WALDORF / STEINER 

NEWS ARCHIVE


March, 2011









This site supplements Waldorf Watch.
To go to Waldorf Watch itself, please click here:






The news items below are presented in reverse chronological order 
— newest first, oldest last.

Please excuse a certain amount of repetition 
in the contents of this archive.
Items that now appear close together on the screen 
may have originally been separated by intervals of several days.

Many of the items in this archive generalize about Waldorf schools, 
 describing them as Rudolf Steiner and leading Waldorf representatives 
have said they should be and as evidence shows they often are today. 
Not all Waldorf schools, Waldorf charter schools, 
and Waldorf-inspired schools conform to this model precisely. 
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.














[From the Elmfield Rudolf Steiner School’s website]: 

“Thank you Class Four for a 

magnificent production of Thor’s Hammer!  

Teachers, parents, younger and older pupils 

all thoroughly enjoyed your performance. 

Here is the cast beneath our very own statue 

of the Norse God Odin, carved from our late blue cedar.” 

[http://elmfield.com/2011/04/thors-hammer/ 

Re. the importance of Norse gods at Steiner schools, 

see "The Gods".]





From an Elmfield Rudolf Steiner School newsletter: 


“Thank you very much for supporting our food stall to send money for the Steiner schools in New Zealand and Japan in aid of earthquakes. We raised just over £500 and will send £150 to Christchurch Steiner School in New Zealand. I have been in contact with the Steiner School / Kindergarten in Japan. They are in the process of making concrete plans to support pupils. When I know their plans, I will send them money.”  

[3-30-2011  http://elmfield.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/110330.pdf]

















“Waldorf education is currently in its 92nd year, and there are over 2500 schools and kindergartens in over 60 countries.  ‘We've been doing this for nearly a century now,’ states Patti Wolfe, conference coordinator [17th annual Gateways Conference], ‘observing children, they way they learn over the long term, and what works best for fostering creative thinking, resilient, life-long learners.’ 94% of Waldorf graduates in North America attend university and an astounding 50% attain masters or PhD's, so the proof seems to be in the pudding.”


[3-30-2011  http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/March2011/30/c7780.html]





Response:


“Astounding” scarcely covers the ground. “Golly” is perhaps the mot juste. Dumbfounding claims are sometimes made for Waldorf education. But the facts are, sometimes, somewhat different. 


Are there, for instance, 2,500 Waldorf schools and kindergartens in the world? In a word, no. Many of the enterprises included in this swollen total are tiny play groups or other small, informal gatherings, often centered in people's living rooms.


The real total of real Waldorf schools and kindergartens in the world is around 1,000. This is not an insignificant number, but even it needs to be taken under advisement. Some Waldorf schools, especially in Europe and North America, are respectably large institutions, with hundreds of students. But many others are quite small, sometimes having only a handful of students are various grade levels. They usually are a bit larger than tiny play groups, but sometimes only by a smidgen.


Be cautious — be very cautious — when Waldorf proponents offer you statistics.
















“A Government-backed review published today will recommend giving groups of privately-funded schools [in the UK] powers to drop the Early Years Foundation Stage. It means they would no longer be expected to assess children against a range of targets covering reading, writing, counting, problem-solving and social skills ... Steiner schools, which follow a philosophy of not beginning elements of formal education until children reach seven, already have a similar opt-out from the Government’s strict reading and writing targets.” 


 [3-30-2011  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/8414132/Private-schools-will-be-allowed-to-drop-nappy-curriculum.html]

















Save St Mary's Paddock: Private school tries to steal public land - In a case that exemplifies the private school systems sense of entitlement to public money and resources, the Sophia Mundi Steiner school in Abbotsford [Australia] is attempting to takeover the St Mary’s Paddock, part of the Collingwood Children’s Farm for a number of new classrooms. This attempt is opposed by the Children’s Farm itself and the Yarra Council but is supported by the Abbotsford Convent Management who is responsible for the site ... The fact this proposal is even being considered is a disgrace and if it continues further both the Abbotsford Convent management and the Sophia Mundi School should be targeted for protest action to shame them over their disregard for the rights of the general public and for damaging such a beautiful institution in the form of the Collingwood Children’s Farm.”  




This controversy is heating up. See the prior report, below, beginning with the words “Have Your Say."
















“About three in four Americans believe in at least one paranormal phenomenon, with 41 percent citing extrasensory perception (ESP) specifically.”  

This is sad. But it helps to explain why something as backward and benighted as Waldorf education can catch on. And it helps explain why rational people need to be active in opposition. Wouldn’t it be nice if in the 21st century — or, if that’s too optimistic, in some century soon — mankind finally freed itself from the shackles of superstition?
















“[T]he writer Bernardine Coverley...sent [her daughters] Esther and Bella to a Steiner school near East Grinstead [UK], where the philosophy was firmly anti-hothouse [i.e., there was little academic pressure] and traditional disciplines such as the three Rs were rejected ... Freud herself left the Steiner school at 16 with three O-levels. ‘You were only allowed to take four if you were really clever. What I loved about my education was that it was in a beautiful place and there was a lot of making and doing and stories. What I didn't love was that I left with such huge, humiliating holes in my general knowledge.’"  




The academic shortcomings of Waldorf schools trouble many students and parents, sooner or later. [See “Academic Standards at Waldorf” and “Our Experience”.]
















 

Representative Waldorf painting 

displayed with the announcement below,

directed at Waldorf teachers.





“Are you wondering how to develop a meaningful painting curriculum for your class for the coming school year? Do you have the wish to investigate the deeper significance of painting with children, which encourages a healthy balance in the child’s physical organism, soul faculties, and social relationships? This six-day intensive course, based on the indications of Rudolf Steiner for a new direction in painting with youth and adults, provides the opportunity to explore an entirely new approach to color upon which the class teacher may develop his or her painting lessons. Blackboard drawing instruction will be included as well.”   


[http://www.anthroposophy.org/index.php?id=62&no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=517&tx_ttnews%5Byear%5D=2011&tx_ttnews%5Bmonth%5D=03]





Response:


The art produced and displayed at Waldorf schools is often quite attractive. Bear in mind, however, that like virtually all other activities and classes at Waldorf schools, Waldorf art classes have occult purposes. Among other things, they are focused on “soul faculties” (which in Waldorf argot means imagination, which in Waldorf argot means clairvoyance). [See “Magical Arts”.] 


Typically, art created by Waldorf faculty members is mystical and mysterious — it contrives to suggest that hidden behind the surface of the apparent world lies another, more wondrous reality. Of course, what Waldorf teachers usually have in mind is the occult "reality" described by Rudolf Steiner. [See "Anthroposophical Art".]

















“Have Your Say: A planning system quirk means Yarra Council [Australia] won’t have the final say on the controversial proposal to build classrooms on green space at the Abbotsford Convent. The Sophia Mundi Steiner School plans to build a five-classroom, single-storey building on the ‘goat paddock’ to the south of the Collingwood Children’s Farm ... [B]ecause the Steiner school has received funding from the Federal Government’s Building the Education Revolution program, State Planning Minister Matthew Guy will make the final decision to fast track the planning process....


[A reader:] “I am appalled that the Convent Foundation supports privileging private education, which is an option NOT open to all parents, over the access to this land by ALL members of the community. It's only because this private school is a Steiner school, somehow seen as more 'progressive' than your average private school that they are able to get away with this.”  


[3-28-2011  http://melbourne-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/yarra-council-locked-out-of-abbotsford-convent-planning-decision/]

















“What Do You Think of Waldorf Education? - [discussion at Yahoo: first reply: thumbs down; second reply:] there are parts of it that I just love - the emphasis on the natural world, handwork at all age levels (knitting etc), going outside in all kinds of weather, emphasis on play for the under 7's, delaying academics till they are physically and developmentally ready to learn them, handwriting vs printing etc. etc. We did parent and tot with my DS1 at our local waldorf school, I took a tour of the school later on and applied for him to go for kindergarten, but it was too full and he didn't get in (should have applied months earlier!) anyway, since then I have done ALOT more reading about it and asking lots of moms on facebook forums etc. and (depending on the individual school of course) it's not all as rosy as it appears on the surface!“ 

















“Waldorf education is a movement in denial. It is run by a cult-like organization (Anthroposophy) and preys on the good-will of families looking for something that Waldorf IS NOT. They often tell you what they think you want to hear and NOT what they are really all about. In my experience in talking with hundreds of families on this list, on the Waldorf Survivors list and in person, I am convinced that most parents send their children to Waldorf not for what it IS (Anthroposophical education) but for what it IS NOT (mainstream education). In other words, the alternative and 'natural' part of Waldorf SEEMS so healthy when compared with the overly academic cookie cutter approach of conventional education (of which I am still not a fan).”  

















“The role of colour in art therapy will be examined by Jennie Tanser, Art Therapist at Camphill Medical Practice, at a free talk in Aberdeen [Scotland] on Tuesday (March 29) evening.


“During her talk, Jennie Tanser will give examples of how colour can be used in her therapy sessions.


“...Camphill Medical Practice, located on the Murtle Campus of Camphill School Aberdeen in Bieldside, provides NHS [National Health Service] primary care services to the local community...


“More than 700 people live and work in Camphill communities in the Aberdeen area and there are more than 100 centres in 23 countries around the world." 


[3-25-2011 http://www.allmediascotland.com/media_releases/29391/talk-to-examine-use-of-colour-in-art-therapy]





Response:


The quack medical teachings of Rudolf Steiner are often used in and around Waldorf schools and in Camphill communities. (“Camphill” is a name used by various Anthroposophical communities. Anthroposophical therapies are often offered there. [See “Waldorf Now”.])


Art therapy in the Waldorf/Camphill universe is not what you may find elsewhere. Steiner taught that spirit beings enter our world through colors; clairvoyants see different spirit beings in rooms of different colors. [See “Magical Arts”.] 


Steiner also taught that our use of colors can take us into the spirit worlds and/or correct our problems — including severe physical illnesses — in this world. When a Waldorf student becomes ill, an Anthroposophic doctor may prescribe a “cure” consisting of having the child draw pictures using crayons of a particular color. This has been done even in cases of life-threatening diseases. [See “Steiner’s Quackery”.]





















The course described here will be 
offered by the Sunbridge Institute,
a Waldorf teacher-training institution 
in rural New York, USA.




“Essentials of Waldorf Education - This is a course for everyone. If you know nothing about Waldorf Education, have some idea, or simply want to know more, this course provides an overview of Waldorf Education from its founding through the present. Through the framework of Anthroposophy, we will learn about the stages of child development the evolution of consciousness and the inner life of the teacher. We will explore Waldorf Education in early childhood, the specificity of the curriculum in relation to child development during grades one through eight, and a description of the Waldorf High School. Curriculum subjects covered will include history, math, language arts, science, and special subjects such as handwork, orchestra and eurythmy. Broader concepts like the impulse behind the Threefold Social Order and the school as community will be covered in this course as well.”  


[3-25-2011  http://www.waldorfworld.com/viewlisting.php?view=2423]





Response:


Certainly anyone interested in Waldorf schooling should gain familiarity with the subjects listed for this course. In the Waldorf universe, “the stages of child development” are a series of seven-year-long phases during which children develop their physical bodies, their etheric bodies, and their astral bodies. [See “Incarnation”.] The “evolution of consciousness,” in Waldorf belief, is a cosmic tale that began for mankind during Old Saturn and will extend through our lives on Future Jupiter, Future Venus, and Future Vulcan. [See “Matters of Form”.] The “the inner life of the [Waldorf] teacher” centers on belief in clairvoyance and the effort to become clairvoyant. [See “The Waldorf Teacher’s Consciousness”.]


All these forms of nonsense are intimately connected to the Waldorf curriculum and program. If you don’t take the course promoted at Waldorf World, you might look at “Here’s the Answer” at Waldorf Watch. It covers much of the same ground, and it is available now, this moment, without obligation and free of charge. (!)

















I love the Waldorf method but I also love so much about unschooling and I feel torn wondering if 'doing' both is feasible? I love the rhythm and gentle harmony of Waldorf, the natural toys, the celebrations of festivals and things like that but I like the idea of just learning what we want, when we want.”  

“Unschooling” is one of those really bad ideas that become popular from time to time. The idea of unschooling is this: Schools are awful so let’s pull our kids out and let them learn whatever they like whenever they like and however they like. It is — if you don’t think about it too much — an appealing notion. (But wait. Allow me to wax nostalgic for a moment. Precisely when would I have wanted to learn how to spell, or how to do long division, or how to read German? Hm. Let me think. Oh! I remember! Never.)


Having become a teacher, I'd like to suggest an idea. The essence of good teaching is helping students to see the reason to learn things (even if those things seem disagreeable at first), and then helping them to perceive the fascination in those things, and then helping them to learn them.


Waldorf schools usually adhere to a carefully crafted curriculum, which prevents students from simply following their own inclinations. Still, there is some overlap between unschooling and Waldorf schooling. In theory, at least, Waldorf schools allow children to lead their own development. All this means in practice, however, is that Rudolf Steiner's fantasies about childhood incarnation are set at the center of the Waldorf agenda.


The other chief similarity between unschooling and Waldorf is an anti-intellectual bias, an aversion to hard-won knowledge. Such an attitude cuts much of the ground out from under the possibility of real education.
















"A public meeting is being held to discuss plans to open a Steiner nursery and primary school in Whalley Range [Manchester, UK]. Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting at St Werburgh's Church hall to find out more about the project. It would see a Steiner school and nursery open from September in Whalley Range, initially for children aged up to seven. Proposals are for the school to be private and fee paying before applying for free school status. The meeting takes place on Monday, March 28 from 7-9pm.

[3-24-2011  http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1414983_public_meeting_to_discuss_opening_steiner_nursery_and_primary_school_in_whalley_range]
















The Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority's chief executive, Peter Hill, said schools had...been strongly advised not to attempt to manipulate [standardized test] results by weeding out poor-performing students.


“The authority has taken the step this year of putting student participation rates prominently on the My School website, which went live with 2010 results last month.


“...The authority lists exemption and withdrawal rates for all schools as well as absent students.


“...In the ACT [Australia Capital Territory], the Orana Steiner School in Weston had 97 per cent of its Year 3 pupils withdrawn by parents and 3 per cent of its Year 3 pupils exempt through disability.


“Principal John Davidson said the school had a commitment to literacy and numeracy but the Steiner philosophy did not support standardised testing regimes, particularly in the early years of school. Participation rates increased to 69 per cent in Year 5 and 94 per cent in Year 7.


“...The ACT Department of Education said it worked closely with the authority to monitor participation and no ACT schools were under suspicion of trying to manipulate their results.”  


[3-24-2011  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/schools-caught-cheating-on-national-tests/2112773.aspx?storypage=0]





Response:


Evaluating Waldorf schools can be difficult. The schools generally prefer not to be judged according to ordinary standards — their practices and objectives are often incompatible with the conventions of society at large. When 100% of the students in a Waldorf class are exempted from standardized testing, gauging the academic success of the school’s program at that grade level is nearly impossible.


Waldorf schools are often especially eager to avoid outside evaluation of their lower grades, because Waldorf teachers postpone instruction in reading and arithmetic until the students’ “etheric bodies” incarnate at about age seven. [I kid you not. See “Incarnation”.] Spokespersons for the schools claim that Waldorf students catch up with other students sooner or later, which may be true in some cases. But the Waldorf system virtually guarantees that Waldorf students will be denied the benefits of early-childhood instruction of the sort that most education authorities consider highly important.
















“The world’s first ever biodynamic whisky has been distilled at Bruichladdich Distillery [Scotland] from barley sown, grown and harvested according to an astral calendar.


“Biodynamic Bruichladdich is über-organic, the barley being grown according to the controversial agricultural principles of the messianic Dr Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925).


“Steiner, an Austrian philosopher, educationalist, spiritualist and lecturer, is considered the ‘Galileo of organic science’; to critics, he was just a cosmic nutter.


“... [Biodynamic] Farmers are guided by a cosmic calendar, where phases of the lunar and astral cycle indicate the ideal time for sowing, pruning or treating — not only the tides.”  


[3-23-2011  http://www.allmediascotland.com/media_releases/29360/whisky-under-the-influence-of-stars]
















“Meeting with prospective students and their parent or guardian helps us [the Seattle Waldorf School] to determine the appropriate placement of your student in our school. During the interview, we give you an in-depth overview of our approach and an opportunity to discuss your questions about Waldorf education.” 


[http://seattlewaldorf.org/highschool/admissions-hs/how-to-apply-hs.html]





Response:


This sounds like a reasonable arrangement. It places most of the responsibility for your child’s welfare precisely where it belongs: on you, the parent. If you are considering a Waldorf school for your child, be sure your eyes are open. Read Steiner. Read the writings of Waldorf proponents. Understand what Waldorf education is all about. Then make an informed choice.

Bear in mind, in nay case, that your investigation of Waldorf education should extend well beyond a single interview, a single exposition of a school's self-described approach. Waldorf self-presentations are sometimes unreliable. The schools are often secretive — they have reason to conceal much of their underlying belief system and their spiritualistic objectives. So, again, the onus is on you. Do your homework. [For some pointers, see “Advice for Parents”, "Secrets", and “Clues”.]
















Subsidizing Religion Endangers Everyone


“The Pacific Justice Institute has weighed in on the appeal to the Ninth Circuit after a federal judge in Sacramento [California, USA] ruled that the publicly funded Waldorf Charter Schools are not religious. Judge Frank Damrell ruled...after excluding most of the evidence.


“The ruling came despite the fact that the schools are based on the teachings of Anthroposophy — a faith-based belief system authored by spiritualist thinker Rudolph Steiner ... [T]he web site for Sacramento's Rudolph Steiner College proudly proclaims its tax exempt status under the religious institutions section of the Tax Code.


“Some will wonder why — given my own background and allegiances — I would object to taxpayer funding of a faith-based school system. Reality is that I object to taxpayer funding of any faith-based educational enterprise — including any with which I might be in sympathy. Subsidizing religion endangers everyone — including the adherents of the religion itself ... [I]f a faith operation accepts government money it becomes subject to government regulation — even to the influencing of the content of teaching. This is not good for anyone.


“The bottom line is that our national and state constitutions call for no establishment of religion coupled with a near absolute right to freely practice our religious faith." 


[3-21-2011  http://blogs.redding.com/jwilson/archives/2011/03/subsidizing-rel.html]
















"Those of us on what is actually the disadvantaged side of this 'playing field' — i.e., those of us who do NOT claim clairvoyance or unusual powers or access to mystical realms — aren't the ones feeling deprived or disadvantaged, since we think their claims are, for the most part, silly. Their supposed advantage is something we realize is bogus anyway. When we point out to them that, even though we think their claims are largely nonsensical, it's them, not us, claiming special advantages or special status, they're simply stumped. Confused, and feeling tricked as usual. They go away then, like Stephen, claiming to have been mistreated."  





Response:


Efforts to establish rational, mutually respectful, and mutually beneficial discussions between Waldorf defenders and Waldorf critics are extremely difficult and often unsuccessful. The two groups tend to think in different terms, and they even tend to believe that they think with different organs. 


Rudolf Steiner taught that real thinking is clairvoyance, and clairvoyance occurs not in the brain but in nonphysical "organs of clairvoyance." Many Waldorf teachers believe that they are clairvoyant (and hence have organs of clairvoyance). At least some other Waldorf teachers, knowing that they themselves lack clairvoyance, nonetheless believe that clairvoyance is real, and they think they should trust clairvoyants (like Steiner) while rejecting the words of rationalists, scientists, college professors, and the like.


Waldorf teachers in general tend to think they should doubt anyone who fails to embrace Steiner's occult teachings. This leaves little room for discussion. 


Still, efforts at dialogue are praiseworthy, and anyone interested in Waldorf schools should check out such efforts occasionally, evaluating the statements made for and against the Waldorf point of view. 


[See, e.g., "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness" and "Steiner's Specific".]

















“As part of a unit on business administration, students in Monica Marshall’s 6th-grade class at Monadnock Waldorf School in Keene [New Hampshire, USA] are running a time bank, soliciting deposits and managing withdrawals from adults in the community.


“Parents, staff and friends of the school contribute activities such as Italian lessons, house painting and book editing in hour increments and in return can withdraw from the bank.


“’If people have something to offer like Spanish lessons or cross country skiing, they put it in the time bank and then they’re eligible to take out something that someone else has put in,’ Lisa Mahar, school administrator, explained.


“’This is just a variation on bartering.’”  


[3-20-2011  http://sentinelsource.com/articles/2011/03/20/features/education/free/id_430225.txt]





Response:


Even when they seem to be progressive or surprisingly worldly, courses and activities at Waldorf schools often aim to lead students and their families away from the modern world, its institutions, and its values. In some cases, this may be a good thing. In other cases, not. 


Steiner proposed a number of measures for reforming modern society, measures that are generally referred to as "threefolding". Members of Anthroposophical communities often attempt to implement such proposals. 


[See "Threefolding".]

















An announcement: 


“The Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship Easter Conference 2011 ...  Every human being incarnates in a unique way, and everything he is can be found in the impression he makes in the substance of the earth. It is our task as teachers to learn to read the impressions made by our students — the way they speak and move, their likes and dislikes, the things they create, everything they do. If we really learn to do this, what we discover can form the basis of our work. The aim of this conference is to raise awareness of the need to develop the faculty of truly seeing and to look at some ways in which this can be done.”  





Response:


The Waldorf curriculum is keyed to the (imaginary) process of human incarnation, particularly the incarnation of invisible bodies such as the etheric body. [See “Incarnation”.] Children are considered reincarnating spirits whose karma brings them to Waldorf schools, where the process of incarnation may be correctly overseen. [See “Karma”.]


“The faculty of truly seeing,” in Waldorf belief, is clairvoyance. [See “The Waldorf Teacher’s Consciousness”.] Waldorf teachers may also use dreams and horoscopes in their efforts to “learn to read” their students. [See “Dreams” and “Horoscopes”.]


Parents who embrace occult beliefs of the kind embodied in Waldorf pedagogy should certainly consider sending their children to Waldorf schools. Everyone else should run for the hills.


















"The registered association called 'Friends of Rudolf Steiner's Art of Education' plans an emergency pedagogical crisis intervention in Japan in order to help the people who have been psycho-traumatized by the devastating earthquake to process their horrific experiences."  




"Anthroposophists take note: No reputable ethical organization is doing anything in Japan right now other than sending donations to experienced, professional relief organizations. If you want to be counted among the sleazeballs and con artists, go right ahead and ship in eurythmists."  
























"Bega's Mumbulla School for Rudolf Steiner Education has been ranked as the fourth leading primary school in NSW [New South Wales, Australia], based on results recently published on the federal Government’s My School website.

"The ranking takes into account students’ performance in Year 5 National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAP-LAN) testing and is a clear indication that the school’s alternative approach to education is working.

"Mumbulla’s educational administrator Mahamati said while national testing was just one tool for measuring student growth, the school was happy with the results.

“'These are pleasing results, but as a Steiner school we do not place a great emphasis on the assessment from NAPLAN.'" 





It is not impossible for a Waldorf school to provide a good academic education, but it is rare. [See "Academic Standards at Waldorf".] Waldorf schools place their emphasis elsewhere. [See "Spiritual Agenda".]

















"We are seeking a First Grade teacher to lead a group of ten children in a three day per week [sic] Waldorf-inspired class. We hope to find someone who has completed or started their Waldorf training or has developed a strong understanding of Waldorf education as a student or in another context. (For those that [sic] are interested, there is a Waldorf teacher training institute located at Washington Walorf [sic] school.) Of even more importance to us is to find a teacher who is energetic, engaged, loving and inspiring in teaching the children in a way that takes into account the stages of child development and Waldorf theory of knowledge."  





Response:


When is a Waldorf school not a Waldorf school? That is, when is a Waldorf or Steiner school free of occultism? Almost never. [See "Non-Waldorf Waldorfs".] Waldorf teacher training generally includes broad indoctrination in Rudolf Steiner's occultism. [See "Teacher Training".] The "stages of child development," in Waldorf belief, involve the incarnation of invisible bodies. [See "Incarnation".] And the "Waldorf theory of knowledge" is that true knowledge comes through clairvoyance. [See "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness".]

Waldorf teachers are often well-meaning, loving individuals. But they usually work in service to a delusional worldview.

When is it safe to send a child to a Waldorf school? Almost never.

And what about "Waldorf-inspired" schools? As the help-wanted ad quoted here suggests, they are often fully committed to the delusional, occultist Waldorf worldview.
















"Hopmann believes waldorf education can be described as a totalitarian ideology which attempts to control child development – that it is a manner of using children to attain ideological goals."  




This is part of a posting that paraphrases an Austrian newspaper article — another valuable contribution from Alicia H., a former Waldorf student who is now an active critic of Waldorf education.
















"Well I've known about 30 people who were Steiner educated, not one went to University, even though their parents' could've afforded it!" 

















“Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy, could speak with the dead. They gave him insight into their knowledge, and he in turn provided for their reincarnation. We normal mortals, being not so clairvoyant, have it hard. To write a biography of Rudolf Steiner without having access to 'karmic knowledge' is an ambitious enterprise ... A dense fog surrounds Rudolf Steiner’s life, in part created by the heavily stylized information he gave out about himself, his secretive and shrouded ways, and the protectiveness shown by his followers concerning his teachings ... [According to his followers] Steiner was the great 'master' and not some historically researchable figure. He was a leader of humanity, a founder of a religion, a clairvoyant — and to research and describe such a being was tantamount to sacrilege.”  


[3-15-2011  http://zooey.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/random-house-publishing-steiner-bio-in-english/]
















"I spent my teenage years at a Rudolf Steiner school. While my time there was very happy and I emerged almost normal from the experience, I was surrounded by a great deal of self-delusion and general woo. We’re talking serious homeopathic antivaxery here, from a lot of seriously Germanic hippies who take their Goethe neat. They would pull up at school in badly-tuned VW beetles, rattling exhausts belching particulates and who knows what else into the atmosphere, and disgorge far more children than safety would allow – and yet prominent on the paintwork were decals the size of dinnerplates saying ATOMKRAFT – NEIN DANKE [atomic power – no thanks]."  





Response:


Perhaps they had a point. But if they were right to oppose atomic power, they were right for deeply flawed reasons. The Anthroposophical view of atoms — like the Anthroposophical view of almost everything else — is occult and irrational.

• "If physicists were for once to talk sense, they would not produce speculations about atoms." — Rudolf Steiner, COLOUR, lecture I, “Thought and Will as Light and Darkness” (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Company, 1935). 

• “[A]toms are really tiny little caricatures of demons." — Rudolf Steiner, RHYTHMS OF LEARNING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1998), p. 161. 

• "[T]hrough the electrification of the atoms we transform them into carriers of evil ... [W]hen we imagine matter in the form of atoms, we transform these atoms into carriers of death; but when we electrify matter, Nature is conceived as something evil. For electric atoms are little demons of Evil." — Rudolf Steiner, "Concerning Electricity", ANTHROPOSOPHIC NEWS SHEET, No. 23/24, June 9, 1940 — from a lecture delivered January 28, 1923. 

[See "Atoms".]
















“A standing-room-only group of parents turned out last week to hear Phil Arnold spell out his dream of establishing the ‘Circle of Seasons’ Waldorf-method charter school in South Whitehall in fall 2012. 


“... The school would be the first charter school utilizing the Waldorf method in Pennsylvania [USA].


“...[Waldorf advocate Eugene Schwartz]  said the Waldorf method does not use conventional textbooks, but rather reinforces what children learned by having them draw a picture about the lesson.


“...Another emphasis is the importance of play. Schwartz said children are more open to learning after playtime. He cited a Waldorf school in Scandinavia where students are outside all day, even at naptime for the younger ones.


“...Arnold said a new ‘green’ building would be constructed on the site in keeping with Waldorf’s philosophy of environmental awareness. He said a private investor would provide financing.”  


[3-14-2011  http://uppermacungie.patch.com/articles/plans-outlined-for-proposed-waldorf-method-charter-school-2]
















“[I]t’s anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner’s mystical, magical system that is the bottom of a lot of quackery and anti-vaccine beliefs. Indeed, outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease have been distressingly common at Waldorf schools, where the educational philosophy is based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, which is why they are sometimes called Steiner schools or Steiner-Waldorf schools.


“...Anthroposophical medicine, it turns out, is rooted in prescientific vitalism ... Anthroposophy, it further turns out, is far more a religious and spiritual philosophy than a scientific or medical one.


“...[T]he pride I have as a U. of M. [University of Michigan] alumnus is now tarnished with the knowledge that, even though the vast majority of what happens at the medical school and its affiliated hospitals is still solidly science-based and U. of M. boasts some of the best medical research programs anywhere, there now exists section within it that teaches pseudoscientific nonsense as if it were science.


“...[Probably] few U. of M. faculty even know about the existence of a Steiner-inspired program at their school. To me, however, there is zero place for such religious- and mysticism-inspired nonsense in any reputable medical school, other than as a footnote in courses in the history of medicine. Certainly there is no place for it being taught or practiced as though it had any validity whatsoever anywhere near medical students, residents, or fellows — and especially nowhere near patients.”  


[3-14-2011 http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=10548]
















"According to Daily Yomiuri, Jun 14, 2005, there are 7 Steiner schools in Japan, 2 in Kanagawa and one each in Hokkaido, Tokyo, Tochigi, Gifu and Kyoto prefectures, out of the 950 Steiner schools worldwide." 


We do not yet have reliable reports about the fate of Steiner school students, faculties, and facilities in Japan following yesterday's earthquake.

Meanwhile, schools in areas hit by the consequent tsunami have been affected in varying degrees. 



"Hawaii public, private schools will be closed ... St. Andrew's Priory in downtown, both Honolulu Waldorf School campuses, and Damien Memorial School in Kalihi are cancelling all classes today." 























"The soul and the spirit are known traditionally as subtle bodies. Misalignments between the subtle bodies require that a person initiate a dialogue process of inner transformation that is called initiation. The newly revised Consciousness Studies program [at Rudolf Steiner College, USA] is designed to explore the fundamentals of this process through a combination of lecture, artistic work and seminar conversations."  




Rudolf Steiner College is one of the institutions that provide training for aspiring Waldorf teachers. This training focuses primarily on Anthroposophical dogma, which the graduates will take with them when they fan out to Waldorf schools worldwide. 


[See "Teacher Training".]

















“In both private and public utterances during the Nazi era, anthroposophists emphasized that the ‘Jewish spirit’ must be ‘overcome’ particularly in its three principal forms of intellectualism, materialism, and egoism, the chief illnesses of the modern world.”  





Response:


There are troubling intersections between Anthroposophy and Nazism. [See “Sympathizers?”] 


A distinct strain of anti-Semitism runs through Anthroposophy. Steiner taught the most important god for humans, at least up to now, is Christ, the Sun God. [See "Sun God".] Steiner also taught that the god of the Jews, Jehovah, is a rather minor deity who lives on the moon. [See "Lunacy".]


This led to such statements as the following: 


"As you know, we distinguish the Jews from the rest of the earth's population. The difference has arisen because the Jews have been brought up in the moon religion for centuries." — Rudolf Steiner, FROM BEETROOT TO BUDDHISM (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), p. 59. 


[For more of Steiner's statements about Jews, see "RS on Jews".]
















“WSP [the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, California, USA] addresses the great need, in this fast-paced and highly technological area, for an education that engages the heart and will as well as the mind, according to school officials. Through an academic curriculum that integrates fine, performing and practical arts, Waldorf education strives to develop intellectual capacity, creative imagination, social responsibility, reverence for nature and enthusiasm for lifelong learning.”  


[3-8-2011 http://www.losaltosonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=23526&Itemid=56]





Response:


In Waldorf education, intellect is valued only to the extent that it allows us to comprehend the superficial levels of the lowly physical world. True cognition — enabling us to comprehend the higher worlds — is clairvoyance. According to Waldorf belief, intellect is actually dangerous, leading to such horrors as Communism. 


The brain is an instrument for purely intellectual apprehension. Intellectualism and materialistic thinking are one and the same, for all the thinking that goes on in science, in theology, in the sphere of modern Christian consciousness — all of it is the product of the human brain alone, is materialistic. This manifests itself, on the one hand, in the empty formalism of belief; on the other, in Bolshevism [sic: emphasis by Steiner] ... [T]he materialistic brain represents a process of decay: materialistic thinking unfolds only through processes of destruction, death-processes, which are taking place in the brain.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FESTIVALS AND THEIR MEANING (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1996), pp. 147-148. 


[For more of Steiner's statements about the brain and intellect, see "Steiner's Specific", "Materialism U.", and "Thinking". For more on the sort of thinking advocated in Waldorf schools, see "Thinking Cap".]
















“The members of Botton [an Anthroposophical community in the UK] who are thrilled to share with me what they are doing don’t even mention that they aren’t paid; it just doesn’t figure as relevant ... From the outside, Steiner lifestyle can look rather dogmatic, but it can be considered as just working with human freedom. Teachers in Waldorf schools help kids be who they want to be.”  





Response:


This article vividly reflects the problem with so much press coverage of Waldorf schools and Anthroposophical enterprises in general. A reporter (in this case, a college student) goes to an Anthroposophical site, listens to the statements made by Anthroposophists, and reports these statements with little effort to check the facts. 

“Botton” is a Camphill community — an Anthroposophical enclave where well-meaning followers of Rudolf Steiner attempt to assist individuals who have developmental problems. Their intention is meritorious. But in practice Anthroposophical assistance is based on the quack medicine promoted by Rudolf Steiner. [See “Steiner’s Quackery”.]

The “Steiner lifestyle” seems dogmatic because it is dogmatic. Anthroposophy is a religion that tightly controls its adherents. [See “Is Anthroposophy a Religion?”] 

As for the “freedom” possible within the “Steiner lifestyle” — there is essentially none. You either walk the “white path” (i.e., following Steiner’s directives) or the “black path” — in which case you will lose your soul. [See “Freedom”.] 

The purpose of Waldorf schools is not to free kids "to be who they want to be"; the purpose is to set the students' feet on the white path toward salvation. [See "Here's the Answer".]


Outsiders are often deceived by the misleading presentations made by Anthroposophists. [See "Secrets".] It is not uncommon for parents to visit Waldorf schools, find them beautiful, and enroll their children — only to learn eventually that they have been deceived about the nature and purposes of the Waldorf movement. [See "Our Experience".]

Reporters should certainly be more cautious when hearing Anthroposophists praise themselves and their enterprises — but, far too often, they are not.
















“Woodland Charter School is up for approval or denial by the Three Rivers School District Board Monday evening. The would-be school would be based in the Applegate Valley and operate under Waldorf-method philosophy. Organizers say it would be the first Waldorf school in a rural environment in Oregon [USA].

 

“Monday's proposal is the second time it's being heard by the school board. It was first turned down because it would be too costly to start. Woodland would require $404,700 to open ... The new proposal lowers Woodland's maximum student enrollment from 100 to 85.”  


[3-7-2011  http://kdrv.com/news/local/206389]


















“This is a letter of Thomas Proctor, Christchurch Rudolf Steiner School principal [New Zealand] ... There is tragedy everywhere that you see both in the news and things that you may never hear. It is so so awful and fills me with tears that so many people have died, so many have torn amputations, spinal injuries, crushed bodies, weeping spirits and that the whole city is ruined — from every historic building to the most modern. The effects will be decades in rebuilding...


“School was evacuated at 12.51 on Tuesday. Getting out of my office was like trying to walk on a rocking ships deck —  grasping for hand rails before being tossed in the other direction. Files were falling, draws flying open. The kids ran to their designated areas. Everyone was accounted for. Children were weeping and hugging. Many of the teachers who were terrified after the last quake were pale and shaking but overcame this to bring calmness to their classes...


“School is now closed. No water, no electricity. We have to wait for a building inspection before we can return. Ironically there was an insurance assessor  inspecting damage from the last quake at school as it struck. He was upstairs in the staff workroom and saw all the computers fall to the ground. We don't know when we will have water without sewerage as the entire infrastructure of the town is cracked. School could be a long time beginning.”  


[3-7-2011  http://www.rudolfsteinerfederation.org.nz/earthquake]

















"It isn't that Waldorf teacher training institutes also 'include anthroposophical studies.' Anthroposophical studies includes Waldorf teacher training. The training derives from anthroposophy; anthroposophy isn't like an elective or an option or perhaps a track in the curriculum. It *is* the curriculum.

"Most anthroposophists understand, I think, that in a Waldorf school, just as in Waldorf teacher training, it isn't correct to say that anthroposophy is 'in' the curriculum. Anthroposophy *is* the curriculum."  


















RUDOLF STEINER SCHOOLS IN ENGLAND FAIL TO WIN GOVERNMENT FUNDING


“By Christian von Arnim


“LONDON (NNA) - NNA has learned that none of the Rudolf Steiner schools in England which have applied to receive funding under a government programme to create so-called free schools have been successful in the first round of applications. 


“Free schools as proposed by the coalition government are based on US charter school and Swedish models and are intended to be all-ability state-funded schools set up in response to parental demand. 


"’The schools and new Steiner initiatives which put in proposals to become a Free School will be hearing from the Department for Education around now,’ a spokesperson from the British Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (SWSF) said in a statement in response to an enquiry from NNA. 


"’We are not expecting any Steiner schools to move to the next stage for 2011 opening. This is disappointing news, but we hope that a number of our schools will be submitting applications for 2012 and 2013 once the new proposal form is released,’ the statement added.”  


[3-5-2011  http://www.nna-news.org/news/en/]


































[R.R., 2016.]