Arnebeck recommended a look at the Brighton Steiner school website as an example of how well Steiner schools explain themselves to parents looking for a suitable school.
He says we can’t fail to read the signs, and that parents therefore cannot claim to be in the dark when they choose a Steiner school – or at least, if they are in the dark it is their own fault.
Having looked at the website, it does appear at first glance to be open and honest in its declaration that “All Steiner schools follow the comprehensive and distinctive Steiner Curriculum.”
Oh, it’s distinctive, all right.
Problem is, where is the A word?
It sounds great on first reading; the curriculum is described as broad, nurturing, age appropriate and creative, as well as mentioning academic achievement.
But how can a parent possibly suspect that there is an occult belief system behind this façade of child-friendliness, where teachers incorporate Steiner’s teachings about incarnating souls, and indeed their whole reason for being is anthroposophy?
I do recommend any parent considering supporting Steiner education should read the “curriculum” section on the Brighton school website, as it does go into considerable detail about the curriculum, more than I have seen on any other Steiner school website. For example;
…Main Lesson topics include Old Testament stories such as the Creation; the Fall of Man and the expulsion from paradise; and the relationship between the Old TestamentGod and Man.
Hmm, well, ok, if you don’t mind RE being taught in the main lesson.
Man and Animal Main Lesson, where the relationship between the two is explored to gain a living understanding of how mankind occupies the world in relationship to other living creatures.
(remember, in Steinerland, humans must at all costs not be thought of as animals, but specially created beings with souls)
The curriculum for Class 5 has a main theme of Ancient Civilizations. The narrative thread for this theme often begins with the fall of Atlantis and the exodus led by Manu in his boat pulled along by a giant fish.
…Through studying these ancient civilisations in sequence, the children experience the qualitative changes in the development of humanity that took place through these different cultural epochs.
Ah yes, Atlantis. Steiner schools rarely mention this gem of Steiner wisdom; It is however, in the Handbook for Waldorf class Teachers, and for Steiner followers it is an integral part of their beliefs about reincarnation, and the inferiority of certain races, so Brighton are right to include it in a summary of the curriculum. Brighton is an independent school, and can afford to be a bit more open than the tax-payer funded Steiner schools.
So in a way I agree with Arnebeck – there is much here to ring alarm bells, if parents read carefully. But a parent who does not know anthroposophy exists (remember the word is not on the site) would not know that Steiner teachers really believe humans lived on Atlantis . They would not know that creation myths are a big part of the creed and will be taught as fact, or that all the talk about the relationship between humans and animals will be in direct contradiction to Darwin’s evolution. How could they?
Steiner children are taught to mistrust accepted scientific theories, and this is portrayed as a “good thing”. They refer to such questioning as open-mindedness; in fact it is training children to accept Spiritual Science as a valid worldview.
Dangerous, dishonest, and deceptive.