The books on the reading list suggested by the Stroud Steiner free school group are all written by anthroposophists.
Parents looking for information about Steiner education would not know this, and although reading these books would provide certain clues for those who are particularly curious and alert, such titles will not give them the facts they need to make an informed choice for their child.
Even the innocent – sounding titles about play and parenting are written by anthroposophists, and the two books the group are selling are Steiner Waldorf propaganda, pure and simple.
One of the 14 books on the list is published by the Anthroposophical Press, but all the publishers, except one in America, are anthroposophical.
The list is recommended as a “selection of recommended books that discuss the pedagogical aspects of Steiner Education and some other books relevant to family life working with a similar approach to childhood.”
What parents should be told is that all these books will not provide an impartial or comprehensive account of the Steiner Waldorf education system. They are written by people who follow the long dead Austrian mystic Rudolf Steiner, and think his brand of wacky pseudoscience is ok to teach to children.
All these authors have a mission (in addition to selling their books); to further promote Steiner education worldwide. Some are members of the School of Spiritual Science.
Critical analysis of the Steiner movement is currently to be found on the internet, although a book on the subject could be in the offing.
Here is a list of the books I have found useful.
Sun at Midnight – The Rudolf Steiner Movement and Gnosis in the West – by Geoffrey Ahern
As a review says this is one of the few books on the subject of Anthroposophy written by someone outside the cult. An old copy is kicking around in the Gloucestershire Library service, and the 2009 edition is now available in paperback
Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon – by Peter Washington
This is not specifically about the Steiner movement, but details Steiner’s involvement with Theosophy as suggested in the subtitle; “A History of the Mystics, Misfits, and Mediums who brought Spiritualism to America” – a great read anyway. Also available from the library.
A Handbook for Waldorf Class Teachers – compiled by Kevin Avison
Yes it is written and published by anthroposophists, but it is revealing in its frankness and of course is not meant for parental consumption.
Dispirited – by David Webster
Not about Steiner, but a common sense analysis of contemporary spirituality, and an interesting perspective on the way modern belief systems affect people. Concise and readable.