September, 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.

Nigerian artist Ibiyenka Alao

"Ibeyenka Alao, Nigeria’s 'Ambassador of Art', visited Ashwood Waldorf School [Maine, USA] to tell students about his country, his art, and Nigerian music. Students played instruments, danced to African rhythms, and tried out the painting techniques he demonstrated." 


Waldorf schools today often make a strong effort to demonstrate their freedom from racial prejudice, affirming multiculturalism and respect for all peoples. The issue of race is complicated for them because of Rudolf Steiner's racist doctrines. Steiner's followers sometimes recognize the fallacies in Steiner's thinking about race, yet they do not often explicitly denounce specific racist statements Steiner made. If they did so — if they admitted that Steiner could be mistaken about any important topic — then they would open the possibility that Steiner might also be wrong about other important topics, a possibility that is virtually unthinkable for them.

Steiner attached extreme importance to skin color. He said, for instance, 

"One can only understand history and all of social life, including today’s social life, if one pays attention to people’s racial characteristics. And one can only understand all that is spiritual in the correct sense if one first examines how this spiritual element operates within people precisely through the color of their skin.” — Rudolf Steiner, VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS (Verlag Der Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1961), GA 349, p. 52. [See, e.g., "Steiner's Racism".] 

Steiner taught that various human races stand at different levels of evolution. Whites are the most highly evolved, he said, while blacks are the lowest. 

"On one side you have the black race, which is the most earthly. When it migrates to the west [i.e., when it leaves the place where it belongs, Africa], it dies out ... The white race is the future, it is the most spirit-building race." — Rudolf Steiner, Ibid. [See, e.g., "Forbidden".]

Until Waldorf schools (also known as Steiner schools) truly confront and reject the racism of their founder, their own racial views will remain suspect, no matter how many pleasant cross-cultural events they host and report to the media.

"A push by a Victorian Steiner School [Australia] to get university entry scores for students who do not sit VCE [Victoria Certificate of Education] exams has failed, forcing a rethink of the senior curriculum.

"Little Yarra Steiner School in Yarra Junction, more than an hour north-east of Melbourne, will offer students the choice to sit the VCE exams for the first time next year, after negotiations with the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre over an alternative failed.

"The education program at Little Yarra for seniors consists of VCE subjects alongside Steiner 'main lessons' and a major project. Students follow the VCE curriculum, but currently they do not have the option to sit the exams and gain an Australian Tertiary Admissions Ranking, used by universities to determine entry into courses.

"In May, the school sought to make the admissions process easier for seniors asking VTAC to provide them with a 'notional ATAR' [Australian Tertiary Admission Rank].

"But, in September, VTAC [
Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre] knocked back the request, telling Little Yarra that it was too difficult to create a system for so few students — 16 this year, 13 next year — at just one school."


Waldorf or Steiner schools often fail to prepare students properly for college. Their focus is elsewhere (on karma, the incarnation of invisible bodies, and the prospective development of clairvoyance). They have a basic aversion to conventional knowledge, preferring the occult visions of Rudolf Steiner. Of course, they do attempt to provide a more or less adequate basic education — parents and education officials would rebel otherwise. But the schools often fall short even by their own standards. [See, e.g., "Academic Standards at Waldorf", "Karma", "Incarnation", "Thinking Cap", "Materialism U.", etc.]

Waldorf schools frequently seek exemptions from standard testing and assessment requirements. This tendency is rooted in events at the very first Waldorf school, when the inadequacy of Waldorf education first became apparent. The following is from a discussion Rudolf Steiner held with the faculty there. The teachers had expressed concerns that they were not preparing their students adequately for standard final examinations in the 12th grade. Steiner responded, 

“The question of final examinations is purely a question of opportunity. It is a question of whether we dare tell those who come to us that we will not prepare them for the final examination at all, that it is a private decision of the student whether to take the final examination or not.” Weeks after that, when the school received the results of state-mandated examinations, Steiner said, “We should have no illusions: The results gave a very unfavorable impression of our school to people outside.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 712 and p. 725.

“For over ten years the Pennine town of Hebden Bridge in the Calder Valley [UK] has been home to a Steiner Waldorf kindergarten. Two-and-a-half years ago the move to a beautiful old Sunday School in the picturesque village of Cragg Vale brought the dream of growing into a school much closer. This September the transition was complete as the kindergarten became the Calder Valley Steiner School. Its first class one, of eight children, began their school life in time-honoured fashion by experiencing the difference between a straight line and a curve.”  

[9-21-2011 http://news.steinerwaldorf.org/2011_09_01_archive.html]


Replete with mystical intimations, this announcement trumpets the growth of a Waldorf school in Great Britain. The growth is rather minor, however: The new first grade has eight students. 

Many Steiner/Waldorf schools are similarly miniature. There are potential benefits: No one gets lost in the crowd, students and teachers potentially get to know one another well, and each child may receive a lot of personal attention. On the other hand, such schools often have inferior facilities, and small faculties at small schools may be nearly as stretched as large faculties at large schools. Moreover, insularity — becoming tiny communities cut off from the outside world — always threatens small Waldorf schools. (Indeed, cutting itself off may be part of a Waldorf school’s plan.) 

Most crucially, a Waldorf faculty’s reliance on Rudolf Steiner’s doctrines may severely limit the knowledge the teachers gain of their students and the benefits they are able to confer on them. If, for instance, Waldorf teachers believe in the four “temperaments” and categorize their students accordingly, they may have no reliable knowledge of the students at all. This problem can be aggravated if the teachers follow Steiner’s astrological teachings, his racial teachings, and the other delusions built into the Waldorf system. In that case, students may suffer from injurious stereotyping imposed by teachers who embrace occult fantasies while rejecting real knowledge of the real world. 

[See, e.g., “Temperaments”, “Waldorf Astrology”, “Steiner’s Racism”, etc.]

"Question by Philippmikio
"Why did Rudolf Steiner think that the mistletoe is effective against breast cancer?

"Best answer:
"where did you hear that?" 


Steiner did specify mistletoe for the treatment of cancer. 

• "[M]istletoe, as an external substance, absorbs what is manifest in the human body as the rampant etheric forces in cancer.”  — Rudolf Steiner, “An Outline of Anthroposophical Medical Research: Abridged Report of Two Lectures” (Rudolf Steiner Publishing Co., 1924), authorized translation.*

• "Mistletoe achieved prominence as a cancer treatment through the work of Rudolf Steiner, PhD (1861-1925) ... Working with Ita Wegman, a Dutch physician, Steiner applied the principles of his 'spiritual science'...to the practice of medicine and to the treatment of cancer in particular." [Quackwatch]

This is but one of example of the potentially deadly consequences of resorting to "Anthroposophical medicine." 

* One advantage Steiner found in mistletoe is its extraterrestrial origin. 

“[M]istletoe does not belong to our earth, it is alien." — Rudolf Steiner, THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN (Anthroposophic Press, 1993), p. 99.

From the Waldorf School of New Orleans [Louisiana, USA]: 

"Founded in the early 20th century, Waldorf Education is based on the insights, teachings and principles of education outlined by the world renowned [sic] anthroposophist, artist, and scientist, Rudolf Steiner." 


When reading statements issued by Waldorf schools, it is always wise to do a reality check.  

• Was Steiner a scientist? Obviously not. [See, e.g., "Is Anthroposophy Science?"]* 

• Was he an artist? This depends on how you define the term. Steiner is credited with some drawings, paintings, and even works of sculpture. But you can search through histories and encyclopedias of art and find no mention of him. 

• Well, but is Steiner not world renowned? Try a little experiment: Ask your friends and neighbors who he was. You will probably draw a lot of blank stares. Steiner is celebrated in the small universe of Anthroposophy, but he is largely unknown outside it — and for good reason, since he made so few contributions of value in any field. THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, identifying him as a "spiritualist, lecturer, and founder of anthroposophy," devotes a grand total of 324 words to Rudolf Steiner. The same encyclopedia devotes nearly twice as many words to John Dewey and Maria Montessori, two other educational reformers. As for real scientists, the BRITANNICA devotes well over 4,100 words to Albert Einstein. 

When dealing with Waldorf schools and their guru, Rudolf Steiner, it is always wise to step back and investigate before accepting what you are told.

* The "science" that Steiner claimed to employ was the use of clairvoyance to study higher worlds. But clairvoyance is a delusion — there is no clairvoyant "science." [See "Clairvoyance".]

NATURE SPIRITS (Anthroposophic Press, 2003).
"Based on knowledge attained through 
his highly trained clairvoyance, 
Steiner contends that folk traditions 
regarding nature spirits 
are based on spiritual reality. 
He describes how people possessed a 
natural spiritual vision in ancient times, 
enabling them to commune with nature spirits. 
These entities — also referred to as elemental beings — 
became immortalized as fairies and gnomes 
in myth, legend, and children’s stories." 

Books published by Rudolf Steiner's followers 
often present clairvoyance as a real faculty.
Anthroposophists — including many Waldorf teachers — 
believe in clairvoyance, and they think that by 
using clairvoyance they can discern
such "realities" as nature spirits. 
When Waldorf teachers tell their students myths and fairy tales
about fairies, gnomes, and the like, they usually think  
they are telling the kids spiritual truths.

"Does Your Cat Have ESP?

"Participate in Dr. Rupert Sheldrake's ground-breaking research on cats with ESP, and share your results with him

"Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D., author of Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home: and Other Unexplained Powers of Animals, wants cat owners to participate in his research by conducting experiments themselves. He says not enough research regarding cats and extrasensory perception (ESP) abilities is available." 


In the Waldorf universe, ESP or clairvoyance is no laughing matter. The entire Waldorf movement is based on clairvoyance. Rudolf Steiner claimed to be clairvoyant. Indeed, he claimed to use "exact clairvoyance," meaning that his "clairvoyant" discoveries about human nature, the spirit realm, etc., are essentially unquestionable — they are "exactly" true. [See "Exactly".] Steiner also taught that Waldorf faculty members should develop their own powers of clairvoyance or, at a minimum, they should unhesitatingly accept the pronouncements of "clairvoyants" such as himself. Here are a few of Steiner's statements on these matters:

• "[P]hilosophy does not suffice, only pedagogical principles and methods do: exact clairvoyance."  — Rudolf Steiner, WALDORF EDUCATION AND ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1995), Vol. 1, p. 208.

• "[W]e must work to develop this consciousness, the Waldorf teacher’s consciousness, if I may so express it. This is only possible, however, when in the field of education we come to an actual experience of the spiritual. Such an experience of the spiritual is difficult to attain for modern humanity. We must realize that we really need something quite specific, something that is hardly present anywhere else in the world, if we are to be capable of mastering the task of the Waldorf school ... [We need] what humanity has lost in this respect, has lost just in the last three or four centuries. It is this that we must find again.” [Rudolf Steiner, DEEPER INSIGHTS INTO EDUCATION (Anthroposophical Press, 1983), p. 21.] Steiner taught that modern people do not have the natural clairvoyance possessed by the ancients, and thus we no longer have direct experience of the spirit realm. By following his directions, however, we can attain a new, higher form of clairvoyance — and here he explicitly tells Waldorf teachers that they should do so.

• "Along with exact clairvoyance, you must also achieve something I refer to as ideal magic." — Rudolf Steiner, WALDORF EDUCATION AND ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1995), Vol. 2, p. 18. "Ideal magic," according to Steiner, is the ability to enter the spirit realm through the use of Anthroposophy.

• "Not every Waldorf teacher has the gift of clairvoyance, but every one of them has accepted wholeheartedly and with full understanding the results of spiritual-scientific investigation concerning the human being." — Rudolf Steiner, WALDORF EDUCATION AND ANTHROPOSOPHY (Anthroposophic Press, 1995), Vol. 2, p. 224. "Spiritual science" is Anthroposophy. "Spiritual-scientific investigation" is the use of exact clairvoyance.

The problem in all of this is that there is no reliable evidence that clairvoyance of any kind actually exists. Careful research has been done, repeatedly, and despite occasional false alarms, the final results have always been negative. [See "Clairvoyance". To look into what appears to be recent false alarm, see "ESP".]

Unless you believe in clairvoyance, you really cannot logically affirm Waldorf education. Waldorf education is built on a fantasy. Of course, you are perfectly within your rights to believe the fantasy and to choose Waldorf education for your children. But having the right to do these things is not the same as being right about these things. Parents, please think very carefully before sending children to schools where reality is spurned and fantasy is embraced as exact truth. You may unintentionally inflict serious harm on the people you love most in all the world. 

[For more on the Waldorf view of clairvoyance, see "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness".]

Belief in clairvoyance pervades all parts of the Waldorf curriculum. This is from the description of a Waldorf teacher's guide, published by the Rudolf Steiner College Press.
The subject is history. The subtext is clairvoyance.

"The History curriculum for fifth and sixth grades in a Waldorf school follows the thread of development of cultures through Ancient India, Persia, Egypt and Chaldea, Greece, and Rome. This provides a picture of the changing human consciousness from ancient clairvoyance to the loss of spiritual vision and, with it, the awakening of independent ego awareness and materialism. The teacher is guided to a deeper understanding of the spiritual significance of mythologies and great epics, and shows how the ancient world points the way to the future." [TEACHING HISTORY, Vol. 1 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000).]

Students taught history in this way are being fed Anthroposophy, which considers itself the "way to the future." 

"Changing human consciousness." "ancient clairvoyance," "the loss of spiritual vision," "independent ego awareness," "the spiritual significance of mythologies and great epics" — these are all terms and concepts that have special importance in Anthroposophy. 

If a child is taught that human history has involved the loss of an ancient form of clairvoyance, that child is being taught Anthroposophical belief.

More on the Waldorf celebration of Michaelmas, this time discussed by the Washington Waldorf School (Maryland, USA):

"Michaelmas is not an invention of Rudolf Steiner. It is already there in the old church calendar, marking the fall equinox on September 29. It celebrates a battle between the hosts of angels in which the archangel Michael leas [sic] the good forces against the dark forces and casts the dragon out of heaven and onto the earth. The children, in fact, rarely hear this particular story, which occurs briefly in the Revelation of St. John. But what they do hear is a reiteration of its underlying theme in stories, drama, poetry, music, painting, and drawing. 

"Michaelmas is the time of the year when we experience death in nature and approach of great outer darkness as the sun withdraws [sic] in both time and strength. It is a time of the year to be inspired to mobilize our own inner resources against those forces which seek to overwhelm us in the course of the working year. In summer we usually feel a little lazy and enjoy taking it easy. In autumn we often feel inspired to new heights of energy. By spring we are tired and need a boost from outside, and spring grants it. But in autumn we look straight into the coming darkness."  


The Washington Waldorf School is more upfront about its mystical views than are many other Waldorf or Steiner schools. Still, the Washington account of Michaelmas omits a lot.

Michaelmas at Waldorf schools honors the Archangel of the Sun, Michael, who is the champion of the Sun God, aka Christ. According to Waldorf belief, Michael helps the Sun God ward off the evil effects of two mighty demons, Lucifer and Ahriman. Lucifer threatens humanity with false spirituality, Ahriman threatens humanity with the use of intellect (i.e., the rational brain) leading to materialism. By positioning himself between the demons, Michael helps Christ turn the efforts of the demons to better account. 

"Michael stands in this activity between the Luciferic World-picture and the Ahrimanic World-intellect." — Rudolf Steiner. 

[See "Michael". Also see "Sun God", "Lucifer", and "Ahriman".] 

One problem Waldorf schools must grapple with is that — awkwardly for "educational" institutions — they distrust the use of the brain. 

[For other reports on Michaelmas at Waldorf schools, see several earlier stories here and at the Waldorf Watch Annex. For an exploration of festivals in general at Waldorf schools, see "Magical Arts". For an indication of the ways Waldorf schools impress their doctrines on students through "underlying themes in stories, drama, poetry, music, painting, and drawing," see "Sneaking It In".]

"In the autumn, at harvest season, 
we celebrate Michaelmas 
(pronounced Mick-el-mas). 
Michaelmas is September 29th 
and celebrates the forces 
of the Archangel Michael 
(usually pronounced Myk-i-el), 
the time-spirit of this epoch ... 
The Michaelic forces imbue us 
with the confidence and courage
to look to the spiritual world ... 
Michael represents the unconquered hero, 
fighting against evil and the powers of darkness ...
We celebrate with a play about St. George, 
the human counterpart of Michael, 
taming the dragon."
[Eugene Waldorf School

The school isn't playing around. 
It affirms Anthroposophical doctrine.
[For more on the "powers of darkness", 
see "Evil Ones".]

From The Register Guard:

The Eugene Waldorf School [Oregon, USA] will present an outdoor medieval play at 11:15 a.m. Thursday. Grades one through eight will perform a pageant with gnomes, farmers, villagers, royalty, St. George and a dragon. The play celebrates Michaelmas, which takes place near the autumnal equinox. Bring a picnic for after the play.  


Waldorf schools use colorful events like this to recruit new families and to charm the parents of current students. Such festivals can be fun. But they are also significant in ways that may not be immediately apparent. Michaelmas is a religious holiday, the celebration of the archangel Michael. In Waldorf belief, Michael is the warrior-god who oversees the current stage of human evolution — as the Eugene Waldorf School says, he is the "time-spirit of this epoch." [See "Michael".] From the Waldorf perspective, a play about Michael's earthly representative slaying a dragon (the embodiment of demonic evil) is not merely a play — it is an enactment of Waldorf religious belief. If a Waldorf school presents itself as a nondenominational institution, you might ask why it celebrates Michaelmas. ("Founded in Europe in 1919, Waldorf Education now includes schools on every continent and has grown to become the world's largest independent, nondenominational school system...." http://www.eugenewaldorf.org/ourschool/philosophy/)

Things get stranger the more you inquire. According to Rudolf Steiner, beings such as gnomes ("a pageant with gnomes...") really exist. Gnomes are "nature spirits" who live underground. [See "Gnomes".] In the Waldorf belief system, there are several other kinds of nature spirits, including sylphs (who live in the air), undines (who live in water), and "salamanders" (who live in fire). I kid you not. [See "Neutered Nature".] Michael represents one of the high spiritual powers recognized in the Waldorf religion, and nature spirits represent lowly spiritual powers recognized in the same belief system, called Anthroposophy. Waldorf schools exist to promote Anthroposophy. They usually go about this task quietly, indirectly, subtly. But go about it they do. [See "Here's the Answer" and "Spiritual Agenda".]

Much of what I have relayed here seems ridiculous. It is ridiculous. But I have not invented these things. These are beliefs that genuinely lurk below the colorful, pleasing surface of Waldorf schooling. [See, e.g., "Magical Arts - A Look at Festivals" and "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"]

"Did you ever wish you could have gone to Waldorf as a child? Join Fritz Bindseil for a lively morning lesson — adults only! Fritz will give your brain a warm up [sic] then lead the class through a German language lesson and an artistic activity. Bring your questions and your enthusiastic participation. Cedar Valley Waldorf School [British Columbia, Canada] offers Grades 1- 8, preschool, full or half day kindergarten and parent and child programs [sic]. RSVP the info@cedarvalleyschool.com/"  

If you are interested in Waldorf schools, you should by all means accept such invitations. Bear in mind what you will be seeing, however: a special program intended for outsiders like yourself ("adults only! RSVP"). From the beginning, Waldorf schools have been extremely hesitant to allow outsiders to visit regular classes on regular school days. [See "Visits".] So go, but go prepared. Read up on Steiner and Waldorf education beforehand, and have informed questions ready. (And be prepared for evasive answers. [See, e.g., "Advice for Parents" and "Clues".])

A mystic Anthroposophic seal based on a seal of the Apocalypse. 
"The Columns of Wisdom and Strength. 
Mars represents Strength, or the Water Forces. 
Mercury, resting upon the land, represents Wisdom. 
Mars is the representative of the Sun Forces, 
Mercury of the Moon Forces. 
The whole is a personification of future Man. 
The 5th and 6th Aryan civilizations." 
by Rudolf Steiner (Health Research, 1969), p. x. 

"The individualities who in their knowledge were far ahead of normal human beings, the Masters of Wisdom and of the Harmony of Feelings, knew that Spiritual Science had to flow into our culture if our culture was not to wither. Spiritual Science is a new sap of life, and humanity needs such new sap from time to time. Spiritual Science is the stream necessary for our time. Those who have a feeling for these great truths should hurry to us and absorb the truths so that they can be salt and ferment for the spiritual life of all humanity The striving individual must see this as a sort of duty. It is not difficult to understand why the highest authorities have issued a call for Spiritual Science in our time precisely so that those with open hearts and unprejudiced minds may be assembled." — Rudolf Steiner 



Rudolf Steiner's followers continually post samples of his "wisdom." The quotation above reached my inbox today, September 26, 2011.

"Spiritual science" is Anthroposophy, the ideology devised by Steiner and promoted by Waldorf/Steiner schools. (The word "Anthroposophy" means human wisdom.) Steiner and his followers have also called it "occult science" and "esoteric science." In reality, it is a religion, not a science. [See 
"Steiner's 'Science'" and "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"] And it contains very little real wisdom.

According to Anthroposophy, humanity is evolving toward potential spiritual perfection. Anthroposophy is polytheistic: These are gods of varying ranks evolving ahead of us. [See "Polytheism" and "Matters of Form".] The gods are assisted by superhumans and their human allies, who are humanity's spiritual vanguard. [See "Supermen", and "The White Lodge".] Serving the designs of the gods is the central task laid down by Anthroposophical doctrine. Waldorf teachers take this goal to heart. As Steiner told teachers at the first Waldorf school, 

“Among the faculty, we must certainly carry within us the knowledge that we are not here for our own sakes, but to carry out the divine cosmic plan. We...are actually carrying out the intentions of the gods." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 55.

Within Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner is looked upon as one of the great spiritual masters. [See, e.g.,
 "What a Guy" and "Guru".] Families who become involved in Waldorf or Steiner schools are expected to join the corps of Steiner's devout followers, sooner or later. Fortunately, many students and their parents escape this fate — that is, the schools fail in their mission. But it can be a close thing. [See "Who Gets Hurt".]

Training for new Waldorf or Steiner teachers 
takes place in special institutions.
This image shows a class at the 
Rudolf Steiner College in California, USA.
The photos on the wall depict Rudolf Steiner 
and the Anthroposophical headquarters.
The image on the blackboard includes the 12 
signs of the zodiac (astrology is basic to the Waldorf belief system).
The book on the student's desk (bottom center) is Steiner's 
(original title: OUTLINE OF OCCULT SCIENCE) —
Steiner's main exposition of his esoteric or occult teachings.
[Rudolf Steiner College, http://www.steinercollege.edu/]

Help wanted:

“Yallingup Steiner School  -  Class 5 / 6 teacher

“As the energetic and disciplined teacher of our senior Primary students, your task will be to provide a rich and thorough education that prepares the children for the journey to High-School.

“A deep understanding of Waldorf education with at least 5 years upper primary teaching experience is preferred as is a warm and disciplined approach to educating children.

“All Applicants must be eligible for WACOT [Western Australian College of Teachers] registration and demonstrate a commitment to Steiner education.

“Working at our school and living in our community is an opportunity to enjoy a unique lifestyle and become part of a unique supportive and friendly community.”  

[9-20-2011 http://www.google.com/search?q=WACOT&hl=en&num=10&lr=&ft=i&cr=&safe=images&tbs=]


The same Steiner school that is seeking a new principal (see a previous story) is also looking for a new 5th-6th grade teacher. The fundamental requirements for most Waldorf hires are “a deep understanding of Waldorf education” and “a commitment to Steiner education.” Steiner schools almost always want their faculty members to fulfill the requirement laid down by Rudolf Steiner: 

“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. 

The training most Waldorf teachers receive aims to ensure their devotion to Rudolf Steiner and his occult doctrines. [See “Teacher Training”, “Soul School”,  and “Occultism”.] Sometimes “true Anthroposophists” cannot be found and nonbelievers must be hired, but these newcomers are usually held at arm's length, denied entry into a school’s inner circle, and they may be let go as soon as more “qualified” applicants can be found.

It is also important to realize that joining a Waldorf school in any capacity — as teacher, student, or parent — usually means joining “a unique supportive and friendly community” that tries to block out most outside influences. Newly recruited Waldorf teachers probably expect this. Students and parents may not. When you choose Waldorf, you are at least tentatively entering an alternate world. [See, e.g., “Coming Undone”, “Our Experience”, "Our Brush with Rudolf Steiner", “Moms”, and “Pops”.]

From a press release:

"Asheville’s first school based on Waldorf Education opened its doors this month. Azalea Mountain Cooperative School, located at Trinity United Methodist Church in West Asheville [North Carolina, USA], offers kindergarten through fourth grade, with experienced, trained Waldorf teachers, and a curriculum based on experiential learning, arts and Nature to support academic excellence. Plans are to expand a grade a year to eighth grade." 

[9-23-2011 http://www.mountainx.com/article/35584/Ashevilles-first-Waldorf-School-opens]

There are approximately 1,000 Waldorf or Steiner schools in the world, with more opening here and there, from time to time. The Waldorf movement claims to be the fastest-growing independent school movement in the world. This claim is difficult to confirm, but it may be true. On the other hand, Waldorf schools fail here and there, from time to time, with the result that the worldwide total has not changed much for several years now. When considering the Waldorf movement, it is also well to remember that many Waldorf schools are quite small, with only a handful of students. Nonetheless, the existence of Waldorf schools is a cause for concern. The schools are extensions of — and stalking horses for — the religion of Anthroposophy. This essential information is usually omitted from Waldorf press releases. [See, e.g., "Here's the Answer", "Spiritual Agenda", "Failure", "Academic Standards at Waldorf", and "Waldorf Now".]

Here is a follow-up to a recent report:

“Biodynamics, an extreme form of organic farming, [has been] adopted by a growing number of top [wine-making] domains. Based on a 1924 lecture by Austrian scholar Rudolf Steiner, its central agricultural tenet is that the Earth is a living organism sensitive to cosmic cycles. The 'Oxford Companion to Wine' cites the example of a descending moon; a good time to plant new vines, as the moon's cycle influences the plants to concentrate their activity below the ground. Non-believers, it goes on, consider biodynamics an 'unscientific and disturbingly irrational cult.'"  

[9-24-2011  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/8784914/Curious-winemaking-practices.html]

Astrology looms large in biodynamic agriculture as well as all other extensions of Anthroposophy, including Waldorf education. According to Anthroposophical belief, humans, animals, and plants are under the sway of astrological forces. 

“The animal organism lives in the whole complex of Nature’s household ... From the snout towards the heart, the Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars influences are at work; in the heart itself the Sun, and towards the tail, the Venus, Mercury, and Moon influences.” — Rudolf Steiner, AGRICULTURE COURSE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 40.

[For more on Anthroposophical agriculture, see "Biodynamics". For a glimpse of astrology in Waldorf education, see "Waldorf Astrology".]

"It'll be a homecoming of sorts when Noah Lennox, the sonic conceptualist better known as Panda Bear and one of the chief creative forces in the highly influential, experimental indie band Animal Collective, plays the Popped! Music Festival this weekend ... [L]ong before Lennox blew the collective mind of the indie nation with Panda Bear's trippy, sample-heavy disk Person Pitch in 2007...he attended the arts-oriented Kimberton Waldorf School outside Phoenixville in Chester County [Pennsylvania, USA]."  


Waldorf schools are often described as "arts-oriented" or "arts intensive." Yet parents who care about art are often disappointed by what they find at Waldorf. 

"[I]t seemed as if this curriculum integrating art and stressing nonsectarianism was just what we wanted ... It was not long before I realized that our child was not drawing at school. I thought this odd because, from my reading and observation of my mother's studio art classes for children, I knew that they should be free to make their first mark in line. I became frustrated that this universal instinct of childhood was being thwarted by my daughter's kindergarten teacher who claimed, when asked, that linear work must not be encouraged until pupils are older. I was baffled by the steps taken to make this virtually impossible. Pupils have to use large block crayons and they may not outline images but instead color from the center outwards." — Former Waldorf parent Sharon Lombard [http://waldorfcritics.org/active/articles/lombard.html]

Like almost everything else at Waldorf schools, the arts are used for esoteric purposes. They are meant to connect children to the spirit realm. 

“This is what gives art its essential lustre:  it transplants us here and now into the spiritual world.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE GOETHEANUM: School of Spiritual Science (Philosophical-Anthroposophical Press, 1961), p. 25. 

The "highest" art at Waldorf is eurythmy, a strange form of dance invented by Rudolf Steiner. 

"In having people do eurythmy, we link them directly to the supersensible [i.e., supernatural] world.” — Rudolf Steiner, ART AS SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 247. 

Bear in mind that Steiner meant these things quite literally — he spoke of moving literally into spirit worlds that, he said, really exist. [See "Higher Worlds".]

Any artistic activities that do not conform to Steiner's esoteric teachings are strongly discouraged in the Waldorf community. This is why, for instance, outlining and the use of sharp crayons is barred in the lower grades. The implications for music are equally strict. 

"We do not agree with modern day songs
We believe they are immoral and wrong" 
— from a poem by a Waldorf teacher [https://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatchannex/june-2011]

This is a fairly sweeping indictment of contemporary music, but Waldorf teachers generally take this view. Some amazing personal dramas can result. A musician has written of the day when he and some friends discovered rock ‘n’ roll. 

“I am Robert Smith-Hald, born in West Chester County Pennsylvania, into a secluded, nearly self-sufficient religious community called Camphill. It is a world–wide organisation, based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner ... [W]e found something fascinating...a white and red plastic wind-up gramophone record player with a fist-load of multicolored plastic singles ... Out of the little crackly speaker came Elvis Presley’s ‘Jailhouse Rock’. This was the first time any of us had heard music like this ... [O]ur antics were soon discovered by our ill-tempered nanny ... She emerged from one of the houses sweating great beads of Nanny Juice, huffing and puffing and screaming hell and high water ... She came bellowing down the stairs as we frantically tried to save the record player. There had been some masonry work being done earlier that week, and the tools were still there, among them a heavy-duty sledgehammer. She grabbed this in stride ... She raised the sledge hammer high and it came crashing down...totally annihilating the gramophone in a sickening crackling thud of jarring plastic compound, raining red and white plastic bits all over our little quivering heads.”  [http://www.robertsmith-hald.com/biography.htm]

There are exceptions, of course, but generally speaking anyone who emerges from a Steiner school or community to become a cutting-edge artist is likely to be doing so in rebellion against, not affirmation of, the Steiner view of art.

Yallingup students being led along a spiral path. 
In mysticism, such spiral walks typically signify 
the movement toward inner esoteric enlightenment. 

Contrary to the image above,
Steiner schools often stage such treks 
in darkened rooms with candles outlining the spiral. 
One such setting:

The spiral can go inward or outward.
"Imagine gradually expanding into the cosmos along a spiral path
Having circled through the twelve signs [of the zodiac] 
for the seventh time, we arrive in divine spirit. "
(Anthroposophic Press, 2003), p. 92.

“PRINCIPAL Yallingup Steiner School

“Yallingup Steiner School is a growing independent school located in the hills of beautiful Yallingup, SW Australia ... We are looking for a strong leader to lead our Kindergarten and Primary School through the next phases of our journey. As Principal of the school the applicant will work collaboratively with Council and College to ensure the children have access to a high standard of Waldorf education in an anthroposophical school environment.”  

[9-19-2011 http://www.seek.com.au/Job/principal-yallingup-steiner-school/in/bunbury-south-west-bunbury-south-west/20702157]


It is often said that Steiner or Waldorf schools have no principals or headmasters but are governed through the collegial cooperation of the faculty. In some schools, this may be true; but in many others, it is not. Here we find a Steiner school seeking to recruit a new principal.

The “College” at a Waldorf school is the “college of teachers,” an inner group of faculty members who are usually deeply committed to Rudolf Steiner and his teachings. Often, these teachers consider themselves to be Anthroposophical initiates. Newer teachers and those who are less devoted to Anthroposophy are relegated to outer circles of the school hierarchy, perhaps sitting on various councils or committees, and usually allowed to attend only general meetings of the faculty at large. [See, e.g., "Faculty Meetings".]

Yallingup Steiner School should be commended for acknowledging its “anthroposophical school environment.” Steiner schools often conceal their commitment to Anthroposophy. They know that outsiders and educational authorities would become alarmed if the weird beliefs embraced by the faculty were to become public knowledge. This has been a concern for Steiner schools from the very beginning. As Rudolf Steiner said to the faculty at the first Steiner school:  

“[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." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 705.

Q. “I just want to hear what kind of take Dopers have on Waldorf Schools ... My niece is in the 8th grade and has attended a Waldorf school since Kindergarten ... I would really like to hear what others here have to say before I pipe up.”

A1. “...if we're going to discount an educational tradition just because its underlying belief-system is whacky, well, heck...”

A2. “...The schools were started on a philosophy called Anthroposophy. This rejects modern medicine and psychiatry and promotes a belief in things like astrology and spiritual mysticism.

But how much a school accepts this varies. One of the [Waldorf schools] in my town has all the teachers wear long flowing skirts everyday and talks a lot about reincarnation as plants. The other takes a gentler than average method of education, but doesn't get all into the woo.”

A3. “I have an anecdote about a friend of my mother's. He had his children in a Waldorf school, and worked out a deal where he would teach a semester of physics in exchange for a break on tuition (they had a semester of chemistry followed by a semester of physics). 

Sometime during his first week, he made a casual reference to the periodic table, and no one knew what he was talking about. He probed a bit, and discovered that they had spent an entire semester of 'chemistry' learning about the healing properties of different kinds of crystals. Even more disturbing, the administration was completely unaware that they were not learning mainstream chemistry (and were horrified when they found out, but still, it seems like the sort of thing that should come to the attention of a principal before the class is over).

He ended up teaching both chemistry and physics for his semester, then withdrawing his kids from the school.”

A4. “Not teaching your children to read until they're older is a turn-off for me [Waldorf schools usually postpone reading until age 7].”

A5. “Statler schools are slightly better, but neither is especially charming or forgiving.”

A6. “...I went to one of these schools for two years of elementary school (after I'd learned to read). While I can't say for sure that it would have been the optimal place for me long term, it was certainly a delightful portion of my childhood. There was definitely a lot of woo going on (which annoyed me), but I was adequately educated...”

A7. “...My kids go to an ordinary public school and got that [math] starting in first grade. Not in a complex fashion, but the concepts. 

“They started getting the concepts of algebra in 3rd grade.”

A8. “[I]t makes a huge difference if the child has a learning disability or some such issue. A huge difference. I'm afraid too many kids could easily get lost in the woo.”

A9. “...I have little faith in the public schools catching and correcting [learning] problems. 

“Anyone considering one of these [Waldorf] schools can find plenty not to like about them, but the reading thing is seriously minor... “

A10. “...sounds like a better education than you'd get from the Full Gospel Pentecostal Day School...”


A11. Bananas, celery, walnuts, grapes!

A12 [the original questioner] “Thanks for the input. I have a niece who attends a Waldorf school and I am shocked at the lack of real core education. They sort of seem to pretend to have math and language, but my niece knows almost nothing for her age, it's tragic as she is a smart kid and my sister and her husband are shelling out all this money for her 'education'.

"When I was there for a visit earlier this year her teacher assigned my niece a biography of Turkey. A BIOGRAPHY. Of a COUNTRY. I was flabbergasted. I was sure my niece misspoke, but I looked at her papers and sure enough, he refers to what is a standard research paper on a country/culture as a biography. The teacher doesn't seem to know the definition of 'biography'. WTF? It still completely baffles me as I sit here and write it.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm pretty good at math, and tutoring her drove me nuts as her assignments just didn't make any sense. Often vital data were left out, making the problem unworkable, unless one assumed things which weren't given. Each and every time, it turned out that the teacher expected it to be assumed, because it was 'obvious'. It was maddening. Again, TIP OF THE ICEBERG.” 

Cattle heads set aside for use in biodynamic procedures.
[Photo by Frank Gaglione.]

"Biodynamic Wine Tasting and Talk, Waldorf School [Princeton, New Jersey]

"... Selection of wines from CoolVines, cheeses, and a snack from the school's biodynamic garden. Speakers include Mark Censits, owner, CoolVines and Waldorf alumni parent; Hugh Williams, biodynamic farmer, Threshold Farm; and Suzanne Ives Cunningham, Waldorf teaching [sic] of gardening. Register. $25 to benefit the school's gardening program.

[www.princetonwaldorf.org]" [http://www.princetonshopping.com/polCalendarEvent.cfm?Event_Id=13359]


Biodynamic agriculture is a form of organic farming devised by Rudolf Steiner. In general, it is harmless, although needlessly elaborate and ritualistic. [See "Biodynamics".] Many Waldorf schools have biodynamic gardens on the school grounds, and gardening is often a required activity for the students. [1]

Some vintners grow their grapes in accordance with biodynamic principles. The intersection of Steiner's teachings and alcohol — that is, wine — is somewhat surprising. Steiner often warned against the dangers of alcohol (although there is some evidence that Steiner himself sometimes raised a cup [2]), and many of his followers are teetotal. 

Probably the most disturbing component of biodynamic agriculture is the use of animal parts. Farmers are unlikely to slaughter animals merely to get hoofs, horns, etc., for use in biodynamic practices, but some animal rights activists have expressed concerns. Undeniably, some animals on biodynamic farms face perils. [3]

[1] "The garden work should be an obligatory addition to the lessons." — Rudolf Steiner, quoted in GARDENING CLASSES AT THE WALDORF SCHOOLS (Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association, 1992), p. 2.

[2] Steiner himself as a child brought with him into the world a vestigial relic of the old clairvoyance, the old 'original' participation. Biographies and his own autobiography bear witness to it. And it is credibly reported of him that he took deliberate steps to eliminate it, not even rejecting the help of alcohol, in order to clear the decks for the new clairvoyance it was his destiny both to predict and to develop.” — Owen Barfield, “Introducing Rudolf Steiner” (TOWARDS, Fall-Winter, 1983).

[3] “[C]atch a fairly young mouse and skin it ... [Y]ou must obtain this skin when Venus is in the sign of Scorpio ... [B]urn it. Carefully collect the ash and other constituents that remain from the burning ... [S]prinkle it over your fields ... [Y]ou will find this an excellent remedy.” — Rudolf Steiner, AGRICULTURE COURSE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1958), p. 113.

“New postgraduate Steiner education degree programme

“Canterbury (NNA) – A new Masters degree course in Steiner education looks set to be launched at Canterbury Christ Church University in England.

“The programme, which has been set up in collaboration with the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship by John Burnett, programme director of the Steiner Waldorf BA degree at Plymouth University, and Alan Swindell acting on behalf of the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship, has now successfully completed the initial stages of preparation.

“According to an announcement by the two organisers, the design of the new programme has been agreed and will have advanced to formal validation by the university’s approval committee in the very near future.”  

[9-19-2011  http://www.nna-news.org/news/en/index.cgi/110919-01EN_CANTERBURY-WALDORF-PROGRAMME.html]

There are various Waldorf teacher-training programs here and there. Efforts are sometimes made to secure formal recognition or accreditation for such programs, but these efforts often founder when the authorities grasp the nature of the training offered. In essence, Waldorf teacher training is immersion in the esoteric fantasies promulgated by Rudolf Steiner. The trainers generally work to ensure the trainees’ devout submission to Steiner. As one such trainer has said, "I am a missionary on behalf of Steiner."

[For more on this subject, see “Teacher Training”.]

Waldorf schools as they would like to be perceived.
"Here is the perfect companion to Sharifa Oppenheimer's HEAVEN ON EARTH...."

"Q. Our 3-year-old daughter goes to an excellent [non-Waldorf] day care/preschool three days a week and her teacher tells us that she seems very happy at school and gets along quite well with her classmates ... At home, however, she complains bitterly about the girls in her class, and about the teacher, too. She says they pick on her, exclude her and bully her, and that the teacher doesn’t intervene when she tells her about it....

"A. ... [Y]ou may find out that the school is as good as the Web site says it is, but that the teacher is a mess and either she or your child has to go. Or you’ll realize that your daughter isn’t as mature as her classmates and that she’s not ready for pre-K. Or that your daughter is a sensitive child who might do better in a calm Waldorf school pre-K....”  

[9-19-2011 http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/advice/when-a-girl-doesnt-want-to-play-with-her-friends/2011/08/31/gIQAfs3FfK_story.html]


There is a widespread impression, promoted by the schools themselves, that Waldorf schools are safe havens. Sometimes Waldorf schools do indeed serve as secure retreats. But turmoil, strife, and even violence are far from unknown in Waldorf schools. Here’s a statement by a former Waldorf student: 

“My Waldorf school, and the kindergarten, too, was very violent; violence was around all the time. There was lots of bullying, and I've read others state that the school was well-known for its problems with bullying. Nothing was ever done to stop the bullying.” [See “Slaps”.] 

This is from a former Waldorf teacher: 

“Conflict is a particular type of ecstatic union: the spiritual feast. I witnessed many [Waldorf] teachers who literally went out of their way to create issues if it happened to be too slow a month, problem-wise.” [See “Ex-Teacher 7”.] 

And this is from a former Waldorf parent who served on her Waldorf school’s board: 

“The teachers would stand on the stage with their arms around each other, singing songs in rounds, while parents beamed ... Personally I was amazed ... [B]ehind closed doors, [these teachers] were all back stabbers ... There was a lot of acting out, both blatant and passive (aggressive).” [See “Coming Undone”.]

You may find a Waldorf school that provides just what you seek. But be sure to study the school carefully before entrusting it with your child. [See, e.g., "Advice for Parents" and "Clues".]

Continuing coverage of a long-running dispute between a Steiner school and its neighbors:

“Portable classrooms could be brought into Abbotsford Convent [Melbourne, Australia], as a deadline for constructing a new building looms. Sophia Mundi Steiner School is considering the option, following Heritage Victoria's decision last week to approve its proposal to build four new classrooms [on the Convent’s grounds] ... School spokeswoman Leslie Arnott said with only five months until the start of the 2012 school year and limited space for the senior school, time was running out ... Yarra Council [the local representative body] rejected the proposal [to build classrooms at the site] last month...but was over-ruled by Heritage Victoria. The council is considering its legal options....”  

[9-20-2011 http://www.melbournetimesweekly.com.au/news/local/news/general/sophia-mundi-steiner-school-considers-portable-rooms/2297864.aspx]

"Waldorf eduction [sic] is an approach to learning based on the philosophies of Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner ... Waldorf education follows Steiner's theories of childhood development. Hence, from pre-school until the age of 6 or 7, kids are given extensive amounts of time for free play, imagination growth and self discovery in a classroom that is often similar to a home setting ... From about age 7 to about 14, Waldorf kids attend elementary school, which centers around an arts-based curriculum ... In most Waldorf schools, kids enter secondary education when they are about 14 years old. Secondary education is provided by specialist teachers for each subject which are more academic in nature.”  

[Sept. 19, 2011 http://onmilwaukee.com/family/articles/walkdorfschools.html?27633]


This is not a bad summary of the Waldorf approach, although it leaves out all the most important stuff. Waldorf schools do indeed break childhood into three periods, culminating around ages 7, 14, and 21. 

“Perhaps the most original and significant component in Steiner’s educational philosophy is its conception of child development in seven-year stages.”  — Robert McDermott, THE ESSENTIAL STEINER (Lindisfarne Press, 2007 ), p. 396.

At these turning points, children enter new stages of their personal  evolution. The main task of Waldorf teachers is to supervise this process, helping to fend off the evil actions of the demons Lucifer and Ahriman. Children have difficulty developing their physical bodies and all other parts of themselves unless they receive such assistance. 

“[M]an in his earthly evolution has not remained as strong as he was ...before the onset of the Luciferic and Ahrimanic influences. Therefore he cannot form his physical body of his own accord when he comes down into the earthly conditions ... This is precisely the task of school. If it is a true school, it should bring to unfoldment in the human being what he has brought with him from spiritual worlds into this physical life on earth.” — Rudolf Steiner, KARMIC RELATIONSHIPS , Vol. 1 (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1972), lecture 5, GA 235.

The purpose of Waldorf education is spiritual, not educational in any normal sense. Waldorf schools (“true” schools) help children unfold their spiritual natures, the parts of themselves that they bring to Earth from their past lives in the spirit realm as well as from their previous incarnations on Earth. [See "Higher Worlds" and "Karma".]

Waldorf schools — also, appropriately, called Steiner schools — stand on the spiritual teachings of Rudolf Steiner. They often disguise this, since they consider their “wisdom” occult and thus too advanced for the uninitiated. Also, the schools realize that most outsiders would consider their beliefs bizarre and, perhaps, loony. Only people who do not consider Waldorf beliefs loony should send their kids to Waldorf schools. 

[To form an opinion of Waldorf beliefs, read on. Also see, e.g., "Most Significant", "Incarnation", "Spiritual Agenda", "Nutshell", etc.]

When considering Steiner education, go beyond 
the PR platitudes that the schools often issue.
Understand what Rudolf Steiner's followers 
— such as Steiner school teachers — believe.

Above is a colored copy of an schematic drawing made by Steiner, 
showing the human physical, etheric, and astral bodies.
At night, the astral body travels to the spirit realm, 
while the physical etheric bodies remain behind on Earth.
In the morning, the astral body returns with influences
 that should penetrate the physical and etheric bodies (left). 
But the demon Lucifer tries to prevent this (right).
 Lucifer works in league with another demon, Ahriman.
Jointly, these demons prevent the astral body from
 penetrating and thus improving the physical body.
“What I have drawn here represents the inhalation...
by our etheric and physical bodies at the moment of waking 
of all the experiences of our astral body [left] ... 
[But ] at the moment of waking, Lucifer passes to Ahriman 
all that ought to penetrate the physical body [right].” 
— Rudolf Steiner, EVIL (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1997), pp. 116-117.
Thus the demons withhold from the physical body 
the spiritual influences it should receive from the astral body.
This is the sort of "wisdom" that lies at the base of Steiner education.

[R.R. copy of sketch by Steiner.]

"Steiner education is based on focus and economy. The curriculum, which recognizes the developmental  stages of the child’s growth, aims to bring to the children essential experiences at the appropriate time. The teachers aim to present the work in an artistic way to engage the class and each of the children in it. Artistic and practical activities are integrated with academic to allow for a balanced growth of each child’s full capabilities."  


"Explanations" of Waldorf education offered by the schools are often so vacuous as to be meaningless. "Focus and economy." Could anything be less specific or informative?

Actually, Waldorf education is based on the esoteric system called Anthroposophy. Among other things, this means the schools focus on the "incarnation" of invisible bodies. (I realize this sounds nuts. It is nuts. But it is what Waldorf schools are all about.) 

“Waldorf education is based upon the recognition that the four bodies of the human being develop and mature at different times ... According to Steiner, one of the indicators of the birth or emancipation of the etheric body is the loss of the child's baby teeth, which takes place at the age of seven.” — Waldorf teacher Roberto Trostli, RHYTHMS OF LEARNING: What Waldorf Education Offers Children, Parents & Teachers (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 4-5. 

Note that Waldorf education is "based" on these weird concepts. [See "incarnation".]

As for a "child's full capabilities," Waldorf teachers believe that each child is defined by her/his karma, "temperament," astrological sign, race, and other factors. This limits a child's "capabilities" quite severely. (And this presumed limitation is awful, since it is based on nonsense. Children do not have karmas, for instance — or, at least, you should send your child to a Waldorf school only if you believe in karma and the other esoteric doctrines of Anthroposophy). [See, e.g., "Karma", "Temperament," "Waldorf Astrology", "Races", etc.]

"Do waldorf schools have proms or dances?

"malvern prep, noterdame, and all them have proms and middle school dances and i was wondering if waldorf schools have them. if not, would it be weird if me and a couple of my friends went to a malvern dance(middle school)? my brother goes there."  


While they are closely allied with one another, Waldorf schools are not monolithic. Each school may make independent decisions about various matters. At my old Waldorf school, dances were common. The selection of music permissible at the dances was sometimes tightly supervised by the faculty and sometimes not. Several years after I graduated, selection of appropriate music was turned over to a former student who claimed to be in contact with the spirit world. This somewhat controversial arrangement led to a revolt by some parents, and the school nearly collapsed. 

"The Waldorf School [of Garden City, New York]...has been deeply split by charges that some staff members, including the former headmaster, came under the psychic influence of a former student ... 25-year-old Richard Walton, who was a former student at Waldorf, is at the center of the dispute that has divided the faculty, students and parents ... What was described as 'internal chaos' began when Mr. Walton, who has said that he is able to communicate with 'certain beings in the spiritual world,' allegedly used these 'powers' to advise school officials on matters ranging from language curriculum to what music to play at a school dance." — THE NEW YORK TIMES, Feb. 16, 1979. [See "The Waldorf Scandal".]

Other schools may arrange things differently.

"Anthroposophy seeks to help individuals to find their spirit dimension and a new relationship with nature and technology, and most of all, with their fellow human beings, in a conscious way. Anthroposophy does not claim to be a religion or a thought system which one claim all phenomena [sic]. Nor does it provide the answers to all personal problems."


Anthroposophists almost always claim that their ideology (which undergirds Waldorf education) is not a religion. Instead, they say, Anthroposophy is a spiritual science — it is a method that provides direct, scientifically accurate knowledge of the spirit worlds. This method involves the use of clairvoyance; often, this method is employed to consult the Akashic Record  (an invisible celestial storehouse of knowledge written on akasha, i.e. starlight or a universal ether).

There are a few problems with these claims. 

• Anthroposophy is totally unscientific. 

• Indeed, it is a religion. [See, e.g., "Steiner's 'Science'" and "Is Anthroposophy a Religion?"] 

• Moreover, the faculty Anthroposophy depends upon, clairvoyance, does not exist; it is a delusion, a technique of self-deception. [See, e.g., "Clairvoyance", "Why? Oh Why? Oh Why?", and "Fooling Ourselves".] 

• And, of course, there is no such thing as the Akashic Record. [See "Akasha".]*

Let's focus on the central issue. Is Anthroposophy a religion? Centering on a panoply of good and evil gods, Anthroposophy aims far beyond the acquisition of "spiritual knowledge." Anthroposophy is a synthesis of various religions, combining 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, observances, and other religious identifiers. It lays out the path to spiritual improvement 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.

Well, but does the religion of Anthroposophy crop up inside Waldorf schools? Certainly. To give one quick example: Students in Waldorf schools typically begin each day by reciting aloud, in unison, prayers written by Rudolf Steiner. [See "Prayers".] This would be inexplicable if the school were, as they usually claim, nondenominational and nonsectarian. Waldorf schools exist to spread a religion, and that religion is Anthroposophy. 

“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. 

What does the Anthroposophical movement do?  

"[T]he Anthroposophical Society...provides religious instruction just as other religious groups do." — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 706.

* Anthroposophists sometimes argue that since we cannot absolutely prove that such things as the Akashic Record do not exist, therefore they do exist. Moreover, they argue, belief in the Akashic Record is just as valid as belief in physics or chemistry — beliefs are beliefs, and everyone is free to choose his/her own beliefs. The lack of logic revealed in such arguments is stunning. Consider just one fallacy we find here. Strictly speaking, there are no beliefs in science. Physics, to cite one science, proves its truths through observation and experimentation. The findings of physics are not beliefs, they are established facts. (They may be replaced someday by more firmly established facts, but this is not a process of belief — it is the application of logic and the scientific method.) Belief is a very different kettle of fish. You can choose to believe in the Akashic Record, if you like, but you should remember that this is merely a belief, a supposition, not a firm, scientific finding. Indeed, Anthroposophists should know the difference between knowledge and belief since they claim to practice "spiritual science." When they turn around, however, and start speaking of belief, they give the game away. They are followers of a religion, not practitioners of a science.

(Floris Books, 2007).
The author, now deceased, was a Waldorf teacher.
The cover portrays Michael slaying the dragon — i.e., demonic evil.
In Anthroposophy, Christianity is redefined to consist of
Rudolf Steiner's occult teachings about Christ, the Sun God.
The "spiritual background" of this faith is not to be found in the Bible
but in Steiner's teachings and in their 
gnostic/mystic/Theosophical roots. 
[See "Sun God", "Gnosis", and "Basics".]

"Michaelmas Celebration

"Please join us [The Waldorf School of Pittsburgh] for the Michaelmas celebration on Saturday, September 24th from 11:30 am – 3:00 pm at the Bigelow Shelter in Highland Park. Lunch will begin at noon. Bring a dish to share...."  


Waldorf schools celebrate many festivals during the year. These colorful events are often used to lure new families into the fold. Note, however, that although Waldorf schools almost always claim to be nonsectarian and nondenominational, the festivals are distinctly religious. Michaelmas, for instance, is the celebration of the archangel Michael who, according to Waldorf belief, is the god supervising the current stage of human spiritual evolution. [See "Michael".] 

Other festivals staged at Waldorf schools include Advent (celebrating the coming of Christ), Whitsun (celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit), and, of course, Easter and Christmas. These are Christian festivals, although in the philosophy underlying Waldorf education — Anthroposophy — they are refocused in accord with occult concepts. (In Anthroposophy, Christ is the Sun God, for example, and one of his chief antagonists is Ahriman, the devil of Zoroastrianism. [See "Sun God"and "Ahriman".]) 

On the surface, Waldorf festivals may seem to be pleasant family events having no deep meaning. Often they are given innocuous titles, such as "Fall Festival" or "Harvest Festival." But as always when examining Waldorf schools, you should look beneath the surface. All is not as it may seem. [See, e.g., "Magical Arts" and "Was He Christian?"]

“ouch! a steiner school snapped

“• A steiner school’s bullying of a staff member cost them 100K in UK pounds...

“• oh and btw, that Steiner school hasn’t had to pay £100,000… at least not yet: the ruling on the damages hasn’t come through yet.

“• You can also read the court case documents as well as the school’s response here: http://www.steinermentary.com/SM/UK.html

• Good to find out where it’s all at now. Their (the school’s) response feels somewhat icky.

“• and the official court case papers make for fascinating reading (use the notes on the page where it’s hosted to guide you to the interesting bits)”  

[9-16-2011 http://childrensbehaviour.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/ouch-a-steiner-school-snapped/]

Rudolf Steiner
[public domain image]

how to make anthroposophy look silly

“if it needs any help, I don’t know. These people succeed pretty well (Robert Powell is the conspiracy theorist, the maya calendar nut, by the way)”  

[9-9-2011 https://zooey.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/how-to-make-anthroposophy-look-silly/]


A link at the above item takes us to a video at You Tube. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sqzugWkKW8Y#!] The video opens with these words:

“We asked some of today’s leading spiritual thinkers ‘Why is Rudolf Steiner relevant today?’”

The first “leading spiritual thinker” interviewed is Christopher Bamford, the editor-in-chief of SteinerBooks [http://www.steinerbooks.org/staff.html].*

Bamford begins his answer with these words: 

“He [i.e., Rudolf Steiner] above all of the teachers of the 20th century brought to human attention that our primary human task was service to humanity and the earth....”

Anthroposophists speak to us from within a tiny, enclosed community. Statements that seem obviously true to them may seem quite preposterous to outsiders. The “leading spiritual thinkers” interviewed in this video are all followers of Rudolf Steiner. Are they, in fact, some of today’s leading spiritual thinkers? No one would say so except Anthroposophists. In the wide world outside Anthroposophy, theologians and philosophers and scholars and clergy would doubtless come up with a very different list of prominent spiritual authorities.

Consider, as well, what the video’s “leading spiritual thinkers” say. Look again at Christopher Bamford’s words, for example. Do you agree that Rudolf Steiner, above all others, brought to human attention the concepts of service to humanity and service to the earth? In fact, innumerable lecturers, moralists, ethicists, philosophers, scientists, environmentalists. social activists, preachers and rabbis and gurus and imams have urged us to serve humanity and the earth — and many of them are far better known than the Austrian occultist, Rudolf Steiner.

The things Anthroposophists say often fail the test of reality. Among the answers on the video are references to such things as avatars, the Age of Aquarius, and "the changing of consciousness" (Anthroposophic code for clairvoyance); one of the book covers shown refers to Lemuria and Atlantis; others refer to initiation and mystery dramas. Follow Anthroposophical “spiritual thinkers” at your own risk.

* The other interviewees are Orland Bishop, Robert Powell, Rachel C. Ross, and Marco Pogacnik.

"[T]he Twin Towers [i.e., the World Trade Center destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001] were constructed from 1969 to 1973 in the city that, as no other place, has embodied the spirit of the twentieth century [i.e., New York]. Had our sense of self grown strong enough over the course of the past centuries that we could now take the next step, and recognize ourselves as two who, though divided, can learn to stand as one? [In Anthroposophical doctrine, each person has both a higher and a lower self.] In that case, the Twin Towers, better known as the World Trade Center, may well have been more than a symbol for the twin canine teeth of the beast of greed; more than two towers casting their shadows of power across the globe ... The challenge to decipher meaning from this tragedy was placed by world destiny before every human being, so that good might arise out of their fall. The World Trade Center held within its walls a microcosm of humanity that was fated violently to cross the threshold together...."  

Steiner’s drawing of the “evolution of humankind”
 through the various stages – Hyperborea, Lemuria, Atlantis — 
from lower to higher forms (fish to reptiles to mammals, etc.), 
with the top three categories marked “apes,”
then “Indians,” then — at the very top — “Aryans".
[Rudolf Steiner, 
(Rudolf Steiner Verlag, 1981).]

"’Inspiring children to learn’ was the theme of this year's East African Conference on Waldorf Education, which was held at the Hekima Waldorf School in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania ...The last lecture was given by Rashid Mbuguni who is the founder of the Waldorf Trust in Tanzania. His topic was ‘The evolution of humanity’. In his talk, Rashid Mbuguni talked...about the evolving consciousness being collective and not just for individuals.”  


Giving such a lecture in Africa was remarkable. Rudolf Steiner taught that there should be only one race on Earth. Older races (such as blacks) represent previous stages of human evolution that should have died out. They continue to exist, Steiner said, only because of the interference to two demons. 

“Lucifer and Ahriman...fought against [the] harmonious tendency of development in the evolution of humanity ... While there should have been basically only one form of human being...forms that should have disappeared remained ...That is how it came about that physically different races inhabited the earth.” [1]

Steiner also taught, 

“A race or nation stands so much the higher, the more perfectly its members express the pure, ideal human type.” [2] 

The highest race, he said, is white. 

“The white race is the future, it is the most spirit-building race.” [3] 

Whites use their forebrains, Steiner said, while blacks are lower, relying on the hindbrain. Whites are intelligent and spiritual; blacks are earthly, instinctive, and driven by heated passions. 

“[W]e find the black race, which is earthly at most ... The Negro...has a particularly well-developed hindbrain ... He has, as people say, a strong instinctive life. The Negro thus has powerful drives ... The Negro is constantly cooking inside, and that which stirs up that fire, that's the hindbrain.” [4]

Steiner said that good, moral people reincarnate in higher races, while others stay trapped at one racial level or even descend to lower levels. He spoke of 

“The evolution of man through the incarnations in ever higher national and racial forms.” [5] 

The best that a true follower of Steiner can say to people of color is, Cheer up! You are not equal to whites now, but maybe you will be in a future life. Because they hold out this hope, Anthroposophists think their doctrines are not racist. People of color, told that they and their children are inferior here and now, may see the matter differently.

[1] Rudolf Steiner, THE UNIVERSAL HUMAN: THE EVOLUTION OF INDIVIDUALITY, (Anthroposophic Press, 1990), p. 75.

[2] Rudolf Steiner, KNOWLEDGE OF THE HIGHER WORLDS AND ITS ATTAINMENT (Anthroposophic Press, 1944), p. 149.


[4] Ibid. 


"Doctors Counter Vaccine Fears In Pacific Northwest

"Parts of the U.S. are seeing a drop-off in vaccination rates among young children. The falling rates don't necessarily track with poverty or other poor public health trends; in fact, a recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report flagged the poorest rates of kindergarten vaccination in relatively prosperous states, like Washington and Oregon. Public health officials say they see this trend, which they call 'vaccine hesitancy,' often among well-to-do, educated parents. Private Waldorf schools, for instance, often have unusually high percentages of families who get exemptions from state vaccination requirements ... Vaccine-preventable diseases are on the rise; Washington and California have seen outbreaks of whooping cough, with some fatal cases ... Some vaccine hesitancy is blamed on the 1998 British study that famously — and fraudulently — linked vaccines to autism."  


Well-meaning parents sometimes deny their children vaccines that could be essential to the children's health. There are plenty of reasons to reject vaccination — most of them groundless. Unfortunately, Waldorf schools sometimes add additional, even more groundless reasons. Taking their cue from Rudolf Steiner, they believe strange, occult nonsense, such as Steiner's claim that black magicians create medicines that deaden people to all things spiritual: 

“Endeavors to achieve this will be made by bringing out remedies to be administered by inoculation ... [O]nly these inoculations will influence the human body in a way that will make it refuse to give a home to the spiritual inclinations of the soul.” — Rudolf Steiner, SECRET BROTHERHOODS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), pp. 90-91.

Vaccines will not cause your child to become autistic. Neither will vaccines advance the evil designs of black magicians. Many of Rudolf Steiner's teachings are ridiculous but not immediately damaging. His medical teachings are different. They can cause immediate, severe health problems. The quack medicine used in and around Waldorf schools is a clear and present danger. [See "Steiner's Quackery".]


The Embodiment of Evil on Earth

(Rudolf Steiner Press, 2006)

“I just got back from a parent’s meeting at our son’s school. And I’m stoked, pumped, awake. Why? Because I’m thrilled that he’s enjoying school, being nurtured in the environment he’s in, surrounded by families who are as engaged in their children’s education and upbringing as we are ... Big G attends The Waldorf School of Atlanta — a granola-eatin’, tree-huggin’, nature-lovin’ kinda place....

“Many of us grew up with ‘I want my MTV!’ in our heads ... TV is normal, right? In Waldorf, we’re taught that it’s best for our kids to avoid ‘screen time’ (TV, computers, etc.) for a number of reasons that I won’t go into here.”  

[9-14-2011  http://derekhambrick.wordpress.com/tag/waldorf-education/]


Some people love Waldorf schools, and indeed the schools have numerous apparent attractions. Students' parents (whom Waldorf teachers view as outsiders [1]) are often extremely enthusiastic, at least initially. The subsequent disillusionment that many parents suffer can be very bitter. [See, e.g., “Our Experience”.]

Waldorf schools are usually lovely to look at, and they often profess lovely ideas. No TV. Sounds like a great idea, right? Clearly, kids today spend far too much time staring at TVs, computer screens, cell phone screens... Surely it is better to go outdoors, run around, see the Earth and the sky, and just plain feel joyously alive.

Yes, there is much that may seem attractive in the Waldorf approach. But don’t look only at the Waldorf surface. Look beneath the surface. What, for instance, is the real reason Waldorf schools oppose TV? They think that TV and, indeed, all high-tech gizmos are under the dominion of the dreadful demon Ahriman. I kid you not. 

“Everything that has arisen in recent times in the way of materialistic science and industrial technology is of an out-and-out ahrimanic nature [i.e., possessed by Ahriman]...” — Rudolf Steiner, GUARDIAN ANGELS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2000), p. 55.

There may be some good reasons for sending your child to a Waldorf school. You and s/he may enjoy the school. But don’t fool yourself. The thinking behind Waldorf schools is occult, backward, and delusional. Unless you believe in Ahriman and all the other bizarre beings Waldorf teachers believe in, you may be headed for a rude awakening.

For more on Ahriman, see “Ahriman”. For a glimpse of other invisible beings that Waldorf teachers believe in, see “Neutered Nature” and “Beings”. Or maybe just ponder this: 

“In the human astral body [2] other beings are embedded like maggots in cheese — forgive the unappetizing comparison — but it is so. And in fact the astral beings [3] which are embedded in, and connected with, the human astral body are those whom I have described as having their real habitat on the moon or Mars ... They are here the parasites of men ... [T]he preponderance of moon beings or Mars beings of this nature circling through a man gives his lymph its special character. If more moon beings circulate through his body he is a man who inclines more easily to wrong-doing, irritation and anger, if more Mars beings, then he is a man who is more inclined to gentleness, kindliness, mildness.”    — Rudolf Steiner, THE INFLUENCE OF SPIRITUAL BEINGS ON MAN (Anthroposophic Press, 1961), lecture 1, Ga 102.

Choose a Waldorf school for your child, if you want. But choose it with your eyes open, bearing in mind that Waldorf schools are also called Steiner schools because the “wisdom” of Rudolf Steiner guides them. You have just read some of this wisdom.

[1] Here is Rudolf Steiner addressing Waldorf teachers. He categorizes the students' parents as outsiders ("people outside the school") and sharply limits how much information the faculty can give to parents. 

"We should be quiet about how we handle things in the school, that is, we should maintain a kind of school confidentiality. We should not speak to people outside the school, except for the parents who come to us with questions, and in that case, only about their children, so that gossip has no opportunity to arise.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), p. 10. 

Steiner here clearly categorizes students' parents as outsiders ("people outside the school"). The "insiders" at a Waldorf school are the Anthroposophical initiates who usually run the school through a body called the College of Teachers.

[2] The "astral body" is one of three invisible bodies you possess. See "Incarnation".

[3] Invisible beings from the astral plane, the soul world.

"Consequences of living anthroposophic

“Having married into an anthroposophical family I got a unique view of the consequences of such a belief. People trapped in alternative medicines that don’t work. One member changed her whole diet based on the results of a test done on one strand of her hair. She did wonder why she felt so bad but didn’t join the dots. All the children had allergies. Diet influenced mainly. These were used as excuses to validate unacceptable behaviour. Turns out all three kids aren’t allergic to anything. Put clear boundaries in place with consequences and all of a sudden, behaviour problems gone. All the members of the family suffer from a weakness of will, courage, commitment and self-belief. Even one who has actually left the cult, still has to deal with the consequences of being anthroposophic. She seriously dislikes that her children are in that school (Christchurch Steiner [New Zealand]), but lacks the courage to do anything effective about it.

"She is back in the anthroposophical environment, where exclusivity of relationship seems unimportant. Where she receives support to NOT buck a seriously flawed system of living and schooling. Where one is rewarded for looking the other way. Where there is a belief in Planet X and the Moon Man.  Where being white means you are more spiritually advanced. Personal experience can be shocking.”  

[9-12-2011  http://childrensbehaviour.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/212/]

"The city [Cosa Mesa, USA] plans to recognize the Waldorf School of Orange County for its environmentally friendly campus expansion.

"The school is set to receive the 2011 Planning Commission Costa Mesa Green Design Award for its eco-classroom architecture, where recycled shipping containers were converted into classrooms.

"The private school received 32 containers in early May for the project. The school is the first in Costa Mesa to use converted containers as a learning environment. The containers have been used as traditional classrooms, an art studio, a life science lab and offices, among other things, school officials said."

[9-12-2011 http://www.dailypilot.com/news/columns/tn-dpt-0914-waldorf-20110912,0,1095638.story]

Q. Any thought on Waldorf education. 

A1. Very pretty. Not known for being good for boys. 

A2. Are you kidding? It can be great for boys. Lots of time outside, lots of learning by doing. I don't think it's flawless (it's a nightmare if your kid is learning disabled) but it's equally good for both genders. 

A3. My impression is that the individual tactics are often great, overall strategy is limited. Philosophy behind it is creepy. At best I'd say most people doing it mean well but it's not for every kid. You may be able to learn something from them, but the really hardcore waldorf people are batsh!t. Joyful toddlers is a blog that gives waldorf based ideas. 

A4. It means that the parents have to reduce/hide their TV watching. 

A5. my dc's both did Waldorf for preschool/K. It depends a lot on which Waldorf, the ones in NYC are very good, bc there is a lot of competition. It's fantastic for a lot of kids, not every kid though. It's a very sweet environment, and I like their educational philosophy a lot, of not pushing early academics, focus on play and interaction and arts in the early grades, in a non competitive way. The drawback is that they do not want any parent presence in the classroom, you feel kind of shut out. 

A6. and yes, they request that parents limit media. But honestly the parents atracted to Waldorf already do that anyway, its a crunchy crowd. Great for us, but not everyone. 

A7. Waldorf is dreadful for children that are of color. The originator of the Waldorf philosophy was racist. His racist ideologies are integral parts of the philosophy and come out in the things that children are told where outside imagination is concerned. http://www.waldorfcritics.org/active/articles/Racism_McDermott.html Aside from this site, there's numerous info both online and in education journals attesting to the racist belief system of Steiner (waldorf originator). 

A8. really? I'd never heard that before. Very disturbing. 

A9. The roots of it are indeed very weird German stuff, but that has been very thoroughly purged from the curriculum at any Waldorf school I've ever seen. It's not a cult, at least not any more... 

A10. np: Even so, the impression of the school, at least to those outside of it, remains. Should you care. 

A11. We toured Steiner, and were so turned off that we didn't do the application. On the other hand, many people are happy with it: definitely take the tour so that you have all the facts. 

[9-13-2011 http://www.urbanbaby.com/talk/posts/53389033

Discussions like this are always interesting, but they are not the most reliable source of information. What you get from such discussions depends on chance — who happens to drop by and post a comment on that site on that day. (For instance, have Waldorf schools really purged the "very weird German stuff" — Anthroposophy — from their curriculums, or have they only learned to hide it well from outsiders? Weird occultism is usually not directly taught to students in Waldorf schools, but it underlies virtually everything in the schools, and the kids can be deeply affected by it.) For more authoritative information, you should check sites such as People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools. Here at Waldorf Watch, there is a fairly extensive array of links to sites dealing with Waldorf education, both pro and con. [Links]

"steiner education

"So concerned did he become that he took his children to be assessed by educational psychologists. The results shocked him. Matthew, when first examined in 1994, was judged to have an average IQ of 101 but [after attending a Steiner school] was considered to be 'seriously disabled in terms of literacy acquisition, with his reading and spelling lying a full three years below his chronological age'. Less than two years later [after leaving the Steiner school], Matthew was retested. The educational psychologist found him to have 'flourished' outside the Steiner system; his retested IQ was now 124. (Confidence can make a difference to a child’s scores on intelligence tests.)

"Read more here. by CASSANDRA JARDINE, Education section, The Daily Telegraph

"This is the kind of thing that has been happening to my step-daughter at Christchurch steiner school [New Zealand]. It has had a huge impact on her self-esteem. She started as a five year old who was bursting at the seams to learn. Now she has a private tutor. She is slowly learning but has no confidence in her ability no matter what we say and do. What Christchurch steiner has done to her is immoral and abusive."  

[9-12-2011  http://childrensbehaviour.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/steiner-education/]

It is not impossible for a Steiner school to provide a good education, but it is difficult. Steiner schools are built on the basis of Rudolf Steiner's occult teachings. [See "Nutshell" and "Occultism"] They largely reject modern knowledge. [See "Materialism U.", "Steiner's 'Science'", and "The Ancients".] This sets high obstacles on the path toward acquiring real knowledge about the real world. [See "Academic Standards at Waldorf".] In any event, the Waldorf emphasis is elsewhere. [See "Incarnation", "Spiritual Agenda", and "Soul School".] 

[For reports by other parents who have sent children to Steiner schools, see, e.g., "Our Experience", "Coming Undone", "Moms", and "Pops".]

Secondary Steiner Schools in Oz 

An example of homepages of various Steiner School's websites [sic]

“Armidale Waldorf School   http://www.waldorf.nsw.edu.au/ 

“Cape Byron Rudolf Steiner School   http://www.capebyronsteiner.nsw.edu.au/ 

“Casuarina School for Rudolf Steiner Education   http://casuarina-school.com/ 


[9-12-2011 http://www.jogtheweb.com/flat/2NAD9HfQ6Jo8/Secondary-Steiner-Schools-in-Oz

Oz would be the right place for Waldorf schools. However, in this case, Oz is not the imaginary land created by L. Frank Baum — “Oz” is a nickname for Australia. 

(Pop Quiz. If there are Waldorf schools in the legendary Oz, who do you suppose the wizard is?)

Play frame

[A Waldorf Home]

"An introduction to our Waldorf inspired playroom. It is still very much incomplete and a work-in-progress. We’ve divided the room up into main sections, which we’ll be covering in later posts: The play frame, The reading corner, Home corner, The bird table. The walls have been kept plain white, with illustrations (Elsa Beskow scenes), posters, calendars and accessories providing colour. The floor is rather brightly hued, albeit well cushioned, with play mats, with floor cushions brought in for reading. We have very little plastic in the room, but couldn’t quite part with the Lego table, which still contains boxes of Lego, alongside the gnomes and wooden play furniture."  

[9-10-2011  http://awaldorfhome.com/]


Many people take inspiration from various elements of the Waldorf lifestyle. Waldorf schools and communities emphasize art, wooden toys, homemade bread, green values, play rather than academics, dreamy myths and legends, natural fabrics, and so forth. Some parents and teachers try to use Waldorf methods without first investigating the reasons for them — that is, Waldorf/Anthroposophical doctrines. There are multiple dangers in this. The Waldorf approach makes little sense without the foundation of the Waldorf ideology. For instance, Waldorf schools usually put off teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic until children turn seven. This deprives kids of the benefits of early childhood education, thus depriving them of instruction that research shows can confer lifelong benefits. There are Anthroposophical reasons for delaying academics in Waldorf schools, but these reasons make no sense outside of Anthroposophy and its fantasies. Instead, the results in the real world can be quite harmful. 

At a fundamental level, Waldorf turns its back on the modern world, rejecting much that is wrong with contemporary society along with much that is good in contemporary society, such as modern knowledge. Of course, shielding children from the worst of modern culture (violence, graphic sex, excessive materialism, etc.) is obviously desirable. Certainly children need to be loved and protected. But the rejection of modern life can go too far, becoming a retreat into fantasy, an almost willful blindness. Children need to be prepared to lead fulfilling lives in the real world, not dream lives in fantasy worlds.

The Waldorf approach is not simply an effort to give kids safe, "natural," play-filled childhoods. It is meant to preserve young kids' natural clairvoyant ties to the spirit realm and to assist the incarnation of the kids' "etheric bodies." Unless you believe in natural clairvoyance and etheric bodies, none of this makes sense. Adopting Waldorf methods means depriving children of real benefits (such as the advantages of early childhood education) in exchange for entirely fictitious, nonexistent benefits (natural clairvoyance and etheric bodies). Likewise, you should realize that the sweet myths told in Waldorf schools are, according to Waldorf belief, true accounts of the spirit realm, and the cute little creatures such as gnomes that surround young Waldorf students represent, according to Waldorf belief, beings that really exist and that really surround us at all times. 

You may elect to tell your children Waldorf-style myths without intending to convey Waldorf beliefs, and you may surround your children with gnomes and other fantasy characters without intending to teach the kids that such beings really exist. And maybe this will work out for you and your children; maybe no great harm will result. But if you use materials supplied by Waldorf schools or Waldorf homeschooling services, etc., you may well be unintentionally introducing your child to an unearthly, occult viewpoint that can remain rooted in the child's heart and mind for many years, perhaps for a lifetime, with potentially debilitating effects. 

Waldorf focuses on "higher worlds," imaginary spirit realms, not the real world. The Waldorf approach often fails to prepare kids for real lives in the real world — and this can be a severe disservice to the children you love. [See, e.g., "Spiritual Agenda", "Methods", "Beings", "Thinking Cap", "Coming Undone", "Neutered Nature", "Incarnation", "Failure", "Occultism", and "Academic Standards at Waldorf".]

You should also know that many of the more appealing components of the Waldorf approach are offered to the general public with the intention of snaring the unwary. The Waldorf movement is quite prepared to co-opt all parts of your life and your family's life. You can, for instance, buy such books as THE WALDORF BOOK OF BREADS, THE WALDORF SCHOOL BOOK OF SOUPS, THE WALDORF BOOK OF POETRY, THE WALDORF ALPHABET BOOK, THE WALDORF SONG BOOK, THE WALDORF KINDERGARTEN SNACK BOOK, etc. There are Waldorf guides to parenting, the spiritual role of the wife, "common sense" education, spiritually acceptable toys, and the like. Tread carefully.

"Steiner education, also known as Waldorf education....

"Works for all children irrespective of academic ability, class, ethnicity or religion;

"Takes account of the needs of the whole child – academic, physical, emotional and spiritual;

"Is based on an understanding of the relevance of the different phases of child development... [etc.]"  

[9-10-2011  http://naturalmothersnetwork.ning.com/profiles/blogs/on-national-literacy-day-we-ask-what-is-steiner-education]


This is typical of the sort of disinformation that is often served up to promote Waldorf schooling. Unless a description of Waldorf schooling includes references to the occult, higher worlds, gods, and other Anthroposophical beliefs, you know that much is being concealed. (Sometimes this is inadvertent, because the writer doesn't know much about the bases of Waldorf education. But sometimes it is quite deliberate.)

Let's consider ethnicity, for instance ("Steiner education works of all children irrespective of...ethnicity"). The Waldorf system is built on the idea that north/central Europe is the home of the highest, most evolved humans — sometimes called Aryans. The culture of these white people — much of which is reflected in their ancient myths (Norse myths) — is the highest on Earth. Other, darker peoples are less evolved. 

• “One can only understand history and all of social life, including today's social life, if one pays attention to people's racial characteristics. And one can only understand all that is spiritual in the correct sense if one first examines how this spiritual element operates within people precisely through the color of their skin." — Rudolf Steiner, VOM LEBEN DES MENSCHEN UND DER ERDE - ÜBER DAS WESEN DES CHRISTENTUMS (Verlag Der Rudolf Steiner-Nachlassverwaltung, 1961), p. 52.


• “On one side we find the black race, which is earthly at most. If it moves to the West, it becomes extinct. We also have the yellow race, which is in the middle between earth and the cosmos. If it moves to the East, it becomes brown, attaches itself too much to the cosmos, and becomes extinct. The white race is the future, the race that is creating spirit.” — Ibid., p. 62. (Among other things, Steiner is saying that each race should stay "where it belongs.")

• "[T]he Europeans have ascended to a higher level of culture, while [others] have remained behind and become decadent. One must always pay attention to this evolutionary process. It can be described as follows. In the course of millennia our planet transforms itself, and this transformation also demands a development of humankind. Those side branches that no longer fit in to current conditions become decadent. Thus we have an upright evolutionary trunk as well as side branches which decay." — Rudolf Steiner, MENSCHHEITSENTWICKELUNG UND CHRISTUS-ERKENNTNIS, pp. 243-44.

[For more on the distressing topic of the racism lurking in Anthroposophy, see "Steiner's Racism", "Embedded Racism", and "Races".]

Let's consider "the needs of the whole child" as conceived by Rudolf Steiner and his followers ("Steiner education takes account of the needs of the whole child"). The "whole child," in Waldorf belief, is a complex being. S/he has twelve senses, s/he will be born four times, s/he will develop three invisible bodies (the etheric body, the astral body, and the "I"), s/he has a karma, s/he embodies one of four temperaments (phlegmatic, choleric, sanguine, melancholic), s/he has an astrological sign and its attendant horoscope, s/he has a dark spiritual double (doppelgänger), s/he will develop invisible organs of clairvoyance if she evolves properly, s/he has a heart that does not pump blood, s/he has a brain that is not the seat of cognition, and so on. Educating the "whole child" — head, heart, and hands — certainly sounds good. But as always when dealing with Waldorf, you should look below the surface of any fine-sounding phrases you are offered. 

[See "Holistic Education".]

And let's delve into the "phases of childhood development"  ("Steiner education is based on an understanding of the relevance of the different phases of child development"). According to the occult theories behind Waldorf schooling, the three childhood phases run from a) birth to age 7, b) age 7 to age 14, and c) age 14 to age 21. During the first phase, children exist in a dreamy memory of the spirit worlds from which they came to Earth. This condition lasts until the "etheric body" incarnates, an event signaled by the loss of baby teeth. (Plants and animals also have etheric bodies.) 

“Waldorf education is based upon the recognition that the four bodies of the human being develop and mature at different times ... According to Steiner, one of the indicators of the birth or emancipation of the etheric body is the loss of the child's baby teeth, which takes place at the age of seven.” — Waldorf teacher Roberto Trostli, RHYTHMS OF LEARNING: What Waldorf Education Offers Children, Parents & Teachers (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 4-5. 

Note that Waldorf education is based on these weird concepts.

The second phase of childhood, according to Waldorf belief, finds children still unable to think very much; instead, they are deeply emotional. They have imaginative powers (an early stage of clairvoyance) and will develop intuitive powers (a higher stage of clairvoyance). This phase ends when the "astral body" incarnates, an event signaled by puberty. (Animals also have astral bodies; plants do not.) 

The third phase finds children slowly developing the ability to think, including intellectual thought — but such thinking is deemed superficial and unreliable. [See "Steiner's Specific".] According to Anthroposophical belief, clairvoyance is the reliable form of cognition, and children approaching adulthood can develop powers of inspiration, the third stage of clairvoyance. The third phase of childhood ends at age 21, when the "I" incarnates. (The "I" is divine human spiritual selfhood. No animal or plant has an "I", and no human can know your "I" except yourself.) 

[See "Incarnation".]

These are some of the beliefs that lie behind fine-sounding Waldorf PR. Unless they make perfect sense to you, you will probably find Waldorf unsatisfactory.

“Here (left) we have the physical body and the ether body (yellow). 

It fills the whole of the physical body. 

 And here (right) we have the astral body, 

which is outside the human being at night (red). 

At the top it is very small and hugely bulging down below. 

Then we have the I (violet). This is how we are at night. 

We are two people in the night." 

— Rudolf Steiner, BLACKBOARD DRAWINGS 1919-1924 

(Rudolf Steiner Press, 2003), p. 102. 

 [R.R. sketch, 2009, based on image in the book. 

The looping lines — arrows — show 

the astral body and I returning to the physical body 

in the morning.]

"Kim John Payne is returning to the Seaside Centre in Sechelt [Canada] ... In his lecture, The Soul of Disciplining Children, he will discuss three cumulative discipline phases: training creative compliance for the young child; building emotional skills for the elementary age child; and, for the teenager, managing critical choice — all to build healthy relationships with family, schools and community ... His lecture is presented by the Sun Haven Waldorf School for both parents and educators."

[9-9-2011 http://www.coastreporter.net/article/20110909/SECHELT0604/309099992/-1/sechelt/sunhaven-presents-guest-lecture]


Waldorf teachers believe that children develop through three seven-year-long phases — three "cumulative discipline phases." The first phase ends at age 7, when the "etheric body" incarnates. (In Waldorf belief, this invisible body is a set of life forces. At night, when we sleep, our etheric bodies stay on Earth with our physical bodies while our higher invisible bodies travel to the spirit worlds.) The second phase ends at age 14, when the "astral body" (a set of soul forces) incarnates. The third phase ends at age 21, when the "I"(divine selfhood) incarnates. [See "Incarnation".]

The Waldorf approach to discipline is fairly rigorous. Waldorf teachers expect students to obey them unquestioningly. Thus, discipline is supposed to be strict. Steiner said that Waldorf teachers must impose discipline relentlessly, although he was concerned that sometimes discipline can backfire and make the faculty look foolish. He advocated giving punishments that cause physical discomfort, and he toyed with the idea of locking students in small punishment sheds. (As usual, he rambled and created plenty of room for confusion.)

“We must avoid under all circumstances giving them a punishment we cannot carry out. We may never place ourselves in a situation where we may have to relent in a disciplinary decision. If we say that a child must come earlier, then we must enforce that. We must order the child to come earlier. The girls today were in the seventh or eighth grade. We lose all control the minute we look away. We will find ourselves on a downward path and will continue to slide. With punishment, we cannot relent. It is better to let it go. Under certain circumstances, it can lead to the opposite of what we want, with the children forming a group among themselves and saying, 'Today I come late, tomorrow, you.' I don’t think that would work, because it would make us somewhat laughable. Of course, it’s just laziness. Having the children come earlier is not so good; it would be better if they stayed a quarter of an hour longer. That is something the children do not like. Have you tried that to see if it works? If a child comes ten minutes late, having him or her stand for a half hour. If they have to stand three times as long, they will certainly think about every minute. Let them stand there uncomfortably. Your boy rubs the back of his head on the wall and amuses himself with all kinds of things. I think that in such cases, when there is some punishment connected with the misbehavior, you can be particularly effective if you allow them to stand in some uncomfortable place. The older children will then be careful that they do not come too late. We could also buy a number of little sheds, and then they will not come too late as a group. They may even get some cramps in their legs. We could have the sheds built in the shop class.” — Rudolf Steiner, FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER (Anthroposophic Press, 1998), pp. 109-110.

Waldorf schools rarely make real news — they prefer to fly under the radar whenever possible, avoiding public scrutiny. But a Waldorf school in Australia has been involved in a long-running conflict with its neighbors. Here is the latest:

“Opponents of plans to build extra classrooms at the Abbotsford Convent are threatening legal action after the proposal cleared a significant hurdle.

“Heritage Victoria today approved Sophia Mundi Steiner School’s plans for a single-storey, four-classroom building on the current playground and a new playground on the disused swimming pool.

“...A previous application by the school to build five classrooms on the neighbouring “goat paddock” was refused by Heritage Victoria in May.

“Sophia Mundi’s project manager Robin Power hailed the decision....

“...Yarra councillor Stephen Jolly said opponents would seek legal advice and could challenge the decision.

“’We’ll be fighting this all the way in court and on the streets,’ Cr Jolly said.”  

[9-9-2011  http://melbourne-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/abbotsford-steiner-school-plans-gain-heritage-approval/]

You will find previous stories about this conflict elsewhere in the News Archive.

Q. “Why is anthroposophy opposed to the use of right angles?

“Best Answer: I suppose it's because right angles are rarely seen in natural formations.

"Asker's Comment: Thanks. I don't think that can be it because many natural crystals and cliffs have right angles. Someone told me it was because of the square and trine relations in astrology and the differences between them.”  

[9-8-2011  http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110908030724AADS0jX]


Waldorf teachers do sometimes discourage use of right angles, considering them too abrupt and possibly demonic.* But Rudolf Steiner did not absolutely bar right angles; he found occult uses for them: 

“The pentagram, hexagram, right angle, and other figures may be combined into an occult script that acts as a signpost in the higher worlds ... [T]he signs of an occult script...have various meanings, but you must learn to arrange them the correct way. They are the signposts on the astral plane.” — Rudolf Steiner, ESOTERIC DEVELOPMENT (SteinerBooks, 2003), p. 130.

* Sharp points and abrupt changes worry Anthroposophists. Steiner said that the pointed arch is the sign of the demon Ahriman. 

“Anti-Christian influence is directly visible in Moorish architecture with its arches that run up into a point instead of being rounded. This is the mark of Ahriman. In architecture Ahriman worked as the Antichrist when he replaced rounded Romanesque arches with horseshoe and pointed arches.” — Rudolf Steiner, ARCHITECTURE (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), p. 153.

Here's a bit of Steiner's medical wisdom. "A human being can fall ill. He gets pleurisy. What does it mean when we say he gets pleurisy? It means there is too much of the luciferic element in him [i.e., he is too much under the influence of Lucifer] ... [T]he luciferic element is too powerful and the ahrimanic too weak.  [Ahriman is another terrible devil.] I have to add something ahrimanic to balance it out ... Birch wood [sic] grows actively in the spring ... [T]he bark has excellent powers of growth. I kill these by making the birch wood into charcoal ... I made it into birch charcoal, something ahrimanic. And I then make the birch charcoal into a powder and give this to the person who has too much of the luciferic element in him with his pleurisy." — Rudolf Steiner, FROM LIMESTONE TO LUCIFER (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999), pp. 203-204. R.R. sketch, 2009, based on Fig. 28, p. 204.

Embracing Rudolf Steiner’s medical doctrines, many Waldorf schools resist immunization campaigns, and these schools tend to attract parents who oppose vaccinations for their children. The result can be that the schools become repositories of contagious diseases.

“Only 48.1 percent of students at Waldorf School of Bend [Oregon, USA] last year were fully immunized. At Westside Village it was 35.4 percent, and at Amity Creek Elementary only 33.9. Those numbers are far below what's needed to provide so-called herd immunity, leaving students and staff vulnerable to outbreaks of diseases from which modern medicine can protect us. That's the result of well-intentioned but mistaken parents taking advantage of a far too lax state policy for exemptions ... As reporter Markian Hawryluk reported in Thursday's Bulletin Health section, west-side Bend schools Waldorf, Westside and Amity Creek have the highest numbers [of unvaccinated children] ... The risk is not just a theory ... When immunization rates drop, it opens the door for an infectious disease to take hold. Measles is so contagious that unimmunized people have a 90 percent chance of contracting the disease when exposed to it. If 10 susceptible people are in an elevator with someone who has measles, nine of them will get measles, according to the website of the Vaccine Education Center ... And the virus could remain in the air for up to two hours, potentially infecting any other susceptible people who enter the elevator ... It's easy to see how a school setting could replicate that elevator.”  

[9-6-2011  http://www.necn.com/09/06/11/Oregon-Editorial-Rdp/landing.html?&apID=73562457abc944749db5f2e475be36ca]

[For more on Anthroposophical medicine, including its teachings concerning vaccination,see "Steiner's Quackery"]

"A derelict Victorian school which was under threat of demolition could now be used as a Steiner school. The former Hawthorn Primary School in Llandaff North [Wales] has been abandoned since 2009 and developers had considered knocking it down. However, Cardiff council’s executive has said it will consider a recommendation to dispose of the building to the Steiner School organisation, subject to funding confirmation. Steiner schools believe in the importance of learning to play, socialise and listen rather than reading and writing. Based on the workings of Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, its education takes account of the academic, emotional and spiritual needs of a child."  

[9-8-2011  http://yourcardiff.walesonline.co.uk/2011/09/08/residents-claim-victory-in-battle-over-derelict-primary-school/]


Most reporters know little or nothing about Steiner schools, so when writing about the schools they usually rely on whatever the school representatives tell them. Still, news accounts sometimes reflect at least a bit of the true nature of Steiner schools. 

Steiner schools do indeed downplay the need for reading and writing, and — deeming their faculty members to be essentially priests — they seek to minister to the "spiritual needs" of the students. This is consistent with Rudolf Steiner's teachings. 

"The position of teacher becomes a kind of priestly office, a ritual performed at the altar of universal human life." — Rudolf Steiner, THE ESSENTIALS OF EDUCATION (Anthroposophic Press, 1997), p. 23.

Steiner's followers today continue to see Steiner education in these terms. In discussing the Steiner belief in reincarnation. 

“The proximity to the teachings of reincarnation results in a notion of education as an aid in incarnation and spiritual development. The educator becomes the child's priest and spiritual leader.” — Heiner Ullrich, RUDOLF STEINER (Continuum Library of Educational Thought, 2008), p. 81.

To grasp the thinking behind Waldorf schools, 

you may need to go beyond

materials created by the schools 

for the public and for students' parents.

Above is the cover of MYSTIC SEALS AND COLUMNS 

(Health Research, 1969),

a more or less typical Anthroposophical text 

that has circulated only in narrow circles.

Other Steiner texts you might consult include 





"Purpose of the Anchorage Waldorf School 

"To spark and nurture the highest potential in humanity 

"Our 20 Year Vision [i.e., goals]

"• A thriving, learning community changing the world through the depth and vision of our approach to education 

"• Our early childhood through 12th grade programs reflect and inspire creativity, artistry and social responsibility 

"• We are fully enrolled, financially strong and growing 

"• Our distinctive campus and architecturally inspiring facilities are well-crafted, well tended and reflect care for the earth 

"• Our agreements and processes are clear and trusted 

"• We are a diverse multi-generational community staying connected with those who have participated in our journey 

"• We host children and adults from around the world to share the magnificence of Alaska, through conferences, workshops, trainings and educational exchanges 

"• We are a respected leading voice in Alaska's educational community."  

[From the Parent Handbook of the Anchorage Waldorf School, p. 4, http://www.waldorfak.org/wp-content/media/Parent-Handbook-2010-2011-Final-w.-new-logo-and-name.pdf]


You might expect that the purpose and vision of almost any school would be something like "We aim to provide a solid, comprehensive education that will enable our graduates to lead happy, productive, fulfilling lives." But, even though Waldorf schools do sometimes use such language, quite often we can discern that their priorities lie elsewhere. As an arm of Anthroposophy, Waldorf schools aim to save humanity (or "spark and nurture the highest potential in humanity"), changing the world ("changing the world") to conform to the occult Anthroposophical vision. [For more on Waldorf messianism, see "Here's the Answer", "Serving the Gods", and "Nuts".]

The Anchorage handbook is more forthright than some Waldorf documents in affirming Anthroposophy. 

"The Waldorf educational curriculum was developed by Dr. Steiner as a practical application of many of the insights, ideals and worldview embodied in the philosophy of  Anthroposophy. Waldorf teachers study Anthroposophy and the works of Dr. Steiner as part of  their training to become Waldorf teachers, and the Waldorf curriculum continues to be informed by Anthroposophy today." — Anchorage handbook, p. 5. 

Unfortunately, the handbook's description of Anthroposophy and Waldorf pedagogy is studded with euphemisms and inaccuracies, including the common Waldorf error of putting the following statement in Rudolf Steiner's mouth: 

"Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able, of themselves, to impart purpose and direction to their lives.” — Anchorage handbook, p. 7. 

[For a look at the Waldorf view of freedom, see "Freedom".]

While many Waldorf teachers undoubtedly embrace such a vision, the statement was actually made by someone else: It was written by Steiner's second wife, Marie Steiner. You will find it on p. 27 of THE NEW ART OF EDUCATION (Philosophical-Anthroposophical Publishing, 1928). I mention this only because it reflects a curious problem confronting anyone who tries to investigate Waldorf education. Much of the "information" provided by Waldorf schools is incomplete, misleading, or false. Sometimes the misstatements made by Waldorf representatives deflect us only slightly from the truth, as in the case of the Marie Steiner quotation, but sometimes they conceal essential aspects of Waldorf belief and practice. The lesson: When exploring and evaluating Waldorf schools, take nothing for granted. As a disillusioned former Waldorf parent has written, 

"Anthroposophists are fairly skilled at lulling people into believing that everything is on the up and up in the world of Waldorf. It is hard for people who have not had negative experiences with Waldorf to understand the scope and enormity of the deception that goes on. Beware of straw-man arguments and misinformation. Never accept the accuracy of any claim made by an Anthroposophist without doing your own research to establish whether it is true." — See "Help 2".


Anthroposophy is riddled with mystical teachings. These fundamentally inform Waldorf schooling. E.g.,

“The proximity to the teachings of reincarnation results in a notion of education as an aid in incarnation and spiritual development. The educator becomes the child's priest and spiritual leader.” — Heiner Ullrich, RUDOLF STEINER (Continuum Library of Educational Thought, 2008), p. 81.

Waldorf teachers believe in reincarnation. They also believe that the process of incarnation during each Earthly life is long and slow. A chief goal of Waldorf schools is to assist in this process. [See "Incarnation".] So once again we see that giving the kids a real education for life in the real world is low on the Waldorf list of priorities — or, indeed, it may not make the list at all.

"In Waldorf education, a system founded in Germany in 1919 that emphasizes looping, teachers are expected to remain with a class from first grade to as far as eighth grade.

"Little research has been done to compare non-looped and looped kids. But university research shows looping has boosted attendance rates." 

[9-6-2011 http://www.bakersfield.com/news/local/x254542661/Looping-classes-rare-but-popular-in-Bakersfield-schools]

"Looping" is the practice of keeping a class together with the same teacher for two or more years. The Waldorf system of long-term looping has some advantages. Students and teachers can form strong, lasting bonds. On the other hand, a student who does not get along with his/her teacher is in for a long, difficult trial. Moreover, such extended looping virtually guarantees that Waldorf students will be badly taught, at least part of the time. Consider. A Waldorf teacher who stays with the same group of children from age 6 until age 13 is expected to teach a large array of subjects (math, geography, history, English...) over a large number of grade levels (grades 1 through 8). No teacher is qualified to do this. Waldorf teachers who tackle the task inevitably lack real qualifications for some of those subjects at some levels. The education of the children almost certainly will suffer as a result, even if the kids like their teacher and have good attendance rates.

According to Steiner, clairvoyants see the whole of reality (left);

people without clairvoyance only see physical reality (right).

[R.R., 2009, based on sketch by Steiner.]

“[I]t is essential not to lose sight of our own goal; and therefore, we must work to develop this consciousness, the Waldorf teacher’s consciousness, if I may so express it. This is only possible, however, when in the field of education we come to an actual experience of the spiritual. Such an experience of the spiritual is difficult to attain for modern humanity, and this fact must be faced and understood.”  

[Rudolf Steiner, quoted in the Waldorf Today newsletter, downloaded 9-7-2011]


The goal of Waldorf education is not education; it is the spiritual salvation of humanity. This is a fine objective, but parents should realize that Waldorf schools are intent on this messianic mission, not on education in any normal sense. Parents might also ask themselves whether Waldorf teachers are in any position to achieve their goal, or whether the entire enterprise is quixotic and even a delusion of grandeur.

As for the “Waldorf teacher’s consciousness,” this is exact clairvoyance developed in accordance with Steiner’s instructions. It is a fantasy — it does not exist. But Waldorf teachers think it is real and they aim to acquire it. Indeed, many actually think they have it. 

[See "The Waldorf Teacher's Consciousness", "Clairvoyance", "Exactly", and "Fooling Ourselves".]

"Through anthroposophical nursing therapies and home nursing courses, parents can learn the importance and effectiveness of old-fashioned but time-honoured remedies, including compresses and poultices, herbal teas, and therapeutic touch. These are all home measures that can be learned and used to support and guide our children back to health, along with a simple, organic wholefood diet and a warm, quiet and nurturing environment. Being able to holistically nurse your child back to vitality and health is one of the most rewarding aspects of parenthood, and it is imperative that parents once again feel empowered and encouraged to care for their children at home."  


The Waldorf worldview entails a general rejection of the modern world and modern knowledge. Of course parents should give their children loving, healthful care in the home. But they should also take their children to real doctors and, if need be, hospitals. Parents should never deny their beloved children the benefits of modern medical knowledge. The "medicine" used in and around Waldorf schools is backward, generally unsupported by science, and potentially deadly. Of all Rudolf Steiner's benighted works, his "medical" teachings are perhaps the worst, because they can do real, permanent harm to both the spirit and the body. 

[See, e.g., "Steiner's Quackery", "Anthroposophical Medicine", "The Deadly Perils of Rejected Knowledge", and "What We Are". For an extensive overview of quack medicine, visit Quackwatch.]

The Vancouver Collective's Facebook page 
links to Rudolf Steiner College,
a Waldorf teacher-training institution.
Here we see an instructor at the college 
discussing the stars and constellations
in relation to the Earth. Astrology plays a large role 
in the Waldorf belief system.
Photo: Rudolf Steiner College, 

“The Waldorf Inspired [sic] Vancouver Collective is looking for a Waldorf teacher, to run a parent-child (mixed age) class in the city of Vancouver, B.C. [British Columbia, Canada] The class will meet Friday mornings from 9-12 beginning at the end of September and running through to mid-June. There will be between 10 and 25 families participating each week. Ideally, the teacher will have at least three years experience in a Waldorf Kindergarten. The ages of the majority of the children attending will be 0-5, with a smattering of elder [sic] siblings. This will be a contract job, paying $85/class, with a possibility of a more permanent position, greater hours and responsibility as our collective grows.”  

[9-2-2011  http://jobs.waldorftoday.com/job/10730/head-teacher-at-waldorf-inspired-vancouver-collective/]


It is sometimes argued that “Waldorf-inspired” schools do not have the Anthroposophical character of regular Waldorf schools — the weird, occult teachings of Rudolf Steiner are omitted, while the sweet, pleasing methods of Waldorf education are used. [See "Occultism" and "Methods".] 

But when a “Waldorf-inspired” school hires experienced Waldorf teachers, all of the baggage of regular Waldorf schooling is almost sure to enter the school. Waldorf teacher-training puts heavy emphasis on Steiner’s occult teachings [see “Teacher Training”], and real Waldorf teachers are almost always Anthroposophists [see “Here’s the Answer”.]

From the Vancouver Collective's Facebook page:

"Have you ever wanted to learn more about the philosophies that Waldorf Education is based on? Then come meet with fellow members of our collective at our first study group on Thursday, September 22 from 7 to 8:30 pm at the Strathcona Community Centre. We are delighted that Margo Running, will be present to offer us her wisdom on how to view the early years of childhood through Waldorf eyes." [http://www.facebook.com/WaldorfinVancouver]

“In Classical Homeopathy, one unique remedy is chosen that is specifically tailored to fit the patient’s individual set of symptoms. After having lived and breathed this holistic model of medicine for some time, it was a blessing to find Waldorf education for my children that echoed what I so strongly believed about healing.”  

[9-5-2011  http://rhythmofthehome.com/2011/08/healing-the-deepest-parts-of-ourselves-and-our-children-homeopathy-and-waldorf-education/]


Is Waldorf education ever the right choice? No; almost certainly not. Waldorf is delusional and potentially extremely damaging. [See, e.g., “Weird Waldorf” and “Who Gets Hurt”.] However, some parents may indeed elect Waldorf for their children, and they have the legal right to do so. For instance, if you believe in alternative (i.e., unscientific, unsubstantiated) forms of medicine, you may appreciate the “Anthroposophical medicine” offered in and around Waldorf schools. [See “Steiner’s Quackery” and “Growing Up Being Made Sick by Anthroposophy”.]

The following is from a mother's account of what happened to her child in a Waldorf school:

“Our nine-year-old was gravely ill, depressed, and had lost a lot of weight, because she refused to eat. The Anthroposophic doctor made a diagnosis: my child had lost the will to live. He announced one of the potential cures: we were to give our daughter red, yellow, and orange crayons to color with! I looked at my husband in disbelief. When the doctor instructed us to make the sign of a flame out of Aurum cream over my child's heart at bedtime, I was dumbfounded! I asked the doctor to repeat himself. Indeed, I had heard correctly. I was to make a flame of Aurum cream over her heart at bedtime. Mystified, I asked the doctor what the flame should look like and he showed us with his hand. He told us to apply the gold cream from below the heart upwards, towards the sky at bedtime. I was so baffled by his instructions that he took it upon himself to draw a small diagram of a torso on a prescription pad sheet, with an arrow demonstrating the direction in which the gold flame was to be applied. Some other recommendations were made, then he suggested we purchase the medicines from ‘Uriel,’ giving us Uriel’s telephone number. During this encounter with the Anthroposophic doctor I had an epiphany of sorts. After paying him his fee of $50, we left the school and I turned to my husband and said with certainty, 'We are in a real live cult!’ 

“Soon after our visit with the Anthroposophic doctor, the woman homeopath/doctor that we were seeing every two weeks informed us that she would have to hospitalize our child. The reality sunk in. I realized that the homeopath could not help us. We had lost precious time. With fear and trepidation about the medical establishment instilled in us by Waldorfers, we made our way to a hospital four hours away in Iowa City. Insurance sent us back to a hospital in Wisconsin — a mere forty minutes away from our house. This hospital had an experienced, professional staff that helped us. I shall always regret not going there first— before my child reached a critical point.” — Sharon Lombard, “Spotlight on Anthroposophy”.

"The Rudolf Steiner School [New York City], like virtually all non-profit independent schools in the country, relies on a combination of tuition and fundraising revenue to support its daily operations. Your charitable tax-deductible gifts help us to minimize tuition increases and enable the school to thrive.

"The Rudolf Steiner School raises money in several ways:

• Funds that are meant to be expended the year in which they are given help support the General Operating Budget.
• Funds which are invested and a percentage of the interest and income supports our Endowed and Special Funds.
• Special Events such as our Annual Fall Fair and Spring Gala.

"For information on these and other giving opportunities, please click on 'Ways to Give.'

"Thank you for all the ways you support the Rudolf Steiner School!"  [9-5-2011  http://www.steiner.edu/page.aspx?pid=402]

"Ways to Give...


The simplest way to give to Rudolf Steiner School is via credit card or by check.

To make a secure online gift today please click here.

To donate via check, please click here to download a printable gift form.  


Giving appreciated securities is a popular alternative to a cash gift because it offers two-fold tax savings. It provides you with an income tax deduction (equal to fair market value at the date of transfer) and avoids capital gains tax.

Click here to download a form to transfer securities to RSS.

Before you transfer a gift of security, kindly notify the Development Office so we can properly credit and acknowledge the donation.  Please contact Shannon Williams, Director of Annual Giving at 212-535-2130, ext. 206.

"Matching Gift Companies

Double or possibly even triple your contribution! Many employers match their employee’s contributions to independent schools - even gifts made by retirees and/or spouses. Downloadable Matching Gift Companies form coming soon."  

[9-5-2011  https://16758.bbnc.bbcust.com/page.aspx?pid=311]

Fund-raising is a constant preoccupation at many Waldorf schools. The burden would be considerably alleviated if the schools could get on the public dole — i.e., receive taxpayer support by becoming charter or "free" schools. Many Waldorf schools are attempting to go that route, but others hold back, reluctant to subject themselves to any form of public oversight. Taxpayers and government officials certainly need to consider carefully whether supporting Waldorf schools — which base their approach on the occult system called Anthroposophy — is a wise use of public resources.

"Hi, There is a Waldorf inspired homeschool group forming in the Cazenovia area [New York, USA]. So far. we are two families with 9 kid (8 and under) between us and are both following Christopherus for the first time. Looking for others who are inspired by the Waldorf philosophy. Ideas are welcome on structure of group."  


Homeschooling is a growing movement, and while its attractions are clear, the movement also has some obvious drawbacks. Children benefit enormously from the attention of highly qualified, master teachers — if and when these can be found. Many schools have at least a few expert teachers. Most parents do not have real qualifications as educators.

A second possible drawback is isolation, sometimes bordering on escapism. A real education will equip a child to make her way in the real world. It will also expose the child to many points of view and to people of various backgrounds. Staying home with one's parent and a select handful of neighborhood children can confine a child to a highly insular and perhaps unrealistic worldview.

Waldorf homeschooling may only intensify these problems. Waldorf education is almost always escapist, being founded on occult doctrines that have no connection to reality. [See "Occultism".] The Waldorf curriculum and Waldorf methods have meaning only in the context of Rudolf Steiner's occult system, Anthroposophy. [See "Curriculum" and "Methods".] One central goal of Waldorf schooling is to facilitate the incarnation of the children's invisible spiritual bodies. [See "Incarnation".] Trained Waldorf teachers presumably know (or think they know) how to supervise this process; others do not.

Moreover, Steiner said that Waldorf teachers need to be real Anthroposophists. [See "Here's the Answer".] Thus, Waldorf homeschooling truly makes sense only if the parents providing the education are knowledgeable Anthroposophists (and even then the schooling will be irrational, since Anthroposophy is irrational).* [See "The World of Waldorf".] Other parents attempting Waldorf homeschooling may have little idea what they are doing and, as a consequence, chaos may result. In either case, children may be significantly harmed.

Christopherus is an outfit offering homeschooling materials and guidance [http://www.christopherushomeschool.org/home.html]. Another is Oak Meadow. [http://www.oakmeadow.com/].

* Waldorf education, as conceived by Steiner, is intentionally irrational. Why?

“You will injure children if you educate them rationally because you will then utilize their will [power] in something they have already completed — namely, life before birth.” — Rudolf Steiner, THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 61.

Note that THE FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE is the central text in which Steiner explains Waldorf education. [See "Oh Humanity".]

[Rudolf Steiner School, New York City, 2011.]

Although they claim to respect 
the individuality of their students,
Waldorf schools often require 
conformity and strict obedience.
Note the art on the wall: 
All of the children have created 
the same abstract image,
copying work presented 
by their teacher.
(In fact, the design is an 
Anthroposophical meditative talisman,
intended to help free the spirit 
from the body. [See "Mystic Lesson Books".])

From The Rudolf Steiner School in New York City:

"Unique to our School [i.e., to all Waldorf schools] is the role of the Class Teachers who guide classes through several years as guardians and mentors. These teachers are supported by a core of subject teachers who meet with the children twice a week, adding more subjects each year, ultimately to include physical education and competitive sports, instrumental music, woodworking, crafts, drama, and more.

"The elementary years at the Rudolf Steiner School are rooted in the ideal that the needs of childhood must be preserved and honored. Progressive and traditional values hereby find their balance."  


The unique role of Waldorf class teachers virtually guarantees that students will be badly taught much of the time. A Waldorf class teacher is expected to stay with his/her group of kids year after year, shepherding them higher and higher. Along the way, s/he must teach a wide range of topics (math, geography, history...) at higher and higher levels. No teacher is qualified to do this, but at Waldorf schools this is the standard requirement.

Preserving and honoring childhood is a noble idea. But at Waldorf schools the reason is occult: Children are deemed to be reincarnating beings who arrive on earth with innate connections to the higher spirit worlds. This is considered so precious, the teachers actually work to prevent children from maturing or developing their mental powers. 

“Childhood is commonly regarded as a time of steadily expanding consciousness ... Yet in Steiner’s view, the very opposite is the case: childhood is a time of contracting consciousness.... [The child] loses his dream-like perception of the creative world of spiritual powers ... This awareness fades quickly in early childhood, but fragments of it live on in the child for a much longer time than most people imagine ... [I]n a Waldorf school, therefore, one of the tasks of the teachers is to keep the children young." — Waldorf educator A. C. Harwood, PORTRAIT OF A WALDORF SCHOOL (The Myrin Institute Inc., 1956), pp. 15-16. 

[See "Thinking Cap".]

Waldorf schools are indeed unique. Unlike most other schools, they try to hold children back — for the kids' own good, of course.

Here is a follow-up on a story we have been following:

“Abbotsford Steiner school's future in doubt

“Parents, students and staff of the Sophia Mundi Steiner School in Abbotsford [Australia] are feeling the strain as the start of the 2012 school year draws closer without classroom space for all students....

“The school is being evicted from its secondary campus in Nicholson St, Abbotsford, at the end of the year and at least 40 students have no classrooms for next year....

“Earlier this year, the school unveiled controversial plans to build a five-classroom, single-storey building on the ‘goat paddock’ to the south of the Collingwood Children’s Farm.

“This sparked an angry response from the community - many had campaigned to save the neighbouring Abbotsford Convent from development years earlier.

“The proposal was rejected by Heritage Victoria in June after it received 2400 objections, including from the farm, Yarra Council and the Collingwood and Abbotsford Residents Association (CARA) ... CARA convener Fred Allen has expressed concern that the revised plan will still lead to privatisation of public space....

“[Steiner] Principal Jennifer West said...failure to find more classroom space could threaten the viability of the whole school.”  

[9-2-2011  http://melbourne-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/abbotsford-steiner-schools-future-in-doubt/]

“The existence of Waldorf Schools [Hungary] are in high risk ... WELLDORF Cooperative is a social enterprise with the mission of providing financial sources for survival and for quality assurance for the Waldorf schools ... The activity of the enterprise is three folded: 1. Supplying stationeries and other products to Waldorf schools ... 2. Selling products to other segments ... 3. Operating the Waldorf Card system....”  

Gnome figures can often be found in classrooms for the lower grades at Waldorf schools. Gnomes are real, you see.

 “There are beings that can be seen with clairvoyant vision at many spots in the depths of the earth ... Many names have been given to them, such as goblins, gnomes and so forth.”  — Rudolf Steiner, NATURE SPIRITS (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1995), pp. 62-63.

“You’re invited to try our NatureTots program with a complimentary class on Monday, September 12th at 9 am. During this two hour session, you and your child will meet the teacher, visit our beautiful Meshewa campus and facilities [Ohio, USA] and learn more about this exceptional parent/child program. We look forward to seeing you. Spaces are limited so please RSVP.”  

[9-2-2011  http://www.cincinnatiwaldorfschool.org/free-naturetots-class-september-12th/]


Waldorf schools like to begin ministering to children when the kids are as young as possible. They want to undo the damage that you, as a parent, have done. As Rudolf Steiner said to Waldorf teachers, 

"You will have to take over children for their education and instruction — children who will have received already (as you must remember) the education, or mis-education given them by their parents.” [1] 

So Waldorf schools should take charge, the earlier the better. 

"[I]t might almost be preferable from a moral viewpoint if children could be taken into [our] care soon after birth.” [2]

“Nature tots” — the idea that children should be raised in a “natural” environment — certainly sounds attractive. There is much to be said for it. But bear in mind that the Waldorf attitude toward nature is not all flowers and rainbows. Rudolf Steiner taught that nature is the abode of various “nature spirits” such as gnomes or goblins, and these beings sometimes have hostile intentions toward humanity. 

“[T]hese beings are not all benevolent ... Now someone might say: Why then are these malevolent gnomes [allowed to be] there...?” [3] 

Ah, for a very good reason. Gnomes may not like us or understand us (“Gnomes are...unable to grasp how there can be anything but an ineffectual relationship with this world” [4]), but they benefit us nonetheless. 

“The predecessors of our Earth-gnomes, the Moon-gnomes, gathered together their Moon-experiences and from them fashioned this structure, this firm structure of the solid fabric of the Earth, so that our solid Earth-structure actually arose from the experiences of the gnomes of the old Moon.” [5]

Parents, if you want your children to be “educated” by people who believe such things, then check out a Waldorf school by all means. 

[For more about the Waldorf view of nature, see "Neutered Nature". For more about gnomes, see "Gnomes".]

From a mother who sent her children to a Waldorf school (before taking them out):

"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. He said it with a smile and a twinkle in his eye, so my reaction was that it was funny and cute. I assumed it was intended as a big joke and that all the other parents shared that assumption. It never occurred to me the gnome might have a different significance for the children. But, in retrospect, I don't remember my children ever including gnomes in their conversation or play.

"The teacher spoke of the gnome affectionately. I think he said the gnome's name was George. It's really weird to look back now, picturing all those adults sitting at their children's desks, listening attentively to a man who, unknown to us, believed his guru could see real gnomes. It's like something out of a Monty Python skit."  — Margaret Sachs

But it wasn't funny.

[See "Gnomes".]

[1] Rudolf Steiner, THE STUDY OF MAN (Rudolf Steiner Press, 2004), p. 16.

[2] Rudolf Steiner, WALDORF EDUCATION AND ANTHROPOSOPHY, Vol. 2 (Anthroposophic Press, 1996), p. 69.

[3] Rudolf Steiner, "Man as Symphony of the Creative World" (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1970), lecture, November 3, 1923. 

[4]  Rudolf Steiner, CHANCE, PROVIDENCE, AND NECESSITY (SteinerBooks, 1988), p. 95.

[5]  Rudolf Steiner, THE RIDDLE OF HUMANITY (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1990), lecture 9.

The worldwide Anthroposophical movement has multiple organizations and funding sources, all focused on promoting Anthroposophy and Waldorf education. Two examples in the news today: 

• 1 •

“Credere Community Credit Fund 
“Social Change + Anthroposophy 

"...The Credere fund is a philanthropic branch of Think OutWord ... The purpose of the fund is to act as a catalyst; to stimulate new work, creative thinking, and social networking in connection with Anthroposophy.... 

"Grants up to $2,000 will be awarded. Half of the money has been donated to Think OutWord as a “challenge grant,” to be awarded only if young people collectively contribute the same amount. 

"...Preference will be given to projects which are anthroposophically inspired and for which there is culmination in a clear outcome that can be shared with a broader audience. While there are no set age or geographical restrictions, young people living in the northeastern United States are especially encouraged to apply. 

“During the months of June and July, RSF’s donor advisors recommended 46 grants from their Donor Advised Funds for a total disbursement amount of $536,211.69! [RSF is the Rudolf Steiner Foundation]... 

“June and July 2011 Grantees: 
“Education & the Arts 

“...Chengdu Waldorf School ... Green Meadow Waldorf School ... High Mowing School ... Hidden Villa ... Shining Mountain Waldorf School, Washington Waldorf School, Davis Waldorf School, Portland Waldorf School, Marin Waldorf School, Waldorf School of Orange County, Seattle Waldorf School, Hawthorne Valley School, Tucson Waldorf Education Association, Housatonic Valley School, Waldorf School of Atlanta, Charter Foundation, Waldorf School of Garden City, Westside Waldorf School, Honolulu Waldorf School, Pasadena Waldorf School, Cape Ann Waldorf School ... Seminary of the Christian Community*....” 

* The Christian Community is the overtly religious arm of Anthroposophy. [See "Christian Community".] 

By "Christ," Anthroposophists mean the Sun God. [See "Sun God".]

[R.R., 2011.]