Fwd: To Christine
Date: Sat Feb 14, 2004 1:11 pm
Subject: Fwd: To Christine
Sorry! forgot to CC y'all!
Date: Sat Feb 14, 2004 1:10 pm
Subject: Re: To Christine
I have written quite a bit already about your
Sistine Madonna question and I have invited you to read more
that is freely posted on the AT group site. In my experience,
all Waldorf schools offer lecture series throughout the year
and would offer more if more people had the time and inclination
to come to them. And our lectures always have a question and
answer period - with lots of room for interaction in the lecture.
I certainly have offered to speak with anyone about anything.
In fact, the first lecture I gave here in Miami, I think there
were about 5 people in the audience. I gave it anyway. It was
designed and advertised as a series of 5 lectures and the first
was an introduction to Rudolf Steiner and Philosophy of Freedom!
I did a GREAT job of summing up Philosophy of Freedom, too!!!
The next lecture, there were about 20 - 25 people and the third
about 125 - 150 people. I don't think we were able to continue
the series for some reason. I have also given interactive workshops,
and this is the way I would like to work with this in the future:
Friday night - a general lecture open to the
Morning - Kindergarten Watercolor Painting workshop (the whole
process - story, candle, set up, just as if the adults were the
Afternoon - First Grade "Four Temperaments" Workshop
(I do really fun stuff with Winnie the Pooh and short poems!
Evening - Forum - rather than a "lecture" everyone
would sit with the chairs facing into a circle and questions
would be forwarded and discussed. This would be limited to people
who had attended the lecture on Friday night and/ or one of the
workshops. Then, we could address questions arising from the
In regard to the following from 02.12.04:
"In my experience
there is much more controversy surrounding Waldorf than other
school movements. I would be surprised, however, if there were
no critics of those other schools. But I have not seen a similar
controversy, support group(s) for survivors, web sites, law suites,
news stories, etc. Nothing close. No groups of people expressing
the concerns we see here and elsewhere regarding Waldorf."
I think this is broad and unfounded. We would
have to discuss specifics. I am sure that other schools have
their critics and detractors, in cyberspace and elsewhere. The
"others" can range from large systems like Catholic
schools, Hebrew schools, Montessori schools, etc. to small, individual
private schools. In my opinion, this group of people critical
of Waldorf schools per se is following a decided agenda and one
that is tied into legal issues. You have found or created a "hot
topic" and made it hotter by throwing words like "racist"
and "cult" into the mix. As I said before, the larger
"religious" schools have been 1. kept out of the public
school system and 2. had a large base of support within the larger
institutions from which they originated - more money and lawyers
at their disposal, so they have been better able to fight spurious
and even justifiable allegations.
Waldorf Schools are individualistic in nature
and the organization under which they operate is only loosely
formulated. Perhaps more so in recent decades, but it is not
an institution per se from which the schools come. Each school
arises in its own way and form and then goes to the Association
of Waldorf Schools of North America for guidance and acceptance
if it so chooses. The Association is not a judgemental or directive
organization. It has set criteria by which a school earns the
"right" to the Waldorf name, but these have broad applications.
The amount of individual criticisms of other
private schools to be found in articles, biographies and literature
would take up a whole library room. And the criticisms of the
public school system over the course of the past century would
take up a whole library. There are news stories and law suits
in connection with the Catholic church and its treatment of children
very frequently and very recently.
As to the following paragraphs at the end
of your post:
"See - those "certain
spiritual beliefs" might just be a little much for some
parents to understand without having them spelled out in some
meaningful manner. Many parents are fine with "spiritual
beliefs." Such beliefs in Steiner's mind (and Waldorf schools)
need a great deal of explaining. Parents deserve as much. So
do our children."
I totally agree with you and think you are
owed an apology if, in fact you were denied the opportunity to
learn about Steiner and Waldorf, felt you were "kept in
the dark" (my phraseology), brushed aside or that ideas
which should have been immediately forthcoming were not.
On the other hand, as a parent trying to choose
from a wide range of public and private school options available
in the United States in the past few decades, unless one opts
to take "pot luck" from whatever the local public school
offers or has a prior affiliation to an organization such as
a church, temple or a branch of the military and has pre-determined
to go to a school associated with that organization, every parent
then bears an enormous amount of responsibility for his or her
choice or choices.
Choosing a school for your child because they
make tissue paper butteflies at an open house is, in my opinion,
not responsible decision making. To go by outward appearances,
hesitate to ask questions, fail to actively seek information
on the published history and philosophy of the school system
and then to berate the school for "failing to inform"
the parents ahead of time is inexcusable. Especially, in my opinion,
when you walk into a school which by the colors on the walls,
the artwork of the children that is displayed and the materials
the furniture and toys are made of announces loudly and clearly
that this is a school like no other. The first question any parent
should ask is "Why?" And if you do not get an answer
that satisfies you personally - do not put your child there.
When the "nature of
the human being as a spiritual being" is identified as such
(above) and when all questions are answered (as opposed to a
response of "these concepts are not easy" or "live
into the answer") then I would agree that you have the right
to establish Waldorf schools
Neither you or any other critic has the right
to grant us the right to establish Waldorf Schools when they
are privately funded. You do, as I said, have the right to ask
questions and to expect clear and reasonable answers BEFORE placing
your child into a Waldorf School or any other private school
and to leave at any time that you feel that either you or your
child is not being well served.
Date: Sat Feb 14, 2004 5:29 pm
Subject: Re: To Christine
In a message dated 2/14/2004 5:18:47 PM Eastern
Standard Time, awaldenpond writes:
Thanks for your response
- I do appreciate your thoughts. I will check your articles.
Maybe I am asking too much at one time. I'll try to make it simple
as some of your thoughts regarding our conversation are still
not clear to me. My previous post was rather long so I'll chop
a couple of questions from it and try to be more specific:
1) Do you think Waldorf
outreach (via web sites, pamphlets, etc.) should include information
regarding reincarnation, soul work, the nature of faculty meetings,
the meaning of Eurythmy, wet-on-wet painting, lazure, main lesson
books throughout the grades, Steiner's epochs and how that concept
finds its way into the classroom, as well as the meaning of "child
I have spent quite a good amount of time writing
in response to your questions. You can do me the courtesy of
reading what I have posted and referred to. I think that in both
my direct responses and in what I have referred to, I have answered
a lot of the first question and pointed to how and why I believe
Waldorf schools should be forthcoming in answers about all of
these items. Taken on by one, each item requires a lengthly amount
of talk or writing to explore with justice. Blurbs in pamphlets
or on websites are not sufficient to get across the information.
Having links on websites to fuller articles would be terrific.
But as I said, such articles may not yet have been written due
to factors I have outlined recently elsewhere, which is a good
reason why, after ten years away from teaching, I may be in a
welcome position to take the time to write articles and to have
the luxury of distance from my work to have really digested my
own life experience. What other schools and individuals have
or do not have on their websites is not for me (or anyone else)
to dictate. I own a domain name (have for several years) but
I have not yet been able to figure out how to get it created.
I can't get my articles to upload the way I want them to. When
I finally do, they will be posted there.
2) I wrote:
Incredibly, at each school
web site there was no mention of Rudolf Steiner's connection
or belief in Occultism, reincarnation, karma or soul work. In
short virtually everything Steiner believed in and worked from
and towards with regards to Anthroposophy and Waldorf Education
- the essence of the man - is missing from these sites. Instead,
from the sum of eleven Waldorf School web sites, we are told
that Rudolf Steiner was a - teacher (mentioned 1 time), an architect
(1), thinker (1), scholar (1), educator (5), artist (6) and a
scientist (7). My question to you, Christine, is this: Do you
think that Waldorf outreach (via web sites, pamphlets, etc.)
should include in their description of Rudolf Steiner, the words,
"occultist, clairvoyant, reincarnation, reality of the Christ,
great spiritual teacher, soul and spirit, esoteric researcher,
karma research, spiritual cosmology as well as any other similar
accurate, descriptive words we find at Anthroposophic web sites?
In other words, do you
not find it odd that Rudolf Steiner is described using such very
different words (artist, scientist, etc.) at Waldorf web sites
as opposed to (occultist, great spiritual teacher, etc.) Anthroposophy
I have no objection to using the words
reincarnation, reality of the Christ, great spiritual teacher, (of? - Christine) soul and spirit, esoteric researcher, karma research,
spiritual cosmology as well as any other similar accurate, descriptive
words we find at Anthroposophic web sites?
IN ADDITION TO:
artist, scientist, educator, teacher, thinker, scholar
Certainly a link to any accurate biography
of Rudolf Steiner should be or could be on any school website.
I don't think I would personally be able to write such a biography
and do it full justice, but I would absolutely include a link
to one written by someone else. How about:
http://www.detroitwaldorf.com/links.htm (back to e-lib)
Critics, and Controversy
Click to subscribe to anthroposophy_tomorrow
Taz "Anthroposophy Tomorrow" Files
Anthroposophy & Anarchism
Anthroposophy & Scientology