In reply to “Little Thoughts”

It’s slightly strange having to justify myself to someone who goes by the name “Little Thoughts” but the comment on “Michaelmas” needs a response. Judging by the phrases used, he/she is not English, but the meaning is clear, and Steiner schools and the associated problems are the same all over the world. He/she may be a former Steiner student defending the Steiner creed?

The points made in the comment have all been made and dealt with previously on the blog but for those who are new to Stop Steiner, here are some answers.

  • I thing the main confusion with Steiner schools is that they are all called similarly and if one gives a bad experience all people think all the other schools must give the same bad experiences.

It’s not confusion. The problem in Steiner schools is anthroposophy. All Steiner schools are run by people who are sympathetic to the belief system, and the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship oversees the schools and makes sure they comply with their criteria for accreditation – in other words, that they are Steinery enough. So there will be teachers in any given school who believe in Steiner’s reincarnation and that children are living out their karma. Usually these are the senior staff who make the decisions.

The problems experienced by unsuspecting families all over the world are universal; unchecked bullying, favouritism towards anthroposophical families, inept organisation, classification of children according to their build, “race”, or physical features. Lack of focus on intellectual pursuits, Steiner prayers and rituals, a curriculum that presupposes a spiritual world complete with “elementals” and demons, and the Steiner versions of history and science, etc, etc.

  • If in the school you visited, wether Steiner or not, you found teachers who do not inspire you confidence, you did the right thing: don’t send your children there

Parents are attracted in by the colourful and apparently “creative” appearance of Steiner. Teachers do not tell prospective parents about their beliefs, and parents have no way of knowing that karma and reincarnation are central to the Steiner curriculum. How would they even guess? Even when you look up anthroposophy on wiki it is not clear that the creed affects how children are treated in school, and you have to do a lot of digging to uncover the facts.

It is possible to work in a Steiner school for a few weeks and still not have a clue even when teachers start making remarks in the staff room about the shape of a child’s nose. I know now that this is anthroposophy in action; the child is being judged and categorised according to his so-called “temperament”. It is all so preposterous that parents have trouble believing what they see with their own eyes.

I was told by a “First class” spiritual scientist that parents are not told about anthroposophy deliberately …”in case they think it’s a religion”

  • Steiner education is just a pedagogy, some schools apply like in the 19th century and some schools update it to the 21st century. It is up to each school, they are independent.

No, they are not independent; the SWSF see to that. They insist on child Study and Eurythmy and “teacher development” for example. As for updating the “pedagogy”, no. The Stroud Free school group tried that and got thrown out of the SWSF as a result, and their bid failed. Only schools that interpret anthroposophy in the “right” way are approved.

Steiner followers do not deviate from Steiner’s indications; they believe he was a genius, and clairvoyant. How could he be wrong?

  • Nonetheless, this website is full of biased information of people full of grudges and prejudism, there is not trace of unbiased judgement. The whole point of the site is to fearmonger, how mature is that: what will be next fear against inmigrants or jews?

Yep, had this one before, too. This is a single issue blog, set up to warn people that Steiner education is based on anthroposophy and about the experiences of those who have suffered. In addition it alerts readers to the connections between other Steiner organisations that are kept hidden.

I think it’s only fair to give people the information, and to provide the links to sites such as the Rudolf Steiner Archive, the SWSF and the Anthromed site, where Steiner supporters write freely about their beliefs on issues such as Autism, for example. That is not fearmongering, it is just providing information.

I said at the start of this that people should do their own research and make decisions based on that. They do need to know about anthroposophy and its effects in the first place, however, don’t you agree?

When the Steiner movement start being open about their activities there will be no need for a warning, from me or anyone else.

“Little Thoughts” wants the Steiner movement to be seen as innocent victims who do not deserve the kind of attention they are receiving from critics. Sadly it is families who are the victims as the many Steiner critical websites, and accounts on  forums such as mumsnet testify.

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70 comments

  1. Jim

    I believe Little Thoughts was responding to a comment I had made which included my own experience of choosing a school. I think he/she misses the point somewhat in referring to teachers who inspire or not. In the first instance I’m not sure you can form a reliable impression of whether a teacher will prove inspiring from a typical open day. And actually I can remember nothing at all about the teachers at the Steiner school I visited, though I no doubt spoke to them. It was the nature of the place I found revealing – the absence of books and the severely restricted and unimaginative nature of the pupil’s work on display. Incidentally I also rejected a mainstream school partly on the grounds that they could not even be bothered to display their pupil’s work, which says a lot about how they view it.
    Back to inspiring teachers – I later found during my son’s education that the best were those you would hardly notice during open days. But of course you only discover that long after you have had to make the choice so as a selection criterion it is not very useful.

  2. Little Thoughts

    Hi Helen, my following reply is intended out of curiosity for your sources without any intended offense, I’m just being direct.

    “Steiner schools and the associated problems are the same all over the world”
    Fallacy: generalisation. Have you visit them all? Evidence please?

    “All Steiner schools are run by people who are sympathetic to the belief system”
    Another Fallacy: generalisation. Have you visit them all? Evidence please?

    “the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship oversees the schools and makes sure they comply with their criteria for accreditation”
    Unclear assumption: what does the criteria and the accreditation involves?

    “So there will be teachers in any given school who believe in Steiner’s reincarnation and that children are living out their karma. Usually these are the senior staff who make the decisions.”
    Are you concluding that the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship checks if there are teachers who believe in reencarnation and karma? who said that to you? HAHAHA: Evidence please?

    “The problems experienced by unsuspecting families all over the world are universal”
    Another Fallacy: generalisation. Have you visit them all? Evidence please?

    “unchecked bullying”
    I agree that some schools have a terrible record, at the end of the day they are just schools run by people: some are really bad and some are really good.

    “favouritism towards anthroposophical families”
    Never heard of this one but if true it would be sad. Evidence please?

    “inept organisation”
    Prejudism! Evidence please?

    “classification of children according to their build, “race”, or physical features.”
    Never heard of this one but if true it would be sad. Evidence please? I mean name the schools please.

    “Lack of focus on intellectual pursuits, Steiner prayers and rituals, a curriculum that presupposes a spiritual world complete with “elementals” and demons, and the Steiner versions of history and science, etc, etc.”
    Name the schools please! If you truly pursuit the thruth let me double check the information by myself.

    “karma and reincarnation are central to the Steiner curriculum”
    I would really love to see the evidence for this one, I’m not joking.

    “the creed affects how children are treated in school, and you have to do a lot of digging to uncover the facts”
    The “creed”? Strawman fallacy! Steiner education is not a religion.
    “how children are treated in school” children are treated with love and reverence. If they are not they are simply terrible teachers and you should shame the teachers! (please name the schools)
    “and you have to do a lot of digging to uncover the facts” It is so sad how these site is full of prejudism and no names (since it is claimed that “all” the schools do the same).

    By the way, anecdotal evidences are also a type of fallacy. They are valid as real experiences and they must be investigated but they also do not represent all the schools around the world. Serious claims require hard evidence: please name the schools.

    “It is all so preposterous that parents have trouble believing what they see with their own eyes.”
    We obviously must be stupid for not reading the names of the schools, ops sorry! you already said it happens in all the schools and that it is universal: you don’t need evidence! hahaha

    Please write something just a bit less prejudist, and show your universal list of schools you have visited that show all these issues. I am sincerely waiting without any resentment.

    • Helen

      Hi Helen, my following reply is intended out of curiosity for your sources without any intended offense, I’m just being direct.

      Ok, I believe you.

      “Steiner schools and the associated problems are the same all over the world”
      Fallacy: generalisation. Have you visit them all? Evidence please?

      No I haven’t, but I certainly believe the accounts of people who have suffered in New Zealand, Sweden, the United States, and in this country, and the stories are all remarkably similar.

      “All Steiner schools are run by people who are sympathetic to the belief system”
      Another Fallacy: generalisation. Have you visit them all? Evidence please?

      Look at the names of those in charge and they will usually be anthroposophists.

      “the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship oversees the schools and makes sure they comply with their criteria for accreditation”
      Unclear assumption: what does the criteria and the accreditation involves?

      Did you follow the link in the post? Read the accreditation document or this post
      https://stopsteinerinstroud.com/2014/09/30/chaos-confusion-disorder/

      “So there will be teachers in any given school who believe in Steiner’s reincarnation and that children are living out their karma. Usually these are the senior staff who make the decisions.”
      Are you concluding that the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship checks if there are teachers who believe in reencarnation and karma? who said that to you? HAHAHA: Evidence please?

      The “college of teachers” in Steiner schools is run by those who know the most about anthroposophy. They have usually been members of the school of spiritual science based at the Goetheanum, or written books about using anthroposophy in schools, or give advice on using anthroposophy. Most teachers have been trained in anthroposophy at the London Waldorf Seminar or at West of England Steiner Teacher Training (Westt). The parents will not usually be aware of this, and may wonder why certain teachers are more influential in the school than others.
      Try asking any Steiner teacher whether they believe in reincarnation. I have, and no-one ever says no.

      “The problems experienced by unsuspecting families all over the world are universal”
      Another Fallacy: generalisation. Have you visit them all? Evidence please?

      There have been accounts from disappointed and damaged families around the world.I do not have to visit catholic schools all over the world to know they are run by catholics. Same with anthroposophy schools.

      “unchecked bullying”
      I agree that some schools have a terrible record, at the end of the day they are just schools run by people: some are really bad and some are really good.

      It’s the belief in karma that is the problem here. Teachers who believe in Steiner’s version of karma think they shouldn’t interfere. Some teachers have more strongly held beliefs than others, resulting in catastrophe for the families concerned.
      Here’s an interesting https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/waldorf-critics/conversations/topics/25717 dialogue on the matter on Waldorf critics

      “favouritism towards anthroposophical families”
      Never heard of this one but if true it would be sad. Evidence please?

      So many victims have recounted the way some children are treated differently to others according to who their parents are.

      Read accounts from those who have left – they are not difficult to find. This one is a good example;

      “inept organisation”
      Prejudism! Evidence please?

      Again, countless examples. Try the recent Ofsted report on Exeter Steiner Academy.

      “classification of children according to their build, “race”, or physical features.”
      Never heard of this one but if true it would be sad. Evidence please? I mean name the schools please.

      This I have witnessed myself in a staff room, as indicated above. Any Steiner school that carries out child study (all of them) is guilty of this.

      “Lack of focus on intellectual pursuits, Steiner prayers and rituals, a curriculum that presupposes a spiritual world complete with “elementals” and demons, and the Steiner versions of history and science, etc, etc.”
      Name the schools please! If you truly pursuit the thruth let me double check the information by myself.

      A former Steiner parent has put artwork on the internet with helpful descriptions; read this post https://stopsteinerinstroud.com/2013/10/23/hang-a-sign-on-the-door/
      Or look at all the pictures here; http://s1314.photobucket.com/user/goldflame7/library/?sort=6&page=1
      Be sure to click on each picture and read the text.

      “karma and reincarnation are central to the Steiner curriculum”
      I would really love to see the evidence for this one, I’m not joking.

      I don’t know which country you were educated in, but if you read the Richter and Rawson book used by Steiner schools in this country you will see how it is based on anthroposophy.
      http://www.florisbooks.co.uk/book/Kevin-Avison/Tasks+and+Content+of+the+Steiner-Waldorf+Curriculum/9781782500421
      Here’s one of the posts I wrote on it.
      https://stopsteinerinstroud.com/2014/04/23/science/

      “the creed affects how children are treated in school, and you have to do a lot of digging to uncover the facts”
      The “creed”? Strawman fallacy! Steiner education is not a religion.

      Anthroposophy is the creed. Steiner schools would not exist without anthroposophy. Otherwise they could teach what they like and do away with the eurythmy and the child study and the gnomes.

      “how children are treated in school” children are treated with love and reverence. If they are not they are simply terrible teachers and you should shame the teachers! (please name the schools)
      “and you have to do a lot of digging to uncover the facts” It is so sad how these site is full of prejudism and no names (since it is claimed that “all” the schools do the same).

      This is where I start to worry for you and/or your children. “Love and reverence” are not what school is about. Professionalism, competence and, if we are lucky, dedication, is what most parents hope for from teachers. You are clearly associated with Steiner in some way otherwise you would not use those words, and you appear really to be unaware of the way anthroposophy is used.
      You have been interested enough to come here and comment several times, and, I assume, read what has been written. I assume you have read some of the critical accounts from Steiner school survivors?
      https://sites.google.com/site/waldorfwatch/slaps

      By the way, anecdotal evidences are also a type of fallacy. They are valid as real experiences and they must be investigated but they also do not represent all the schools around the world. Serious claims require hard evidence: please name the schools.

      Yes they should be investigated, but sadly many parents do not go to the authorities as they wish to protect their families. There is a fear of persecution.
      https://stopsteinerinstroud.com/2014/04/05/persecution/
      I do not think all Steiner schools are as bad as each other, certain schools are worse than others, as has been well documented on the Waldorf Review. Trouble is it depends how each teacher interprets the belief system anthroposophy. True believers are unswerving in their dedication to it, and are usually involved at the top – “the college of teachers” will have anthroposophists at the helm.
      Have you looked at Waldorf watch, by the way, or wondered why Steiner schools have their own critics forum and a survivors group? No other worldwide education system has this.

      “It is all so preposterous that parents have trouble believing what they see with their own eyes.”
      We obviously must be stupid for not reading the names of the schools, ops sorry! you already said it happens in all the schools and that it is universal: you don’t need evidence! hahaha

      What I mean here (there is something of a language barrier between us, I feel) is that parents witnessing the evidence for anthoposophy in schools (such as the swords at Michaelmas and the gnomes in their childrens workbooks)dismiss it as quirky or cute until they begin to understand how anthroposophy works. Sometimes they never do understand.

      Please write something just a bit less prejudist, and show your universal list of schools you have visited that show all these issues. I am sincerely waiting without any resentment.

      Someone in your position may regard my views and those of commenters here as prejudiced, and that can’t be helped. If I were a parent looking at schools right now I would not dismiss criticism of Steiner education as prejudiced until I had looked into anthroposophy and how it is used on children for myself. Some parents may do this and still think Steiner education is ok for their child, but we can at least try to alert unsuspecting parents to the dangers.

      • Little Thoughts

        Hi Helen, thanks for your reply.

        “You are clearly associated with Steiner in some way otherwise you would not use those words”
        It is not that I’m associated with Steiner, it is that I like to read and research before I have a serious discussion. Hence, I appreciate your time answering.

        I agree that some schools have a terrible record but many schools do and are not associated with Anthroposophy, they are associated with other classifications, for example some that come to mind are “mainstrean”, “catholic”, “public”, “grammar schools”, “private”, “independent” etc. I agree that there have been horrible incidents but they are down to the teachers not the pedagogy. Steiner pedagogy can be interpreted in different schools in different ways. In some schools the teachers take it very dogmatically and I agree with you that it is a dangerous territory. It is a grotesque interpretation of Steiner. For example, I thank you for showing me the link to the students books from the photobucket link; I am appalled that a teacher is trying to force Anthroposophical concepts into a child. As I understood spirituality in Steiner schools is taught in 2 ways: by creating a strong relationship of the child with the natural world through exploration (i.e. nature walks, science, etc), and morality trough stories. Steiner made it very clear that his conclusions (aka “spiritual research”) are his only and ultimately to achieve the unique development of each child individuality the teacher has the last say on how to best facilitate that; Steiner conclusions are not a dogma to be followed. The teachers who have traumatised students by dogmatically interpreting Steiner without really meeting the students individuality were not (as you well pointed–) professionals, competent and dedicated. The good Steiner teacher understands that to achieve these qualities as teacher they have to really love their profession and revere the sacredness of childhood as the hope for the future of humanity.

        I have read many Steiner critic websites and I decided to write in this one since I do not live far from Stroud. I feel that the traumatic cases people have gone through are horrible and it is a shame that any student had to go through that. The teachers should be named and ashamed but to blame the whole Steiner movement is a deeply prejudist action. I agree that many schools are not being diligent enough when confronted with these issues and they become defensive rather then proactive. I understand that from outside it may feel like a “sect” when some people act in this way but that is not the whole picture. It is very easy to paint everything into a black and white picture, it’s the easiest form of propaganda i.e. demonazing the enemy, notheless reality is always a more complex picture.

        You keep saying you have met one person here who said this and a person there who did that, and because they call themselves Anthroposophists they must all be like the same. For example, once the “war on terror” started I decided to inform myself better about Islam. I heard that Islam is a religion of hate and that in the Q’uran (their holy book) there are some passages that justified Muslims to enslave and kill “non-belivers”. It seems that the terrorist or any violent muslim take these passages literally, however in my neighbourhood live many Muslims and they do not try to kill me: what should I make of that? are they all good or all bad?

        In conclusion, the only reason I feel to keep writing it’s because Anth. is not a religion, it understands that the most important thing is to nurture the individuality of each person in their time and space and hence teachers should support children develop their innate and unique capacities. Anything different is a brainwash and should be chased case by case. Parents reading this should demand deeper questions from Steiner schools and their actions in the end will force many schools to improve.

        • Helen

          How long have you been “reading and researching” anthroposophy?
          In that time you seem to have become enamoured with it and seek to defend it stridently.
          “It is a grotesque interpretation of Steiner.” No. It is the correct interpretation of Steiner. That is why the whole system is at fault. The teachers who understand and follow Steiner’s “indications” the most diligently are the most respected and senior within the schools. They are the ones who train other teachers, who write the books, and dictate via organisations like the SWSF the way the schools must operate. Critics have been “asking deeper questions” for decades, but the schools refuse to change, and as they see it “dilute the Steiner ethos”.
          I do believe this is why the Stroud free school bid failed in the end. The group thought they could run some kind of New Age touchy- feely colourfully decorated school under the umbrella of Steiner, but found that the Steiner system is rigid and uncompromising in its conformity to the Steiner doctrine. Kevin Avison et al at SWSF headquarters were having none of it. Anyway, Wynstones down the road is doing a fine job of perpetuating anthroposophy without even mentioning it on the website, so I am sure they are satisfied.

          • Steve

            I agree with Helen: those who follow Steiner’s doctrines the most, are those who travel well up the movement’s hierarchy. As I said in my previous comment: the school who traumatised our kids in the name of anthroposophy is also that country’s Federation’s HQ. And no one, not even Dornach did anything about that, even when they blatantly contradicted themselves once the settlement reached the ears and eyes of the media.

            And did anyone lose their jobs over such blatant lies? Of course not. You see, it’s ok to justify yourself with a lie once what you admitted in a public document is so embarrassing you can only lie to do “damage control”. And you have no idea how many people have said that the school’s public statement, written after and contradicting what they said through a Human Rights settlement is “the truth”.

            So does that mean that the school willingly lied in front of the Director of the Human Rights Tribunal? If that preposterous notion were accepted, it would mean that those who say the school’s later public statement is the truth, admit that lying to Human Rights is fine and dandy. How can anyone square that?

        • Steve

          I wanted to add regarding the need to have evidence: although standing up and naming the school in question is crucial, many are terrified to do so, fearing repercussions from the oh so loving Steiner community.

          We have numerous testimonials in our possession that we haven’t published because, although a member of a family had the courage to speak to us and share their horrendous experience with us, they realised they couldn’t cope with the inevitable consequences of their story going public.

          Now tell me, “Little Thoughts”, what kind of “loving” movement would engender such fear from families who used to attend one of its schools?

          • Little Thoughts

            I agree with you Steve, these type of behaviours are sickening, but again it is what kind of “loving people” not “loving movement” (generalising is a fallacy); i.e. “not all catholic priests are paedophiles”, or “not all atheists are communists and rude”, or “not all muslims are terrorist”.

            • Steve

              As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t condemn others in your movement committing atrocities, you’re an accessory, because your silence or indifference propagates the damage you refuse to deal with.

              And that’s what I see in the Steiner movement.

      • Little Thoughts

        Hi Helen, about that Steiner education curriculum book that you linked to, I have asked and they tell me that each teacher is pretty free to introduce or not to introduce, a non-conventional approach to Science (the one you criticised on your post on Science). Nonetheless, apparently since each school is so independent, when they do recruitment the most modern Steiner schools will choose teachers that follow more conventional approaches to Science (the type you would be more inclined to). In summary, each school has a different “editioral line” but since all are called Steiner schools it leads to confusion, and parents assume that the schools with more orthodox 19century approaches must the real deal because on a superficial reading it matches Mr. Steiner guidelines. Probably it would be useful to create a list of questions parents should ask in each school before sending their children there, such as: what are the bullying policies? could I talk to any survivor of bullying from your school? how do you assess and deal with cases of SEN? can I meet my childs main class teacher? how does my childs Class teacher adresses the Science class? Is anybody supervising the Class teacher work? Could I talk to other parents from this school? Could I observe a whole day of school? could I choose the day myself?

  3. Steve

    Oh lordy. “Evidence please” you hear that all the time. Isn’t it convenient that most parents initially trust the school they’ve put their children in and therefore don’t think to keep records of what’s going on? So by the time they leave in disgust, all you have are their word against the school’s. And why would a “kinder, gentler” alternative education system be horrible to children? No! It must be the parents’ fault. Nothing to do with Steiner. Blame the parents.

    It happens the world over, and it happened to my family. Except in our case, because the manager worked part-time, we had an email correspondence we could draw on. It didn’t stop the school lying through its teeth to demonise us, the parents. We were horrible, dangerous people, etc. etc. etc. And the school community had no problem spreading those lies throughout the local area. And beyond. Blame the parents.

    It so couldn’t have been the school’s fault because you see, that school also happens to be that country’s Steiner Federation HQ and the people who traumatised our children are also the guiding light for all other Steiner schools in the country. So it couldn’t be the school, eh? Blame the parents.

    Except it was the school. We took them to mediation through Human Rights where they admitted that our child’s account of bullying were true and that rather than deal with the reported bullying, they expelled her and her sisters. But once the media got hold of the story, the school had to issue another statement totally contradicting what they signed in front of Human Rights and state that our child was lying, that there was no bullying and it was… you guessed it, all the parent’s fault. Blame the parents.

    And that’s a kinder, gentler school which treats children with “love and reverence”. Check our story here:
    http://www.titirangisteinermessenger.com where you’ll also see testimonials from other families who attended the same school.

    And yes, this happens to other families the world over. Check testimonials from New Zealand:
    http://www.steinermentary.com/SM/NZ.html

    France:
    http://www.steinermentary.com/SM/France.html

    Switzerland:
    http://www.steinermentary.com/SM/Switzerland.html

    UK:
    http://www.steinermentary.com/SM/UK.html

    USA:
    http://www.steinermentary.com/SM/USA.html

    And then read this article about how these lovely, kind and caring communities treat families who dare speak up – the world over:
    http://www.steinermentary.com/SM/Luciferocity-Lies.html

    And for an encore, check out this one about how this demonisation of families also happened to teachers who are no longer needed:
    http://www.steinermentary.com/SM/Luciferocity-Witch-Hunts.html

    Look after the children in your care. Or just blame the parents.

    • Helen

      Thanks Steve, I was hoping you would comment.
      People become critics of Steiner for different reasons, but the experiences of those who have been on the receiving end as parents or as children are the most valuable in this debate. The total lack of compassion shown by the people who run the schools when it comes to dealing with the aftermath is despicable in my view. Instead of looking at their own shortcomings they persecute the victims further. So much for the “spiritual” way of life.

      • Steve

        Exactly!

        If Steiner schools are places where children are “treated with love and reverence”, then schools behaving how we’ve documented should be closed down, instead of sweeping the problem under the rug, blaming the families for any failings, and repeating the damage ad nauseam.

        The very fact that people make excuses for what these schools do, don’t fight for transparency and to get rid of those schools/staff who give the movement such a bad name, highlights the deception.

        “Little Thoughts” and all the others should be fighting to right these wrongs, not find excuses for them. No family, no child should be viewed as acceptable collateral damage for a supposedly kinder, gentler educational movement. The very fact I have to write this is mind boggling.

        • Little Thoughts

          Hi Helen and Steve,

          Steve said: ” “Little Thoughts” and all the others should be fighting to right these wrongs, not find excuses for them”

          Come on Steve, that is not fair, I have not given any excuses for the horrible actions some Steiner teachers had in the links you pointed. I have very clearly agreed with you both that they have been horrible behaviours and I have also agreed that schools have not been proactive and understanding but defensive and narrow minded instead.

          Helen said: “People become critics of Steiner for different reasons, but the experiences of those who have been on the receiving end as parents or as children are the most valuable in this debate. The total lack of compassion shown by the people who run the schools when it comes to dealing with the aftermath is despicable in my view. Instead of looking at their own shortcomings they persecute the victims further. So much for the “spiritual” way of life.”

          I fully agree, it is a disgrace. Im my experience that type of behaviour is most anti-Steiner.

          I do not disagree with any of your complaints, I’ve never done it in any of my comments. I have only asked you to show me your sources, which you did, but I feel from the lack of acknwoledgement in your replies that may be I haven’t been sufficiently clear about my position.
          Anthroposophy is an evolving philosophy. It is a “philosophy” because I don’t have to susbcribe to everything that Steiner or any other person said, it’s about finding my own individuality/life path. Hence ideally the most modellic Anthroposophist should never quote Steiner or any other person but talk from personal experience. And it is “evolving” because whatever Steiner or any other Anthro. author said it belongs to their own experience of their time and space. I could perfectly disagree with things Steiner said but that would not make Steiner wrong, that would just mean that my experience is different (I am a different person at a different time and space) and it could be that people around me find the account of my experiences more useful than those of Steiner. In Anthroposophy you find lots of people who rely more or less on Steiner conclusions. Sadly those who behave in most dogmatic ways, or show a “nerdy” look are most memorable in the public eye but as usual that is not the whole picture i.e. “not all catholic priests are paedophiles”, or “not all atheists are communists and rude”, or “not all muslims are terrorist” (as explained in my last reply).

          I nonetheless, fully dissaprove of the horrible treatments many students and teachers (i.e. Norwich school) had to go through. My experience of Anthroposophy and that of many younger generations is very much oppositional with these type of behaviours and we would love to see the SWSF more open, implicated and proactive in preventing and educating future Steiner schools in these matters.

          • Steve

            the solution is simple, “Little Thoughts”: fire the disgusting staff and close the horrendous schools down. But the movement doesn’t do that. Why not? They give the movement a truly bad reputation. Why not get rid? It ain’t hard to do.

            The manager who expelled my kids is still the head of that country’s Steiner Federation.

            That school has been running for decades, damaging so many children’s lives.

            All the good it supposedly/allegedly does is for nothing, absolutely nothing, if it also casually traumatises children.

            So… why is that school *still* that country’s Steiner Federation?

            It’s not like Dornach doesn’t know. But, hey, passing the buck must be a fantastic pastime for “caring and loving” organisations.

            • Little Thoughts

              “As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t condemn others in your movement committing atrocities, you’re an accessory, because your silence or indifference propagates the damage you refuse to deal with.
              And that’s what I see in the Steiner movement.”

              Now I finally fully agree with a post. There are bad teachers, there are teachers who may not do enough to “condemn others”, and there are good teachers who try to change the movement from within. The fact that you don’t see them doesn’t mean they are not doing it, do you want them to send you a report of their daily movements? (I’m being ironic, but I get your point).

              “the solution is simple, “Little Thoughts”: fire the disgusting staff ”
              I agree.

              “But the movement doesn’t do that. Why not? They give the movement a truly bad reputation. Why not get rid? It ain’t hard to do.”
              What you call “the movement”, which I supose you mean “the pedagogical movement” is not a cohesive goup but a very loosely organised one, the only one insitution that could represent the whole spiritual movement is the Anthroposophical Society. However in terms of “the pedagogical movement” each school is totally independent. Until now they were just seen as problems each school had to deal with on their own, because they are not a cohesive group they rarely share resources, network, or act as a unified front. The SWSF doesn’t have much to say beyond advising when asked (which is very sad, they could be more implicated). I have to say that only recently there have been serious planning to address the issues you describe on a large scale, which is encouraging, but a bit late for many of the traumatised students.

            • Helen

              “Little thoughts” – if you really know that as you said

              recently there have been serious planning to address the issues you describe on a large scale,

              You must indeed be in a privileged position within the movement, and you seem very knowledgeable for someone who claims not to be involved with anthroposophy.
              I think if all the disgusting staff Steve mentioned, and all the people who believe Steiner was clairvoyant and his instructions must therefore be obeyed were sacked, there would be almost no-one left. But it would, as you say, “address the issues”.
              You are wrong about the SWSF. There are penalties for non-compliance with the rules, as you will know if you have read their documents.

              .

  4. Steve

    I don’t agree with you, “Little Thoughts”: Steiner schools are a cohesive whole and there are specific criteria they must abide by in order to be able to call themselves Steiner or Waldorf schools. Otherwise any Tom, Dick or Harry (or Tina, Denise or Harriette) could set up a “Steiner” school, and we all know that’s not how it works.

    Further, in 2009, many Federations the world over signed a document drafted by the Pedagogical Section of Dornach, which clearly states which marked characteristics make a Waldorf school a Waldorf school.

    It’s a movement, it’s an organisation, and they have a duty of care to the children in their schools. By ignoring the repeated and eerily similar issues that crop up the world over, they are failing in that duty.

    • Little Thoughts

      Yes they seem cohesive on a large scale, but I doubt how long it took them to reach an agreement given they are so loosely organised. On a national scale they are even less organised. Nonetheless I agree they have a duty of care, but the reality is that they should be better organised for the sake of the children safety and they are not, yet.

      • Steve

        I’m sorry, but I don’t buy that. There have been Steiner schools for nearly 100 years; that document is nearly 6 years old. If they still haven’t go their duty of care sorted, they’re remarkably blasé about it… unless of course this laisser faire attitude is actually there for a reason…

        • Little Thoughts

          I know, it is like a bit like a woody allen movie. The first time I started to ask questions I thought the same thing: but I swear it so strange how loosely organise they are, they have survived out of working for low pay.

  5. Little Thoughts

    I am not in a privileged position within the movement. I know people within the school I used to go to and I was told that few months ago the SWSF had a workshop for all the schools who wished to attend about how to properly deal with bullying: to seriously eradicate the notion that children are meeting their karma fwhen bullied. You would be surprised how many teachers do not indoctrinate children the way Gregoire Perra describes, that type of brainwashing is sickening.

    • Helen

      So…the SWSF had a workshop “to seriously eradicate the notion that children are meeting their karma when bullied.”
      Wow!!! If that is not an admission of guilt I don’t know what is. What a pitiful position for an organisation responsible for schools to be in.

      Now I understand – you went to a Steiner school. Thank you for the information; better late than never.

      • Little Thoughts

        Wait, the title of the workshop was not “to seriously eradicate the notion that children are meeting their karma when bullied.” but that was the most important point that came up during the event.

    • Little Thoughts

      “You would be surprised how many teachers do not indoctrinate children the way Gregoire Perra describes, that type of brainwashing is sickening.” I mean that no teacher I’ve ever met as student or as adult indoctrinate children as G.P. claims, nor they pretend to be something different in front of the school inspectors: G.P. testimony is jawdropping.

  6. Steve

    Yes, I agree that type of brainwashing is sickening, but what was so disturbing and revealing to us was how similar his account which we translated in 2012 – http://www.steinermentary.com/SM/France-Indoctrination.html – was to what we experienced ourselves on the other side of the world.

    The only link is the fact that Grégoire and our kids attended a Steiner school.

    And then there’s all the other similar stories… and yet you claim all schools are independent. That’s some remarkable coincidence if that were true.

    Speaking of truth, I haven’t seen a reply to this, so what do you think about people who imply that it was ok for the Steiner school to lie to the Director of the Human Rights Tribunal, if they’re happy to state that the contradicting letter they published afterwards is the truth?

    • Little Thoughts

      I didn’t know anything about that story until I read it on your link to Steinermentary. But I’m not surprised, if they think that by reading a lot of Steiner books you are an Anthroposophists, they probrably have not understood they real truth within Anth: to find achieve your individuality. When someone has not understood the basics they get lost in personal emotional contradictions and “cognitive dissonaces”, hence all the stupid behaviours like lying to the Tribunal.
      I remenber talking to the type of Anthroposophists you would not think are Anth. (because they don’t fit the stereotype) and they told me that Steiner actually only wrote very few books because he said that his lectures belonged to the time he was living, it could obscure future generations individual development. However his “followers” wanted to record them so hence most of his books which bring all the confusion are his lectures. Their reading is very unaccesible because Steiner was inspirily speaking from a tribune not for a book reader.

      • Steve

        Ok, I don’t think we understand one another here. You seem to be implying that the school did indeed lie to the Director of the HR Tribunal. Is that what you meant?

        • Little Thoughts

          Again: I didn’t know anything about that story until I read it on your link to Steinermentary. I am just assuming things, guessing in the air. It is the first time I’ve heard about this case.

          • Steve

            Ok, let me try to make my question clear:

            1. The school settled with us through the Human Rights Commission and signed a public document in front of the Human Rights Tribunal Director, where they admit some things.

            2. The media got hold of the story and in response the school published a letter on their site where they go back on everything that they signed in the settlement

            3. People then say that this letter is the truth (therefore implying that what they signed was a lie).

            What do you think about those people and their action?

            • Little Thoughts

              I think that you should never lie. A school should be a transparent place where parents should not have to find surprises. Lying to a Tribunal or to the parents is as bad.

            • Helen

              “What do you think about those people and their action?”
              I think those people should be stopped immediately. Their actions showed contempt for children and families. They are a danger to children and will continue to be so.

    • Little Thoughts

      Steve said: “By that I’m reading “they thought of ways to seriously make sure their staff won’t be telling parents or children that the bullying we won’t be interfering with is due to their karma”.”

      No, no. they actually are acknowledging that some teachers are not properly addressing bullying and that they have to do something at larger scale to support the children and re-educate such a view on karma.
      In my view, even if the karma view was correct, which isn’t but lets play devils advocate, it would be a catch-22 against them: for example, a teacher sees a child been bullied, he thinks he is acting his karma out, he lets it go, the child tells his parents, the parents go through hell with the school, the parents leave the school, the local newspaper gets involved, the school falls in disrepute. Once you are participant of something you are acting your karma hence when the teacher “let it go” his karma ended bring the school to disrepute. It is all absurd even on their way of interpreting karma: they are just very ignorant people who should be sacked.

  7. Steve

    Little Thoughts said: “I think that you should never lie. A school should be a transparent place where parents should not have to find surprises. Lying to a Tribunal or to the parents is as bad.”

    And yet you’re still not answering my question: “what do you think about those people and their actions”, and by “those people” I mean those who say the letter contradicting the settlement is the truth?

    Oh and I haven’t missed the fact that you like to remain vague about which is the truth, the settlement or the letter…

  8. Little Thoughts

    Wait I don’t mean to be vague at all. My apolofies if that is what it seems. “what do you think about those people and their actions” I think that those people are a bunch of lyers: their are misleading the public with their letter to manage the disrepute. The letter has no legal standing. The settlement is the only truth.

    All being said I haven’t read the settlement, nor the letter. But legally speaking the settlement is what counts, I suppose if they lie in court they could have serious legal consequences.

  9. Steve

    “A school should be a transparent place where parents should not have to find surprises.”

    According to all our research, what you’ve described is the exact opposite of what a Steiner school is!

    • Little Thoughts

      That is why I said “should”, but not all the Steienr schools are the same. They are all independent and the fact that one is obscure doesn’t mean that the one next door is the same.

      • Steve

        Except in our case (which is why I believe our case is actually important), that school and its staff also head that country’s Federation, and they therefore have the ear of Dornach. Should it therefore not lead by example?

      • Little Thoughts

        It isn’t. I have never come across any friend of mine who studied in any UK teacher training who said it was part of their training.
        It doesn’t matter if Steiner said anything about it or not each teacher is their own individual, Steiner is dead long ago, they are living today, they are responsible adults: don’t blame a book blame the ignorant adult that does ignorant things. Each teacher has to tune within themselves and find out what works best for their students regardless of what Steiner said 100 years ago. The curriculum is pretty open to how to apply it.

        • Steve

          Three modern examples:

          From a Steiner school newsletter: “children who are regularly victimized by bullies may also be engaging in addictive behavior. […] Denied his or her usual [bullying] behavior, a child may simply become compulsive about something else, like video games.”

          From a document written for a Steiner school: “Can a child’s karma or destiny be that of a victim or bully? Is it a child’s destiny to seek certain experiences to build his or her self-esteem and inner self? Should a potentially abusive situation be stopped, and if so, at what point?”

          And Eugene Schwartz’s infamous video: https://vimeo.com/56109384

          • Little Thoughts

            In relation to our previous conversation on the recent SWSF workshop on bullying, I have asked my friends and they have given me more details. The title was: “Safe to learn: developing & maintaining strong inclusive (anti-bullying) practice in our schools”. The conclusions acknowledged the cases of children bullying by other children, by teachers to children and between members of staff. They discussed programs of anti-bullying, how to most effectively apply them, and senior members of the Anthroposophical Society addressed the attendees around the myths about “karma” and why any link with bullying is nonsense. In summary, it was made very clear that bullying of any type is an un-acceptable behabiour. Sounds a positive start.

            • Helen

              Can you tell me when and where the meeting was held? You said it was for any school that wanted to attend, but I can’t see anything about it on the SWSF website. Was it well publicised to make sure as many people knew about it as possible.?

              The first part about anti-bullying is the kind of thing all schools are putting into practise, but the part about karma is unique. Such an important topic should have been compulsory for all Steiner teachers, if the “senior members of the anthroposophical society” were really concerned about protecting children. This is an important child welfare issue.

            • Steve

              Sounds interesting indeed.

              We had suggested the school our kids attended to allow the Human Rights Commission to come in for an anti-bullying workshop (something the HRC offered to do). The school – the HQ to that country’s Steiner Federation (I know I keep saying this but it’s important not to forget) – refused.

        • Helen

          The discussion I linked to on Waldorf critics between Dan Dugan and Eugene Schwarz is interesting. Steiner never said “You must allow children to bully each other” but he did say that what happens to us is dependent on karma, and in your words, ” children meet their karma”. His idea of karma is that what happens to us depends on our previous incarnations.
          It is a horrible, horrible idea, but it is taken as fact by Steiner followers who think he was a genius. (commenters here have used that word)

          “Each teacher has to tune within themselves and find out what works best for their students regardless of what Steiner said 100 years ago.”

          A lot of teachers seem to think it works best to allow kids to seriously injure each other for life.

          • Little Thoughts

            I have seen Eugene video in the past. I find it very distasteful.

            “Can a child’s karma or destiny be that of a victim or bully? Is it a child’s destiny to seek certain experiences to build his or her self-esteem and inner self? Should a potentially abusive situation be stopped, and if so, at what point?”
            To even consider a justification for a child to be bullied is mounstrous.

    • Steve

      It’s really simple: it’s either incompetence or by design.

      You appear to go with “Incompetence”, which if that were the case makes me wonder how such an incompetent system could be the “fastest growing alternative education movement in the world”.

      I go with “by design” and I don’t pluck this option because it suits me: we’ve done our homework on this. We initially thought it was incompetence too, the result of a bad school, a “rogue Steiner school” as we used to call it. But the more research we did, the more we found that, no, it’s not just that school, it’s a myriad of them, and the words of Steiner and his followers bore that out. That’s when “incompetence” has to give way to “by design”

  10. Little Thoughts

    I swear to you that it is no bloody way by design, Oh my god! they are just growing in countries were Steiner schools are a new thing. Steiner education is many pedagogical aspects very advanced for the time when they were born more and more studies show that many of their ideas are actually working. However, some people who apply them have mental problems and are damaging children and families. I’m sure that statistically speaking the levels of bullyng in Steiner schools are no greater than on ay other type of school. Nonetheless, it is in great need of renovation in all the areas that you have described.
    Their survival is based on the low pay living that many of their workers endure inspired by their spiritual path. People in Steiner schools earn really little, the schools have lots of costs, this movement growth is not based on financial motivations.

    • Steve

      “I swear to you that it is no bloody way by design, Oh my god!”

      How do you know that for sure? You yourself have told us that you’re only connected superficially to the whole thing. Haven’t you noticed that this pedagogical movement keeps secrets? If you haven’t then you don’t know them at all.

      ” this movement growth is not based on financial motivations.”

      It’s a much richer movement than you might think (they have their own banks btw), but yes I agree, they’re not motivated by money. Their goal is to save humanity and change the way children are taught with the help and guidance of archangels from the seventh realm (we know because Archangel Uriel wrote to us via a Steiner school trustee’s wife to tell us so).

      • Helen

        they’re not motivated by money

        that is true up to a point, but the anthroposophists do seem to need gainful employment and to find it in the schools and camphills etc.
        I heard the Steiner movement described recently as a money-making cult, and I did not argue.

      • Little Thoughts

        “How do you know that for sure?” Because I talk to people who are involved in the Steiner movement, I myself enjoy reading Anthroposophy, but I find mounstrous the things some people do on its name.

        They don’t “have” banks. Some people thought on creating a bank to support any initiative whether Steiner or not that may support the health of the planet, i.e. organic farming, ecovillages, etc.

        • Nick Nakorn

          Little Thoughts, Comparatively recently the Anthroposophical banks have severed their formal links yet senior staff were for many years senior Anthroposophists and, because we know how secretive they have been in the past, there’s no way of telling how secretive they still are. What do you think of the history of Triodos?

          • Little Thoughts

            I only know about Triodos that it was funded under Anth principles, and that some of the trustees still have personal ties with Anth. That being said, I think in a nutshell that in Anth. you can find a minority of people who don’t understand Anth. (with “mental problems”) and therefore make life intolerable to everyone around. And you have a vast majority of well intentioned people who live very peaceful and honest lives, who support any social movement whether Anth or not as far as they are for the wellfare of the planet i.e. soil standard association, eco-villages, ethical banking, etc. Some of them may make choices that may sound a bit far out for some people such as homeopathy but their choices are always under a bening rationale.

            Actually Triodos probably was the first Ethical banking and Biodynamic farming the first organic farming style both in the modern western world. Biodynamic farming may have some critics about being a bit far out but still it truly takes seriously (even into the spiritual level) what it means to respect the wellfare of husbandry.

            • Nick Nakorn

              Do you think a system based on a racial hierarchy to be ethical? Do you think pedaling mystical invention instead of evidence-based medicine to be benign? Do you think replacing science with unfounded and incorrect opinion to be honest? Do you think it is well-intentioned to fund a racist organisation? Do you think anyone who finds Anthroposophy not understandable to have ‘mental problems’?

    • Little Thoughts

      “Can you tell me when and where the meeting was held? You said it was for any school that wanted to attend, but I can’t see anything about it on the SWSF website. Was it well publicised to make sure as many people knew about it as possible.? ”

      It was held few months ago, I don’t know when. The workshop was for schools who belonged to the SWSF, I guess it was communicated directly to the schools.

  11. Little Thoughts

    Hi Nick,

    “Do you think a system based on a racial hierarchy to be ethical?”
    No, nor does anybody I know. Anth is a philosophy (not a religion) and hence I don’t have to agree with everything said by Mr. Steiner. By the way, it is not a hierarchy, in Anth absolutely nobody thinks any person is more than any other person based on race.

    “Do you think pedaling mystical invention instead of evidence-based medicine to be benign?”
    I think that if you only experiement with your own body and don’t force it to anyone it’s fine. I do not do homeopathy nonetheless.

    “Do you think replacing science with unfounded and incorrect opinion to be honest?”
    No. In an evolving philosophy, as the world of science discover new things people integrate them into their world view. If you give me a specific example I could be more concrete.

    “Do you think it is well-intentioned to fund a racist organisation?”
    No, but nor I think the Anth movement is a racists organisation. Whatever Mr. Steiner may have said 100 years ago doesn’t automatically become what think today. I sincerely feel this “racial” issue is more sematical than anything else, I’m pretty sure that most of the people who consider themselves Anth are any racists at all, regardless of what Steiner said: how many Anth have you found to be racists? have you seen them doing racists things? If everyone were racists it would be very easy to find widespread evidence.

    “Do you think anyone who finds Anthroposophy not understandable to have ‘mental problems’?”
    No, why?

    • Steve

      I guess it all comes down to whether Anthroposophy is a philosophy or a religion. You insist it’s the former, and hence you can legitimately pick and choose what you like out of it, but many believe it’s the latter.

      In fact, we ran a survey years ago about private schools in New Zealand in general. One of the respondents was from a Steiner school and stated that their school was indeed a religious one (if only PLANS had known that when they were fighting this issue in court…)

      But to be fair, a school that believes it is guided by angels from the seventh realm to help change how children are taught, sounds very much like a religion to me.

      Regarding races, they’re not racist in I guess the more traditional way of looking at it, like the National Front, say, but their racism lies in the fact that people reincarnate through the races, with the brown race lower than the yellow race which is itself lower than the white race, and you can travel in either direction depending on your life choices.

      Of course, they are open to all races since they must believe they themselves were once living in one of the other races at some point, in one of their former lives, but it doesn’t change the fact that believing that one race is more evolved than another is inherently racist, no matter how open you are to all races.

      • Helen

        “…sounds very much like a religion to me”.

        I would say so too!
        I think the word philosophy is being used to try to make it sound more respectable. “Anthroposophy is a modern spiritual path” according to the Anthroposophical Society.

        “Spiritual” these days can mean absolutely anything, but of course anthroposophy is specifically Steiner’s version of “spiritual science” as they call it.

        There is an interesting list of religious affiliations compiled for the NHS.

        Anthroposophist is in the “other” section, along with Taoist and Scientologist, among many. The religious affiliation is made up of the answers people give when asked about their faith whilst in hospital. I suppose this accounts for secularist being in there. It’s the equivalent of a patient being asked what kind of cigarettes they smoke and answering that they don't smoke and they would rather no-one else did in their presence either.

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