One aspect of Steiner schools many people are familiar with is the way that reading is not taught to children before the age of seven.
Sometimes this is mistakenly assumed by parents to be for educational reasons. One parent said here that learning to read at a later age happened to suit his children.
Not only is reading delayed however, it is actively discouraged and parents are advised against using books in the home, except for certain Steiner recommended titles.
Roger Rawlings explains on his website the real reasons for delayed reading;
“Steiner was very clear about why delayed reading was a good idea – not because older children can learn to read better, but because memorising and reading interfered with the incarnation of the etheric body. It could damage a spiritual protective sheath around the child leading to illness and spiritual degeneration ’Developmental needs’ in the Steiner world are to do with the incarnation of spiritual entities. Only after adult teeth have appeared is a child spiritually ready to learn to read.”
Steiner’s intentions for children are not the same as those of many parents, and parents are usually not aware of this;
“Parents should know that the main purpose of Waldorf schooling is not educational, as this term is normally understood, but occult. Waldorf faculties are supposed to help the gods fulfil what Steiner called the divine cosmic plan. Waldorf schools are on a messianic mission to save humanity. This is all well and good, perhaps — if Waldorf schools are really in a position to provide such a lofty service. But are they? Or are they engaged in a delusion? And what effect may this have on your children?”
Parents expressing doubts about the Steiner policy on delayed reading are reassured by schools that Waldorf children end up doing as well as their mainstream school contemporaries. But this often turns out not to be the case. Mainstream schools are asked to pick up the pieces, by parents who are in despair at their child’s lack of progress.