On the rational scepticism website a father asked advice from readers about how to oppose Steiner Free schools. His daughter was attending a Steiner school against his wishes and he felt that as result she was educationally handicapped for life.
The subject of Steiner education causing splits between families because of the way they are viewed with such polarised opinions was touched on by MarkH in his “Brief Encounter” post. In this case, due to separation, one parent, the father, had no choice but to watch his child enduring a “non-education” courtesy of Steiner Waldorf.
There are some interesting replies to his appeal, some funny, some sad, most reinforcing the citicisms to be found everywhere when you start researching Steiner education and anthroposophy.
One commenter on the forum said her parents had looked at Steiner education as a possibility until a visit where the father said “the head teacher gave him some guardian angel type woo and he walked straight outta there.”
…and as an example of what is taught, a former student said “they were taught that when you plant a flower seed the fairies come and push it up out of the ground and turn it into a flower. ”
Pseudoscience is just one of the unacceptable facets of Steiner. These schools make much of nature (their version is explained clearly on Waldorfwatch) but they have an unusual view of it which does not fit in with the mainstream curriculum. Unsurpringly Steiner free schools do not offer science GCSEs as other schools do; their “cute” attitude to the subject may appeal to some parents out there who don’t mind their child being taught about fairies and gnomes as real – perhaps this is what they mean by” honouring childhood” – but a child leaving school with this warped view of the world will not thank their parents later when they realise exactly how “unique” their education has been.
Parents may think the gnomes and fairies are a kind of joke, (understandably) but anthroposophist teachers are in earnest.
There should be no room at all in state-funded education for this type of non-education.
Most of the time Steiner teachers keep quiet on open days about guardian angels and the rest of the mystical, anti-science nonsense they espouse, so to get an accurate picture of how their child will be educated, parents need to do some research.