WALDORF NEWS

and Views and Blogs and...


What People Are Saying

and Doing 

in, and around, 

and against 

 the Waldorf / Steiner Movement


(Read All About It)













Beginning in January, 2010, I have posted — off and on — "news" items coming out of the Waldorf/Anthroposphical universe, along with my own commentary. The result is a collection of several hundred brief expositions of Waldorf belief and practice.

Many of these expositions are now scattered throughout the pages of Waldorf Watch. Others reside in an offline annex. From time to time, I bring some of these offline items out of the annex and post them alongside the latest Waldorf Watch "news". To see the latest — and, perhaps, some items retrieved from the annex — use this link:







— Roger Rawlings













SELECTIONS

Below are a few representative 
selections of past Waldorf Watch "news" items. 
Generally speaking, there is nothing staler than old news. 
But things change slowly if at all in the Waldorf universe. 
Most of these old items make points that remain relevant today.

(The items are given in reverse chronological order: 
newest first, oldest last.)












From a report about the Sierra Waldorf School, 
on March 17, 2013:

"Waldorf education is an international program that is the fastest growing independent educational movement in the world, now with more than 900 Waldorf schools in 83 countries."





From the Waldorf School of Garden City, 
on the same day, March 17, 2013:

"Today, there are over 2,500 Waldorf Schools worldwide."






Waldorf Watch Response:

Getting reliable information about Waldorf schools is difficult. Various Waldorf organizations make varying claims. Sometimes the total number of Waldorfs in the world is bruited to be 3,000 or more. But such numbers are wildly exaggerated — they include at-home Waldorf play groups and other gatherings that do not truly qualify as schools. Moreover, many Waldorfish operations that may have a legitimate claim to being considered schools are nonetheless tiny, having only a handful of students. Some of these "schools" are recognized by central Waldorf organizations, but some are not recognized. Some survive and grow, while others flash into existence and then quickly disappear.

Here is one reasonably reliable tabulation of Waldorf schools worldwide, offered by a pro-Waldorf source, Bund der Freien Waldorfschulen [www.waldorfschule.de]. According to this source, today — in early 2013 — there are 1,024 Waldorf schools in the world, spread among 60 countries. By far the largest concentration of the schools (712) is in Europe, and the country having the most Waldorfs is Germany (233). There are 22 Waldorf schools in Africa, the same total as two years ago; most of these schools are in the Republic of South Africa. Today there are 199 Waldorfs in the Americas, down from 211 two years ago; most are in the USA. There are 46 Waldorf schools in Asia, and 47 in Oceana (Australia and New Zealand).

Just as it if hard to know for sure how many Waldorf schools exist, it is hard to prove or disprove the oft-repeated claim that Waldorf schools constitute "the fastest growing independent educational movement in the world." Part of the problem lies in defining the concept of "independent schools." If by "independent" we mean largely free from control by government educational authorities, then Waldorf schools generally qualify.* However, various Waldorf schools in various countries receive state funding of one form or another, and to some degree these schools may be inspected and supervised by governmental authorities. Indeed, some advocates of public education worry that inclusion of Waldorf schools in state systems may corrupt public education, while some advocates of Waldorf education worry that state supervision may subvert Waldorf aims and practices.

Then there is the issue of comparing the Waldorf movement to other educational movements worldwide. Various Muslim and Hindu schools movements are widespread and fast-spreading. Finding reliable statistics about them — and comparing these numbers to Waldorf claims — would be daunting. Unless advocates of Waldorf schooling have undertaken this work, the assertion that theirs is the "fastest growing" movement would seem to be unsupported. The educational movement to which Waldorf is most often compared is Montessori, and there too difficulties arise. The term "Montessori school" is even more amorphous than the term "Waldorf school," so a tabulation of Montessori schools is well nigh impossible. See, e.g., the Global Montessori School Census. By at least some standards, there are considerably more Montessori schools than Waldorf schools, and Montessori has spread at least as fast as Waldorf. But all of this is foggy.** 

Probably the most accurate summary is that there are about a thousand Waldorf schools in the world today, and the Waldorf movement continues to grow.




* Most Waldorfs govern themselves, and thus they may be deemed independent in the broadest sense — they run their own affairs. However, to the degree that individual Waldorf schools are bound to central institutions such as the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (SWSF) or the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA), their autonomy is limited by their submission to these institutions. 


** Wikipedia says, for instance, "Montessori education spread to the United States in 1911 ... [It] languished after 1914. [But] Montessori education returned to the United States in 1960 and has since spread to thousands of schools there." In one country, then — the USA — the total number of Montessori schools would seem to be much greater than the total number of Waldorf schools, while the speed of the spread of Montessori schools in that country has waxed and waned and waxed again.














March, 2013:
Currently featured at SteinerBooks as an "educational resource"
for Waldorf teachers:






FIVE PLAYS FOR WALDORF FESTIVALS
Richard Moore
(Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship, 2004)

From SteinerBooks:

Richard Moore's collection of seasonal plays are [sic] suitable for classes 1 to 5 and feature original songs. They include two Christmas plays, an Easter play, a St John's festival play, and a Michaelmas play.... 






Waldorf Watch Response:

Note that the "Waldorf festivals" are actually religious celebrations and the "seasonal plays" are actually religious pageants, centered on Christmas, Easter, the feast of St. John, and Michaelmas. (If you have any doubts about the religious nature of the publication in question, study the cover art.) This is appropriate because, although they generally deny it, Waldorf schools are in fact religious institutions. The chief question that may come to most readers' minds is what sort of Christianity is observed in Waldorf schools, considering that they place such emphasis on Christian festivals. The answer is: No form of Christianity that you will find in any mainstream Christian denomination.

According to Anthroposophical doctrine, Christ is not the Son of God, in the usual sense. Instead, Christ is the Sun God, the god who has been recognized in other religions as Hu or Balder or Ahura Mazda. Unlike real Christianity, Anthroposophy is polytheistic, recognizing a vast horde of gods. Among these is Christ, and Rudolf Steiner said that Christ (the Sun God) is very important to human evolution. But In Anthroposophy, Christ is only one of the many, many gods. Moreover, according to Steiner, the Biblical account of the life of Christ Jesus is badly flawed. To know what really happened to Jesus, we need to turn from the four gospels of the New Testament and consult instead "the fifth gospel" — which, it so happens, was written by Rudolf Steiner himself, relying on his marvelous powers of clairvoyance.

In reading Steiner's account, you will learn for instance that there were actually two Jesus children. One Jesus came from the line of Solomon, the other came from the line of Nathan. The former was actually the reincarnation of Zarathustra, while the latter was infused with the spirit of Buddha. The two Jesuses melded, and thus they became the host who was able to receive the incarnating Sun God, Christ, who inhabited the body of "Solomonic-Nathanic Jesus" for three years. [For more on such matters, see, e.g., "Was He Christian?", "Gnosis", "Rosy Cross", "Polytheism", and "Sun God".]

This is the sort "Christianity" that Rudolf Steiner's followers embrace and that they subtly offer to Waldorf students through "seasonal plays" during the "Waldorf festivals."

It is hard to believe that Rudolf Steiner's followers — including a great many Waldorf teachers — believe the things they believe. But they do.










THE FIFTH GOSPEL - From the Akashic Record
Rudolf Steiner
(Rudolf Steiner Press, 2001)



Steiner claimed to learn the "truth" about Christ and the two Jesuses by using clairvoyance to study the Akashic Record, an invisible celestial storehouse of knowledge. The problem with this claim is that Steiner did not possess clairvoyance, since no one does, and the Akashic Record does not exist. [See "Clairvoyance" and "Akasha".] Otherwise, Steiner's story holds some points of interest.














March, 2013:








At the website "The Toast in the Machine", 
Rachel Playforth has posted a message labeled
"What every parent needs to know (but can’t find out) 
about Steiner schools?"
Here are a few excerpts 
and a few notes from yours truly.



"I attended a Steiner school for four years and have mostly positive feelings about it....


"[T]here is no empirical basis for most anthroposophical beliefs/approaches (aka they are INSANE). However I don’t agree that Steiner’s views constitute damning evidence against Steiner schools....


"Even the most mainstream, standardized state education is not based on rigorous scientific principles. As most state school teachers will tell you, it is driven by methodological fashions, policy based on flawed or partial research, and arbitrary targets set by politicians, with very little reference to what we know about child development. None of this means that Steiner schools should NOT be critically examined, it’s just that a lot of the criteria for ‘failing’ this examination would see other forms of schooling fail as well....


"I have a bigger problem with my taxes paying for actual faith schools (eg. 4000+ Church of England schools and 2000+ Catholic schools) than with non-denominational ‘spiritual’ schools becoming [state-supported] academies."







Waldorf Watch Response:

Ms. Playforth writes, "[T]here is no empirical basis for most anthroposophical beliefs/approaches (aka they are INSANE). However I don’t agree that Steiner’s views constitute damning evidence against Steiner schools."


Defenders of Steiner education often attempt to draw a line between Anthroposophy and Steiner schools. But there is really no such line — or if such a line exists, it is a blurred, thin, and broken line. Steiner education is intimately linked to Anthroposophy. [See, e.g., “Oh Humanity” and “Schools as Churches”.] Steiner schools exist, in large part, precisely in order to spread Anthroposophy. As Steiner himself said, 

“One of the most important facts about the background of the Waldorf School is that we were in a position to make the anthroposophical movement a relatively large one. The anthroposophical movement has become a large one.” — Rudolf Steiner, RUDOLF STEINER IN THE WALDORF SCHOOL (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p.156.

Many Waldorf teachers, past and present, have acknowledged that Steiner schools are inextricably bound to Anthroposophy and indeed serve the interests of Anthroposophy. Thus, one former Waldorf teacher has written, 

"The reason many [Waldorf] schools exist is because of the Anthroposophy, period. It's not because of the children. It's because a group of Anthroposophists have it in their minds to promote Anthroposophy in the world ... Educating children is secondary in these schools." — "Baandje". [See "Ex-Teacher 7".]

Likewise, a leading Waldorf educator — who rose to become chairperson of the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City — has written, 

"Waldorf education is a form of practical anthroposophy." — Keith Francis, THE EDUCATION OF A WALDORF TEACHER (iUniverse, 2004), p. xii. 

Another Waldorf teacher has added, 

"Waldorf teachers must be anthroposophists first and teachers second." — Gilbert Childs, STEINER EDUCATION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE (Floris Books, 1991), p. 166.

If Anthroposophy is insane, then Steiner education is insane. And indeed this point can be made with great clarity. Anthroposophy depends on clairvoyance. If there is no such thing as clairvoyance, then there is no rational basis for Anthroposophy. And if there is no rational basis for Anthroposophy, there is no rational basis for Steiner education. Here’s the kicker: There is no such thing as clairvoyance. Or, at a minimum, we can firmly state that no one has ever produced any convincing evidence for the existence of clairvoyance. [See “Clairvoyance”.] Hence, there is no rational basis for Anthroposophy, which means there is no rational basis for Steiner education.




Ms. Playforth writes, “Even the most mainstream, standardized state education is not based on rigorous scientific principles ... None of  this means that Steiner schools should NOT be critically examined, it’s just that a lot of the criteria for ‘failing’ this examination would see other forms of schooling fail as well.”


Ms Playforth evidently thinks that by making a statement about mainstream schools, she has told us something meaningful about Steiner schools. Mainstream schools have shortcomings, she says, hence implicitly Steiner schools are no worse than mainstream schools. But this is clearly illogical. Mainstream schools might have problems and Steiner schools might be much better, or mainstream schools might have problems and Steiner schools might be much worse. The only way to evaluate Steiner schools is to focus on Steiner schools. Put it this way: In a discussion centered on “What every parent needs to know...about Steiner schools,” the subject is Steiner education, not any other form of education. If we conclude — as we should — that Steiner education has significant flaws and shortcomings, then on a future occasion we can turn to the question of finding better sorts of schools. (And there are many.)


Parents are often eager, even desperate, to find alternatives to the mainstream schools in their communities. But not all alternatives to poor-performing mainstream schools are superior. Some alternatives, indeed, are distinctly inferior. Steiner schools are distinctly inferior. [To look closely at Steiner education as it actually exists in the world today, see, e.g., “Waldorf Now”, “Today”, “Academic Standards at Waldorf”, “Curriculum”, “Methods”, etc.]





Ms. Playforth writes, “I have a bigger problem with my taxes paying for actual faith schools (eg. 4000+ Church of England schools and 2000+ Catholic schools) than with non-denominational ‘spiritual’ schools becoming academies.”


Here Ms. Playforth falls for a pair of central deceptions spread by Anthroposophists. The reality is that Anthroposophy itself is a religion. The inescapable corollary is that Steiner schools are “actual faith schools” — that is, they are religious institutions.


As in so many cases, the deceptions in these matters are, to some degree, instances of Anthroposophical self-deception. Steiner insisted that Anthroposophy is a science, not a religion. His followers today generally accept this article of faith. They think that Anthroposophy enables them to objectively, scientifically study the spirit realm through the use of disciplined clairvoyance. And, if Anthroposophy is not a religion, then Steiner schools — even if they embody Anthroposophy — are not religious institutions.


But these beliefs are false. Anthroposophy is certainly a religion. It combines teachings from Theosophy, gnostic Christianity, and Hinduism, with admixtures of other religions including Zoroastrianism and Buddhism. The practice of Anthroposophy entails faith, reverence, prayers, meditations, spiritual guides, spiritual observances, submission to the gods, and efforts to fulfill the will of the gods. Anthroposophy lays out the path to spiritual improvement and salvation for its adherents, and it threatens spiritual loss and perdition for everyone else. Anthroposophists believe that they are on the side of the gods, and they believe that their critics are on the side of the demonic powers. Anthroposophy is a religion. [See “Is Anthroposophy a Religion?”]


Moreover, the religion of Anthroposophy is practiced inside Steiner schools. Steiner students are generally required to recite prayers (usually in unison with their teachers), sing religious songs including hymns, participate in religious festivals such as Michaelmas and Advent, and perform such Anthroposophical spiritual rituals as eurythmy. Steiner schools are distinctly religious institutions. Thus, Steiner made such statements as these: 


◊ "It is possible to introduce a religious element into every subject, even into math lessons. Anyone who has some knowledge of Waldorf teaching will know that this statement is true." — Rudolf Steiner, THE CHILD's CHANGING CONSCIOUSNESS AS THE BASIS OF PEDAGOGICAL PRACTICE - Foundations of Waldorf Education XVI (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 94. 


◊ "[A] religious atmosphere can be created in every lesson and subject. Such an atmosphere is created in our school. When teachers, through their own soul mood, connect everything that exists in the sensory world to the supersensible and divine, everything they bring to their classes will naturally transcend the physical, not in a sentimental or vaguely mystical way, but simply as a matter of course." — Rudolf Steiner, WALDORF EDUCATION AND ANTHROPOSOPHY - Foundations of Waldorf Education XIV, Vol. 2 (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 184.


Occasionally, Steiner representatives today acknowledge the fundamental religious impulse in Steiner education. Thus, for instance, Steiner teacher Jack Petrash has written, “One question that is often asked is: 


‘Is a Waldorf school a religious school?’ ... It is not a religious school in the way that we commonly think of religion ... And yet, in a broad and universal way, the Waldorf school is essentially religious.” — Jack Petrash, UNDERSTANDING WALDORF EDUCATION (Nova Institute, 2002), p. 134. 


[For more on the religious nature of Steiner schooling, see, e.g., “Schools as Churches”, “Spiritual Agenda”, “Soul School”, "Prayers", and "Eurythmy".]







I am glad that Ms. Playforth enjoyed the Steiner school she attended. I enjoyed the one I attended. But warm childhood memories should not deflect us from making mature, informed judgments about the Steiner movement today.















February, 2013:




Issue 1-2/13 of the General Anthroposophical Society’s 

newsletter ANTHROPOSOPHY WORLDWIDE 

has been released 

[http://www.anthroposophy.org/fileadmin/goetheanum/AWW/AWE2013_01.pdf]. 


A few excerpts, 

with footnotes provided by R. Rawlings: 



◊ “In the age of the consciousness soul [1] human beings are at work on developing their I [2], and doing so under special conditions ... With their spirit knowledge developed to the point of envisioning [3], human beings can now recognize karmic tendencies [4] so that individual steps light up, steps that might lead to effective work in the earthly realm ... Depending on each soul’s propensity, activity in the world brings the human being into dramatic confrontation with the work of Ahriman and Lucifer. [5]” [pp. 1-2]



[1] This is one of several types or components of soul that, Steiner taught, humans possess. [See, e.g., “Our Parts”.] Humanity as a whole has been developing the consciousness soul since the year 1413 CE. 

[2] The “I” or “ego body” is the third of our three invisible bodies, according to Steiner. It incarnates at about age 21. [See, e.g., “Incarnation”.]

[3] I.e., the formation of true images via clairvoyance.

[4] Karma and reincarnation are key Anthroposophical doctrines. [See "Karma" and "Reincarnation".]

[5] Ahriman and Lucifer are arch-demons who tempt and threaten humanity while also bestowing valuable gifts. [See “Ahriman” and “Lucifer”.]





◊ "Dear members, We warmly invite you to attend the 2013 Annual Conference of the General Anthroposophical Society to be held at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland, on March 22–24, 2013. We will be reporting on some painful developments and also discussing a entire range of new ones ... We would like to remind you that the Annual Conference and the Annual General Meeting are open only to members of the General Anthroposophical Society; the pink membership card will be required for admission." [p. 3]


◊ "We — a group of members from around the world — are deeply concerned that central impulses of the General Anthroposophical society are not being pursued actively enough. We want to try working positively to encourage a dialogue among members so that we are at least on the way to the Society’ original intention.… The General Anthroposophical Society needs active members so the Society can be a 'body' for the being of anthroposophy.…” [p. 8]  


◊ “The annual meeting of the Christian Community [1] leadership (The Circle of Seven) and the Goetheanum Executive Council took place at the Goetheanum [2] on January 20–22. The main theme of the gathering was the nature and mission of the two movements.


“We took the nature of the Anthroposophical Society and the Christian Community as our theme, and we discussed the connection of the two movements to the time spirit, Michael. [3] Beginning in 1913 Rudolf Steiner spoke more and more about Michael — particularly in London at the beginning of May — and then was able to help found the Christian Community because of his own relationship to Michael. We worked together on aspects of the Class [4] lessons, especially in regard to the distortions and lies that modern people encounter.” [p. 12]



[1] The Christian Community is the overtly religious offshoot of Anthroposophy. [See "Christian Community".] Whether it is truly Christian is, at best, moot. [See "Was He Christian?"]

[2] The Goetheanum is the headquarters of the worldwide Anthroposophical movement. [See "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"]

[3] Michael is the Archangel who, according to Steiner, presides over the current phase of human evolution. [See "Michael".]

[4] The First Class is an exclusive study group within the Anthroposophical Society. Steiner meant to found other classes as well, but he died before doing so. [For more on the First Class, see, e.g., "Six Facts You Need to Know About Steiner Education".]





◊ "The third group [of Anthroposophical meditations] is composed of an array of review exercises like the daily review, and of those exercises in which recall [sic] a specific situation or a year, or several years, or an entire lifetime. [1] Here I am trying to develop an overview and conscious relationship in regard to my life and what I have done. The May, 1924, karma exercises [2] represent a special form of these exercises. I expand my consciousness of how the spirit (i.e., my higher I [3] that passes through incarnations) shows itself." [p. 16] 



[1] The practice of Anthroposophy largely involves doing various spiritual exercises and meditations prescribed by Steiner, aimed at developing one’s powers of clairvoyance so that one may attain direct, personal knowledge of the spirit realm. [See "Knowing the Worlds".]

[2] I.e., exercises prescribed by Steiner at that time.

[3] The "higher I" is the portion of the I that, instead of incarnating in the physical realm, remains in the spirit realm.
















February, 2013:




From WALDORF TODAY, Vol. IV, Issue 12, 2013

[http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=a0ce04e5a70babb8ef1330163&id=c8c9540d4f]:



The Risks of Parenting While Plugged In


Your Brain on Computers


By JULIE SCELFO



...Much of the concern about cellphones and instant messaging and Twitter has been focused on how children who incessantly use the technology are affected by it. But parents’ [sic] use of such technology — and its effect on their offspring — is now becoming an equal source of concern to some child-development researchers.


...In her studies, Dr. Turkle [director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Initiative on Technology and Self] said, “Over and over, kids raised the same three examples of feeling hurt and not wanting to show it when their mom or dad would be on their devices instead of paying attention to them: at meals, during pickup after either school or an extracurricular activity, and during sports events.”






Waldorf Watch Response:

There are, of course, good reasons to supervise and even limit children’s use of computers and similar devices. And parents obviously should not value their technological gizmos more than they value their children. Hence, it is possible to find apparent justifications for the “media policies” enforced at typical Waldorf schools, policies that direct Waldorf families to disconnect from televisions, computers, smart phones, and other high-tech devices.


You should realize, however, that the real reasons Waldorf schools are averse to high technology have little to do with common-sense prescriptions for living sanely. In the Waldorf belief system, technology is the province of the terrible demon Ahriman. Using high-tech gizmos can suck you into Ahriman’s sphere.


Here are a few pertinent statements on these matters by followers of Rudolf Steiner. Note that all forms of technology, reaching down at least to the level of steam engines, is demonic. Also, the use of electricity is, in and of itself, hellish.


(It is hard to believe that Rudolf Steiner's followers believe the things they believe. And it is hard to believe that such beliefs control much of what happens in and around Waldorf schools. But they do. Rudolf Steiner's followers are adherents of the occult, pagan belief system called Anthroposophy.)



◊ "The computer is special because of its relation to the spiritual being...called Ahriman." — David Black, THE COMPUTER AND THE INCARNATION OF AHRIMAN (Rudolf Steiner College Press, ISBN: 0-916786-96-X), p. 2.


◊ “[T]he whole computer- and Internet industry is today the most effective way to prepare for the imminent incarnation of Ahriman.” — Leading Anthroposophist Sergei Prokofieff. [See "Spiders, Dragons and Foxes".]


◊ "One of the latest ideas in the educational field is programmed learning ... The idea is new, and lends itself to mechanical contraptions [i.e., mechanized teaching aids] ... A machine can instil a string of dates quickly into a child's mind. It can, no doubt, do the same with facts and figures ... As a means of instilling facts, the programme may be efficient. As an educator, it is a monster. Similar arguments apply to the use of radio and television." — Waldorf teacher Roy Wilkinson, COMMONSENSE SCHOOLING (Henry Goulden, 1975), pp. 5-6.


◊ “In constructing steam engines an opportunity is...provided for the incarnation of demons ... In steam engines, Ahrimanic demons are brought right down to the point of physical incorporation.” — Anthroposophist Georg Unger, “On ‘Mechanical Occultism’” (Mitteilungen aus der Anthroposophischen Arbeit in Deutschland nos. 68–69, 1964).


◊ "[W]hat has been said here about the steam engine applies in a much greater degree to the technology of our time ... [T]elevision, for example. The result is that the demon magic spoken of by Rudolf Steiner is spreading more and more intensively on all sides ... It is very necessary that anyone who aspires towards the spiritual should realise clearly how the most varied opportunities for a virtual incarnation of elemental beings and demons are constantly on the increase."  — Georg Unger, ibid.


◊ “The exploitation of electric forces — for example in information and computing technologies — spreads evil over the Earth in an immense spider's web. And fallen spirits of darkness...are active in this web.” — Anthroposophist Richard Seddon, THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM AND BEYOND (Temple Lodge Publishing, 1996), p. 24.











The demon Ahriman, as depicted by Rudolf Steiner.



Not all Anthroposophists share the fear of technology we've seen expressed above; at least, some may have differing evaluations of technology's dangers. But virtually all Anthroposophists fear Ahriman and his wiles. Here is Steiner talking to Waldorf teachers about Ahriman:


"[T]oday...the spirit-soul is asleep. The human being is thus in danger of drifting into the Ahrimanic world, in which case the spirit-soul will evaporate into the cosmos. We live in a time when people face the danger of losing their souls ... This is a very serious matter. We now stand confronted with that fact." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 115.

[For more on Ahriman and other demons Waldorf faculties worry about, see "Ahriman" and "Evil Ones".]














From the February, 2013 issue of INFORM,

a publication of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA)

[http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/03_NewsEvents/documents/InformFebruary2013.pdf]:




AWSNA Summer Conference  

Co-Sponsored by the  

Anthroposophical Society 


 

Practical Life, Meditation, and the Waldorf 

School: The Anthroposophical Challenge 

Keynote Speaker: Claus-Peter Roeh Co-Leader 

Pedagogical Section of Anthroposophical 

Society in Dornach, Switzerland. 

June 24-27, 2013 

Hosted by the Austin Waldorf School, Austin, TX 

Pedagogical Section Meeting Sunday, June 23 

and Monday, June 24 

Delegates Meeting June 28 and June 29 

For more information contact Connie Stokes at 

(518) 392-0613 or cstokes@highlandhall.org

 






Waldorf Watch Response:

Waldorf schools are inextricably linked to Anthroposophy, the religion created by Rudolf Steiner. Note the title of the keynote address, quoted above. Waldorf schools are tightly bound up in "The Anthroposophical Challenge."

Practicing Anthroposophists should certainly have the right to send their children to Anthroposophical schools — i.e., Waldorf schools. All other parents should have the same right, of course. But a word of advice: If you are not an Anthroposophist, inform themselves about Anthroposophy before enrolling your children in Waldorf schools. Anthroposophy is an occult, pagan faith akin to Theosophy and having roots in gnostic (heretical) Christianity.* Despite the obvious attractions of Waldorf schools — their physical beauty, their emphasis on the arts, their green values — you are unlikely to find Waldorf education ultimately satisfactory unless you can embrace Anthroposophy.

Rudolf Steiner said that Waldorf teachers must be deeply committed to Anthroposophy. Speaking to teachers at the first Waldorf school, he said: 

"As Waldorf teachers, we must be true anthroposophists in the deepest sense of the word in our innermost feeling.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 118. 

But he also said that the teachers should hide their faith from outsiders — i.e., you and me. 

“[W]e have to remember that an institution like the Independent Waldorf School with its anthroposophical character, has goals that, of course, coincide with anthroposophical desires. At the moment, though, if that connection were made official, people would break the Waldorf School’s neck." — Ibid., p. 705.

To learn about Anthroposophy before committing to Waldorf, you probably should consult non-Anthroposophical sources that are eager to explain, not conceal, the bonds between Anthroposophy and Waldorf. One such source is (ahem) Waldorf Watch. Others include People for Legal and Nonsectarian SchoolsUK AnthroposophyThe Ethereal KioskWaldorf AwarenessOpen WaldorfWaldorf Critics in France, and The Quackometer. [For additional links, see "Links".]


* See "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?", "Was He Christian?", and "Gnosis". For more on the Waldorf penchant for secrecy, see "Secrets" and "Clues".














January, 2013:



Newly featured at the Online Waldorf Library




Henry Barnes, THE THIRD SPACE - 
The First Goetheanum & the First Waldorf School
(Association of Waldorf Schools of North America, 2012.)


"This book considers the form created from the intersecting of the two unequal spheres of the first Goetheanum and how it relates to the social form Rudolf Steiner imagined in the first Waldorf school."

 


 

Waldorf Watch Response:

The Goetheanum is the spiritual center of the Anthroposophical movement, and thus it is the spiritual center of the Waldorf movement. Located in Switzerland, the Goetheanum is named for the German poet Goethe, whom Rudolf Steiner admired. In essence, the Goetheanum is a cathedral, having a cruciform floor plan, a large nave, huge colored glass windows bearing spiritual images, a massive pipe organ, columns inscribed with mystical symbols, spiritualistic paintings and works of sculpture, and so forth. 

There have been two Goetheanums, one replacing the other. Both have been cathedrals. The original structure — described in this book — was a wooden mega-church dominated by two intersecting domes. Steiner considered the relationship of these domes extremely important. 

"If you look at the Goetheanum you will see that it has two domes ... [T]his double dome is an expression of the living element. If there had been one dome then in essence our building would have been dead." — Rudolf Steiner, ART AS SEEN IN THE LIGHT OF MYSTERY WISDOM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), p. 154.





This is the interior of the original Goetheanum 
— small dome on the left, large dome on the right.
(The image is distorted; it was pieced together from 
several photographs shot at varying angles.)
A towering statue of Christ, Ahriman, and Lucifer 
stands at the head of the small dome;
the cathedral's pipe organ stands 
at the rear of the large dome.




[RR sketch]

Here is the statue. 
The large figure is Christ, the Sun God.
Below him crouches Ahriman. 
Behind Christ's upraised arm,
scarcely visible from this angle, is Lucifer, 
upside-down, falling out of heaven.
(Smaller images of Ahriman and Lucifer, 
added later, can be seen to Christ's right.
A nature spirit hovers above 
these secondary images.) 



The original Goetheanum was destroyed by fire (Anthroposophists say their enemies committed an act of arson, but no proof was ever produced). A second cathedral — domeless, and made of concrete — was erected in its stead.





Here is the interior of the second Goetheanum, 
looking toward its pipe organ.
The second Goetheanum does not incorporate domes;
its configuration resembles colossal crystals.


Although Waldorf apologists often claim that Waldorf schools have little or no connection to the religion of Anthroposophy, in fact — as Henry Barnes indicates in THE THIRD SPACE — the schools are meant to embody the same spiritual forces and structure as Anthroposophy. 


  [For more on these matters, 














April, 2012:


Coming this month from SteinerBooks:





[SteinerBooks, 2012]

"In the first part of this inspiring book — a work of devotion both to Rudolf Steiner and to Christian Rosenkreutz — Peter Selg, as 'The Great Servant of Christ Jesus,' gives a detailed, chronological, and fascinating account of Steiner’s portrayal and, as much as possible, experiences of Christian Rosenkreutz. He shows how Steiner had essentially two teachers: the Master Jesus (Zoroaster) and Christian Rosenkreutz."  






Waldorf Watch Response:

Christian Rosenkreutz was the mystical founder of Rosicrucianism, a secretive, occult society. Rosenkreutz almost certainly never existed, but Rudolf Steiner's followers consider him a real figure. [See "Rosy Cross".] Indeed, Steiner's followers generally believe that Rosenkreutz gave Steiner occult initiation. Steiner depicted Rosenkreutz as one of the great spiritual leaders of humanity, sitting high in occult councils. [See "The White Lodge".] It was, for instance, largely at the behest of Rosenkreutz that Buddha moved to Mars. 

“A Conference of the greatest and most advanced Individualities was called together by Christian Rosenkreutz. His most intimate pupil and friend, the great teacher Buddha, participated in these counsels and in the decisions reached.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE MISSION OF CHRISTIAN ROSENKREUTZ (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1950), lecture 7, “The Mission of Gautama Buddha on Mars”. 

The council members decided Buddha should go to Mars and fix things there. 

“At that spiritual Conference it was resolved that henceforward Buddha would dwell on Mars and there unfold his influence and activity. Buddha transferred his work to Mars in the year 1604.” — Ibid.

As for Jesus being Zoroaster — it's a long story. Steiner taught that Christ is the Sun God. Christ came to Earth and incarnated in the body of Jesus. But before that could happen, two Jesus children were born, and they merged to become the receptacle for the Sun God. 

“[T]wo Jesus children were born. One was descended from the so-called Nathan line of the House of David, the other from the Solomon line. These two children grew up side by side. In the body of the Solomon child lived the soul of Zarathustra [i.e., Zoroaster]. In the twelfth year of the child's life this soul passed over into the other Jesus child and lived in that body until its thirtieth year ... And then, only from the thirtieth year onward, there lived in this body the Being Whom we call the Christ, Who remained on earth altogether for three years.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BHAGAVAD GITA (Anthroposophic Press, 1968), p. 59. [For more on these matters, see "Sun God" and "Was He Christian?"]

Now, what possible relevance does any of this have for us here, at Waldorf Watch? We need to understand that these are the sorts of teachings offered by the founder of the Waldorf school movement, Rudolf Steiner. Not all faculty members at all Waldorf schools unhesitatingly embrace Steiner's teachings, but many do. And when Waldorf faculties get together to read Steiner texts, they come upon passages such the ones as we have seen just now. These are the kinds of doctrines that shape the mental universe — the belief system — within which Waldorf schools exist. These are the sorts of doctrines published today by Anthroposophical presses for the instruction and enlightenment of Rudolf Steiner's followers. These are the kinds of things you will find if you peel back the surface layers of Waldorf belief and practice. It seems incredible. It is incredible. But there it is.





How deeply to Anthroposophists revere Rudolf Steiner? How seriously do they take Steiner's occult pronouncements? Note that Selg's book is "a work of devotion" to two men: Christian Rosenkreutz and, also, Rudolf Steiner.














March, 2012:

From Waldorf Education in Canada: 


"The Results of Waldorf Education 

"What really are the results of Waldorf (Rudolf Steiner) education? One may feel that the brochures and websites make Waldorf look excellent, and that the goal of 'Education Towards Freedom' is very sound. One may be impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment of teachers in a Waldorf school, and admire both the academic and artistic work of the students. But it is good to hear from people outside the Waldorf movement, who have worked together with — or in some other way have had experience of — Waldorf graduates and who have an objective professional basis for judging whether this form of education really accomplishes its goals. 

"The following three short articles, coming from California, New York and Europe respectively, offer just this kind of professional and objective evaluation. 

"The Waldorf Grade School 
" [by] James Shipman History Department, Marin Academy, San Raphael, California. 

“'...What I like about the Waldorf School is, quite simply, its graduates. As a high school teacher at Marin Academy, I have seen a number of the students who come from your program, and I can say that in all cases* they have been remarkable, bright, energetic and involved....' 

"The Waldorf Graduate - A personal Reflection 
" [by] Dr. W. Warren B. Eickelberg Professor of Biology, Director, Premedical Curriculum, Adelphi University, Garden City, New York. 

“'...Waldorf School graduates see behind the facts that often must be repeated or explained on examination. They are keenly interested in the macrocosm of the universe and the microcosm of the cell's ultrastructure, but they know that Chemistry, Biology and Physics [sic] can't tell them much about the nature of love. They see, in embryology, a fetus developing a compound called prostaglandin enhancing the mother's response to oxyticin [sic] so that labor can begin, and they see this as a reflection of a guided universe. I feel certain that all Waldorf School graduates believe in the ordiliness [sic] of our universe, and they believe the human mind can discern this order and appreciate its beauty.'** 

"Research on Waldorf Graduates 
Excerpts from an article in Der Spiegel, December 14, 1981 (Translated by Renate Field) 

“'...Waldorf schools [are] generally reputed to produce ‘beautiful souls’ weakened to the tasks of real life ... This view is now being shaken by a scientific study of ‘The Educational Background of Former Waldorf Students’ — the first empirical research of the Waldorf Movement ... Three independent scientists, paid for by the Bonn Department of Education, interviewed 1460 former Waldorf Students born in the years of 1946 and 1947 and came to a prevailingly positive result in favor of the Waldorf Schools.'” 






Waldorf Watch Response:

There is very little firm research establishing the value (or lack thereof) of Waldorf education. There has been a bit more such research in Europe than elsewhere, but even in Europe there has been almost no serious investigatory work. The first Waldorf school opened in 1919, and yet now — almost a century later — we are still considering the “first empirical research of the Waldorf Movement.” As for anecdotal evidence, this can easily be compiled on all sides of almost any issue. We can easily find people who report that Waldorf schools seem wonderful to them, and just as easily we can find other people who report precisely the opposite. 

So where does this leave us? If you are interested in a Waldorf school, you should examine that particular school with great care. What happens at other Waldorf schools may give you some guidance, but you should try to determine what goes on at that particular school. There may be considerable variation from school to school. [See, e.g., "Clues".]

Academics is a question mark. Waldorf schools have had problems offering good academic programs, largely because the Waldorf belief system is so at variance with modern knowledge and scholarship in almost all areas. Still, an individual Waldorf school here or there may offer a reasonably good academic education. You won’t know for sure unless you dig. 

The bigger question has to do with the Waldorf belief system per se. This is Anthroposophy, the body of mystical "discoveries" produced by Rudolf Steiner through his professed use of clairvoyance. Most Waldorf schools acknowledge that that they base their work on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, and many acknowledge that these teachings can be summarized as Anthroposophy. But almost invariably, Waldorf schools deny that they teach Anthroposophy to their students. This is the key issue concerning Waldorf education, and again the situation may vary from school to school. Does a particular Waldorf school proselytize the students, bringing occult Anthroposophical doctrines into the classroom, or does it largely refrain from doing this? In either case, Anthroposophy will be a major influence in the school, but the direct effect on students may differ markedly. 

Here is one way to think about this issue. Imagine that you are attracted to a school, only to find that almost every teacher at the school is a Mormon; they base their work on Mormon doctrines; they study the Book of Mormon in faculty meetings. But they assure you that they do not teach Mormon doctrine in class. How reassured would you be? Would you send your child to that school? Or suppose you check out another school only to discover that every teacher there is a Scientologist; they all base their work on Scientological teachings; they study the works of L. Ron Hubbard in faculty meetings. But they assure you that they do not teach Scientology in class. How reassured would you be? Would you enroll your child? 

This is rather like the situation you will find at Waldorf schools. Most of the teachers at a typical Waldorf school are likely to be Anthroposophists. Such a school is almost certainly Anthroposophical to the core. Is this what you want? Think the question through carefully. If you send your child to a Waldorf school, s/he will be immersed in an Anthroposophical atmosphere, to one degree or another. The mystical beliefs of Anthroposophy will inform the classes and activities your child will experience, whether or not the teachers ever clearly, openly explain those beliefs. The effects of this immersion on your child may be lifelong. Is this what you want?

[For more on the question of Anthroposophical indoctrination in Waldorf schools, see  "Indoctrination".]






To understand the real nature and purposes of Waldorf education,

you may want to study books such as the following:





[Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996]






[Rudolf Steiner College Press, 1995]





 



* The exaggeration weakens this statement, although we should accept it as well-meant. — RR

** In some instances, the beliefs of various "authorities" leap out. This doesn't mean you should reject the testimony of such individuals out of hand, but you should at least understand the perspectives that are being offered to you. — RR















February, 2012:



 



The Steiner belief system affirms the reality of "nature spirits" —
invisible beings that dwell within and behind natural phenomena.
The four major types are gnomes, sylphs, salamanders, and undines,
living respectively in earth, air, fire, and water.
Generic gnome images taken from Manly P. Hall's
THE SECRET TEACHINGS OF ALL AGES
(H. S. Crocker Co., 1928),
a non-Anthroposophical text.]





From the British Centre for Science Education:


"Re: Steiner schools and anthroposophy 

"We also have no idea just how far they [i.e., Steiner Schools] take the gnome-based wackiness, if indeed some or all Steiner schools subscribe to it, and to what degree. Creationists at least have the good grace to publicise what their 'pseudo-scientific' fantasies actually comprise. If anyone actually asked me how the Steiner ethos/belief system affects science I'd be pretty hard put to come up with anything specific. Last time I looked I tracked down one or two documents related to Earth sciences referenced on a website, but unless you have access to the Steiner organisation it seems difficult to get hold of them. So unless someone can come up with some documentary evidence we're a bit stumped."  
"We also have no idea just how far they [i.e., Steiner Schools] take the gnome-based wackiness, if indeed some or all Steiner schools subscribe to it, and to what degree. Creationists at least have the good grace to publicise what their 'pseudo-scientific' fantasies actually comprise. If anyone actually asked me how the Steiner ethos/belief system affects science I'd be pretty hard put to come up with anything specific. Last time I looked I tracked down one or two documents related to Earth sciences referenced on a website, but unless you have access to the Steiner organisation it seems difficult to get hold of them. So unless someone can come up with some documentary evidence we're a bit stumped."  

[2-5-2012 http://www.forums.bcseweb.org.uk/viewtopic.php?t=2681&p=35307] 






Waldorf Watch Response:

It is indeed difficult to get clear, honest information out of the Waldorf or Steiner school movement. Because Rudolf Steiner’s followers think they possess secret wisdom that should remain secret, they are practiced in holding their tongues. [See “Secrets”, "Help 3", and “Our Experience”.] 

Science instruction tends to be weak in Waldorf schools. Steiner advocated “Goethean science” while generally opposing mainstream, real sciences. [See “Goethe” and “Steiner’s ‘Science’”.] Steiner claimed that his own teachings constitute “spiritual science” — that is, the use of clairvoyance to objectively study the spirit realm. [See “Clairvoyance” and "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness".] 

As for “gnome-based wackiness”: It runs wide and deep in the Steiner movement. Steiner taught that gnomes and other invisible beings truly exist and populate the natural world. To see them, all you need is clairvoyance — which Steiner sometimes referred to as “astral vision”: 

◊ “A gnome is only visible to someone who can see on the astral plane, but miners frequently possess such an astral vision; they know that gnomes are realities.” — Rudolf Steiner, FOUNDATIONS OF ESOTERICISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1982), lecture 27, GA 93a. 

◊ “There are beings that can be seen with clairvoyant vision at many spots in the depths of the earth ... If you dig into the metallic or stony ground you find beings which manifest at first in remarkable fashion — it is as if something were to scatter us. They seem able to crouch close together in vast numbers, and when the earth is laid open they appear to burst asunder ... Many names have been given to them, such as goblins, gnomes and so forth ... What one calls moral responsibility in man is entirely lacking in them ... Their nature prompts them to play all sorts of tricks on man....” — Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), pp. 62-63. 

Gnome figures are often present in Steiner classrooms. 

◊ "The felt gnome in my son's Waldorf classroom sat on a shelf near the top of the chalkboard. I remember the class teacher telling a group of parents that the gnome's role was to watch the children while he was out of the classroom." — Former Waldorf parent Margaret Sachs. 

◊ "Gnomes are something that Waldorf schools can hook onto in popular culture, from suburban lawn ornaments to familiar fairy tales, and insinuate a message about 'nature spirits' that is meant to prepare children to be receptive to a wide variety of related beliefs about the 'spiritual hierarchies' as outlined by Rudolf Steiner. — Former Waldorf parent Diana Winters. 

[See “Gnomes”.]














February, 2012:

From the Ethereal Kiosk: 


“no waldorf without anthroposophy 

"...Heiner Ullrich, professor of education, says...that although anthroposophy isn’t taught, the waldorf school is immersed in it and cannot be understood without tracing the ideas back to Steiner; to believe it’s possible to have waldorf education without Steiner philosophy is a mistake. 

"...He then explains that waldorf functions as a replacement for a religious community. And waldorf education becomes a kind of life project, not just an education. For many children, he says, waldorf is not a good match, and they can feel trapped and want to get out. (Indeed.) 

"He also criticizes the lack of scientific foundation in the teacher training, the absence of school books and the practice of having one teacher teach the class for eight years." 





Waldorf Watch Response:

These are all important points. 

Waldorf schools often claim that they do not teach Anthroposophy to the students, and in large measure this is true. Yet students tend to graduate from the schools having internalized many Anthroposophical beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. The truth is that Anthroposophy suffuses the entire Waldorf curriculum, and many activities — such as the special Anthroposophical form of dance called eurythmy — are specifically designed to work upon the students’ souls and spirits. (In Anthroposophical belief, soul and spirit are different.) 

Anthroposophists claim that their system is a science, not a religion. But almost any objective observer will see Anthroposophy as a religion: It entails prayer, meditation, reverence, efforts to fulfill the will of the gods, and so forth — it exhibits many clear religious markers. 

Waldorf teacher training is largely devoted to the study of Anthroposophical texts and doctrines, with little reference to educational studies or practices outside the Waldorf universe. Teaching in Waldorf schools can suffer greatly, both because of the nature of the training and because teachers are expected to stay with their classes for many years, shepherding a group from the earliest grades through middle school or even to the end of junior high. Thus, a single teacher is expected to teach a wide array of subjects (math, geography, history, literature...) at a wide array of grade levels. No teacher is truly qualified to do this. The Waldorf system assures that at least some subjects, at some grade levels, will be badly taught.

[For more on some of these matters, see “Spiritual Agenda (We Don’t Teach It)”, “Sneaking It In”, “Is Anthroposophy a Religion?”, “Curriculum”, “Eurythmy”, and “Teacher Training”. To read some reports by and about individuals who became disillusioned with Waldorf education or who felt trapped in Waldorf schools, see "Our Experience", "Coming Undone", "Slaps", "Moms", and "Pops".]














October, 2011:

From Highland Hall Waldorf School: 



“The study of ancient civilizations in the fifth grade spans the time from the legendary continent of Atlantis some 10,000 years ago to ancient India, ancient Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt and finally ancient Greece. The children delight in finding common threads in the creation stories and hero tales of the different peoples — from floods and rainbows, to initiations and quests, to the intervention of the gods in human affairs. Most importantly, the students trace the evolution of human consciousness through millennia and across the globe, especially with respect to views of life, death, and the afterlife.”  


[Downloaded 10-7-2011  http://www.highlandhall.org/Fifth%20Grade] 





Waldorf Watch Response:

Waldorf schools teach about Atlantis because Rudolf Steiner said that it really existed. Indeed, in the quotation we see here — taken from the description of fifth grade studies at Highland Hall Waldorf School in California, USA — we find reference to many Anthroposophical doctrines: Atlantis, initiation, gods, “the evolution of human consciousness,” the afterlife, and so on. Some of these concepts also occur in other belief systems, of course, and all of them may be studied without necessarily involving religious indoctrination of students. But in Waldorf schools, the line is often crossed, and indoctrination occurs — indoctrination in the occult teachings of Rudolf Steiner. [See, e.g., “Atlantis and the Aryans”, “Inside Scoop”, “Polytheism”, “Matters of Form”, “Spiritual Agenda”, “Here’s the Answer — The Creed”, "Weird Waldorf", etc.]


Here's a comment by a father who says he considered Waldorf education for his daughter: 


“Waldorf's roots are steeped in the teaching of Rudolph Steiner, a Christian-based [sic] mystic who believed in reincarnation, clairvoyance,  Atlantis, and forest gnomes.  And I am not being metaphorical here.  His belief system, known as Anthroposophy, is not some vestige of the path.  It is not part of the curriculum yet it is the heart of the Steiner pedagogy and epistemology.  The ideas leech to the students because it is the world view of the teachers.” [“The Hidden World of Waldorf” http://www.unorthodoxdad.com/blog/?p=1486]


And here's a comment by a former Waldorf student, appended to “The Hidden World of Waldorf”: 


“What I find truly unforgivable is the indisputable fact that those who sink into the depths of waldorfianism and the teachings of anthroposophy are utterly incapably of engaging in the 'real' world. A few schools even embrace this: claiming that it is a misnomer to assume making a child fit into society is a worthy pursuit. I have witnessed these people become so sucked-in that they cannot distinguish the world as Steiner proposes it from the world as it actually exists.”















October, 2011:

 



`




A new offering from SteinerBooks (Sept., 2011).
The cover shows a typical blackboard drawing by Steiner.





From SteinerBooks: 


"Although the fruits of Anthroposophy — Waldorf education, biodynamic agriculture, Camphill, anthroposophic medicine, and so on — are relatively well known and moderately successful, their relationship to Anthroposophy and its vehicle for transmission, the General Anthroposophical Society, and the School for Spiritual Science, remains mysterious and unclear; sadly, the same is true of the meaning and purpose of those institutions.

"Related to this is the fact that, though these offshoots of Anthroposophy are well known, eighty-five years after his death and eighty-seven years after the re-formation of the Anthroposophical Society, what Rudolf Steiner brought into the world, what entered the world through him and what he sought to accomplish — that is, what spiritual science and spiritual-scientific research are and how one practices them — remain virtually unknown."  





Waldorf Watch Response:

Rudolf Steiner was a polymath, dabbling in many fields. His central effort was the creation of Anthroposophy, his "spiritual science" (also called "occult science" or "esoteric science") describing the spirit realm and laying out the proper path for human evolution. He developed his doctrines in such books as AN OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE and KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (republished as HOW TO KNOW HIGHER WORLDS). The General Anthroposophical Society is the central institution of the Steiner movement, headquartered in the cathedral known as the Goetheanum. The School of Spiritual Science, the chief organ for preserving and extending Anthroposophical belief, is located there. [See, e.g.,"Is Anthroposophy a Religion?", "Everything", "Higher Worlds", and "Guru".]


Most of Steiner's teachings are unknown in the wide world today, and for good reason — most of them make no sense and are riddled with obvious errors. [See, e.g., "Steiner's Blunders", "Steiner's Illogic", "Steiner's Quackery", "Steiner's 'Science'", etc.] Anthroposophy remains a tiny spiritual movement, a religion that denies it is a religion, a messianic camp with few members. 

But a funny thing happened to Steiner on the way to oblivion. A few offshoots of his teachings caught on, at least to some extent. Foremost among these is Waldorf education. Although the total number of students in Waldorf schools in unimpressive, there are now Waldorf schools on all continents (except, of course, Antarctica), the schools continue to proliferate, and some governments give them financial support. Waldorf education is Steiner's shining success — not because it is a sensible form of education but because it has attained a degree of popularity. 

What most people don't realize is that Waldorf schools are intended to spread Anthroposophy, and to the extent that they have succeeded (fortunately, they often fail), Anthroposophy has survived. [See, e.g., "Failure" and "Who Gets Hurt".] Any serious discussion of Waldorf education must hone in on this reality: The connection between the schools and Anthroposophy is fundamental, and the schools can be rationally supported only by those who want to see Anthroposophy spread. Most people who are attracted to Waldorf schools do not understand this basic reality, thus raising a crucial issue that needs exposure and airing.

Here are a few of Steiner's statements about his intentions for Waldorf schools: 

◊ “One of the most important facts about the background of the Waldorf School is that we were in a position to make the anthroposophical movement a relatively large one. The anthroposophical movement has become a large one.” (He was wrong about this, but you get the point.) 

◊ "We certainly may not...say that anthroposophy may not be brought into the school. Anthroposophy will be in the school."  

◊ "As Waldorf teachers, we must be true anthroposophists in the deepest sense of the word in our innermost feeling.”  

◊ "Among the faculty, we must...carry out the divine cosmic plan ... [W]e are actually carrying out the intentions of the gods ... [W]e are, in a certain sense, the means by which that streaming down from above will go out into the world.” 

[For these and other, similar statements, see "Here's the Answer".]

The General Anthroposophical Society has fallen on hard times and is experiencing financial distress. But that need not concern us. Our attention should be focused on Waldorf schools, their intentions and methods, and the effects they can have on children — sometimes deeply damaging effects. [See, e.g., "Our Experience", "Coming Undone", "Spiritual Agenda", "Our Brush with Rudolf Steiner", "Slaps", "Help!", "Methods", "Advice for Parents", "Ex-Teacher 7", the personal accounts at PLANS, etc.]



















For more selected 
news items, 
see
 
"News 2

and








On many pages here at Waldorf Watch, important points are reiterated multiple times in multiple ways.
(Often, the pages are compilations of items originally posted elsewhere.) 
Moreover, some important page sections appear on more than one page. 
Whenever you come upon material that you have already read or absorbed, please just skip ahead. 
You should soon reach material that is less familiar to you.










The formatting at Waldorf Watch aims for visual variety, 

seeking to ease the process of reading lengthy texts on a computer screen. 







Waldorf schools

Waldorf schools






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


◊◊◊ 3. WALDORF SCHOOLS TODAY ◊◊◊



WALDORF NOW

Bringing the inquiry up to date: What goes on inside Waldorf schools today?


TODAY

Waldorf schools in the 21st Century

TODAY 2
What they're saying

TODAY 3
More

TODAY 4
What they're reading

TODAY 5
What they're saying (cont.)

TODAY 6,
Readings (2018...)


More, and more, and...


WEIRD WALDORF

A brief look at the purposes of Waldorf schooling


NUTSHELL

A brief summary of Rudolf Steiner’s doctrines and teachings


SIX FACTS ABOUT STEINER EDUCATION
A guide for students and parents

ANTHROPOPERY

Steiner's theory of everything


SECRETS

Some of the things you aren’t supposed to know


FAILURE

To survive or not, to teach or not

    
REPORT CARD
Debating and evaluating Waldorf education

NEWS

NEWS 2
The Watch in Waldorf Watch (Cont.)

NEWS 3    
Watching (Cont., Cont.)













I often generalize about Waldorf schools. 
There are fundamental similarities among Waldorf schools; 
I describe the schools based on the evidence concerning 
their structure and operations 
in the past and — more importantly — in the present. 
But not all Waldorf schools, Waldorf charter schools, 
and Waldorf-inspired schools are wholly alike. 
To evaluate an individual school, you should carefully examine its stated purposes, 
its practices (which may or may not be consistent with its stated purposes), 
and the composition of its faculty. 

— R. R.













If you'd like more information about any of the topics discussed on this site, 

you might begin by consulting the following resources:





THE SEMI-STEINER DICTIONARY

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WALDORF WATCH INDEX


[A - E]     [G - M]     [N - S]     [T - Z]



WALDORF WATCH TABLE OF CONTENTS




Waldorf education

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Steiner education





























Anthroposophy

Waldorf critics








[R.R., 2014.]