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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Aftermath of Mumsnet Censorship

*Can anyone suggest an appropriate forum in which I could talk to someone about
Steiner education? We have our concerns about it, but our children are still at
a Steiner school.

**Unfortunately I don't think there are any online forums where open honest
debate about this is possible, as Steiner school supporters always turn up and
swamp any discussion between critics, and then it turns into an argument, and
then the posters get barred from the forum, or politely requested to stay off
that topic for fear of litigation.

If you search through old threads on here you will see some long and heated
debates - I know this isn't the same as being able to join in a discussion
yourself, but you may see the same issues you are experiencing being discussed
by others, which at least makes you aware that others have raised those issues

You might also consider whether the fact that the Steiner supporters are so
quick and thorough in quelling open debate between those critical of them is in
itself a warning sign about their attitudes...

***Hi alloveragain. What the others say is true I'm afraid. I don't really go on
mumsnet any more, the "chilling effect" of not being able to discuss problems
about our children's education and what it has done to them is very
disheartening. I only saw this because someone told me.

There are websites which have articles about concerns, and various blogs too.
But forums where mothers try to compare notes, like this, are usually swamped by
specific supporters who report any negative stuff. They also threaten legal
action; the forums have no choice but to delete the negative posts, because they
are frightened of being prosecuted.

It is quite staggering that we aren't able to tell the truth of what happened
personally to our children, discuss the pseudo religion it is based on, or even
Steiner's work, and imo is the suppression of free speech.

If you use the contact another mumsnetter facility, you're more than welcome to
chat off line.

As amum says, your instincts and misgivings are the thing to go on. Those caught
up in it won't ever see any wrong.

**** Oh god...

(I am another with a horror story, but am also very wary of talking about in on
mn, which is...sad)

***** Another Steiner escapee here.
What NR39 said is so true - people do get 'caught up in it' and you will find it
nigh-on impossible to get a straight answer to a direct question.
To me, that speaks volumes.

****** Move on, move on, nothing to see here... oh dear I smell non-violent
communication, or as it has now become, a sort of insincere, passive-aggressive
cunning. Come on, storymama: instead of repeating jargon, try listening to what
these posters are saying. There ARE support groups for Steiner Waldorf parents
and ex-pupils but if anyone posted a link to one here, off this thread would go
like a gnome on a rocket.

The problem is not 'hurt' that needs to be 'cleaned up' but a profound,
intrinsic flaw in Steiner education. The flaw is called 'anthroposophy'.

lolapoppins I contacted you through mumsnet, do contact me if you'd like to I
understand it's hard to trust anyone re this issue! Hope you're OK and the
home-ed is going well.

******* I have taken enough crap off of pro Steiner people who refuse to see
what damage it can do to use up any head space worrying about things someone
posts on a forum! And anyway, I find it soooooo hard to take them seroiusly
because if they were true Steiner followers, they wouldn't even be on the
internet incase their children caught a glipse of Ara-whats-his-face devil bloke
talking to them through the screen grin

Unless they are the kind of Steiner parents who cover up their telly screens
with biege coloured silks! They always made me laugh the most. Even more so than
the ones who used to hide their microwaves.

If you lived in the little hippy haven that I do, you would hear the pro Stiener
bollocks being shouted from the rooftops, so I have far too much to of it to
listen to in real life wink

"actively not teaching children to read and write until the age of 7 because of
some loopy 'spiritual, teeth coming through, mumbo-jumbo' is a step too far"

What do you reckon they said was the reason they wanted to opt out of the EYFS
goals? I'd love to know what BS reasoning they came out with, they can't
possibly have told the loopy truth.

They activly discourage 'learning' anyway in my experience (and many I have
spoken to) even if a child shows and interrest in reading or writing before 7 it
is quashed. I was told my son had a black heart and would never reach his
potential because he had a massive bookshelf full of books in his room. You
would have thought that the Mr Men were demons from the depths of hell. As some
of the pro Steiner people on here will know, a proper Stiener child will not
have been exposed to print before 7 anyway, so they will not know what reading
is (or strip lighting. Or god forbid, a supermarket wink).

******** "having relationships based on clarity and respect"

Sorry, I wasn't going to respond to you but my DH almost passed out wheh he read
that, so I felt I had to before he did with a string of expletives.

There cannot be clarity and respect. How can there be when the 'teachers' see
themseleves as being the childrens spiritual guardians, or 'real parents' as
some put it. The childrens parents are not seen to be improtant. But, you should
know all that if you have looked into Steiner 'education' properly. You cannot
respect someone, when you hide your agenda from them for your own gains.

Oh, and it wasnt hearsay from my child. He actually shut down and didn't speak
for most of the time he was there. But I had nurmerous letters from the school,
stating 'worrying' things my son had done, such as asking why they had wooden
spades when plastic would be better as it would not rot (his soul damaged is by
the modern world apparently hmm), and I was even called to pick him up as he
dared to paint a fire engine instead of a wishy washy painting, I was told that
was a sign he was spiritually stunted - I had to take him home as he had ruined
the 'feeling' for the day. The last day he was there I took to hiding behind the
kindergarten and listening in, as well. I heard it all with my own ears - I have
never cried so much in my life.

I could publish the 60 or so letters we got from the school about 'black hearts'
and 'stunting spiritual growth' becasue he liked Miley Cyrus - it would be the
best selling comedy book ever.

Agh, good God, am wasting my Sunday afternoon arguing over this crap!

********* Thanks for the link Barking, no mention in there of the devil speaking
to children out of a computer screen or not being ready to read because they
have not incarnated fully into thier bodies. Just as I thought.

It is two years this week since ds started at the Steiner school, and it will be
two years next week that I first stated having doubts.

I am not as angry as I used to be, not now that finally, my little boy has got
over what he went through in the six months he was there. He will still mention
it from time to time (if only to take the piss grin) but the nightmares and bed
wetting have stopped at last.

I do read posts from pro Stiener people with a mixture of disgust and sorrow
though, as I do wonder if some of them are by parents who have been so
hoodwinked by the schools, or just so sucked into the community that they can't
see anything other than what they have been told. I have no fear of saying what
I think about Steiner 'education' anymore either, I can argue back to whatever
anyone throws at me, I know what my family experienced, and I know that it sadly
isn't unique. It almost cost me my marrige, my son and my sanity.

I am still being hounded where I live by these people, especially as the school
near to me has now closed and most of the families have chosen to home educate
(as I guess you would have to for a bit if you have a 9 year old that cannot
read, as did 5 or so families at the school) and have spread nasty gossip about
myself and ds at the home ed groups we used to attend. We live in a place where
the whole bake your own bread and only play with wooden toys thing appeals to
all the parents moving up from London with dreams of the good life, so we can't
win. Apparently, I am the loopy one!

If you had spoken to me two years ago, I would have defended my sons Steiner
school to the death. I had a whole summer previous to him joining of being
'welcomed' by the Steiner community, made to feel part of something wonderful.
Looking back, it was like being pulled into a cult.

********** What I have come to realise is that I didn't put my family through
anything, they did. I beat myself up about it for so long, I looked at my ds
being so unhappy and thought that I caused it. My mental health was affected
badly. Please don't blame yourself. I did for so long. When you choose a school
for your kids, you think you are doing the best you can for them.

I saw a great quote from am ex Steiner parent once, who was getting ripped into
on a forum for not having researched Steiner education better before enroling
her children. She came back with something like 'you would research a solicitor,
a car dealer, a dog breeder - you don't research the background of a school. You
go on the information in the prospectus, and from the information other parents
at the school give you. You don't expect a school to lie'.

*********** So sad. Just lost my lovely neighbours to the steiners. They have
moved to a very out of the way place where there is a very active
school/community; their DD, who just turned 7, was my DD's best friend. Funny
enough, when my D started reading at age 4, the little friend would spend hours
being read to by my DD; eventually, when the friend was 5, DD started teaching
her to read because she was fed up doing all the reading.grin Very subversive..
The mum struck me as something of a 'spiritual seeker' type of person, and maybe
this is what attracted her to steiner education. She is a very talented, trained
singer, who has sung with prominent classical ensembles, orchestra choruses,
etc., and there will be no outlet for that where they are going, but apparently
she is willing to toss it all overboard for the steiner thing. The dad has had
no contact with his family of origin since he left for college, probably 20
years ago.
I met a lot of their friends from the steiner school at barbeques and birthday
parties over the years, and I have to say, I found them all a bit lax in their
supervision of the children -- it seemed to me that the law of the jungle
prevailed when they all got together. My neighbour's child had what her mum
called a strong personality (I found her heavy going and bratty hmm a lot of the
time) and I think she was the dictator of the group she was in at the school.
They tried a montessori school with her when her little brother was born,
because it was closer and cheaper, but she couldn't deal with the structure, the
behaviour expectations, or the academic focus. So they took her out and went
back to the steiner place.

*********** I saw the deleted post. It was measured & kind to the poster
mentioned. There was a link to an Australian Rationalist Society article
expressing a complex analysis & interpretation of Steiner education in that
country, where public money is involved. Such analysis is to be expected in a

I could see nothing libelous in it or anything that could connect mumsnet to its
views, any more than a link to someone's favourite song would be a thumbs up to

If we believe in freedom of information we should allow adults to read material
like this & make up their own minds, unless we believe them incapable. My brief
experience of mumsnet reassures me that's far from the case! People can't make
informed choices about something as serious as education when they are not
allowed to read differing opinions. When government funding for Steiner schools
may well be increased in the UK in the near future, this suppression of
information due to a real or perceived threat becomes a matter of public

Today Richard Dawkins spoke at the Libdem conference about the need to repeal
the UK's libel laws. Such a thing is overdue, as those following the Simon Singh
case know well and this is a link to a description of that case & is in no way
itself libelous!

It's clear from the Quackometer article that it isn't just science that's
effected: 'Free speech is reduced to a meaningless freedom as long as it does
not effect business interests, political ambitions and dogmatic beliefs.'

This is serious. And sadly not irrelevant to this thread.

'It is time for a change. It is time for us to be free from fear when voicing
our concerns.'