Waldorf Education


From: Jan
Date: Tue Dec 30, 2003 8:18 am
Subject: Waldorf education

Dear Friends,

If Waldorf education is inherently 'racist' and the teachers practicing 'racists' one would expect the schools to be turning out young 'racists' if not actual neo nazis!

My Waldorf Educated son is currently in the final year of University, taking a physics degree, and this home has long been open house and free meeting place for very many young people, Waldorf, State and Privately educated, and racism (to reluctantly use an 'ism' piece of jargon) simply is not in any of them. It is utterly foreign to their thought, feeling and way of life. They just don't get it.

What continually renews my hope for a world often so darkened is the brother/sisterhood that is fundamentally bedrock to the young, that is so alien to any kind of racial prejudice that they utterly abhor it when it confronts them elsewhere in their lives, usually from an older generation. These young people are multi racial, being drawn from every possible race, colour and creed, and my own sons wife and girlfriend respectively are Jamaican and Russian-Jewish, so that as we are ourselves Scottish/English, we have a mixed race family.

Nothing on earth is perfect, and I would never make any such claim for any school, but the education my son and friends received was excellent, and they are bright, well read, very capable young people.

I asked my left handed son yesterday whether he had ever been made to 'switch' hands while at school. 'No, why?' he asked, puzzled.

Young Michaelites are not confined or unique to Waldorf education. They are everywhere, and brother/sisterhood is their hallmark.

To place children in a Waldorf School, or any other, without thoroughly researching the underlying ethos is very poor parenting.

My deepest thanks to those Waldorf Teachers who carry on giving so much in spite of the smears and lies spread about them. A wholly inclusive brother/sisterhood is basic to the Michaelic School and will prevail. By their fruits ye shall know them.

Jan

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From: dottie zold
Date: Tue Dec 30, 2003 8:41 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Waldorf education

Jan wrote:

My deepest thanks to those Waldorf Teachers who carry on giving so much in spite of the smears and lies spread about them. A wholly inclusive brother/sisterhood is basic to the Michaelic School and will prevail. By their fruits ye shall know them.

Dear Jan,

I also find that the stories of racism do not match any of the understandings I have of Steiner. IN reading ARch Angel Michael his mission and ours I actually for the first time realized that I must not be so small minded to claim I am America's only. I am the world and it is what I found most intriguing of all that I had read of that particular book.

In being raised in a racist society, I am 41 now, I found Steiners work allowed me to find a way to speak with others regarding why race is the least important of who we are from a spiritual level. And I think this is why the WC list doesn't work. I think if one wants to speak of not kwowing the school was based on Steiners spiritual hard work due to it not being shared upfront by enrolling members that is one thing but to say that STeiner practiced a racial ideology is another thing in and of itself. There is no basis for it. WC may nit pick this word and that word but that does not make it a racist ideology. To much of his work is around for it to be claimed to be such.

It's nice to read of the young brother and sisterhood coming up from the schools teachings.

Sincerely,
Dottie

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From: Jan
Date: Tue Dec 30, 2003 9:05 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Waldorf education

On 30/12/03 4:41 pm, dottie zold wrote:

Jan wrote:

My deepest thanks to those Waldorf Teachers who carry on giving so much in spite of the smears and lies spread about them. A wholly inclusive brother/sisterhood is basic to the Michaelic School and will prevail. By their fruits ye shall know them.

Dear Jan,

I also find that the stories of racism do not match any of the understandings I have of Steiner. IN reading ARch Angel Michael his mission and ours I actually for the first time realized that I must not be so small minded to claim I am America's only. I am the world and it is what I found most intriguing of all that I had read of that particular book.

In being raised in a racist society, I am 41 now, I found Steiners work allowed me to find a way to speak with others regarding why race is the least important of who we are from a spiritual level. And I think this is why the WC list doesn't work. I think if one wants to speak of not kwowing the school was based on Steiners spiritual hard work due to it not being shared upfront by enrolling members that is one thing but to say that STeiner practiced a racial ideology is another thing in and of itself. There is no basis for it. WC may nit pick this word and that word but that does not make it a racist ideology. To much of his work is around for it to be claimed to be such.

It's nice to read of the young brother and sisterhood coming up from the schools teachings.

Sincerely,
Dottie

Hello Dottie,
To me, as a student of Anthroposophy, Steiner’s work is actually the antithisis of ‘racism,’ and I never encountered anything but inclusiveness and respect for each individual in the Waldorf school my younger son attended here in England. I have never identified myself by race or country. I always felt ‘homeless’ on the earth, and equally ‘at home’ anywhere.

I’ve been reading and following your posts with interest.With all good wishes,

Jan

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From: golden3000997
Date: Tue Dec 30, 2003 1:26 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Waldorf education

Dear Sisters and Everyone,

When I first came into contact with Waldorf Education and Rudolf Steiner's work at the age of 16, it was at the Threefold Farm community in Spring Valley, New York. I was fortunate enough to live and work with other teenagers who had grown up in Waldorf schools and communities. My very best friend there was a Jewish girl. Her father (who lived and worked and studied in the Threefold Community) was a survivor of Auschwitz. That above all else forever answered any question of racism or bigotry for my mind in regard to Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy. This was certainly nothing I was able to discuss with such a person, but just knowing that he was there made me certain that such things could not be contained within it, or he could not have lived there and worked hard to put two daughters through Waldorf Schools all their lives.

Many ideas were put forward by Rudolf Steiner regarding "Root Races" and "Folk Souls" and many other ideas that are foreign to modern thinking. But everything that he said had and has a context and there are many "shocking" ideas in Steiner when taken out of that context. How about "bat dregs"? That it is dangerous to go out in the evening when there are bats around. As a nature lover, I know that there are many people who work to save bats and educate the public as to their importance in bug control and other aspects of nature's harmonies. What can we make of what Steiner then wrote about them? (Man As Symphony of the Creative Word.)

What about homeopathic medicine? If you examine it using today's laboratory methods, you only find water. Yet, there is science behind it and it requires study to understand.

Waldorf Educators make mistakes. Myself included. I once said something to a child in my classroom with no ill intention, but it was thoughtless and caused the parents to pull the child out of the school. I am deeply ashamed. There needs to be a careful examination in such cases as to whether the fault lies in Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophy, Waldorf Education or the very, very inadequate people who try to put it into practice.

It would be wonderful if no teacher ever made a mistake. It would be wonderful if no doctor ever made a mis-diagnosis. It would be wonderful if every judge were able to decide every case justly. This is not our world.

I personally agree with PLANS that Waldorf Education has no place in the public school or state school system and I believe that Rudolf Steiner would more than agree with this. I also agree that every parent should be made fully aware of the spiritual background of Waldorf Education before choosing to enroll their child. I agree that Waldorf Education is too Christian for fervent Paganists and too Pagan for fundamentalist Christians. The decision should be a totally concious one on the part of the parents after being given as much information as they can possibly stand. If this means fewer schools and less enrollment, so be it. Creating and maintaining schools under misunderstanding can come to no good. We cannot say to parents "We know what is best for your child and you do not." We have to say, "We want to do what is best for your child educationally. This is what we do and why. If you agree, we would love to be of service to you and your child."

There are methodologies within the schools that were appropriate for the children of Europe in the first part of the twentieth century that I found to be totally inadequate for the children of American at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first. The direction that I always took the most to heart from Dr. Steiner was to OBSERVE and to act from that observation first and foremost. We must work to reach the children (and parents) where they are in life and in their own development and respect this before offering guidance. We must, as teachers, always first be ready to LEARN from both the children and the parents. We must learn to be adaptable and flexible while remaining true to the beating heart of a living Anthroposophy.

I have posted on this group my article, never published elsewhere, on Waldorf Education and Religion. Perhaps the outline of the curriculum it contains may put in perspective the "religious" aspects of Waldorf Education.

I am deeply sorry that parents have had bad experiences with their children in Waldorf Schools. Actually, teachers have had some very bad experiences, too, myself included. But I believe that the fault lies in the people, not in the ideology or spiritual science within Waldorf Education. I know that whatever I have done in the past or may do in the future that is good or has value for a child or an adult comes from Rudolf Steiner. The mistakes are all my own.

Best wishes for 2004,
Christine

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