the judgments he has between death and a new birth. For there the point of
view is changed. And so it is, if you say to a human being here on earth — a
young human being, perhaps-that he has chosen his father, it is not out of the
question that he might make objection: “Do you mean to say that I have
chosen the father who has given me so many thrashings?” Yes, certainly he
has chosen him; for he had quite another point of view before he came down
to earth. He had the point of view that the thrashings would do him a lot of
good.” (Steiner, Karmic Relationships, Volume I: Lecture V)

So, karma explains ANY unfortunate circumstances that happen to children in Waldorf schools. What's a little bullying, when something powerful enough to require a child's DEATH is at work in these children?

Below, Master Waldorf teacher Eugene Schwartz explains how little bullying means to Waldorf teachers in a video mocking parent complaints regarding bullying!  It sounds like he's serious up until the end.

Because bullying is considered by Waldorf teachers to be part of a child's karma, and therefore something the child must work through on their own, children are FAR MORE LIKELY to suffer bullying at a Waldorf school than in ordinary school environments where laws against bullying are enforced and where common sense (and not karma) prevails.  Waldorf teachers may not even mention to parents that their child is suffering bullying or humiliation on a daily basis.

Let's look at more of Waldorf's official stance. How about AWSNA, the Association of Waldorf Schools in North America. What did their representatives say about a TEACHER who duct-taped children to their seats?

Claire McConnell, who apologized in a letter June 24, was accused of strapping one child into a chair with a leather belt, tying the hands of others and taping shut the mouths of some elementary school students, the Albany Times Union reported Thursday.

AWSNA's response:

"She's a young teacher, a learning teacher," Patrice Maynard, a teacher and mentor to McConnell, told the newspaper.
She referred further questions to a letter promising that "errors in disciplinary action would not be repeated."
Get that? “errors in disciplinary action would not be REPEATED.” That's because this was the SECOND time duct-taping of children was done by this particular teacher. The first time, they did NOTHING!
Steiner taught Waldorf teachers that some children were DEMONS! Here's how Steiner described one child:
Dr. Steiner: “That little girl L.. in the first grade must have something very wrong inside. There is not much we can do. Such cases are increasing in which children are born with a human form, but are not really human beings in relation to their highest I [the highest element of one’s spiritual being]; instead, they are filled with beings that do not belong to the human class. Quite a number of people have been born since the [1890s] without an I, that is, they are not reincarnated, but are human forms filled with a sort of natural demon. There are quite a large number of older people going around who are actually not human beings, but only natural; they are human beings only in regard to their form. We cannot, however, create a school for demons.”
A teacher: “How is that possible?”

Dr. Steiner: “Cosmic error is certainly not impossible. The relationships of individuals coming into earthly existence have long been determined. There are also generations in which individuals have no desire to come into earthly existence and be connected with physicality, or immediately leave at the very beginning. In such cases, other beings that are not quite suited step in.... They are also quite different from human beings in regard to everything spiritual. They can, for example, never remember such things as sentences; they have a memory only for words, not for sentences....
(Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, Anthroposophical Press, 1998, pp. 649-650.)
“Faculty Meetings” (by several names) is on every Waldorf teacher required reading list.

Here's Rudolf Steiner himself bullying a child - notice how he attributes "karma" as the source of the problems he perceives.  The child very obviously doesn't respond to Steiner's commands at the end.  Steiner wisely chooses not to "force him":

“And now, if you will begin to observe the child for yourselves — [to the boy] Come here a minute! — you will find many things to notice. Let me draw your attention, first of all, to the strongly developed lower half of the face. Look at the shape of the nose and the mouth. The mouth is always a little open, which has an effect on dental development. It is important to note these things, for they are unquestionably bound up with the whole soul-and-spirit constitution of the child… The formation you see here in the jaws — the jaws belong, of course, to the limb system — is wholly part of the head system … Look, he’s amused! I think Fraulein B. was asking him why he keeps his mouth open, and his reply was: ‘To let the flies come in.’ This is a firmly fixed opinion of his.
“… Here (in the front) as we remarked, the head is pressed together. In all probability this points back to a purely mechanical injury, either at birth or during pregnancy, a mechanical injury in which we can see nothing else than a working of karma …
“The whole breathing system … is very little under control … Hence the symptom that is so conspicuous in a child of this kind … What ought to happen is that gradually, in the course of life, the whole system of movement in man should become a servant of the intellectual system. [To the boy] Stand still a minute! And now come here to me and do this! (Dr. Steiner makes a movement with his arm as if to take hold of something; the boy does not make the movement.) Never mind! We mustn’t force him. Do you see? It is difficult for him to do anything; he has not the power to exercise the right control over his metabolism-and-limbs system….” [Rudolf Steiner, EDUCATION FOR SPECIAL NEEDS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), pp. 106-110.]

Steiner treats this "special needs" child as if he cannot even understand what is being said about him.  What parent would expect their child to be humiliated in this way?  To Steiner, the child was fulfilling his own karma - nothing to see here - move along.  Again, this book is required reading in Waldorf teacher training.

Below is a Waldorf school document for faculty:

p9, Bullying Presentation to Faculty – Handout
May 13, 1999
Alan Howard Waldorf School
Prepared by Cynthia Kennedy and Betty Robertson
We have labored over this section and it has been written and rewritten a number of times. Can a child’s karma or destiny be that of a victim or bully? Is it a child’s destiny to seek certain experiences to build his or her self-esteem and inner self? Should a potentially abusive situation be stopped, and if so, at what point? We do not know the answers; however, when dealing with bullying behavior we thought that caution is necessary. If intervention can change the experiences that our children encounter then conceivably it is not entirely destiny we are dealing with. And perhaps all the children are better served if they are given tools to better handle aggression, be it their own, or their peers.
For a child who is being victimized, it must be the teacher’s role and responsibility to determine how much victimization is healthy to enable the child to be strengthened through the experience and at what point the exposure is excessive and detrimental. This situation is something that all teachers must struggle with, and the obligation becomes that much more onerous given that, in all likelihood, most of what a child is subjected to will be unknown to the teacher.
It appears that the bully, primarily through child rearing, arrives at our school with a predisposition to aggressive and bullying behavior. The research is not clear as to how much these children can be helped without the support of the parents. However, parental commitment is one of the qualities expected of any Waldorf family so there may be more success with our families than the average. In addition, we understand that doing biography work with the affected child(ren) and families may increase understanding and help the situation. Curative work, including assessments and curative eurythmy, perhaps in consultation with specialists like Anthroposophical doctors, may provide additional information to both the family and teacher(s).
Here's a student's story of bullying and sexual harassment by her Waldorf teacher.

A victim of teacher bullying at Waldorf


"I remember him in first grade screaming at me in front of the whole class, because I was having trouble understanding a math problem. I also remember in first grade, we were doing our first painting and I forgot to wet my brush after dunking it with another color and I accidentally mixed that blue and the yellow making what was supposed to be a yellow, green. However, instead of giving me a chance to correct my mistake he just told me that I couldn’t paint that day. I laid my head down on the desk feeling devastated. As I look back as an adult, I look at him and I think to myself, ‘how dare he treat that little girl (me) that way.’ I was only seven years old. He could have given me a chance to fix the mistake. I remember in third grade, I misunderstood a homework assignment and he literally shamed me for the whole afternoon. It was a lot of things like that during the time he was my teacher."
"Mr. M even sexually harassed me in fourth grade. One day he was out of the room and we were all running around, and there was this boy who was hitting girls on the butts, including me. I told the boy to stop it but he wouldn’t. When Mr. M came back into the room, I told him that this boy was hitting girls on the butts. However, instead of taking the boy aside and explaining to him that that kind of behavior was not okay, in front of the whole class, he lambasted me for being a tattletale, saying that it was just a game. He told me not to be so fragile or sensitive otherwise no one would want to be my friend. Eventually, I told my mother and she yelled in his face and told a friend of hers on the school board. Why this man hasn’t been fired I’ll never know."
"Now I am not upset anymore with the ten year old boy, who was hitting girls on the butts. He being an immature ten year old boy who needed an adult to sit him down and explain why that kind of behavior is not okay. I am livid and furious and outraged about how a grown man could sink so low as to sexually harass a ten year old girl and allow and condone that kind of behavior. I know that when teachers go to school to become teachers they are taught about education law and when congress passes a new law or the Supreme Court rules on a law regarding education teachers are made aware of it. Title IX was passed in 1972, nine years before I was born and twenty years before the incident. The Minnesota state statute says all schools even private much have a sexual harassment policy, and this statute was passed in 1989. I know that Mr. M knew what sexual harassment was and that it was against the law in the 1991-1992 school years. However, after I was sexually harassed he turned around and violated my civil rights and sexually harassed me and taught every single student in that classroom that sexual harassment was okay. As a woman, a feminist, and a future lawyer it disgusts me and boggles my mind. I’ve heard that a lot of times Waldorf schools ignore civil rights laws and it’s wrong."
"In first grade, I felt my self-esteem being affected and I felt very small as result of his behavior towards me and it made learning harder for me. I can see now that his bullying of me only made it harder for me to learn. Eventually in sixth grade, my parents finally saw Mr. M for who he was and took me out of that school. However, now I clearly see that what Mr. M did to me was to psychologically abusive, and disability harass me and sexually harass me."

This parent blames the children of non-Waldorf parents for the horrible things that happened at school.  Can't be that wonderful "Waldorf education" we've heard so many good things about, right?  If there are problems at Waldorf, its' those pesky mainstream parents' fault.


i sent my son to a steiner school because the philosophy resinated with my heart felt way of parenting.my son has a disibility,i thought his unique spirit would bloom in such a holistic environment.instead he was bullied and severly sexually assaulted by his pears from 5yrs to 7 1/2yrs when i pulled him out. he now has post traumatic stress disorder and i have spent the last 18mths trying to intergrate him into a mainstreme school. he attends only two days a week and i have to sit at the school all day as he wont use the toilet any more. this whole situation has been a nightmare. i love steiner education it resonates deeply within my being as truth, unfortunetly i didnt realize that most parents who send there kids to stiener schools are like you,dont believe in the theory or practice the beliefs. so mainstreme kids who wanna'pour kerosine on it' attend the steiner school and like it because they can run amuck. the steiner teachers at the school we went to have a massive challange teaching stiener education to the 'spoilt child'(exposure to tv and computer) Thank you for your article it has made me realize how angry i still am at the truma we have been thru.I just dont understand why you and other non steiner parents dont send your kids to mainstream school? having to send my child to a mainstreme school,is actually like a huge punishment for us because it goes against everthing we believe. i cant get my son into another stiener school because there all full. if i could get in im not sure i wanna risk a group of boys pushing a stick up his rectum again or the daily terror they put him thru,because he was smaller more inocent and struggles to use his words.stiener theory would be great if it was stiener practice but unfortunately the school is full of people like you,who dont believe or care about stiener education. you just send your kids there and ignore and laugh at the rules wich are crutial to make steiner education work,when instead there are many many other schools who share your beliefs that your kids could go to. i found your article extremely offensive and i am grateful for that,you laugh at a school that is our greatest dream to attend and yet we cant because its full of mainstream parents like you, who dont even attempt to understand or support the philosophy.again i am just so angry at what has happened to us, my emotional response at the ugliness of this article is making me realize i still have much to learn. thankyou

So parents, when you bring your child to a Waldorf school, consider what Waldorf teachers learn in their TRAINING:
1. How to establish if your child is a demon.
2. That they should stand by while your child is being bullied (oops, I mean, having their karma fulfilled for them).
3. Karma also requires some children to be the bullies.
4. That the child's karma has drawn them to the Waldorf school because they need to experience whatever is in store for them there – even if it means they will be harmed.
5. Children are IMPROVED for having experienced bullying - regardless of whether they were the bully or the bullied child.

Parents considering Waldorf should ask themselves if children should be expected to do better in schools where it is their belief that it is *normal* even *better* for teachers to allow, and even to apply bullying and abuse to their students?

Here is some good advice from Mumsnet about what to do if your child is being bullied or is bullying others.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Westside Waldorf School

Westside Waldorf School

Westside Waldorf School could become the next Highland Hall

Westside Waldorf school isn't a charter, it's private. Many Highland Hall
teachers (the worst) have made themselves at home at Westside.  Here's their list of teachers:

Listed from Highland Hall are:
1) Lisa Profumo (Scemema)... who hid the Wilkins molestation incidents from the entire school, ignored mandated reporting laws and put the school in severe legal jeopardy.  She's lying whenever her lips move.
2) Liis Edwards... Check out letters from Highland Hall on this blog for her signature.  She was involved in MANY cover-ups at Highland Hall.
3) Alex Houghton... a former friend and former Waldorf teacher - he once pretended outrage at what was going on at Highland Hall and promised to reform Waldorf through WISC... he's now silent as WISC continues to employ the very WORST teachers Waldorf has to offer.  He is influencing Waldorf boards across the country... sadly.

  • Regan S.
  • Los Angeles, CA
This Waldorf school is a disaster, and you should all know that the Westside Waldorf school leadership has REQUIRED the entire faculty (I, being a former faculty member), to pose as parents and students and post (bogus) positive reviews on the online school review websites. Everything about this school is a charade - the learning (there isn't much); the administration, board and teachers (more infighting than a WWF match); the parents (most judgmental and hostile group of human beings I've ever seen, posing to be "spiritual"); and the kids (totally out of control bullies and children with major unchecked behavioral issues). These children and parents have such a lack of decorum that they cause solid, caring teachers to lose their jobs by trying to get these spoiled kids to behave. Please save your money and go public...  Anything would be better for your child than this school!  While some Waldorfs are amazing, this one is not! They are a disgrace to the Waldorf national and international community.  --Submitted by a longstanding Waldorf teacher

Beverly Hills, CA
Westside Waldorf just might be the worse school in Los Angeles, (private, public, or otherwise). This school hires incompetent teachers; has a cramped, dirty campus; tolerates bullying on every level; and is governed by a cult very much like Scientology (please check out http://www.waldorfwatch.…).  We gave our son a few years there, and we finally pulled him due to the school's utter lack of any kind of academic standards or principals, and their arrogance when you try to speak to them about it.  In addition to having absolutely no decent sports program, they also do not have a library, a real playground (kids play in the parking lot), and no true arts program, something they boast as part of their curriculum.  It's literally just a bunch of rooms where dreamy teachers teach a watered-down version of learning. This school is in business because they take any family who is not able to get into any other school in town.
in the last week
Wish I could give them ZERO STARS !!! I had an ABSOLUTELY AWFUL experience !! This used to be a super sweet school with lots of nice people, but when I returned after attending a different school for four years, this place has turned into a nightmare !!! My problems started at Westside after I was there Five years and they made the wrong choice in first grade teachers. I was in a class where the teacher would walk kids up to the front and hit them (not me). The school didn't believe us so we left, but about six months later they eventually fired him. My teacher was totally incapable of teaching middle school, and when she felt that you were starting to figure that out she would humiliate you saying you knew too much, or try to give you a lecture on how drops of water are not the same as water drops. One time I was wearing clear nailpolish, and they made me take it off in front of the head of school, while she gave me a lecture on how it is harming the imaginations of the younger children. The ironic part is the second graders were wearing green nailpolish, and yet they were not made to take it off. Another time I was trying to help my friend with there school work and my teacher said infront of both of us, " Why are you wasting your time on them, they will never get how to do that. " And one other time she publicly called me the worst drawer in the class. The wood work teacher and a few others are the only great teachers left, most have left over the past year. It is just all very sad because I once considered this place my home. Everything is kept confidential and the administrators lack the skill of problem solving. They have this slip policy that literally threatens the students so that they are afraid to speak up if anything unfair happens. Not very Waldorf at all !!!! My advice to you is that if you want a caring, positive waldorf experience for your child pick a different waldorf school, that is better if it is not in Southern California !!!

As with sister school Highland Hall, negative reviews tend to disappear here:

Posted March 12, 2013
Hmm, I posted my review yesterday and it disappeared.Here it is again. if your goal is to have a child who can't spell and is bad at math go to Waldorf! It's ok for most of the students there, since at least half of the kids there will end up being trust fund babies and will never have to worry about spelling or math. And some of the grade teachers can not spell either. Also, when they say they don't want you to expose your children to media, they only say that, in reality everybody watches tv, plays video games etc. The most hypocritical bunch of parents I've ever seen. Also, they deny that bullying exists at the school but meanwhile plenty of children are really mean to each other and LOVE to single out one kid and pick on him/her. Mine wasn't one of the kids that got picked on but to watch it happen to others and hear everybody deny it is depressing. I think they bully each other because they are bored out of their minds for most part. My child is now at a public school and it is as if a whole world of knowledge just opened up in front of her. Administration at this school is also horrible. You will never hear a straight answer out of them. Same goes for board of trustees. 
—Submitted by a parent

Here's a real shocker... :)

April 11, 2008
It is truly unfortunate that this school continues to promote itself to parents
without sharing that the model is based on Anthroposophy. If you are interested
in any Waldorf School read about Rudolf Steiner. Here is a good website to start
with: openwaldorf. com
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 31, 2007

The school used to be a treasure. But since 2005 all the best grade teachers have left the school. Excellent subject teachers(woodwork, Japanese, music) remain.
—Submitted by a parent