I happen to agree with one of the policies used in Steiner schools; restricting television for young children makes sense to me – there are much better ways to be spending time, and there may be content we consider unsuitable.
Apparently it can be in a Steiner home-school agreement that children will not watch tv before the age of 8. I wonder what the punishment for non-compliance is?
We can decide for ourselves how to deal with this at home – we do not need a school to instruct us, surely?
When some parents count this as a reason for choosing a Steiner school, do they realise why the policy is in place?
Anthroposophists consider that computers, televisions, photo-copiers and so on are the products of Ahriman. Lucifer and Ahriman are demons, according to Steiner; Ahriman being the demon of intellect, worldly knowledge, science and technology.
Steiner gave a lecture at Dornach in 1914 explaining it all; Lecture I: The Balance in the World and Man, Lucifer and Ahriman.
So the necessity of introducing children to technology produces a problem for Steiner schools.In the Steiner curriculum book (Richter and Rawson) we find a very short page on Information Technology, beginning with
“There is no question that Steiner Waldorf education has to come to terms with the present and future important subject of computer technology. There is however as yet no firmly established understanding as to the appropriate ages for introducing the different aspects of this.”
Among aspects of the subject to be included is the influence of computers, including
“… the possible negative, obsessional and anti-social aspects”.
The section concludes as follows;
“The creation of a comprehensive curriculum for information technology has yet to be completed…”.
By contrast the National Curriculum programme of study for ICT says;
“The increasing use of technology in all aspects of society makes confident, creative and productive use of ICT an essential skill for life. ICT capability encompasses not only the mastery of technical skills and techniques, but also the understanding to apply these skills purposefully, safely and responsibly in learning, everyday life and employment. ICT capability is fundamental to participation and engagement in modern society. ICT can be used to find, develop, analyse and present information, as well as to model situations and solve problems.”
What do parents think? Is computing Ahrimanic, or an essential skill for life? Not such a tough decision surely.