Back in 2013 I mentioned that a former Steiner parent had posted some pictures from children’s workbooks online, to illustrate the subtle way anthroposophy is introduced to the classroom.
There are now more of the images from the American school to view, together with explanations if you click on each image. A carefully illustrated butterfly is a part of a lesson on reincarnation; it is not difficult to understand how parents are unaware of how anthroposophical ideas are being taught to their children.
Anyone who has looked at the images Gregoire Perra shows on his blog will notice the similarities – different country, different continent, same old Steiner methods.
Continuing on this theme of how indoctrination takes place, one of the articles in the Online Waldorf Library is about story-telling in Steiner schools.
Stories are told rather than read by Steiner teachers, for maximum impact. It is partly to reinforce the power and authority of the teacher over the children (as explained in the Handbook for Waldorf class Teachers, which should be available again soon) and partly to make sure the message from the story “can sink into the child’s soul”. Yes, her soul.
Rudolf Steiner recommended stories at certain ages, according to spiritual development at each stage. In this article translated by Helen Fox, he emphasises the importance of how a story is told, and relates a story about a violet that is afraid of the blue in the sky until a lamb explains that the blue is “a great big violet, and his love is much greater than your own love”.
To the teacher he says;
Your task in all this is really to bring into the class the unquestioned authority about which we have still much to say.
It is very important in Steiner schools that the children do not question the “authority” of the teacher – we hear time and again about the trouble in store for a child who decides to challenge what she has been told about gnomes or the idea of creation. (See A Steiner experience, above)
Rudolf was particularly keen on making sure that religious stories were fully absorbed by young children, and Steiner teachers today are instructed in their training about how to follow his doctrine.
Now, if you tell the children a story of this kind, they will most certainly listen, for they always listen to such things. But you must tell it in the right mood so that when the children have listened to the story, they somehow feel the need to live with it and turn it over inwardly in their souls.
He then goes on to stress that it is a story about good and evil and that this is a religious idea;
And when the child has come to treasure these things in his heart and has grown older, how easily then you can lead on from the story you told him before to thoughts about good and evil, and about such contrasting feelings which are rooted in the human soul.
Many stories that children will hear deal with this topic, but Steiner emphasised the need to hammer the point home.
At one point he says the story can be used to teach children not to be afraid of things they do not understand, but the main thrust is to explain that the “divine love” in the story is God. He goes on to say how religion is taught;
“In the religion lessons too… one must develop true religious feeling by finding in oneself those elements of greatness which have a protective impulse. The little violet is a little blue being. The sky is a great blue being, and therefore the sky is the great blue God of the violet.”
…So God is as great as the world-ocean. Your soul is a drop in this ocean of God.
Steiner had very specific ideas about god and religion and about good and evil. His is a version of Christianity that includes two demons, Lucifer and Ahriman, and his own take on reincarnation (where humans only reincarnate into humans) and where karma is profoundly important. So even though some parents may think it is okay to have their child educated in a school that incorporates Christian belief, they will not realise that part of this belief system is that there are two Christs in anthroposophy, and that humans originated on Lumuria and Atlantis, and that animals and some human “races” are degenerate forms of humans, inferior to the aryan ideal.
So it is not just a version of Christianity we are dealing with here, but a whole different take on history.
This concept can be used at various different stages in the religion lessons
Religion is an important subject at Waldorf Steiner schools. All Steiner schools seem to have an RE teacher, no matter how few classes there may be.
A recent commenter here said how pleased he was that he had been told stories about good and evil in a Steiner school. I wonder if he realised how and why these stories were told, and what effect these may have had on his mind. Other commenters have said that their children were told the same stories over and over again.
This is how Steiner education works; indoctrination of the most subtle kind, with children the innocent victims, unbeknown to their parents.