Don't forget to visit The Waldorf Review for more up-to-date school reviews and news stories.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Racist Waldorf School Teacher moves from Highland Hall to Lake Champlain

Racist Waldorf Teacher, Merrily Lovell, taught my kid that "the blood of people from Europe is more evolved than the blood of people from Africa and Asia" while working at Highland Hall.  Now, she is employed at Lake Champlain Waldorf School teaching biology and math.   From her bio at Lake Champlain:

Merrily Lovell

Biology and Math

"Ms. Lovell came to LCWHS in 2010 after many years of teaching Biology at Highland Hall Waldorf High School in Northridge, California. She completed a Waldorf High School Science teacher training in England in 1996. ... She is thrilled... to be teaching part time at the high school." 

Merrily is mentioned here and elsewhere on my blog:

and what she taught was posted to many newspapers and blogs:

And many more places... And now Merrily is teaching biology at Lake Champlain!  But does she actually know anything about biology?  What do they teach as biology at Waldorf High School Science teacher training in England?  When my son, who was in her class, turned in a scientific paper on evolution, she chided him for not considering "intelligent design".  Is this what Waldorf biology teaches?  That God made all things and that some people have "evolved" higher than others, and that they are identifiable precisely through the color of their skin" (as Steiner would say).
Hasn't Merrily done ENOUGH for Waldorf education already?  Lake Champlain is already a poorly-run school according to the reviews.

El Rio Charter School - Removes Dishonest Blog

 This dishonest blog entry was posted on the El Rio Charter Waldorf School for over 2-1/2 years.  It was misrepresenting the status of the California court trial that may indeed close all California charter schools.  In May, 2012, the 9th District Court again convened and I posted the audio of the tape to this blog.  They finally removed it after it became obvious they were lying to parents.

Here's what the blog said - I highlighted in red the obvious lie: 

el Rio Charter School will not advocate or promote any form of
religious or political ideology to the children. Our aim is to teach
children how to think, not what to think.
Posted: August 11th, 2009 | Author: Joan Jaeckel | Filed under:
Uncategorized | Tags: anthroposophy not a religion, Establishment
clause, First Amendment, non-religious, religion and public Waldorf
education, Rudolf Steiner, U.S. Constitution, Waldorf education is
secular, Waldorf litigation | No Comments»

Q: Will el Rio Charter School, offering a public Waldorf-like
education, be secular?
A: Yes, public, Waldorf-like charter schools are 100% secular. Its
core anthroposophical concepts are not religious. This has been
upheld in courts in California and worldwide for the following
Anthroposophy is the name giving by Rudolf Steiner, the designer of
Waldorf education, to designate a cognitive research method using
focused concentration and learned compassion as a way of knowing or
method of inquiry. Anthroposophy, essentially, means"inquiry into
the nature of being human". The purpose of anthroposophy is to
humanize human life on earth through learned openmindedness,
openheartedness, objectivity, positivity and intentionality.
Unlike a religion or a church, anthroposophy has no creed or any other
form of doctrinal statement to which members must or are expected to
Anthroposophy has no clergy or form of clergy and membership in the
anthroposophical society does not qualify persons to perform marriage
Anthroposophy does not have sacraments like communion or babtism.
Unlike a religion, anthroposophy does not claim to have sacred
scripture and it does not have or administer a system of canon law.
Anthroposophy holds no formal worship services and makes no efforts to
propagate or missionize.
Anthroposophy is a way of knowing and inquiry into the mysteries of
human life. Its aim is not answers to be believed, but questions and
more questions into the nature of life on earth.
An atheist may become a member or interested in the anthroposophical
society and remain an atheist; an agnostic may become a member and
remain an agnostic; a member of any traditional religious sect or
denomination Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, etc may become a
member of the anthroposophical society and remain a member of their
sect or denomination.
The trial court's final judgment in favor of the Sacramento City
Unified School District and the Twin Ridges Elementary School
District, states in part: “Plaintiff failed to carry its evidentiary
burden of establishing that anthroposophy is a religion for purposes
of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United
States Constitution or the other California constitutuinal provisions
involved in this case, as stated in the Court's pretrial order dated
April 20, 2005 Waldorf Methods Litigation Update, January 21,
2006, by Christian M. Keiner: Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard.

Courts in California and worldwide have found that anthroposophy,
the philosophical foundation of the Waldorf-like curriculum and
methods in public charter schools, is a philosophy and not a religion.

The curriculum and methods of the Waldorf-like education at el Rio
Charter School will be 100% non-religious. Although our teachers will
be trained at institutions like Rudolf Steiner College to observe,
relate to and teach children based on the anthroposophical philosophy,
we can make this assertion because the non-religiosity of Waldorf
education has been upheld in courts in California and worldwide for
the following reasons:

1. "Anthroposophy", the name of the philosophy behind Waldorf
education's curriculum and methods, designates a cognitive research
method using focused concentration, learned compassion and sensory
cultivation as a way of knowing or method of inquiry. “Anthroposophy”,
essentially, means “inquiry into the nature of being human”. The
purpose of anthroposophy is to humanize life on earth through learned
openmindedness, openheartedness, objectivity, positivity and
2. Unlike a religion or a church, anthroposophy has no creed or any
other form of doctrinal statement to which members must or are
expected to subscribe.
3. Anthroposophy has no clergy or form of clergy and membership in
the anthroposophical society does not qualify persons to perform
marriage ceremony.
4. Anthroposophy does not have sacraments like communion or
babtism. Unlike a religion, anthroposophy does not claim to have
sacred scripture and it does not have or administer a system of canon
5. Anthroposophy holds no formal worship services and makes no
efforts to propagate or missionize.
6. Anthroposophy is a way of knowing and inquiry into the mysteries
of human life. Its aim is not answers to be believed, but questions
and more questions into the nature of life on earth.
7. An atheist may become a member or interested in the
anthroposophical society and remain an atheist; an agnostic may become
a member and remain an agnostic; a member of any traditional religious
sect or denomination – Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, etc. – may
become a member of the anthroposophical society and remain a member of
their sect or denomination.

The trial court's final judgment in favor of the Sacramento City
Unified School District and the Twin Ridges Elementary School
District, states in part: "Plaintiff failed to carry its evidentiary
burden of establishing that anthroposophy is a religion for purposes
of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United
States Constitution or the other California constitutuinal provisions
involved in this case, as stated in the Court's pretrial order dated
April 20, 2005". Waldorf Methods Litigation Update, January 21,
2006, by Christian M. Keiner: Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard.

You may be surprised to hear that, in Los Angeles public schools,
organizations like the Kabbalah Center, Scientology and Transcendatal
Meditation offer (with parental permission) students scripted lessons,
like"Rules of the Game of Life". Kids bring home marketing materials
inviting students and their parents to find out about or join these
organizations. El Rio Charter School will never do this. No
pamphlets, invitations or lesson plans promoting any religious,
spiritual or political organization will ever be distributed to
parents or given to students either by word, deed or implication.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Waldorf School Testimonials

This article has generated a lot of testimonials from people who have been associated with Waldorf schools.  Here are a few of them:

26 May 2012 10:58PM

I do not think this means what you think it means.

I thought the Steiner theories would interest me, thirty years ago when my kids were little. I didn't read a few exerpts. I read his books on education, I read the training materials for his teachers, and I listened to contemporaries who sent their kids to the schools. You may have had an excellent subjective experience with the schools- that does nothing to change or moderate my opinion of his idiotic, uninformed, and downright wrong theories about children, life, the universe, and how everything works. You might as well induct them into the New Order of the Golden Dawn, or Scientology, or the maunderings of Swedenborg.

26 May 2012 9:41PM
I am a demonstrator at a farm museum where we were visited by a Steiner school once. I have never met such an obnoxious bunch of children in all my life and recommended to the management that they accept no further visits from said school. I should add that I am blacksmith and one time RAF pilot so well used to the more robust side of life but those children were something else.

26 May 2012 8:47PM
Our children went to a Steiner school until the penny dropped about the reasons why certain things were taught and done in a particular way; we whipped them out sharpish.....(and yes, attempts were made to change left handedness of one of our children, and as far as I know at this particular school I know two other left handed children who they have tried with recently too, so this is apparently still going on)
If anyone has any doubts about anthroposphy in the classroom, read the teacher training reading list and course content...... Jeevan Vasagar certainly should have:
School isn't a place where karma, past lives and consulting with angels should play any part in making judgements or decision about children, let alone their education. If Steiner's work  wasn't referred to so comprehensively in all areas of these schools, from the shape of the typeface to the colours on the walls, not to mention the content of the curriculum, it would be less alarming.
I understand that immersion into Steiner's beliefs is a staged process, and teachers are exposed to his more new age beliefs before gradually invited to study his more unusual creeds. It's more like a path of initiation than an education system. "Some are caught so it's worth the feeders who slip by" was how someone put it.
Within school communities,  angels, astral bodies and karma are "normalised". While I don't  think for a moment that the schools are full of racist bigots, to normalise connections between skin colour, eye colour and spiritual  advancement can never be far away, however gentle and spiritual the  sentiment. The schools are quite open about classifying the children  by medieval temperament,  which includes their body shape, pallor  and  physiognomy, and use these as tools  to help in their "child study"  sessions. In my view this is dangerous, anti-theraputic, anti  scientific, anti-intellectual and luminously wrong.

26 May 2012 2:48AM
Response to JonathanKent, 25 May 2012 9:11PM
I went to a Steiner school and a girl in my class was left-handed but forced to write with her right. She was taken to the doctor to prove that she could use her right but was just choosing to use her 'wrong' hand. However this was twenty years ago so I would hope things have changed

25 May 2012 11:48PM
I worry a bit on Steiner schools as the perfect breeding ground for almost disappeared contagious diseases: measles, rubella, mumps, whooping cough, they could even bring tetanus back, with their love of gardening and walks in the forest. This because the view of steinerians, and of most of the parents that choose this schools, regarding vaccination is that is something dangerous, to be avoided in favour of a more "olistic" approach.
A sentence like this:"A reductionist biology which states or implies that the human body is a machine … is not one which nourishes the adolescent's deepest concerns. The current theories are just that – theories. They have not been in existence long and though presented as 'truth' they will inevitably change" should be enough to exclude the Steiner schools from every form of state help, I don't want my tax money to pay this. Thanks.
PS: Actually the bit I about changing theories is very interesting, it shows clearly how they just don't get the essence of the scientific method. Of course theories will change in time: In science a theory is valid untill somebody "falsifies" it with a repeatable experiment, and proposes a new one, that will then stay valid until somebody else will falsify it. Mind you, some theories are pretty hard to falsify...
There is no absolute truth, it is not religion.

25 May 2012 10:35PM
I was considering studying to become a Steiner nursery teacher when I read the website for the training college and came across a case study of a school which said - the teacher plays the lute while the angels lulled the children to sleep. I couldn't do it - as an alternative primary level education I think Montessori is better, it has an extremely well developed, intelligent maths curriculum and materials, science, geography, well designed reading and writing methods and materials, good geography materials (check out the trinomial and binomial cube from the maths materials and you can see the woman was a genius) and curriculum as well as all that creative/alternative stuff parents are looking for that seems to be lacking in mainstream. In a good montessori school children can get both and not miss out on the solid learning they need to survive in the world. In that sense it is more balanced than Steiner.

25 May 2012 9:58PM
I grew up near a Steiner school (near Gloucester) and had lots of friends who had attended it. Many had real problems adjusting to thr world...getting and holding down work, dealing with the reality of everyday life. They would often struggle emotionally and underachive. However I have brother with developmental disabilities who could not cope with state school and would have benefitted by being at a Steiner school.

25 May 2012 9:22PM
I love almost all of the approaches of Steiner education, the gentleness, the softness and the humanity.
But I cannot send my kids to a school that demeans science - not the technology, but the process - as I have discovered in my life that the understanding of the natural world offered by science is one of the most beautiful of human achievements. I include Darwin and Einstein as part of this endless human project.
If you read Steiner's book the Kingdom of Childhood, he dismisses General Relatively with what I took to be a strong done of anti-semitism. Even with that issue aside, I have studied Relatively and its it one of the wonders of the human world - alongside the greatest art and literature.
Perhaps one day the Steiner movement will start to think for itself and modernise, not normalise, but incorporate the best of human values with the best and highest of all human achievement.
The you would have a real human force to reckon with. In hope... Dr Ben Lane (ex plain theoretical physicist now environmental technologist).

25 May 2012 9:17PM
Response to 0800, 25 May 2012 8:49PM
Look at how Steiner kids end up as adults. Are they evil, damaged, misinformed, ignorant, unhappy, unemployable, bored, suicidal, miserable, anti-social, zealots etc?
Yep, I know a family of three siblings, now in their thirties, all Steiner educated. One committed suicide a few years back. One is a recovering addict. The other is now a research scientist but talks passionately about her "wasted years", struggling to reach the level of her comprehensively-educated peers so as to get research posts and funding.
The suggestion that no kid who had a Steiner education didn't have a difficult life subsequently is fatuous and ridiculous.
You are quite obviously an idiot.

25 May 2012 9:12PM
I chose a Steiner school for the Kindergarten years, because I considered that a 4 year old didn't need to learn to read / write and research the internet for facts on bees. They could learn about bees by encountering them (experiential learning) and their time was much better spent playing freely in a beautiful environment and cared for by teachers who cared for them as human beings.
The problem I saw was that, once a child hits the 'classes' (age 6 and a half-7) the esoteric aspects of the education become too much and undermine a perfectly lovely way of teaching. i.e. Steiner schools are non-denominational, but really... they are based on Anthroposophy, which is the science of man from an esoteric point of view. The problem is that they wouldn't admit it. As an insider in the school, I once heard a senior teacher admit that 'we can't tell the parents that the education is based on Esoteric Christianity'. So the main issue for me was that they weren't being honest. This deceit was my main reason for taking my children out.

25 May 2012 9:11PM
I've been interested in Steiner education since interviewing someone who went on to be a well known author who went to the Steiner school in Forest Row in Sussex. She couldn't read until she was 12 or 13, something she says she was never made to feel was a problem, but went on to write several very well thought of novels.
However recently I talked to someone else who went to the Forest Row school who said that left handed children were made to write with their right hand while holding a crystal in their left. That struck me as ante-diluvian, a realthrowback to Steiner education's 1920s roots, if true.
Has anyone else encountered this? If so I couldn't send my child to such a place

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Parent Lied to by Waldorf\

Poster 1:
Hello again everyone,

I'm not sure how or where to begin. I tried to start from the beginning but it
felt stilted and I felt disconnected from what I was writing. I guess that's how
I've been dealing with it all these years, by disconnecting and not allowing
myself to feel what was happening. I was sucked into the whole Steiner thing
because I deeply desired community, and I had never really fitted into the
conventional frameworks, so I was so relieved to discover these hippy dippy
folks who looked and sounded just like me. When it all fell apart I totally took
the blame on board and thought that it was me, my son, and our social
difficulties. Now after reading this thread (sorry but I do not have the time
right now to go back and read the other whole thread) I'm scared because it
looks like I might have to start ripping the scabs off that old pain, for both
me and my son to heal. I have so many regrets about what happened to my son as a
result of my blindness, I so badly wanted to fit somewhere. So I have mixed
feelings about having discovered this thread. It's so good to know I'm not
alone, it's scary to start to look at it all again and face the fact that maybe
it wasn't all my fault, you would think I would be relieved about that wouldn't
you but actually I realised that I am frightened to put our story up here. What
if...... gulp someone reads it and recognises who I am. I've moved half a world
or more away from that community but I still want them to think well of me!!!!!
How nuts is that.

Oh well, gotta go make dinner for the lucky younger ones for whom a
Steiner/Waldorf education is NEVER going to happen.

Oh does anyone else think it curious that they are Steiner schools in Europe but
Waldorf in the USA?

Poster 2:
Is it your fault if you were led to believe one thing and then it turns out that
you were lied to? I don't think so. Everything in WS is crafted in such away
that unless you have a problem, you may never know what is really going on
behind the scenes. Which doesn't make anyone who has broken away a bad person,
how are you supposed to know? We wanted to do what we thought was "best" for our
children. Unfortunately Anthroposophy doesn't encourage doing what's best for
the individual child who doesn't fit into their molds like they should.
You should know you didn't do anything wrong. They may want you to think that
you did something wrong but your children come 1st. It takes courage to break
away and you should be proud of yourself.

Parent's Eyes Opened by Critical Reviews

Here's another story from the same thread started by "Beansavi" - a young
Waldorf teacher who, along with her child, was abused by Waldorf. I love the
little recommendation at the end of this one:

"This thread has been a fascinating read. Bean, I have shed tears from your
heart wrenching posts. Your councilor's words were spot on -- so many times I
swallow my outrage when something seems off because I fear humiliation that I
read the situation wrong or am overeacting. After reading your story -- I will
feel this way no more.

We were on the brink of joining the Waldorf community here and thankfully I had
an interaction with someone that pushed all my buttons and sent me running for
the exit. I was seeing a chiropractor who is ensconced in the local Waldorf
scene -- both kids attend, she's on all the committees, totally totes the pary
line, and preys upon her clients with children to join. She's a Waldofian
Witness! Her practice is run out of her home and some of her kids' "plant
stained toys from Germany" (love that whichever one of you said that!) are in
the office for patients' kids to play with as they wait. My dd, 3 at the time
and deeply into the Cinderella, Snow White, and all things pink and Disney
Princess, played happily with the Waldorf Toys.

At the end of one visit, the chiro made small talk with my dd as I whipped out
the checkbook. Inn her beautiful little girl voice, I heard my dd innocently ask
the chiro, "Do you got Cinderella?" I have no idea if she meant a doll or the
movie -- or just a plant stained wooden toy that was vaguely princess-like. The
chiro then responded to my child in the smuggest tone possible, "Oh no, the
children who live here do not watch TV." I could tell she was saying this as
much to my dd as she was to me. Writing these words, it might not seem like much
of an affront -- but it was the superior tone and the "Ah Ha!! Caught you! You
plastic-owning, TV watching wolves in plant dyed biodynamic sheep's clothing!
You are inferior!" I so wanted to say something, but just shrugged it off,
gathered up dd, and left. I now wish I hadn't bitten my tongue.

This women and her smug superiority became the face of the local Waldorf
community for me and we thankfully avoided going any further along in the
process of enrolling dd. She called and emailed a few times about both making
another appointment and why weren't we following up at the school? I never
responded. Like you, Bean, I saw her at the natural foods store, but walked in
the other direction.

Bean and other parents, you should really write a book or have a website with
your stories. That way, when someone googles Waldorf, your stories will come up
in their search."

Leaving Waldorf - Parent Support\

One poster:

Thanks for this thread-I really need it right at this moment, my hsb. and I are
making the decision at this moment to leave our WS. This is so difficult, and
brought about by many, many concerns on behalf of our child. I am really hoping
to share with others whose children have transitioned to other schools, while in
the grades. I feel almost like we are surrounded by a fog that is gradually
beginning to lift after many years, yet I am so apprehensive. I am worried for
my child-we haven't discussed this change yet, as our decision has been
evolving, and I am worried that we will lose our community of friends, as those
leaving are generally portrayed as problematic. I can't believe we are in the
middle of this...sigh.

Second poster:
HI ______, you aren't alone. It can be difficult and worrisome but I think it
will get easier once you've decided to leave. My dd was angry 2 weeks ago when
we told her. Now she's getting excited about the change. We went past the public
school she will be attending and she was shouting "There's my new school,
There's my new school." I think she's know something isn't right for a while
with WS. So it's sort of a relief to not go back.

First poster:
Thanks for the support. Can I ask how you explained your decision to your
daughter? Our grown up concerns obviously are for us alone-all my daughter will
see is the loss of her friends of several years, and change is difficult for
her. On the other hand, perhaps I should be looking for the strengths and
resiliency that she has, rather than focus on the anxiety of the situation? Any
thoughts are helpful to me!

Second poster:
I guess it helped that my daughter has asked to go to public school for a while.
My dh, teaches in the school disctrict we are sending her. We also know at least
one other Waldorf family who sent their children for Kindergarten only at
Waldorf and is now at the same school where dd is going. My dd also knows a boy
in a grade ahead of her because of my dh's business. Plus being a teacher in the
school district we know lots of teacher's and administrator's. So we just told
her that she was going to public school because we were not happy with the
teacher that was selected to teach the class. We would find tutors to continue
her german and violin lessons. I think I may have told her something like, to be
a good parent sometimes means making big decisions to protect her interests and
remove her from situations which I see are harmful. We pointed out that she was
behind in math and that she would need to be tutored over the summer. If Waldorf
education was the best we wouldn't have these concerns. So she was pretty happy
because we were going to let her take violin. Any other questions about friends
I answered we shall see what happens. She asked about birthday parties, etc...
Since it was a year ahead of time we told her we couldn't answer things like
that, right now. My daughter never thinks in the here and now. So the transition
went easily. I never really let myself get really close to anyone in the class,
so it's not like I really felt she had strong ties to the children. The women I
talk to have either younger or older children and completely understand what the
class has gone through. They would have taken their kids out too. So she will
continue to have relationships with Waldorf children but just not the
dysfunction that went on with her class.

It also helps that many of my good friends live out of the state. So she sees
that my own friendships aren't limited to the Waldorf community. Plus with my
dh's business we have friends we only see once a year when we travel for shows.
So to me, a friendship is not limited to people you see on a daily basis. She
was also on the bullying end of the totem pole and I'm sure it's a relief to not
be going back to that. I hope this helps you and that it is understandable. I
was interupted by my littlest too many times to think straight.

Third poster:
I am glad you found us. I agree that focusing on your child's strengths is a
good place to start. Without trying to sound tacky, I felt my leaving the
Waldorf was very similar to leaving a cult. I was shunned and lost everything.

I was literally in a daze and humiliated. Maybe those feelings are stronger than
what you are going thru, but in any event, it helps to know how others dealt.

I cannot state strongly enough that my son blossomed after leaving Waldorf.
Quite frankly, he never looked back. At 12 years old he still talks about how
unhappy he was there, even when he looked like he was having fun.

Parents Warn Prospective Parent\

Original poster: "I went to a toddler group at our local steiner school today
and it was just lovely. There was such a calm atmosphere and my daughter adored
it. We've been thinking about schools for a while now and I wondered if anyone
had any good (or bad) experiences of a steiner education, in preschool, primary
and secondary levels. Many thanks in advance."

One poster: "I have a young nephew who attends a Steiner school. I have also
attended several of the school's fundraising events, and all I can say is that
my impression is not good. The kids are allowed to run wild, with no basic
manners or social skills in evidence. The parents all float around wearing their
hand-knitted-in-Peru ponchos, totally ignoring their kids' inappropriate
behaviour. The kids appear to be dab-hands at climbing trees, building bonfires
etc, but there's no great evidence of anything more academic than that. They
have to wear clothes made entirely of natural fibres, and are not allowed TV or
computer games, and "ordinary" kids' toys are frowned upon. However the thing
that most shocked me was that the teachers (who get called by their first names)
actually visit the kids' homes to inspect their bedrooms, and ensure there is
nothing "inappropriate".
My DS attends the local state school, and he is thriving under the routine and
discipline, and his literacy and numeracy are very good. IMHO children need a
bit of well-structured discipline. It pays dividends in the long run, and better
equips them for the real world, where you can't just wander off to look for
ladybirds whenever you fancy."

Another poster: "I think if you want a Steiner school which would not discourage
reading before the age of 7, you have to find a "poor" Steiner school, if you
see what I mean... one in which the teachers are not too really doing the
Steiner thing 100%... I do know of parents who have been called in for a talk
when it became clear in the Steiner nursery that their under 4s were allowed to
paint at home. This was considered by Steiner to be too early to be allowed to
use a paint brush and those nursery teachers were conscientious Steiner teachers
and put some pressure on the parents to stop painting at home.
I would also recommend you to read as widely as you can regarding anthroposophy
before sending your child to a Steiner school - there are an awful lot of books
which Steiner wrote himself. Then you have to look at your own school and try to
get an impression of how they implement Steiner´s ideas. This is not so easy, I
think, as a parent."

In the end:

Original Poster: I just wanted to thank you all for your posts! I've had some
lovely PMs too from people who were a bit worried about airing their views in
public - so thank you for those too!

To be honest I'm intrigued! The school seems lovely, the literature looks good,
the staff seem nice, the toddler group continues to be nice and the kids seem
happy...but there are so many people with bad experiences of Steiner it does
worry me. And there doesn't seem to be any middle ground - people have either
had horrific or amazing experiences.

So I'm left confused...albeit more informed! Thanks again"

Parent Dodges Bullet - Avoids Waldorf School\

"OH how relieved I am. For weeks and weeks, I have felt SOOO alone in my
disturbing disapproval of Waldorf. For me, our wounds, tho fresh, are VERY small
compared to the other blessed mothers here.. My DS was "considered for
admission" into our local WS. We attended the "teacher evaluation" and
"observation" with great hopes that he would be a good fit for the school. Boy
were we wrong. First off, I was met with GREAT disapproval that I did not bring
my husband along on the interview. He works a FULL week and we could not afford
for him to miss any time. When I mentioned my younger son being at home with a
neighbor, the teacher seemed put off that he also was not included in the
interview. I was shocked to hear this, seeing as how I expected the interview to
focus mainly on my son. Oh how wrong I was. The teacher gave me a pitiful tour
of the school and then sat me down for what turned into a 90 minute
interrogation into our family life. She asked me personal questions I would
never have imagined to be asked at a school interview. She paid little attention
to my son and seemed totally uninterested in his questions and conversation.
Immediately the questions about his "TV time" began. She asked me how much he
watched.. I felt shamed to admit that he watched about three hours a week. She
grilled me about his diet, my diet, our home, our spiritual practices, the
festivals/holidays we observe. She went on an on for over an hour and a half. I
felt violated and shamed for every answer I gave.. I can't even explain it.

At the end of the interview, she showed me her classroom and then walked away..
She gave no formal goodbye or anything. So odd. I was flabbergasted. Yet, I
still believed and went home struggling with my pain."

"My horizons have broadened so. What bothers me so deeply about the school and
the anthro lifestyle is how "sneaky" it all felt to me. sure, the facade of the
Waldorf education is lovely and covered in silk (haha) but inside of it, there
is so much that is shrouded in mystery and quiet. this bothers me. I, myself
have survived several "religious" groups. I am recovering still from those. the
idea of the anthro lifestyle is exciting, but the reality sends chills to my
bones and echoes past pain..

to continue my story..

after my interview, my DH and I decided to give it a try. we'd see if the school
was a good fit for DS despite what we felt in our guts. we were so in love with
the idea of him being in what we considered to be such a wholesome environment
that we began making preparations to make HUGE financial sacrifices to send him
to the school. our initial ouput was just under a thousand US to enroll him. we
liquidated part of a 401K and drained our savings. we were totally ready to
front the money to the school..

then DH went to see the school.

let me say up front I have only ever seen two diff. W schools. this one and
another one (both fledgling schools at best)... neither of them were really
impressive to be honest. but DH was appalled at the school. the school is held
in a church as they have no proper land/building of their own. the rooms are
borrowed. in short, the facility was far below acceptable for what we would have
been paying to send DS to this school.

going home that night Dh and I had what I call a "come to Jesus" moment about
the school. we both admitted our "addiction to crunchiness" and our deep hope
our son would grow in such a hippie dippie school. but as we added up the costs,
we started to grow weary. no TV, no juice boxes, no more teaching him to read
(something we had been doing very well with).. limited time with "outsiders"..
new 'holidays' and festivals. new ideals we were squeamish to integrate into our
son's mind.

we prayed for guidance. going to my knees begging God to help me either let go
completely or jump in. still the next day I felt no peace. ironically, we got a
phone call two days after DH had toured the school from another preschool we had
considered for our DS saying he had a spot if he wanted it and they were excited
to meet us. in contrast, the initial financial output for that school was only
about 200 bucks.. a stark contrast to the thousand we were about to hand over..

not long after that, we got our "accepatance pack" complete with HUGE piles of
paperwork about "media" agreements, nutritional guidelines, a massive calendar
of meetings/fests/parent groups.. all of which were to be part of our
"experience" with the W community.

DH drew the line in the sand, saying he completely disagreed with the W
philosophies (thank GOD!) and did not want DS enrolled there. I was at a loss,
but sent letter to them declining our acceptance.

Following that, I received an email from the director stating that our son was
to be "integrated in" to the current student population and they were sad to
have lost the opportunity to school him. I returned her email thanking her,
though bewildered that my son would be "integrated" at all.

What followed was a series of strange emails with pushy questions about why we
were "walking away from such a great chance" and "rejecting this opportunity.."
I stopped replying and decided enough was enough..

A few weeks ago (about two months since my last email with the director) I ran
into a mom at yoga whom I knew had her son enrolled at the school. I casually
mentioned our initial interest and how we declined the acceptance. I watched as
tears filled her eyes. She told me of how she had pulled her son from the school
due to bullying, strange teacher behavior and mounting doubts over the stability
of the school. She was uncomfortable with the amount of time her son was made to
stay outside, even in inclement weather. She was weary of the stringent
nutritional guidelines and was tired of forcing her child to bed at such early
hours. She went on to reveal how much money they had sacrificed and lost to send
him to school only two half days a week because he could not "adjust" to the
full week. We talked for over an hour. I felt so sad for her.. It's not the only
story I have heard..

So, in short, though my wounds are fresh. I still have nothing in compare to the
pain many of you have experienced. I consider myself to have truly "dodged a
bullet". My son is now enrolled in another school and we are excited to send him
to school with a juice box."

Waldorf Teacher Trainee Changes Mind\

"My son attends a newly formed school (one year old) in a small community. I am
an aide in the classroom 1 day/week. I am also pursuing a degree in (regular)
education, and obviously I see firsthand the many constrasts between Waldorf and
public school practices. I have questioned some aspects of Waldorf from the
beginning. And others I fully appreciate and embrace. I have seen changes in my
son that are wonderful and I would not change for the world. As others have
said, there are some truly beautiful and dynamic things about the Waldorf
philosophy, ones that I intend to bring with me to the public school classroom.
However...there is an ugly side and I have defiinitely noticed the disfunction
and the fact that for those of us who see it, there is almost nowhere to go with
our concerns. The community is way too defensive and overprotective. When I
brought ANY questions (not complaints, just observations, and wanting
clarifications) about the educational practices of Waldorf to the attention of
our teacher, she completely ignored me and changed the subject!

For one example, being a minor in special education, I have questions about
dyslexia and other learning disabilities...are Waldorf teachers trained to see
the symptoms and signs of these problems? If so, how are they dealt with? Are
the children helped or are they asked to find another school that can better
handle their differences that make them unique from the other learners (in other
words, kicked out!)?

I attended a Waldorf seminar in which one of the presenters described the
problems her son had had in a Waldorf school with reading and writing, she
described her son as having nearly every classic symptom of dyslexia (though she
refused to label it as such). He was very frustrated in school because the
Waldorf way does not support kids with such issues. He got no help there, so she
pulled him out and tried homeschooling, she tried nearly everything she could
think of to help him and eventually gave up and resigned herself to the fact
that her son would never really be able to truly write or spell (and a lesser
ability to read). I just couldn't help wondering why did she not seek more
conventional help for her son so that he could overcome his disability and be
able to read and write? And how does Waldorf address this? It seems to me that
it is totally ignored. If so, how many kids slip through the cracks?

Additionally, one of the other major issues I have so far had involve the lead
teacher and personality conflicts. For one, she could at times be very degrading
to the children (telling them to "quit your crying!", etc). I think I was the
only one to question her less than professional handling of discipline and other
such issues. Then came the issue of favoritism. Because I was the one that was
always bringing up things she didn't want to hear, I was not her favorite aide,
while another aide was. This resulted in ridiculous and blatent acts of
favoritism. Once again, I was shocked by the lack of professionalism. Although I
did bring this issue to the teacher (she denied it all and said I was seeing it
all wrong), I did not take it further because she will, thankfully, not be
returning next year (her own choice). The favoritism that I saw seems to go
along with things others have mentioned here about the illusion of community,
and yet it is actually a limited community and just by saying the wrong thing,
you can find yourself on the wrong side of community. Which I find to be
extremely hypocritical and going against everything that Waldorf is supposed to
be about.

Lastly, I just wanted to say thank you to you all for helping me make a
decision. I have been until now tossing around the idea of pursuing
certification in Waldorf education once I have finished my current degree, and
then teaching at my son's school. My previous hesitation is that Waldorf is so
limited and so rigid. There is such a lack of room for diverse thinking (despite
the illusion otherwise). I personally want to teach to a more diverse population
than what is typically found at a Waldorf school. Secondly, I want more freedom
to teach what I want to teach and to teach in a way that recognizes the
diversity of the individual learner--which ironically, despite NCLB and
standarized testing, I think I will actually find easier to do in a public
school rather than a Waldorf school. Still, as a matter of convienience and the
needs of the school, I hadn't ruled out being a Waldorf teacher. Now, after
reading this thread, my mind is made up. I will not be going in that direction.

I want to also add that I know that these things also happen in public schools,
I am not naive enough to think that they don't. However, I would like to think
that there are more safeguards set up to help and protect parents and students
there than in a small community/private school setting, especially one in which
you are burned at the stake for even suggesting that there could be any faults
in the system."

Waldorf Teacher Abusive to Child\

"As we walked across the grocery store parking lot that first humid day of
summer, I said to my son, "Tell me what happened. Show me what she did. Pretend
you are Miss X. and show me what happened to you."

Sam immediately took on the persona of his teacher. He grabbed my wrist, two
fingernails digging into my skin.

"Come here!" he scowled in a stage whisper.

I looked around at the people eating lunch in the outdoor café. They were seated
in the shade at the wrought iron tables, under large green umbrellas. I knew
some of them thought they were witnessing a real incident, a child grabbing his
mother's arm in anger.

I didn't care.

I needed to feel what he had felt. I needed, from my primal mothering
soul-level, to be there with him in that moment that has haunted us both for
over five years.

Next, Sam told me Miss X. dragged him up the stairwell, into a nook between the
first and second floors. "Stop acting crazy!" she hissed. Sam had fire in his
eyes as he looked at me, taking on her persona.

"Stop it!" he cried… and... SLAP!

My wrist ached as it bent to an unnatural angle in his young hand. An impression
of pink remained on the back of my hand. His "beloved" teacher had smacked him
on the hand with the powerful force of an adult: projecting what felt like adult
emotions onto the back of his small, white hand.

That pink mark would eventually fade, but it's spiritual sting would remain. The
pink stinging sensation colored much of what Sam and I did for years to come.
The pink would bleed into all of our relationships: school, work, play, church,
and home.

There was no escape.

And to think... that same shade of pink was what had first drawn me to the

Waldorf - Bullied Sick

"I think I would feel more comfortable if they told me that she had a karmic
score that she was paying back. They've always denied that their was a problem.
Even though 80-85% of the class went to the proper people, individually and said
there is a big problem. This year it was so bad that children were sick from
fear of being bullied and didn't want to go to school. I didn't know this until
a special meeting was called to announce the departure of the teacher. Then all
the parents told the college that they wanted a teacher who could deal with the
problems that keep reoccuring. It was also pointed out that many parents had
complained but everyone was told that they were the only family in the class
with the problem. I know that the children in the class were going through the 9
year change but I think this was magnified because of the adults denying it.
Also the child who was the bully, was given bare minimum punishments because
this child was a teacher's child. It is hard to feel that the children are in
safe environment because the teachers deny anything is occuring. Instead we were
told that because we didn't support the teacher this is why the teacher is
leaving. Well that's fine if they want to point the finger but they still deny
that anything happened. I know we all make mistakes but nothing has ever been
explained in a spiritual/anthroposophical way. It's always deny there's a
problem and if you get caught denying it, then say it's the parents fault. I
know I'm far from perfect but I guess I look up to these teachers. When little
ole me can see something is amiss it saddens me that something could have been
done early to head off this problem. I think considering my daughter's position
with the bully she did excellant this year. We also read tons of stories at home
to help her, took her to counseling, and got ahold of tapes from a Waldorf
counselour?/teacher? that talks about bullying in a child's life. Now the
question is will we get an experienced teacher, who can help these children? I
also might get her retested to see if her hearing has changed any. We've put her
on a special diet that is supposed help."

Waldorf Teacher Assistant Speaks Out\

"There is much to provoke thought and discussion in your post. I can understand
where you are coming from with your questions having had two children go through
KG and also worked as an assistant. Anyway I have just highlighted this part to
answer for now.

When I was working as an assistant a very lovely woman was the teacher and I
liked her a lot. She had a really natural ability to work with children which
was separate from her waldorf ways. However, I was always concerned about the
way that she never seemed to tell the parents when they came to collect their
children if they had either been hurt or had caused hurt to others physically.
The events seemed not to be recorded at all either. Certainly I was not asked to
countersign anything which bearing in mind I was a witness I would have
My children were in a different KG and I got so fed up with them having to tell
me at home what had happened to them, we are talking bruises and bites here,
that I phoned the teacher and insisted that I was informed directly by her about
these incidents. In the first KG we tried I was once mortified by another parent
coming to tell me that my son had attacked her child. The teacher had said
nothing when I collected him but I had noticed he seemed very upset. As I was
doing work around the school I caught up with the teacher a couple of hours
later to find out about the incident. Turned out he had been hit by another
child, retaliated and then been chastised by the older boy whom he then hit out
at. My question was then as now, why did a child step in rather than a teacher?
This was the only time my son has ever hit out at anyone other than his sibling.
The teacher merely said that she had been planning to speak to me about it
My feeling is that it creates a strange relationship between parent and child if
these events are effectively kept secret. As an assistant I was told that I was
not to converse with the parents about the children. I later learned as we were
going up the grades that the teachers there did not like the parents to
interfere with the discipline and that that was why we were not told if there
were problems. My children were very open though and tended to own up to me
about their misdemeanours anyway. The teachers did not appear to be very happy
that I knew so much whenever I approached them to get their view.
Sorry I have rambled on a bit. I did eventually have to withdraw my children
from their WS because I had so little faith that their basic safety needs were
being taken care of. I am not talking about rough and tumble stuff as my
children physically are bold in the outdoor life and very competent in their
bodies. However, I do expect to be told if my child has been injured or had an
accident or behaved seriously innappropriately. I am just not happy with an
environment that doesn't communicate these things to parents."

Waldorf - A Quick but Long-lasting Peek

"My experience at that Waldorf School lasted only 8 weeks, but still 23 years
later, I remember it like it was yesterday. I left my student teaching position
there confused and angry. How could anything so beautiful to look at, be so
deceiving? I hated Waldorf and my stomach turned whenever it was mentioned even
casually at a party. When people spoke of how kind, how multi-modality, how
integrated, how beautiful, …. My blood pressure rose. At first I tried to
explain what I knew to be the truth, but no one would listen."

Parent Discovers Bullying at Waldorf

"I had watched the first few classes of children at our school grow up. By the
time they were teens, I noticed that they had several behavioral patterns that
were alarming to say the least and very surprising for all that Anthroposophy
had touted as its effects.

These children were incessantly and intensely cruel toward the younger children
at the school, they were frequently seen rolling their eyes at the adults in the
community (both faculty and parents) and they were behaving in ways that were
not reflecting absorption of the values that Waldorf espouses - in fact, the
ways in which they were behaving were typical of children who've been
overcontrolled for too long and were angry.

To me, this all speaks of other kinds of lessons well-learned such as "Do as I
say, not as I do" i.e. teaching noble ethics such as the idea of reverence for
all beings and yet having some severe blind spots in reality that result in very
strange behavioral double standards that do not reflect any such concept (and,
in fact, reflect the extreme opposite - apathy for all/other beings).

Back then, still being the mother of younger children, I thought that this was
'normal' and that I should just chalk it all up to 'teenage rebellion' and
hormones, etc. Now I know otherwise. In fact, I am grateful to know dozens of
teens and young adults who are kind, thoughtful people and, interestingly, none
of them have ever been involved in Waldorf. The fact that ALL of the older
children I observed at the Waldorf school behaved this way to varying degrees is
quite striking to me and definitely not possible to write off as a nuance of

In fact, I believe that it is the result of
highly-coercive/authoritarian/paternalistic rearing and educating that utilizes
varying types of force and shaming as effective tools. That style of
rearing/educating is reflected in other schools of thought than just
Anthroposophy, to be sure, but the interesting thing to note here is that
Anthroposophy promotes itself as being a most natural, healthy, loving,
supportive, nurturing and evolved method. To me, it is most influenced by the
very prevalant (and therefore nearly invisible) anglo-Christian

And, to clarify my stance ~ I would have felt totally ok and respectful of the
situation had these aspects been clearly expressed, especially when I and others
asked pointed questions regarding these matters. That way, I could have made an
educated decision about whether Waldorf was right for my family or not early on
instead of many years into our community and educational experience. Instead, I
experienced a pattern of avoidance to answer, answers that resembled fluttering
butterflies that were 'beating around the bush' and, at best, fancy answers that
felt like they had been heavily-scented with artificial floral constituents from
some PR rhetoric manual. THAT is my point of contention about all of this. My
opinion is that the facts of their beliefs and agenda need to be made waaaay
more clear and especially not hidden for fear of "people misunderstanding their
meaning" as if parents should routinely be distrusted to think intelligently for
themselves and make their own educated decisions about what is best for their
family and children."

Parent Trusts Waldorf - Finds Incarnation Problems\

"My son started a Waldorf Kindergarten at age 3 ½ (at this particular school
they had the preschool and Kindergarten in one class). Because we moved he went
to another Waldorf school when he was 5 and ½.
When it was time to go to first grade, at age 6 and ½ he was unable to focus in
the classroom of 20 children. He had difficulty following the teacher's
instructions and had a hard time sitting still. Also his drawing was not the
same level as most of his peers. After a month he was deemed to be too"
immature" to stay in first grade and was sent back in Kindergarten. At the time
I did not question the decision. I trusted them.
Staying back in Kindergarten was a big mistake. My son became very unruly,
disruptive and refused to participate in the activities. In particular he hated
all the circle games and eurhythmy. All this only made the Waldorf teachers even
more convinced that my son was still not ready for first grade.
We finally got outside help and took my son to see an occupational therapist who
confirmed that he had both fine and gross motor skill delays known as dyspraxia
resulting from sensory integration problems. Sensory over stimulation also
explained why my son could not focus in the first grade classroom. It was not
because he was too immature, but because there was too much stimulation in the
Waldorf classrooms. The set up, which is rows of desks with the teacher in the
front and lots of copying from the blackboard, is not an idea setting for allot
of children.
It was one of kindergarten teachers who first suggested that my son see an
Occupational therapist. However once he started going to one she disapproved of
what the occupational therapist did. The OT usually liked to visit the schools
of the children she was treating to see how they were doing and then give the
teachers advise, but my son's teachers refused to even allow her to visit the
class room! Anyway just a few weeks before my son's 7th birthday some so called
Waldorf "expert" on children with learning problems saw him and maintained that
my son STILL was not ready to go to first grade! She (the "expert") even made
fun of the OTs report saying, "what is dyspraxia? I can't even pronounce it!"
Her only advice was that he was not incarnating properly into his body and he
would have to go to a Waldorf school for children with special needs This was
the final straw for me. I never took our son back to that kindergarten again.
We put our him in a Montessori School instead. He continued seeing the
Occupational therapist. My son made wonderful improvements. To my great relief
the Montessori teachers have had no problem getting him to learn and to follow
and do the work. Within a few months he learned to read and write, do basic
addition and subtraction. And he loved it! Everyone who knew him commented on
how much happier my son seemed after I pulled him out of the Waldorf school.
His Montessori teachers all shook their heads in disbelief over the fact that he
was held back in Kindergarten another year for they felt he was so ready to
It has been 6 months now. My son is thriving in his new school and all his
behaviour problems are improving. I am still getting used to him not being
considered a "problem" anymore! I look back and it is so clear that Waldorf was
so, so wrong for him. I see he was bored in Kindergarten and angry for being
sent back there. I see it never suited his personality."

Waldorf Student Shares Sad Story\

"I guess I will share my experience with Waldorf here in case it helps anyone
looking for more information. Of course every Waldorf school is unique and my
experience is unique as well.

I attended Waldorf in grade 6. My family had just moved out to BC and heard bad
things about the local public schools and I was all set to enroll in one year
into a private Baha'i school so we just had one year until then.

Because I had gone through years in the public school system and was learning
reading with my mom at home even before we started it at school, I was very
shocked at suddenly being immersed in such a different style of learning.

We had no books, we never read in class or for homework. A class usually
consisted of the teacher giving a lecture and we could draw pictures or write
what he or she said. 2 kids in my class of 9 could not read at all, they were
the 2 who had gone through Waldorf from kindergarden age. Math class was drawing
shapes in our sketchbooks and also one time I remember nailing little nails into
a sheet of plywood and wrapping yarn around them to make it look like a star.

It was very hard to learn French and German because we couldn't practice reading
from a text at school or at home. Our teacher would say words and we'd repeat
them. That's it.

By the time I finished the year and went on to the next school, I was so far
behind in my Math that it took me almost the entire seventh grade spent in
after-school tutorials to catch up. Luckily I loved reading and had been reading
books at home even though it wasn't part of my school work at Waldorf, so that
didn't suffer. We didn't learn any science or geography or social studies at
all, so I was behind on all of those too.

I'm so glad that I only went there for one year, other wise I know it would have
taken me longer to catch up and Math has always been a challenge for me.

After that experience, I know I will never send any child of mine to Waldorf. I
loved learning to read when I did - reading was a very special part of my
childhood and I hope it will be for my children too. Also I want them to be
prepared well for university, and I know that if I'd stayed on at Waldorf for
all of high school, I'd never manage with college/university courses.

My younger sister unfortunately struggled with these same issues, since she also
attended Waldorf that year. She was in grade 3. After that year, my parents took
her out and put her in another school since we had moved to another area with a
better public school. She almost had to repeat grade 3 because of Waldorf, but
luckily the new teacher she had was willing to help her out after school if
needed with her reading etc.

Thanks for letting me share my experience, and very glad this thread is here for
those who need it."

Waldorf Teacher and Her Child Abused\

Okay, here is part of my story. I will add more later, when I feel up to it.
I'm sure you all can understand the draining qualities of recounting abusive
experiences. Again, I am sharing here to encourage the bravery of others, and to
establish a safe place to talk and get support for what we have each been

Please also reference posts numbers 164-166 later in this thread.

When my child was one year old, I heard about Waldorf Education from a friend.
Since I was in graduate school for Elementary Education, I was naturally
intrigued. I was drawn by the normal influences: the color, the softness, the
natural toys, the stories, the slow pace of the learning. It was pretty much the
opposite of what I was being taught in college.

I attended initial meetings for founding a school in my area (probably five
people at most) and did a lot of the grunt work to get the school going,
including using our truck to haul desks and blackboards from another school an
hour away.

Naturally, the people I was spending so much time with became my new community,
now that I was a new mother. My friends that still had no children and I grew
apart, and I let that happen. The common thread with my new friends was the
Waldorf school, and Waldorf Ed. Unfortunately, I didn't attempt to find any
other community. I felt like those I was with were the best of the best, and we
really knew what was best for our kids, and for kids in general. We were also
"mentored" by other schools and teachers, and so their opinion was that Waldorf
was superior, and they stated constantly how and why. Not good.

The Kindergartens became established, and one grade. After spending years to
help found the school, joining the local Anthroposophical study group, I became
a substitute, then Kindergarten Assistant, then French teacher. I eventually I
became a grades teacher at the school. They sent me, all expenses paid, to
Rudolf Steiner College where I studied for thirteen hours a day, five days a
week, in the summer.

After completing my foundation year of studies, my son was four and in
Kindergarten. Another child started putting his hands down the kids' pants and
grabbing them in front and in back. It took three meetings with the teacher to
get her to do anything. My son was switched by the teachers into another class,
and lost all of the friends he had ever known. The teachers said to me, very
rudely, that there was no switching him back. Period. Then they refused to
consider him for first grade although he met the age limit. He began a blinking
habit, and pooping in his pants "on accident".

No one at the school called Social Services, which is the law, despite my many
conversations about my concerns. I was told by the faculty chair that she
thought the school had to call S.S. and that a parent (like me) could not. I
believed her.

My son started acting out in class. He bit a child because he said the other
kids were too "baby" and messed up his inventions made in class. (He should have
been in first grade). He also said the teacher wasn't even looking most of the
time. Other kids got injured during playtime because the teachers were around
the corner, behind a bush, talking and not watching the kids. Other parents
complained. I was one. I pulled my child out of the school.

No other teachers ever did anything in general to hold others to the carpet. It
all fell on me, and I was overly stressed at that point because of everyone
else's habit of ignoring elephants under the carpet.

Because I was a teacher there, too, I was "punished" (the term the faculty
chose). I was required to write a six page apology letter to the Kindergarten
teachers, and it was closely edited and reworded by the new faculty chair (they
switched mid-crisis since the old faculty chair they considered to be too "on my
side") which took nearly the entire school year! I was soooo exhausted. People
also spoke to me regularly as if I was a child who was behaving badly-and I
wouldn't even speak to my own child in such an abusive tone as they were using!

I was required to write the Anthroposophical doctor they required me to see for
my son. In the letter I was to tell him I should not have told him about the
very reasons I was there to see him and why my son was having a problem, because
I could have ruined the Kindergarten teacher's career! It was assumed that I
told him about our situation because I was trying to win something at the
school, like I am a bad person, or mean with anger issues. I have since come to
understand that people see each other with their "own eyes" and that they saw me
in the way they, themselves, lived. They could not see outside of that.

I am a good, caring person and my concern was for my child-of course! It seems
silly to even have to say that, but they were so dysfunctional IMO that it can
mess with your head when you are feeling low for a moment.

I was also told by the school that my child could not come back the next year
for first grade and rejoin his lifelong friends with a new teacher.

My son's Kindergarten teacher had beers every Thursday night with the Board of
Trustees Chair (Head). The teacher admitted this in a fit of anger at a faculty
meeting. The BOT Chair , after a special meeting on "the crisis" asked her in
front of everyone if she still wanted to go to "Joe's" and have a beer since it
was Thursday. She said "Yeah". Nobodyelse responded! I brought it up the next
day and the new faculty chair said she would "think about it" noncomittally.
WTH? How unprofessional (and illegal with the EEOC) is that?

The BOT Head and this KG teacher discussed confidential things they should not
have. No one questioned this. This type of unprofessional behavior was
commonplace and anyone who spoke out was punished.

The former faculty chair told me that one parent was taken off of every
committee and her children threatened to be kicked out, if she "said one more

Additionally, the first faculty chair told me to look in the files to see if the
teacher had documented my son's behavior (since it was suddenly so "negative").
There was nothing. The faculty chair got the files out herself. Later, I was
told that because I looked in the file cabinet, and was also a paorent as well
as teacher in the school, then I would have to be on probation since looking in
the files was unprofessional. I said the faculty chair suggested it and was
present. They switched faculty chairs a few weeks before this statement and the
new one said that what the old one did was irrelevant: I looked in the files and
she (the new faculty chair) didn't like it, so the punishment would remain or
I'd lose my job. I was so dumbfounded. It was like the twilight zone! Completely

There is much more to this, but I need to pace myself. Bottom line, when I said
they were going too far by also punishing my son (not allowed to return), they
said they were considering that statement to be my resignation. When I said it
wasn't, they said they didn't care, they were still considering it a
resignation, and released a memo to the school and parent community saying I
quit due to family difficulties. They also held a meeting with the parents of my
class without me. They couldn't even say the words, "fired", which is what they
were doing. I was given one more paycheck, and then my family had no more
income, not even through the summer.

After all the exhaustion and abuse, I had to look for another job as well as
grieve and recover. I can't even believe I stayed through as much as I did, but
at the time I viewed it as fighting for the school and stubbornly refusing to be
bossed around. I lost the battle, but I feel like I won the war, because we are
soooo much happier and healthier now. The school will never be much with such
karma behind them. I still hear all the stories of the same behavior, and that
makes me feel like they have learned nothing.

Too bad. But I just don't care anymore, except to help others who feel abused.
It took me three years to even realize how abused I felt. I walked around
embarassed, with my head down. But no more. Those people are the ones who
embarassed themselves. Shame on them.

My family and I are great now, though we do have "flashbacks". We are working on
baby number three, and I teach homeschoolers and enjoy being a family woman.

Sorry this is a bit disjointed, but as you know, I feel spent after talking
about it all.

Waldorf Abuse\

Oh wow
I am so glad to find this. I was feeling pretty lonely in post-traumatic
anthroposopohy. I could literally write a book about this... but I will spare
you guys all the grisley details! I want to say that I do not think people that
go to Waldorf are "bad" I am just relating and looking for healing in my and my
childrens experiences. When I first found out about Waldorf I was so happy I
thought that it sounded like something that supported my beliefs..Not pushing
children into things before they are ready, being surrounded by gentleness and
beauty, etc. I enrolled my eldest son who was 5 at the time. I also began to do
classroom support every friday. Nowkeep in mind I was 23 at the time and my
husband and I were pretty low income at the time so we would take turns getting
up early to come clean the school-to help with tuition. At the first parent
/teacher meeting the teacher expressed concern about our son- he kept insisting
on - gasp-drawing dinosaurs!! When the rest of the class was drawing what they
were supposed to. You see the "beautiful" artwork that children at waldorf
create is basically dictated to them--this is what we are drawing, these are the
colors we use, this is how we do it. So you have 20 pictures in the hall of an
apple. ( I would rather see the childs own creative perspective) Well my sons
drawings were showing that he had emotional problems- they were concerned for
his poor,little, damaged spirit. Now at the time I immediately felt like a
terrible parent, I wanted to do anything I could to be better and to help him. I
did not even think to question... Over the next couple years I did everything I
could think of to help my son and to follow the waldorf way but i started to
become aware of a few things..the children were not allowed to use the color
black, All the women teachers are supposed to wear long pastel dresses and speak
quietly, I did not observe any way the male teachers had to dress or speak
differently. The children were supposed to observe the female teachers making
specific gestures such as sewing, ironing, cooking and knitting. Hmmmm.... I
observed that the whole thing was incredibly eurocentric and elitist. We can
only use this paint brush and this paint and these toys and this color. Now I
can get all behind fair trade and responsible consumerisim- but this is alittle
beyond --to me it feels very materialistic. Everything came to a head when I
found out that my youngest son was being molested in the bathrooms by older
children. The whole staff knew that the 2nd grade boys were messing with the
kindergartners- cps had even been called. But no one had told me that my son was
involved!!! I diddnt even know about it until my son told me. I marched into the
office and demanded to know how the children were going to be kept safe... They
refused to talk to me and I was given the cold shoulder by all the staff. Now
this same week I had another parent/teacher conference the teacher told me that
she believed that my eldest son was a sociopath. She believed this because he
kept running away and he had bitten a child. When I got the whole story from her
it turned out a group of children had my son cornered -they had sticks and were
poking him with them. He bit one of the children to get away and ran off. Okay I
call this self-defense. Some of the children who did this and who regularly did
this were the staffs children-who NEVER got reprimanded. They were literally the
biggest bullies of the school. After hearing this I pulled my children out and
began to homeschool. Since that time I have also done some research into Steiner
and I am not all that impressed. Here is another guy telling us moms everything
we do wrong to mess up our kids-including family beds ( pushes your etheric body
on to the child), breastfeeding past 9 months-very bad!! having certain colors
or patterns oin your childrens clothing. Competitive sports are very bad- they
will give you diseases- yes it is true! Also any taped music/sound is very bad.
I just have to say I really dont care for the everything is scary, bad and gonna
mess us up perspective. I will not make my desicions based on fear of the bad
thing. And I dont think it is a healthy message for children that they are the
center of every fear-based desicion. Okay I am going to get off the soap box!! I
am glad to find this thread and to connect with all of you.


Waldorf Vindictive to Parents who Ask Questions\

The vindictiveness that can be unleashed when one even questions the party line
is very worrisome to me. We are considering *not* sending our dd to high school
there- every time I asked a question at the meeting for 8th grade parents I was
met with dissembling worthy of the Catholic recusants in the Jacobean age. But I
am really worried that asking teachers to write recommendations will not be a
wise thing to do- and how to put this concern across to the new school we'd be
applying to?

My child has not learned one thing in two years there- grades seven and eight,
when they assure you (when you're in kindergarten heaven) that your child will
eventually embark on a rigorous curriculum. When I've complained that she's
bored they say she doesn't pay attention (yeah, no duh, because she's
B-O-R-E-D), and that she is already so "in her head" that she should focus more
on gym (though the gym teacher is SO awful and rude I would pull her out of
school on that principle alone). And if she's so bored, they say, why can't she
finish her work or put more effort into it? That's what she "needs to struggle
with." -sigh-

I can't get anyone to answer a straightforward question about the science
curriculum, for instance- my daughter misses textbooks (she was homeschooled
with Calvert, which was wonderful!) and loathes the block system. I asked if
there are science classes in "extra main," ie when there's no English block they
have a few periods per week in English, when there's no math block they have
extra math, etc. They answered that their kids get more science than public
schools (not true; I checked), and that since "math is the language of science,"
their math and history and art includes plenty of science. So that means the
math problem about the shadow and the building and the Pythagorean theorem,
that's enough science for a month? I'm an adult and I forget things from my
science classes earlier in the *semester.*

I know the stats they provide show that their kids do go to college, and most
are not doctors or lawyers or scientists. That's ok for my daughter; she's into
art anyway. But the lack of substance, and worse, the absence of a standard for
excellence and achievement (everything I've seen is mediocre or worse, even on
the high school level), has me very depressed. Especially since if my daughter
is going to be an artist or a writer, I want her to absorb enough information to
be a well-educated person, with a firm grounding in all the subjects she is
*not* drawn to.

And how to ask them to write a good recommendation so we can get the hell out?"

"Yes, I'm learning that where we live, saying your children are at the Waldorf
school is actually something to be embarrassed about, or to be followed by an
explanation that you're not really one of those people- we watch television and
believe in Evolution and the Scientific Method, and we don't talk in a singsongy
voice all day long. I meet people everywhere who've left the school for one
reason or another; many are reluctant to speak frankly about why they left.

People at the school, whether faculty or parents, seem to have so little contact
with the "outside" (the school's term, not mine!) that they have no clue. They
imagine they are envied and admired. Even C-students at the community college
have a low opinion of the Waldorf school!

My daughter's teacher is a god at this school- everyone talks about what a
wonderful class it is (no credit to us families!), so any complaint would fall
on deaf ears. Even other parents in the class get involved when they don't have
a complaint, so concerned are they that we - or others - are "troublemakers;"
I'm sick of that attitude and would rather she go to public school with its
out-on-paper protocols of accountability and privacy than remain here. She
refuses to attend the public school, however, so it's either a more expensive
private school or homeschooling for high school, which I never wanted to do.

I even consider leaving her where she is for social reasons- if they'll keep her
for high school after our "troublemaking-" except then I think of the PE
teacher, or what could be learned during the time wasted on Eurythmy..."

"She has visited our local school for a day, and the experience was so awful her
eye doctor, that afternoon for a regular visit, could not measure her eyes, they
were twitching so badly. That particular school is unfortunately known for
having pretty rough kids- the middle school girls' basketball team from that
school actually started punching our girls' team members during a game recently!
But more importantly, even at the middle school level when she visited, they
were doing work she had done years before as a homeschooler. Being behind is not
going to be a problem wherever she goes.

You make a good point about the public school bigotry at Waldorf schools. My
daughter does not like that either- in fact she was in tears one day last year
(gr 7) when she and another girl got into an argument about public vs Waldorf
schools! My daughter dared to point out that contrary to the belief that art is
better at Waldorf, in her opinion the art on display at county events from the
public schools is better than that from ours.

Also, if one more comment is made in my presence about "people from outside," or
"at the public schools," I will blow my stack. I do intend to say something if
it happens again. There is one parent in particular, a founder of the school
actually (the school is 35 or so years old), who does this at every meeting, in
every conversation, and I am sick of it. For one thing, we're all there for
whatever reason. For another, both my and my husband's PUBLIC high schools are
ALWAYS listed on WSJ's or US News/World Report's lists of best schools in the
country, or WSJ's "How to Get Into Harvard." So I just don't want to hear it. I
haven't seen a school that can touch my high school in any area, including
socially, and I do live in the world- the way the teachers speak as though they
are privy to some terrible dangers of "outside" is also getting on my nerves.

Speaking of socially, more than one friend has said they are unhappy with lots
of things at the school (ie even with tutoring their children cannot do basic
math), but they are so sure their kids will get beaten up at the public schools
they feel they have no choice (we are all in different districts, or we could
send them together!). They have ALSO said that as far as applying to any of the
other private schools here (as well as the grotesque expense), they are quite
sure their kids, knowing no math or writing skills, could not even get into
another school.

Our local Sylvan learning center joked with one friend of mine that she was very
early (grade four or five); "we don't usually see students from ----- until
tenth grade when they can't pass the PSAT!" : Meanwhile the school boasts that
they have a finalist or two every couple of years- this is proof their (tiny)
classes do comparably well?

PS- Has anyone read the study that's being flaunted all over the place about how
Waldorf students do after high school? Has anyone else noticed any elementary
statistics class gives enough info to render that study useless? Or that even if
their stats were reliable, the results are alarming rather than reassuring?

More Waldorf Bullying\

Hello~ I have recently enrolled my dd in the Sugar Pea program at a Waldorf
School. I had my ds enrolled for sweetpeas for a complete series of sessions a
couple years ago. Upon entering the building I immediately felt a sense of
comfort and desire to "belong" to this community. I delved a little into the
antroposohopy and attended some meetings based on this belief. Not enough, to
truly make me an expert I just skimmed the surface. Two experiences led me to
withdrawl my son from futhering his education there. 1. There was another child
in our class that continuously displayed VERY aggressive behavior. He would
lunge across tables and bite, grab toys, hit scream etc. He was never removed or
really even redirected and my son became so fearful that he would cringe when
this child came near him. The mother was so immeresed in the handwork or
whatever that she completely ignored his behavior. At one point it was almost
comical as the teacher goes about singing and this child literally keeps
antagonizing the other children to the point of tears. I did discuss this with
the teacher and she noted this has been a problem but kinda gave me the what are
you going to do attitude. We broke off our relationship with the school and I
happen to run into a friend whose children were enrolled and attending same
school. She told me they were thinking of leaving due to some issues and through
the conversation I learned it was because of a similar experience and it
happened to be with the same child. This is years later. I was amazed. She
seemed to feel that the reason nothing was done had to do with the childs
parents financial contribution to the school. The elephant under the rug. The
second reason was the anthroposphy~it just seemed a little sneaky the way ,
unless you ask or investigate about it it is never really mentioned yet it is
what the schools philosophy is based on. As was mentioned earlier, it is
definately not child led~ they are being molded to the Waldorf Way. In fact my
partner almost feels like it is cultish. While I feel SugarPeas and Sweetpeas
are harmless and the fact that I will be with our dd at all times helps, we
definately are not going to continue past that point, and if our experience is
anything less then enriching we will discontinue immediately. I am a BIG fan of
John Holt and upon reading his literature feel this is the direction for our
family. We have been looking into the Circle School or Homeschooling for dd.

Waldorf Teacher Speaks Out

Hi Everyone,
I was reading this recently and feel that I would like to respond as I am also
in the UK and have had quite a number of years connected to Waldorf. Originally
I trained as a KG teacher and also placed both my children in KG, truly
believing it would be such a gift to them. I won't go into the details of our
"fall from grace" as it were but it was extremely painful. I learned a salutary
lesson particularly regarding believing people because they were nice!

The main reason I have chipped in though is to point out that Steiner Waldorf
Schools in the UK do operate under the umbrella of and (used to) pay a
subscription to The Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship, they are independent of
government funding for the moment.

Teachers receive specific Steiner training (sometimes to degree level) but are
not qualified to practice in mainstream education. My own KG training was
completely inadequate as regards understanding and managing children in anything
other than the Waldorf Way. I was seperately qualified to work with children in
another setting and when directly working in KG that is what I relied on.

It was the reality of the schools themselves (we tried two) that led to us
leaving and our continuing disappointment in the way teachers taught and handled
the children. Both schools continued to employ teachers who had been directly
observed to physically assault children and yet parents would not complain to
outside agencies. The families either just left or attempted to acheive
resolution within the school. There was a real culture of avoiding anything
negative getting outside the school and becoming known. We were even told in
writing to be careful of what we said about the school! I believe the big fear
was in becoming ostracised by the school community which many parents relied on
for employment.

Anyway, as I don't know if this post will even work yet I will stop there. Maybe
it seems odd but I still feel uncomfortable about "speaking out"!

Thanks for listening,


During my training it seemed to me that Waldorf was one big worldwide community.
That was one of the things that I liked; this sense that right around the world
there were people who cared so much about children that they were prepared to
stand out from the crowd.

Because I was so passionately interested in a concept of a natural and
unpressured childhood with myself as an Earth Mother growing our food , baking
and crafting homemade toys and creating beauty all around for our children that
I confess I took less notice of the Anthroposophy and more of the practicalities
of creating a beautiful environment for children. Although in truth the course
did focus more on that too.

It is still the biggest betrayal for me that I witnessed the children's
protection being placed a poor second to the Anthroposophical ethos of the
schools we attended. Even though neither of my children could even remotely read
at 9 years old and still had not had any formal instruction in reading it is the
disregard for their safety that most affects me. I had no gurantees that the
Waldorf method of education would work but I had believed that the children
would be safer in Waldorf than anywhere else.
Sorting out the reading took just a few months of effective teaching but the
emotional effects of the Waldorf years for all of us seem to linger on.

Only after leaving the second Steiner school did I turn back to my books to try
to see where things went wrong. I thought at first that the teachers were not
following Steiner and wanted to identify just what he had said. However, when I
read his words I began to see how the teachers were able to justify themselves
and their behaviour and how the schools themselves were rather closed off from
the outside community. I am certainly not claiming that Steiner condoned child
abuse but I could see how the teachers view of the karmic relationship with a
child could lead to a struggle taking place and that struggle being viewed as
okay .

A friend also reported a conversation she had had with a trainer of Waldorf
teachers who stated that whatever the problems it was very important that the
teacher and the child remained in that relationship. Seeing in my reading that
the child had chosen their relationships and their experiences means that from
the way I see it perhaps the school has little incentive to correct unhealthy
relationships. Perhaps even believing that this could be harmful to their soul
development. However, this does not really alter the fact that they do have a
legal responsibility to protect children and here in the UK teachers are not
allowed to shove, slap or kick children or have sexual relations with students.
To my mind dealing with these things within the school, if they are dealt with
at all, is just not good enough.

Anyway, I am sorry for rambling on, as you can see the child safety aspects
still bother me! The Labour government is going to pilot a state-funded
SteinerWaldorf school here so I really hope that there will be the kind of
supervision from outside that could prevent quite so much being "swept under the
carpet". Better still, not taking place at all!