Brighton Steiner School website

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.

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11 comments

  1. Helen

    Here is an interesting analysis of the way Brighton teach the Atlantis part of anthroposophy
    https://chaseukinfo.wordpress.com/2007/12/04/brighton-steiner-teaches-atlantis-myth/
    The comments end with this
    “Steiner’s beliefs, delivered in his lectures and texts, discriminate between the various races and sure as eggs is eggs Steiner has the white Aryan (Germanic as it happens) sitting atop a sort of league table of races that has blacks at its base. Grotesquely, in Steiner and Steiner teacher theory and belief, black people are spiritually inferior to whites and the physiology of whites and blacks is distinctly different.”

  2. Rosie Harrison

    It is rather sad that Brighton Steiner School’s full description of the Steiner Waldorf curriculum has been misunderstood in this way.
    Please note, no Steiner school teaches anthoposophy. It is indeed rare to mention Atlantis in any way. Please remember that Steiner schools teach history chronologically, which only makes sense, also in an age-appropriate way. Until the Romans history is myths and legends – the Norse myths, ancient Indian, Egyptian and Greek legends and stories , and it is these that only have definite dates when we come into Roman times. These are fascinating and engaging stories for young children. They have an experience of these and they are obviously not taught as ‘facts’.

    Please look at what actually happens in a Waldorf school.

    • Jim

      Rosie, I don’t think anyone suggests that Steiner schools teach anthroposophy in the sense of having formal classes on it. That is not the point, rather it is the way in which it shapes the content and manner of what is taught. And as for looking at what actually happens – well we can’t sit in on classes so we have to read the testimony of those who have been through it and the teachings of Steiner and his followers. These are quite alarming and also make clear the intention to systematically mislead outsiders.
      It seems a bit like the gateway theory of drug use – most soft drug users come to no harm but are at risk through exposure to the hard drug pushers. Similarly I’m sure most Steiner pupils emerge relatively unscathed ( and uneducated ) but some fall victim to the nonsense of anthroposophy.

    • Helen

      Rosie you sound sincere in your opinion that children are not exposed to anthroposophy; and the Steiner movement benefit from having people like you to defend their position. You say I have misunderstood the description of the curriculum, but I wonder if as an administrator you may not be familiar with the teachings of anthroposophy, or if you are, you do not regard it’s use as harmful, because you agree with Steiner’s version of history and science, etc.

      As Jim says the evidence tells us that the belief system is used on children in a harmful way. Many damaged families can testify to what happens when Steiner trained teachers see fit to put the anthroposophy they have learned into practice This is particularly well explained by Roger Rawlings on Waldorfwatch.

      Looking again at the Brighton Steiner school website it is very noticeable that the description of Eurythmy is much longer than that of science, for example. We are given to understand that eurythmy is a “new art form” as yet unappreciated in the world outside Steiner; in fact it is pure anthroposophy with intense spiritual significance for those who teach it, and will never be embraced by anyone other than Steiner followers.
      As I say in the post it is not just the eurythmy, but within these schools the whole approach to understanding the world is in the context of what Rudolf Steiner “indicated” back in the beginning of the last century. Steiner teachers have been trained in the best way to impart anthroposophy to children, and that is what they do.
      Brighton is more open about the curriculum compared with some other Steiner schools. Perhaps as it is such a small school there are few parents there who do not have an understanding of what they are signing up for; sadly in academies and free schools the proportion of unsuspecting parents is much larger.

    • Nick Nakorn

      One rather major point, as an aside, is that there is plenty of pre-Roman history. Writing is about 7,500 years old and the earliest historical documents go back to about 5,500 BC. But perhaps Steiner viewed non-white history, even if written, as myth written by lesser humans?

    • Jim

      Yes, it is rather suggestive. Whilst I quite like the idea of a chronological approach to history, rather than a few disconnected snapshots, it does also hold dangers. In particular in the notion that there is a purpose or ultimate destiny to history. To show things chronologically in order to bring out connections and causes is one thing, which may be lacking in the detailed study of isolated events without reference to what comes before or after. But to present history as moving to a purpose requires a high degree of arrogance in suggesting that you know that purpose. It then leads to distorting the history to better fit the destiny you have chosen.

      This would need someone with an enormous intellect, stunning breadth of knowledge and even clairvoyant powers. But who?

  3. Nick Nakorn

    I think people who advocate a Steiner education and claim that no harm is done by Anthroposophy are rather like those who say that beating their kids is OK because ‘…it never did me any harm…’. All the arguments I’ve heard in favour of Steiner – from denying that his racism is a problem to denying an anti-science and anti-rational mind set is a problem – have in common a total lack of understanding about racism and what it is, how science works and what it means about probable outcomes. Steinerists also tend to have an inability to follow and add to a rational discourse with, say, basic Hegelian discipline. Finally, there is the overriding inability to take criticism as constructive; all debate thus becomes rhetorical rather than analytical. Those are the inadequacies of Steiner educations even if Anthroposophy is never mentioned.

    • Jim

      The difficulty Nick is that we have to accept that there are people who seem able to see only the nice things in Steiner education and close their eyes to the stuff we condemn. I don’t just mean they choose to ignore it, they really don’t see it and are convinced we are just prejudiced. I don’t know how they do it but they do. So we need to understand how the arthros fool so many people who should not by everyday standards be described as racist, either in their behaviour or their professed beliefs.

      I wish I knew what the answer was because unfortunately we can’t deny that the anthro cult is extremely effective.

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