AID AND COMFORT



Where Help May Be Found





Here are a few sites that offer support for current and former Waldorf students and their families. 


Some of these sites are more active than others; 

some have ceased operations but left helpful trails. 

Most are free, but a few charge fees for their services.

Some are open to any and all comers; some require membership to participate.


I will update this list if and when I can.




— Roger Rawlings














The "Waldorf-Anthroposophy-Steiner Survivors Only" 

E-mail Mailing List


"'Waldorf-Anthroposophy-Steiner Survivors Only' is an international online discussion and support group 

for those who have had negative experiences related to Waldorf Schools, Anthroposophy, Camphill 

and other programs based on the occult ideas of Rudolf Steiner. 

Current members include former Waldorf School students & teachers, parents of former Waldorf students, 

and others by approval of the volunteer moderators. Members are welcome to share personal stories, ask questions, and express concerns 

— from the personal to the more global — about Waldorf education and related topics. 

All posts to the list are confidential — for list members only."


[http://waldorfcritics.org/active/survivors.html]











Life After Waldorf - A Support Group


"Here we are. 

We are a group of women who have been together for 18 months sharing our stories, our pain, 

and our quest for healing ourselves and our children.

[O]ur former thread [was] called 'A Safe, Healthy Haven: Waldorf Questioners/Concerns Thread.'


"Today, we begin anew, in a new sub-forum. 

I, for one, like the 'Personal Growth' subforum because it makes me feel safe 

and that this is a protected space for healing, not defending, ourselves.

Welcome to all newcomers, male or female, who need to be here, as well."

 

[http://www.mothering.com/community/t/683104/life-after-waldorf-a-support-group]











Post-Waldorf Tutoring 

"Helping Those Leaving Waldorf Education Rejoin The Mainstream


"Many parents who first investigate Waldorf education are delighted with its strengths when their children are toddlers; 

however in middle school, many choose to move their children back to mainstream educational institutions ... 

[C]hanging not only schools but curriculums, especially in the Middle School years, can be challenging for both students and parents ... 

As a website that is operated by parents of former Waldorf students who have changed school systems, however, 

we are available to answer questions you might have on how to make the transition as smooth as possible ... 

Post Waldorf Tutoring.com offers tutoring in mainstream subjects...."


[http://www.postwaldorftutoring.com/]











The "waldorf-critics" E-mail Discussion List


"A free-speech public forum operated by PLANS, Inc., as an information resource for anyone interested in Waldorf education 

who wants to hear views from outside the cult of Rudolf Steiner. 

Subscription is open to the public, and postings are not reviewed in advance. 

Not for the overly sensitive.


"Typical contents include: the Waldorf curriculum. The role of Anthroposophy in Waldorf. 

Real science and medicine vs. Anthroposophical quack science and medicine. 

Sharing of Waldorf horror stories. Anthroposophists "defending the faith" against PLANS philosophy warriors. 

News and articles about Waldorf controversies worldwide."  


[http://www.waldorfcritics.org/active/critics.html]











For a broad perspective, yet one offering the possibility of personal assistance,

you might want to join


The International Cultic Studies Association

"Founded in 1979, the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) is a global network of people concerned about psychological manipulation and abuse 
in cultic groups, alternative movements, and other environments. 
ICSA is tax-exempt, supports civil liberties, and is not affiliated with any religious or commercial organizations.

"ICSA's mission is to apply research and professional perspectives on cultic groups to educate the public 
and help those who have been harmed. In order to fulfill this mission, ICSA provides:

• conferences, workshops, local meetings, and special lectures, seminars, and other events
• an e-library with more than 25,000 documents
• a variety of periodicals and publications
• personalized assistance
• perspectives on how to evaluate and use information to deal effectively with problems related to cultic and other groups
• support for cultic studies research
• opportunities to network with families, former members of cults or related groups, helping professionals, 
researchers, and others interested in the cultic studies field
• training and volunteer opportunities"

Some activities at the Association, and some publications, have focused specifically on Waldorf education.

The Association sometimes holds events such as recovery workshops.

[http://icsahome.com/infoserv_respond/event_workshops.asp?pubDate1=2012_07_CO]











Waldorf Straight Talk



Quick, simple, clear — the truth.
Too often, Waldorf experiences end in confusion and pain.
Learning the truth about the Waldorf movement
may not magically solve all problems,
but it is the necessary precondition.
Here, in readily accessible form, are answers to key Waldorf questions,
along with links that will take you to further expositions, both pro and con.










The Ethereal Kiosk


Helpful discussions occur, in both English and Swedish, at this site,

which is hosted by a former Waldorf student. 

Numerous Waldorf- and Steiner-related subjects are debated. 

The door is open to all, not just those trying to cope with difficult Waldorf experiences and their aftermaths.


[http://zooey.wordpress.com/tag/waldorf-education/] [1]











Mumsnet


Mumsnet is not focused on Waldorf education — it covers a wide range of topics of interest to parents.

Still, from time to time, there are extended and helpful discussions of Steiner/Waldorf issues. 

These come and go, depending on whether anyone posts a question or an appeal that spurs responses. 


[http://www.mumsnet.com/info/search?query=waldorf]











Other Conversations


There have also been occasional, illuminating (and sometimes not-so-illuminating)

discussions on such sites as the following. Often, these conversations

focus primarily on the decision of whether or not to enroll at child at a Waldorf school.

The chief benefit to anyone struggling with Waldorf issues may lie in simply

hearing from like-minded (and not-so-like-minded) individuals trying to weigh up

Waldorf pros and cons. 



Mothering


[http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1320337/choosing-waldorf-steiner-education-i-need-the-truth]


and


[http://www.mothering.com/community/t/368640/a-safe-healthy-haven-waldorf-questioners-concerns-thread]




DC Urban Moms and Dads


[http://www.dcurbanmom.com/jforum/posts/list/173765.page]




The Straight Dope


[http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=14281140]




UrbanBaby


[http://www.urbanbaby.com/talk/posts/53389033]




The Bump


[http://community.thebump.com/cs/ks/forums/thread/58640798.aspx?MsdVisit=1]













An excellent website in Norway offers multiple resources in multiple languages:

Norwegian, Dutch, German, and English.

If for no other reason, visit it so that you know

you are not alone.


Steinerkritikk.no


"Steinerkritikk.no is a site that aims to bring together the national and international criticism of the Steiner movement, Steiner Schools and Anthroposophy.
This is an open forum for parents, researchers, students and former employees who have experiences they want to share with others, 
or who want more knowledge about Steiner schools in Norway.
We who are responsible for the page has been both teachers and parents at the Waldorf School for many years. 
We found that Steiner does not emerge as a good educational alternative, but as a sectarian movement. 
We were very skeptical of the anthroposophical view of man and the religious speculation Steiner operates on the basis of."


[http://steinerkritikk.no/]












Other Resources


Upon leaving Waldorf schools — at graduation or earlier —

students often find that their education has been deficient.

(See "Post Waldorf Tutoring", above.)

Likewise, some students still enrolled at Waldorf schools feel the need

to supplement the education they are receiving. [2]

One option is to consider free on-line public schooling,

for instance at

K12

[http://www.k12.com/] [3]




Parents who remove students from Waldorf schools

may want to consider homeschooling, at least until their children

are prepared to enter other private or public schools.

One affordable option is provided by

the Boston School

[http://www.bostonschool.org/]

(Centered in California and named for educator John Boston, the Boston School is not part

of the public school system in Boston, Massachusetts.)




Literacy is often a problem for young Waldorf students.

Waldorf schools almost always postpone reading instruction

until students turn seven and lose their baby teeth.

Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes

may help bring children's reading comprehension up to grade level.

[http://www.lindamoodbell.com/]




An online education site with over 3,000 videos

covering an wide array of subjects 

— and with teacher resources to boot — 

is KhanAcademy.

The philosophy is the antithesis of the prescriptive Waldorf approach.

"We're on a mission to help you learn what you want, 
when you want, at your own pace."

[http://www.khanacademy.org/]












More Sites


If you have come here for aid and comfort, you presumably have misgivings

about Waldorf education and would like to see behind the glittering Waldorf facade.

In that case, you may find the following websites helpful:




People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools

— acronym: PLANS —

waldorfcritics.org 




UK Anthroposophy

http://ukanthroposophy.wordpress.com/




Waldorf Awareness

http://petekaraiskos.blogspot.com/




Challenging Anthroposophy & Steiner Education




Waldorf Education — One Family's Story




DC's Improbable Science





All of these sites are, in various ways, critical of Waldorf education.

There are, of course, many sites associated with Waldorf schools that praise Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophy, and Waldorf education.

They may not give you the behind-the-glittering-surface view you want, but you probably should not ignore them.

Several are listed at the "Links" page here at Waldorf Watch:

https://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatch/links

An Internet search will turn up plenty more.

Although leery of computer technology, advocates of Waldorf education have become increasingly sophisticated in their public relations efforts.

You will have no trouble finding pro-Waldorf material, if that is what you want.

The sites listed above are independent efforts created by unpaid volunteers;

Waldorf sites tend to be backed by the coordinated efforts of the entire Anthroposophical movement.












Help Pages



These are some pages here at Waldorf Watch

that may provide assistance in particular situations:




Help!


Help Too


Help 3


Help 4


Help 5


Help 6


Advice for Parents


Clues












A Little Light Reading


The Waldorf/Anthroposophical movement makes organized efforts to present its vision. If you want to know how Waldorf supporters see things, just go to such centers as Why Waldorf WorksRudolf Steiner PressRudolf Steiner College PressAnthroposophical Press, and so forth.


There is no organized anti-Anthroposophical movement with its own publishing houses, so you may have a harder time finding objective, scholarly, and/or critical materials concerning Waldorf education.


To help, here is a reading list. It is by no means complete, but it should at least get you started. Many of the articles and books listed are critical of Waldorf schools or Anthroposophy, but some offer praise to one degree or another. For this list, I have tried to cite writings from a wide array of sources, with the exception of Anthroposophical organs.* (The closest thing to a central repository among critics of Waldorf education is the articles section at the PLANS website, from which I have drawn heavily, and with gratitude.)




ABC National Radio [Australia], “Steiner Education in State Schools”, RELIGION REPORT, transcript, July 2007.


Geoffrey Ahern, THE SUN AT MIDNIGHT (James Clarke & Co., 2009).


Chrisanne Beckner, “Schooled in Spirituality”, NEWS REVIEW, February 2005.


Fredik Bendz, “Anthroposophy”, THE PAGE OF REASON, January 2001.


Peter Bierl, “A Pedagogy for Aryans”, JUNGLE WORLD, October 2007.


Rob Boston, “Anthroposophy: Rudolf Steiner’s ‘Spiritual Science’”, CHURCH AND STATE, April 1996.


Dan Dugan, “Weird Science at Steiner School”, SKEPTICAL INQUIRER, Fall 1991.


Dan Dugan, “Why Waldorf Programs Are Unsuitable for Public Funding, CULTIC STUDIES REVIEW, Vol. 2., No. 2, 2003.


Dan Dugan and Judy Daar, “Are Rudolf Steiner’s Waldorf Schools ‘Non-Sectarian’?”, FREE INQUIRY, Spring 1994.


Megan Francis, “What’s Waldorf?”, SALON, May, 2004.


Arno Frank, “Intimidation of the Waldorf Kind”, TAZ, August 2000.


Mary Gearin, “Steiner Approach Under Review”, ABC NEWS [Australia], transcript, September 2007.


Sven Ove Hansson, “Is Anthroposophy Science?”. CONCEPTUS: ZEITSCHRIFT FÜR PHILOSOPHIE, XXV, No. 64, 1991.


Sven Ove Hansson, “The Racial Teachings of Rudolf Steiner”, SKEPTIC REPORT, June/July 2005 


Cassandra Jardine, “We Don’t Need No Steiner Education”, DAILY TELEGRAPH , October 1997.


Edwin Kreulen, “My Education Towards Racism”, TROUW, February 1998.


Andres Lichte, “Wondrous Waldorf Pedagogy or Atlantis as State of Consciousness”, NOVO MAGAZIN, July/August 2004.


Sharon Lombard, “Our Brush with Rudolf Steiner”, FREETHOUGHT TODAY, May 2000.


Sharon Lombard, “Spotlight on Anthroposophy”, CULTIC STUDIES REVIEW, Vol. 2., No. 2, 2003.


John T. McQuiston, “’Psychic’ Ex-Student’s Influence Shakes Waldorf School,” THE NEW YORK TIMES, February 1979.


Ron Miller, “Partial Vision in Alternative Education”, RENEWAL, Fall 1998.


Carol Milstone, “Gnomes and Critics at Waldorf Schools”, NATIONAL POST, November 2002.


Ida Oberman, THE WALDORF MOVEMENT IN EDUCATION (Edwin Mellen Press, 2008).


Lori Olszewski, “Religion or Philosophy?”, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, October 2000.


Todd Oppenheimer, “Schooling the Imagination”, THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY, September 1999.


Claudia Pangh, “The Phlegmatic Sits by the Window”, Reinhard Karst, 1999.


Ian Robinson, “The Delusional World of Rudolf Steiner, AUSTRALIAN RATIONALIST, January 2008


Ian Robinson, “Six Facts You Need to Know About Steiner Education”, RATIONALIST SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA, July 2009


Melinda Rout, “Questions About Steiner’s Classroom”, THE AUSTRALIAN, July 2007.


David Ruenzel, “The Spirit of Waldorf Education”, EDUCATION WEEK, June 2001.


Michael Ruse, “Waldorf Education”, CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, June 2010.


Deborah Salazar, “What Every Jewish Parent Should Know About the Waldorf Philosophy”, NATURAL JEWISH PARENTING, spring 1999.


Kristín A. Sandberg and Trond K. O. Kristoffersen, "Warm and Woolly? An anthroposophical experiment", NORWEGIAN WALDORF CRITICS, December 2006.


Eugenie C. Scott, “Waldorf Schools Teach Odd  Science, Odd Evolution”, NATIONAL CENTER FOR SCIENCE EDUCATION REPORTS, Winter 1994.


Peter Vinthagen Simpson, “Stockholm University Ends Steiner Teacher Training”, THE LOCAL, August 2008.


Sara Solovitch, “Childhood in a Cocoon”, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, June 1989.


Peter Staudenmaier, “Anthroposophy and Ecofascism”, 2000, revised 2008, PLANS site.


Peter Staudenmaier, BETWEEN OCCULTISM AND FASCISM (dissertation, Cornell University, 2010).


Anthony Storr, FEET OF CLAY (Free Press Paperbacks 1997).


Heiner Ullrich, RUDOLF STEINER (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2008).


Peter Washington, MADAME BLAVATSKY’S BABOON (Secker & Warburg 1993).








Anthroposophy and Steiner are discussed in numerous dictionaries and encyclopedias dealing with spiritual matters. Among scholars, there is little doubt that Anthroposophy should be considered a religion or even a cult. A few examples of volumes that discuss Anthroposophy in this vein, sometimes quite critically:




Juilus Bodensiek, "Anthroposophy", THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH (Augsburg Publishing House, 1965).


Geoffrey W. Bromiley, editor, "Anthroposophy", THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CHRISTIANITY (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999).


Robert Todd Carroll, “Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner, and Waldorf Schools”, THE SKEPTIC’S DICTIONARY, August 2009.


Robert Todd Carroll, “Anthroposophic Medicine,” THE SKEPTIC’S DICTIONARY, December 2006.


F. L. Cross and  E. A. Livingston, editors, "Anthroposophy", THE OXFORD DICTIONARY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH (Oxford University Press, 1997).


J. D. Douglas, editor, NEW 20th-CENTURY ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE (Baker Book House, 1991).


Dan Dugan, “Anthroposophy”, entry in THE NEW ENCYCLOPEDIA OF UNBELIEF (Prometheus Books, 2007).


Mircea Eliade, editor, "Anthroposophy" and "Steiner, Rudolf", THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGION (MacMillan, 1986).


Rosemary Goring, "Anthroposophy", CHAMBERS DICTIONARY OF BELIEFS AND RELIGIONS (Chambers, 1992).


Lindsay Jones, editor, ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGION (MacMillan Reference, 2005).


James R. Lewis, "Anthroposophical Society in America",THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CULTS, SECTS AND NEW RELIGIONS (Prometheus Books, 1998).


J. Gordon Melton, ENCYCLOPEDIC HANDBOOK OF CULTS IN AMERICA (Garland Publishing, 1992).









* To consider the arguments made in favor of Waldorf education by Anthroposophists and their allies, you might examine publications of the Rudolf Steiner Press [http://www.rudolfsteinerpress.com/] and the Anthroposophic Press [http://steinerbooks.org/]. Once difficult to locate, such works are now readily available over the Internet, for instance through Amazon [http://www.amazon.com/] and AbeBooks [http://www.abebooks.com/]. There are also specialty bookstores specializing in Anthroposophic works, such as the bookstore at Rudolf Steiner College [http://www.steinercollege.edu/store/].

























[R. R., 2011.]










[1] Speaking of Swedish: A discussion in that language appears at http://www.vof.se/forum/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=5424&hilit=waldorf. It is quite interesting (or so I am told).


[2] This was true for me. As I approached 12th grade graduation at a Waldorf school, I realized that I was unprepared for college. (I had friends who went to others schools, and I was ashamed when I realized that they knew more about almost everything than I did.) Therefore I began a concerted, private study program after school. I am aware that some other Waldorf students have made similar efforts. [For my experience — which may or may not have any bearing on your own — see "My Sad, Sad Story".]


[3] For the recommendations listed under "Other Resources", I am indebted to former Waldorf parent Margaret Sachs. [See, e.g., "Our Experience".] I have no experience with these resources and thus cannot personally vouch for them. — RR.














To visit other pages in this section of Waldorf Watch, use the underlined links, below.


◊◊◊ 15. MORE RESOURCES ◊◊◊


AID AND COMFORT


Laying out the truth clearly and concisely


Where to go for further information: other websites


























[R.R., 2013.]