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Before you entrust your child’s education to Steiner (Waldorf), find out more about anthroposophy. It may be that you can save your family a great deal of grief by finding out before rather than after.

So many families have become disillusioned and left Steiner education to spend large sums on private tutors, or had the trauma of watching their child become the victim of bullies “living out their Karma”.

Now there is much more information readily available on the internet for parents wishing to know about Steiner ideas and practices.

Don’t rely on information from an open day (or a dog and pony show, as open days have been described).

Look up “Waldorf Steiner criticism” on the internet where you will find some knowledgeable critics have written in a compelling way about their experiences.

Yes, bits of Steiner (the bits on show) are pretty; nice wooden furniture, handicrafts, food, singing. However, all Steiner schools have to belong to the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (SWSF).

The SWSF lays down rules about anthroposophy and makes sure that Steiner’s original, highly unpleasant “wisdom” pervades the schools and colleges. This is done in a way which enables schools to proclaim “we do not teach anthroposophy”, but  the content of lessons is designed to make sure Steiner’s ideas are woven in to the curriculum, including such notions as humans living in the fictional lands of Atlantis and Lemuria.

Steiner students leave school and wonder why their education has not prepared them for the real world, as opposed to a “spiritual” one. Why they have been taught specific myths and stories relating to anthroposophy. Why they have been celebrating Michaelmas and Martinmas and Candlemas (anthroposophical festivals) when parents were told their child’s education would not be religious.

Jesus with Ghanta Bells

Anthroposophy is a curious blend of Buddhism Occultism and Christianity. Steiner branched off from Theosophy (a farcical religious movement of the late 19th and early 20th century)  when he decided it was a little too Eastern for his taste. He blended his “clairvoyant” visions with his Christian cultural background. He kept the bits of Theosophy about karma and reincarnation, which presumably appealed to him.

How many parents really want their children fed with these ideas under the guise of “alternative” education?

The words “progressive” and “holistic” are meaningless terms used as a smokescreen for dubious practices.

8 comments

  1. Chris

    You might find http://ukanthroposophy.wordpress.com/ useful.
    I think there is such sensitivity around this that we have to tread sensitively as people on the outer edge in process of being sucked in can so easily get hurt or confused, with the exception of the real core where I am witheringly blunt

  2. patrickzimmermann24

    I will start by saying that I’m extremely sceptical of any movement or doctrine that’s basis lies in religion or spirituality (though I don’t like labels, I will happily admit I am a card carrying atheist), I grew up in a heavily anthroposophical environment, and though as a child, I had an almost fairytale upbringing, it was truly fantastic, I look back now and am aware that some of the things I had to go through (like doing Eurythmy at school) were a bit silly. However back then I loved it, it was just fun, and no I wasn’t indoctrinated or mentally abused or any nonsense like that, I just messed around like any ‘normal’ kid in a ‘normal’ school) Basically in my 24 years of being surrounded by Anthroposophical types, I have never experienced any of the malevolent behaviour or thought processes that the articles on here have laid out as consistently evident in Anthroposophical circles. Now I’m not defending anthroposophy, its a wacky and absurdly contradictory ideology (let me just add, like all spiritual based ideologies!!! it is no wackier than any religious or spiritual based doctrine). But I just want to point out that this site seems to be far more focused on condemning and ridiculing Anthroposophy and those that happen to follow it, than actually asking good questions and challenging Steiner’s teachings in a mature and sensible way. To be honest its like reading the Daily Mail’s take on anything that doesn’t quite fit into its blinkered look on life. I’m not saying don’t highlight the flaws of Steiner and his teachings, anything that argues it has ‘the answer’,, whatever that is, or even a potential route to an ‘answer’, should be able to hold up to questioning. But according to what I have read on this site this evening, it seems to me you all believe that, that can only be achieved through a snide and condescending approach. And to be honest, this whole, ‘get Steiner out of Stroud’ or whatever the hell you’re all so angry about, to me is absolutely akin to (again) the Daily Mail style approach of being fearful due to lack of understanding of anything different, and in doing so peddling often absolute nonsense, or extremely coloured in truths, to perpetuate a ‘conventional’ idea of how things ought to be. Just chill the **** out, Steiner and his birkenstocked brosephs, aren’t that bad. They’re just dippy hippy’s that occasionally say some pretty outlandish things. There is far more worrying things in the world, like suicide bombings for example, or paedophilia in hugely powerful organisations, be it the Vatican or the BBC. To quote the great Alan Partridge, “Some people…”

    • Jim

      Hi Patrick. You’re right to warn of the danger of getting a little obsessive. It’s a risk with any campaign. At least no one so far has accused Steiner of causing cancer.
      But I can’t agree that it’s just a bit hippy dippy. No doubt there are many like you who go through Steiner education without being unduly affected by it but that won’t be true for all. And the original issue which led to this site was the threat of an unwanted free school that would lead to the closure of several good schools. So not such a trivial issue.

      • Jim

        I should also have said that unlike the Daily Mail, which purports to be a newspaper, this is a single issue website and makes no pretence to be otherwise. So it is manifestly unfair to imply as you do that those commenting on it are not also concerned about the other even more worrying things you mention.

    • patrickzimmermann24

      I will just quickly add, I’m also left handed and that was embraced at school. They believed it made me somehow more creative, which is, I agree, complete ****-talk, however what I’m highlighting is that they didn’t try and make me right handed, they let me be me, which is what Steiner schools are all about nowadays. (They did try and make people right-handed in conventional schools up to the fifties and sixties, which as far as I know, didn’t happen in Anthroposphical communities, when they were still in their infancy in the UK in Aberdeen). Criticising people for saying silly things is all well and good, just do it properly. And I’ll also say pointing out any apparent Racism or way of thinking done by Steiner and saying this means he’s bad, is utterly ridiculous. He lived nearly a hundred years ago, if not more, I’m not completely sure of his dates, of course he will have said stupid ****. It’s about interpretation and understanding and moving with the evolution of society, Islam (like all religions) is a perfect example of a doctrine full of ideas incompatible with current social thinking. However you get the decent Muslims who pick and choose basically what they like, they interpret the bits that at first glance might be a little frightening, and see them as perhaps metaphors and what not, for actual moral arguments, and then you get the other (very small minority) of Muslims who have a penchant for making rather explosive rucksacks. Basically what I’m saying is that picking and choosing from an eclectic range of concepts has happened in all religions and spiritual movements throughout history, look at the Greeks and the Romans, or Paganism and Christianity. Anthroposophy is basically harmless, they only harm it could potentially cause is that of, closing the minds of those that follow it, but as I keep saying, that is what all religions and spiritual movements do, their collective flaw is providing an answer, rather than helping one create a question.
      Anyway I’m off as my bacon sandwich is getting cold.
      Oh and sorry for swearing, it’s a flaw.

    • Helen

      To Patrick Zimmerman
      Yet another comment from someone who “grew up in an anthroposophical environment” and can’t see anything wrong with Steiner. You would love us to think you are just a harmless bunch of hippies, and indeed that is what many people think until they scratch the surface. They think Steiner looks great, and it does on the outside. If you really were a harmless bunch of hippies no-one would be interested in uncovering the reasons for the problems in Steiner care and education. The reason criticism has been largely below the radar for the public is that often the victims are very traumatised and only want to forget and move on. Ostracised from a community they perceived as welcoming and inclusive, and subject to threats for daring to criticise or ask for changes, they retreat.
      The internet has resulted in much better communication all over the world and a realisation for families that the Steiner system is at fault, not the children as the schools try to claim.
      I can only assume you have not read much of this blog and the comments where “actually asking good questions and challenging Steiner’s teachings in a mature and sensible way” is exactly what we have been doing. The unprofessional practices of teachers who are trained to use anthroposophy are still going on in Steiner schools, as comments here show.
      We are still under threat here from a few misguided enthusiasts who want a Steiner free school, and so it is not yet time for us to give up, which is what I think you would like.
      The tenets of anthroposophy are much more unpleasant and potentially harmful than other religions in Stroud for those who don’t know what they are entering. If any other creed tried to set up a school here they would be unsuccessful, and so would Steiner if they were honest about their beliefs, as Rain17 points out below.
      As Roger Rawlings says on the claim “We do not teach anthroposophy”
      “For a moment, let’s accept this disclaimer. How reassuring do you find it? Consider this analogy. Imagine a school that says, “All of our methods are based on voodoo. However, we do not teach voodoo to the children.” Would you be reassured? Would you send your child there?”
      If you intend on commenting again perhaps you could edit your own swear words rather than leaving it for me to do.

  3. Rain17

    Hi patrickzimmerman24

    Unlike Anthroposophy and its enablers, the various factions of Islam can be quite up-front about what they believe and teach in their schools.

    As for ‘racism from 100 years ago’, all of Waldorf and Anthroposophy is based in Steiner writings from 100 years ago, and even earlier.

    1914-era white-is-right belief has no place in what’s supposed to be ‘arts’ education in 2014, yet it is the foundation of Steiner’s so-called spiritual science. All some of us ask is that they/you be honest with parents and students about just what is taught.