And another thing…

Certain behavioural habits of Anthroposophists are mentioned in this account; their aversion to psychoanalysis, their hatred of rock music, their tendency to homophobia, their muffled condemnation of abortion, their contempt for sport, their tendency to worship their leaders, their tendency to hurry out “voluntarily” to work in the service of anthroposophical  institutions.

Picking up on one of these, I do not know why Steiner people do not like sport – there is an obvious lack of team sports in  these schools; the little children are encouraged to play chasing games, and then there is the special Bothmer Gymnastics and of course the Eurythmy. Apart from that it seems ice skating is the only sport which has the approval of anthroposophists. (Considering the distance to the nearest ice-rink from the Steiner schools near here, it is an odd choice.)

It is to do with the “limbs”, according to the curriculum book I have seen, and “uprightness”.  These are in turn important because they are the way that anthroposophy justifies it’s stance on evolution – humans are not descended from apes, but put on the earth specially.



  1. Helen

    Team sports would mean competing with other schools. From reading and from experience, I think Steiner pupils do not mix with children from other schools very much.

    • Geoff

      They have been competing in basket ball matches with teams from other schools lately!

      They also play hockey, rugby, and have even been known to field a football team. One of the schools played in the local league and managed to win. They wern’t as talented as the players from other schools as individuals, but they certainly knew how to play as a team.

  2. Jim

    At last, I can agree with the anthrops on something. I’ve always hated sport – that ridiculous obsession with chasing a ball around a muddy field.
    If a thing is not worth doing it’s not worth doing well.

    • Helen

      Well Jim, since you have confessed, so will I, to a loathing of team sports. My worst memories of school are all about games lessons.
      And I do like ice-skating, which I learned in Germany.
      A noticeable feature of Steiner critics – they often have some things in common with anthros; similar tastes and interests. It’s just the pernicious and covert way the creed is practiced that is objectionable.

  3. Jim

    Very true – I suppose if nothing about the Steiner ethos seemed appealing you would never look closely enough to see the truth.
    We recently walked through Ruskin Mill grounds, from the Tipputs Inn down to the mill itself and back. It is very lovely with well tended vegetable gardens, woodland and attractive oak buildings. The few people we passed were all friendly ( apparently unlike the Chine at Box ). And yet, I couldn’t help wondering how the remaining residents in the valley felt about being engulfed. High fences and hedges seem popular.
    The funding is also a mystery. I’m aware of the Triodos connection but the average anthro does not seem to be in a position to make a major financial contribution. Free labour goes a long way but money is still essential.

    Isn’t ice skating one of the few Steiner approved sports? Do you have more to confess?

    • Helen

      I could tell you how at least one of the residents feels about being engulfed..but that would be indiscreet.
      The funding puzzles me too.
      I do know that those who “work” at Camphill Communities (so many here) are offered free Steiner education for their children – and so some of the money is coming indirectly from the government, as Camphill receives funding for it’s activities.

      No, no more confessions!

    • Helen

      Thanks for that link, Mark. It is such a complicated web, and as you say, the scale of the network is food for thought.
      There are also interesting observations there on how Anthroposophy influences Steiner Schools.

      • Jim

        I hadn’t realised quite how big the financial web was and how much ( about 50% ) was state funded. The rest remains a mystery. What does bother me is that so much of the effort ( and the state funding. ) is directed to those with mental /learning issues. Is that genuine concern or an easy target?

        • Helen

          Personally I take the latter view, since people generally have much less curiosity about Camphill Communities than Waldorf schools. Therefore there seems to be less accountability and public money is always forthcoming.
          I have heard both good and bizarre reports about what goes on.
          Reading the websites, I think anyone who is not involved in Anthroposophy steers well clear since “spiritual work” is clearly a priority, and the rules appear to be strict.
          Genuine concern? Yes, but in a different way from how non-anthroposophists would be concerned.

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