Finding out about Steiner and anthroposophy leads you to some strange places – I am thinking clairvoyance, reincarnation etc. but also to some less fantastical subjects.
I am not up to date with the latest parenting techniques, but recently I have come across two. They orginate in the States; Attachment Parenting and the wonderfully named “crunchy” parents.
Crunchy parents turn out to be those who eat wholefoods (crunchy foods) and generally go for what they consider a wholesome, or natural lifestyle – which includes cloth nappies, breast feeding, home births, delayed or selective vaccination, home-schooling, natural remedies and wearing sandals.
Attachment parenting is co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding, baby-wearing and being a stay-at-home mum.
Crunchy parents are basically just sticking to a lifestyle they like and which they think is best for their family, whereas attachment parents are firmly of the belief that there are reasons for adhering to certain rules about nurturing children; they believe that separation from the mother could harm a child (hence baby-wearing).
Steiner Waldorf don’t seem to have a problem with the “crunchies”, but from reading accounts there is some degree of surprise expressed by APs (attachment parents) who find their methods are not always welcome in Steiner kindergartens and baby groups, whereas on the surface they should be.
It seems there is sometimes a preference at these groups for parents to sit separately to the children and not to interfere in their play.
Sometimes APs are dismayed to find Steiner Waldorf kindergartens send home leaflets about techniques parents view as more akin to the RIE method of parenting ; this is an acronym for Resources for Infant Educarers. It encourages parents to eliminate baby talk, throw out the high chairs, toys and lidded drinking cups and generally take a much more firm, no-nonsense attitude to parenting. Steiner kindergartens can be quite negative about extended breastfeeding and can advocate letting babies cry and not holding them too much.
It is suggested these no- nonsense ideas conform to those expressed in a book by anthroposophist Joan Salter called “Incarnating child” in which she also provides advice on how to feed your child based on the size of his head. (I’m saying nothing.)
Anyway, these ideas are new to me, but no doubt familiar (except the last one) to younger parents. I will not provide links – the information is easy to find if you are interested. But I can’t resist including this quiz from an American mother’s blog for anyone who wishes to know if they are a crunchy parent!
How crunchy are you? – http://www.themoralesfamily.us/granola.htm
Adendum May 2015
The link above seems to have disappeared, but here is another quiz