Students Learn Unplugged At Los Altos School

LOS ALTOS (CBS 5) — In the land of Apple and Google, walking across one Bay Area school’s campus is like stepping back in time.

At the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, first grade students shuck corn and build a garden, while fourth graders explore the philosophy behind Celtic knot drawing. In a high school humanities class students read their own poetry, while math students work with a compass and protractor.

There’s not a computer to be found on the campus. Here, teachers keep things “old school.”

“I write down all my notes, which helps me by re-writing it,” said Carie Frentz, a junior at the school.

The school also keeps class sizes small which means students have to pay attention.

“I mean if you’re not, they’ll totally be able to tell. I can’t slide by on not doing my reading for the night,” said Frentz.

Cell phones must be tucked away, while friends at other schools text from the classroom.

“I’m not in school, I’ll text them and they’ll text me right back. I’ll say, ‘Aren’t you at class?’ they’ll say ‘Yeah, so?’” said Zack Wurtz, a senior at Waldorf.

The lack of technology doesn’t seem to bother some students.

“The school isn’t really anti-technology. It’s more that the teachers really think about when the technology will actually benefit the class,” said Jack Pelose, a freshman at Waldorf.

Parents of Waldorf students appreciate the lack of distractions.

“There is a place for technology, absolutely. It just doesn’t belong in the classroom with small children, or at the high school level. It cheats them of a better education,” said Kempton Izuno, a Waldorf parent.

While schools across the Bay Area are spending a fortune going all-digital, the mission at Waldorf is personal.

“A computer can be a tool, it can be a toy, on a good day it can be a tutor, but it’s not a teacher,” said Deborah Newlen, a humanities teacher at Waldorf.

If you’re thinking Waldorf is exclusively for wealthy children, that’s not the case. Students are only admitted after an extensive interview process. If that child’s family is unable to afford the tuition, the school will make arrangements to get them enrolled.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. Karen Young says:

    I knew it, it’s a Private school.

  2. Billy Jones says:

    It is so much easier to get into that school than they made it sound, though.

  3. Happy Parent says:

    Karen Young,
    There are many public charter schools which employ the methods of Waldorf education.

  4. Timmmii says:

    More proof broadcast media steals its ideas from print. The NY Times ran a story on this October 22. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/technology/at-waldorf-school-in-silicon-valley-technology-can-wait.html?_r=3

  5. Eleanor Resch says:

    Thanks for letting us know about your school! It is an eye opener\! Good work.

  6. Jax Vernacchia says:

    I go to this school. Its not easy to get in but its not that hard either hard. I got in easily but iv’e known many people who’ve been turned down.

  7. Waldorf Parent says:

    My daughter goes to the East Bay Waldorf School. It would have been nice if they said that there were quite a few Waldorf schools in the Bay area and that there are public charter Waldorf schools that are free, in the North Bay.

    1. waldorfteacher says:

      Yes, there are quite a few charter schools using Waldorf philosophy/methodology.
      I work in one in the Monterey area. The school is getting excellent results and we are working with children from all walks of life including many with disabilities. It is a very healing education.

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  9. Cy Kamkar says:

    “… this particular Waldorf School (Waldorf School of the Peninsula located in Los Altos & Mountain View ) has just expanded their elementary, middle and high schools as of this school year and I believe now can enroll more students at all levels. I agree that it is much easier to enroll than portrayed on TV both from financial and acceptance stand point. …”

  10. Pete Karaiskos says:

    This is, indeed, the second recent high-profile article that neglects to mention Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy. Could it be that the reporters themselves were duped, just like so many parents who believe they are getting a “progressive” school when they sign up for Waldorf? This is simply bad reporting. Parents should investigate Waldorf and the philosophy behind it VERY CAREFULLY before enrolling their children in Waldorf. It is NOT what it appears to be!

    1. eleanor says:

      i found that out after enrolling my children and found the school very open to families not steeped in the Steiner philosophy. what is it about the school that makes you uncomfortable? my kids were public school kids that had a very poor public jr high, so i looked at waldorf and several other schools. i can assure you that my experience at this school provided a great education in the jr high years and the teachers are indeed steiner educated, but did not push it on the new incoming students or the new parents

  11. eleanor says:

    my children were at the school for 7th and 8th grade. i never heard of this reasoning. i don’t know if its fact or fiction, but the school is very forthcoming about their philosophy, willing to educate, answer questions and discuss any concerns parents have. at least, that was my families experience.

    1. Margaret Sachs says:

      Eleanor, I’m puzzled by your contradictory statements. First you say you never heard of “this reasoning” and you don’t know if it’s fact or fiction, but then you say the school was very forthcoming about their philosophy. Obviously, they were not forthcoming about the significant role Ahriman plays in their philosophy. This, along with a lot of other nonsense–some of it disturbing–is not something they publicize to noninitiates. For example, most parents of Waldorf students with learning disabilities have no idea Steiner taught his followers that some children with learning disabilities are demons in human form. All the information Waldorf teachers don’t tell parents is available in Steiner’s published writings and lectures.

  12. waldorfteacher says:

    Sorry Margaret but you are way off base.
    Reliance on computers are considered to create am over-materialistic person. There is no belief in demons in computers!!
    While Anthroposophy, which is a philosophy and not a religion, is taught in Waldorf teacher training, it is not part of the educational system of Waldorf.
    Here is a quick description of an anthroposophical view of Ahriman and his counterpart, Lucifer:
    The anthroposophical view is that good is found in the balance between two polar, generally evil influences on world and human evolution. Two spiritual adversaries endeavour to tempt and corrupt humanity: Lucifer and his counterpart Ahriman. Steiner described both positive and negative aspects of both figures. Lucifer is the light spirit, which “plays on human pride and offers the delusion of divinity”, but also motivates creativity and spirituality; Ahriman is the dark spirit, which tempts human beings to “…deny [their] link with divinity and to live entirely on the material plane”, but also stimulates intellectuality and technology. Both figures exert a negative effect on humanity when their influence becomes misplaced or one-sided, yet their influences are necessary for human freedom to unfold

    1. Margaret Sachs says:

      RE AHRIMAN AND COMPUTERS
      Following are sample quotes from Steiner’s followers:
      From Robert S. Mason’s online essay titled The Advent of Ahriman: “Ahrimanic ‘elemental spirits’ inhabit our artificial machines, just as normal ‘elementals’ (or ‘nature spirits’: gnomes, undines, sylphs, salamanders) work in and throughout the living processes of Nature.”
      From the intro to Waldorf teacher Eugene Schwarz’s podcast Computers and Consciousness: “Drawing together the threads of lives from Frances Bacon to Steve Jobs, and discoveries from Leibnitz to Turing, he vividly depicts the “mise en scene” wrought by Ahriman to bring the modern computer into being.”
      From George Unger’s lecture On Mechanical Occultism (printed in Mitteilungen aus der Anthroposophischen Arbeit in Deutschland nos. 68–69, 1964): “In steam engines, Ahrimanic demons are brought right down to the point of physical incorporation. … This great and wonderful modern progress has in fact brought about not only a demonology, but a demon magic; and in manifold ways modern technology is demon magic.”

  13. Margaret Sachs says:

    RE WHETHER ANTHROPOSOPHY IS A RELIGION

    @ waldorfteacher: “…Anthroposophy, which is a philosophy and not a religion…”

    Definition of religion in Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th Ed.: a set of beliefs about God or the supernatural

    Anthoposophy promotes the existence of a hierarchical system of supernatural entities that include gods, demons, nature spirits, angels and archangels. In Anthroposophy, these supernatural entities have specific roles in regard to their relationship with human beings.

    Anthroposophy is a mishmash of religions and ancient myths with some extra tidbits thrown in by its founder Rudolf Steiner.

    Waldorf students must recite a morning prayer at the beginning of each school day. Steiner wrote the prayers they recite. Per his instructions, Waldorf teachers attempt to conceal the religious nature of the prayer by calling it a morning verse. “We also need to speak about a prayer. I ask only one thing of you. You see, in such things everything depends upon the external appearances. Never call a verse a prayer, call it an opening verse before school. Avoid allowing anyone to hear you, as a faculty member, using the word ‘prayer.’” [“Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner,” Anthroposophic Press, p. 20]

    Waldorf school prayers might seem to be religiously generic, but knowledge of Anthroposophy reveals this not to be the case. For example, “the loving rays of sun” are a reference to Anthroposophy’s sun god. At the website Waldorf Watch, former Waldorf student Roger Rawlings provides a thorough analysis of the Anthroposophical tenets that pervade the various Steiner prayers used in Waldorf schools.

    1. Valdemar W. Setzer says:

      Dear Magaret and readers,
      I’ve tried 4 times to post a comment on Margaret’s November 15, 2011 at 4:13 pm post, but my texts never appeared here. I’ve tried to cut it into parts, tried to eliminate a URL, but it never worked. Please, Margaret and interested readers, write me an e-mail and I will send you my comments. You may find my e-mail address on top of my home page — just use my name in a search engine and you will get directly there.
      Greetings from Brazil, Val.

  14. S Lee says:

    Rudolf Steiner, who developed the first Waldorf schools, died in 1925. The first televisions were just beginning to be developed in 1927 and it was years before the public had access to them. The philosophies of Steiner, as with many philosophers and visionaries, can be translated and interpreted in many ways. Many people send their children to excellent schools and community centers with foundations in such philosophies and religions as Buddhism, Judaism and Christianity. Not all families who choose these schools align themselves with the founding religion or philosophy (for example the YMCA programs are not currently exclusive to young christian males) and many programs have taken on a broader and more modern scope.

    1. waldorfteacher says:

      @S Lee: Well said. The majority of teachers and parents/families involved in Waldorf schools do not necessarily align themselves with all of tenets of Anthroposophy. When Steiner told the teachers to not call a verse a prayer it was not an attempt to hide something, but rather to make certain that the verse is not confused with a religious prayer (something that would be typically used in schools at the time – 1919). Waldorf teachers are not trying to “sneak” prayers into the curriculum.

  15. Pete Karaiskos says:

    “While Anthroposophy, which is a philosophy and not a religion, is taught in Waldorf teacher training, it is not part of the educational system of Waldorf.”

    That’s a very deceitful statement. YES, they teach Anthroposophy! It’s the very purpose of Waldorf education. Anyone who says otherwise is following Steiner’s instructions to DECEIVE PARENTS. These instructions can be found with little effort in “Faculty Meetings” – which is required reading for ALL Waldorf teachers. They taught my child that “The blood of people in Europe is more evolved than the blood of people in Africa and Asia”. This was what Steiner taught (as Anthroposophy), and it’s what Waldorf teaches today! They admit teaching this to my child, BTW. Anthroposophy absolutely DOES permeate the Waldorf classroom. Advancing Anthroposophy is the whole purpose of Waldorf. And NO, they don’t tell you this.

    1. Valdemar W. Setzer says:

      Dear Pete Karaiskos (November 16, 2011 at 5:46 am),
      I challenge you to go to any school Waldorf school, anywhere in the world, and find just one of them which teaches Anthroposophy; if a teacher does that, he should not be in a Waldorf school. If you knew Anthroposophy, you would know that an Anthroposophist should be absolutely sincere and honest. Anthroposophy is not a sect, and has absolutely no secrets. If you made your citation trying to show that Anthroposohy or Waldorf are based on racism, you are completely wrong. In Anthroposophy, the highest member of each human today is called the “I”; it happens that this higher “I” has no sex, no religion, no race or ethnic inheritance, and no nationality. The development of this “I” is the great mission of humankind. Obviously, if you take a phrase by Steiner or by a W teacher out of its context, it may look sexist, racist and whatnot. But this interpretation goes totally against the principles of Anthroposophy.

      1. Pete K says:

        Vlademar W Setzer wrote: “I challenge you to go to any school Waldorf school, anywhere in the world, and find just one of them which teaches Anthroposophy;”

        II accept your challenge. Highland Hall Waldorf School in Northridge California teaches Anthroposophy disguised as science. I know because I’ve studied Anthroposophy for over 20 years.

        “If you knew Anthroposophy, you would know that an Anthroposophist should be absolutely sincere and honest.”

        Those are IDEALS – not reality. In reality, Steiner told Waldorf teachers to be DISHONEST. Have you read Faculty Meetings?

        “In Anthroposophy, the highest member of each human today is called the “I”; it happens that this higher “I” has no sex, no religion, no race or ethnic inheritance, and no nationality. The development of this “I” is the great mission of humankind. ”

        Go ahead and THINK that – but the moment you TEACH that, you’re teaching racism to children! That’s what they teach in Waldorf (which you claim they don’t teach) – AND that’s racist. I’m suing Highland Hall over what they taught. Let them go to court and explain the “great mission of the I” – while they’re paying me damages. They LIE about what they teach! Let’s see if that’s against the law, shall we?

        You have no proof that reincarnation exists. The non-racist element of Anthroposophy relies on that PROOF.

      2. Valdemar W. Setzer says:

        Hi, Pete and readers,
        You wrote (Nov. 17, 9:36 am): “Highland Hall Waldorf School in Northridge California teaches Anthroposophy disguised as science.” Could you give us a concrete example? Maybe the fact that hopefully Darwinian evolution is taught in high school as a theory, as it really is, and not as a scientific fact, truth of faith?
        “Have you read Faculty Meetings? ” Yes, part of it. Cite a passage that, in its real context, shows Steiner’s dishonesty. When Steiner said to call a verse just a verse and not a pray, this was due to the fact that he did not want Waldorf or Anthroposophy to be wrongly taken as religions — which they are not.
        “Go ahead and THINK that – but the moment you TEACH that, you’re teaching racism to children! ” Excuse me, Pete, the existence of the higher “I” is not taught in Waldorf schools. If one of them does it, it should not be called a WS. But even if it would be taught, your statement does not make sense. If I would teach that the “I” has no race, how come this could be racist???
        “You have no proof that reincarnation exists. The non-racist element of Anthroposophy relies on that PROOF.” Reincarnation is not taught in WSs. If a teacher does it, s/he should be oriented that this goes against the principles of Waldorf Education. Ideally, only after age 21 a young person should learn about reincarnation. Now, what kind of proof do you want? If it is a physical proof, forget it. Reincarnation is not a physical phenomenon, it makes no physical sense. Its correct concept had to disappear from humanity, otherwise we would not have fallen into matter and become free beings. Now it is time to revive it, because without it human life makes no sense. In fact, from a true materialistic view of the universe, human life makes no sense. See my papers on my web site ^Science, religion and spirituality” and “Is there just matter or also spirit in the universe?” for more details.
        Cheers, Val.

      3. Pete Karaiskos says:

        Val wrote: “Hi, Pete and readers,
        You wrote (Nov. 17, 9:36 am): “Highland Hall Waldorf School in Northridge California teaches Anthroposophy disguised as science.” Could you give us a concrete example? ”

        I already did. See my post above, about the “blood of Europeans” – this is pure racism that only finds support in Steiner’s ideas. Steiner taught this as Anthroposophy, and Waldorf teachers teach this to students.

        “Maybe the fact that hopefully Darwinian evolution is taught in high school as a theory, as it really is, and not as a scientific fact, truth of faith?”

        Maybe you should learn what “scientific theory” actually means. Evolution is not just a good guess – it’s a FACT!

        “Have you read Faculty Meetings? ” Yes, part of it. Cite a passage that, in its real context, shows Steiner’s dishonesty. When Steiner said to call a verse just a verse and not a pray, this was due to the fact that he did not want Waldorf or Anthroposophy to be wrongly taken as religions — which they are not.

        Besides that one, there are LOTS of passages where he tells teachers to be dishonest. I’d be happy to quote them but this isn’t the place. As an example, Steiner describes demonic possession in children (pp649-650) and tells teachers not to mention to people that people can be possessed by demons.

        ” The non-racist element of Anthroposophy relies on that PROOF.” Reincarnation is not taught in WSs. If a teacher does it, s/he should be oriented that this goes against the principles of Waldorf Education.”

        Really? Then why did Steiner DIRECTLY tell them to teach reincarnation? It’s right here – in the required reading for all Waldorf teachers – Faculty Meetings: “For the seventh, eighth, and ninth grade independent religious instruction we could move into a freer form and give a theoretical explanation about such things as life before birth and after death. We could give them examples. We could show them how to look at the major cultural connections and about the mission of the human being on Earth. You need only look at Goethe and Jean Paul [i.e., Johann Paul Friedrich Richter, a German author] to see it. You can show everywhere that their capacities come from a life before birth.” (FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, p. 184.)

        ” Ideally, only after age 21 a young person should learn about reincarnation. Now, what kind of proof do you want? If it is a physical proof, forget it. Reincarnation is not a physical phenomenon, it makes no physical sense.”

        So, why teach it to kids?

        ” Its correct concept had to disappear from humanity, otherwise we would not have fallen into matter and become free beings. Now it is time to revive it, because without it human life makes no sense. In fact, from a true materialistic view of the universe, human life makes no sense.”

        No, it’s what you just said that makes no sense Val. I think you’re trying to say what Steiner said: Thinking is oriented to the physical plane. Feeling really has a connection with all the spiritual beings who must be considered real … In the sphere of feelings, human beings cannot liberate [i.e., separate] themselves from the spiritual world.” [PSYCHOANALYSIS AND SPIRITUAL PSYCHOLOGY, p. 70.]

        Schools are for educating children. THIS is not education, it’s spiritual nonsense that should be reserved for the home. This is NOT what children should be involved in. This is ADULTS pushing their beliefs on other people’s children without their knowledge.

      4. Valdemar W. Setzer says:

        Hi all,
        This is very frustrating. I tried to post answers to Pete’s comments of November 20, 2011 at 6:24 am but they haven’t appeared here, and I received no message saying why they were refused — either automatically or manually. There is only one way: writing me personally, as I have already suggested regarding my comments to Margaret’s postings, but received no reactions. My e-mail address is on top of my home page. Cheers, Val.

    2. Valdemar W. Setzer says:

      Trying in 2 parts… Part 1
      Pete, I didn’t have the English version of “Faculty Meetings”. In fact, now I realized that I may have made a confusion. I thought you referred to GA (Gesammtausgabe, general catalogue number) 295 (“Erziehungskunst. Seminarbesprechung und Lehrplanvorträge”), but maybe you are citing from GA 298 (“Rudolf Steiner in der Waldorfschule”), or GA 300a-c (“Konferenzen mit den Leherern der Freien Waldorfschule 1919 bis 1924”) – as you see, none of them is called in German “Faculty Meetings”. Please give more details, as the GA and date, so I can locate your citations.

      As for “blood of Europeans”. Steiner said that the blood played a very important role in the ancient past – for instance, in its preservation in the biblical Hebrew people, the origin of their custom of not mixing with other peoples – but nowadays it has no meaning anymore. I don’t recall where I read it, but I think I may locate the reference if you wish.

      “Besides that one, there are LOTS of passages where he tells teachers to be dishonest. I’d be happy to quote them but this isn’t the place. As an example, Steiner describes demonic possession in children (pp649-650) and tells teachers not to mention to people that people can be possessed by demons.” Sure, you need lots of knowledge to understand that. You are mixing dishonesty with knowledge requirements. For instance, Waldorf teachers regularly use a knowledge of temperaments to deal with their students, but they don’t tell the students about it. If your children are not adults, you certainly don’t tell them lots of things you know about. When I speak with people that have no knowledge of Anthroposophy, I don’t use its terms. – BTW, I don’t use terms of Computer Science, my profession, when talking to laymen! Are you being dishonest with your children? Am I being dishonest with those laymen?
      (Continued)

      1. Pete Karaiskos says:

        Val wrote: “Pete, I didn’t have the English version of “Faculty Meetings”. … Please give more details, as the GA and date, so I can locate your citations.”

        I can do better than that. Here’s the text : http://digitalseance.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/faculty_meetings_1_2.pdf

        “As for “blood of Europeans”. Steiner said that the blood played a very important role in the ancient past – for instance, in its preservation in the biblical Hebrew people, the origin of their custom of not mixing with other peoples – but nowadays it has no meaning anymore. I don’t recall where I read it, but I think I may locate the reference if you wish.”

        You probably read it on Waldorf Answers – the disinformation site. You’ve missed the whole point, however. What Steiner taught is NOT supposed to be taught to Waldorf students is it? Especially something as racist as this… and yet it IS BEING TAUGHT – AS SCIENCE! They tell you they don’t teach Anthroposophy… but they DO! Even the racist parts. And, FYI, in scientific reality – blood NEVER HAD the significance Steiner attributed to it… not in the distant past… not now… not in the distant future. Stieiner made that up… and Waldorf teachers teach it to kids. It’s shameful.

        ” Sure, you need lots of knowledge to understand that. You are mixing dishonesty with knowledge requirements.”

        So, you think demonic possession in children is “knowledge”?

        “For instance, Waldorf teachers regularly use a knowledge of temperaments to deal with their students, but they don’t tell the students about it.”

        Are you kidding me? 1) There is no “knowledge” of temperaments… 2) they ABSOLUTELY tell students about it. Have you heard of the “pentathlon” or “Greek Olympics” in the 5th grade? The kids are divided by TEMPERAMENTS… which include physical and genetic attributes. It’s their first exercise in racial segregation. You’ve swallowed a lot of this stuff hook, line and sinker Val.

        “If your children are not adults, you certainly don’t tell them lots of things you know about. When I speak with people that have no knowledge of Anthroposophy, I don’t use its terms. – BTW, I don’t use terms of Computer Science, my profession, when talking to laymen! Are you being dishonest with your children? Am I being dishonest with those laymen?”

        People have an absolute right to know what is being taught to their kids… whether the teachers think it’s “knowledge” or not… whether they think the parents are “laymen” or not… Teachers have no right AT ALL to teach nonsense to children and call it science.

      2. Pete Karaiskos says:

        Val wrote: “As for “blood of Europeans”. Steiner said that the blood played a very important role in the ancient past – for instance, in its preservation in the biblical Hebrew people, the origin of their custom of not mixing with other peoples – but nowadays it has no meaning anymore. I don’t recall where I read it, but I think I may locate the reference if you wish.”

        BTW, I think you may be misremembering this. I believe the standard line from the disinformation site is that “race” had significance but no longer does. That isn’t true, of course (as with all disinformation) – Steiner predicted a great race war first – between “white humankind and colored humankind” after which race will begin to lose its significance. Race, according to Steiner’s teachings, is very significant today… but maybe in a few thousand years it won’t be. Waldorf teachers are taught that race is VERY significant and children in their classrooms are evaluated in accordance with their race (if they’re using the Waldorf method).

        Getting back to blood… Steiner attributed the blood with “spiritual essence” – so there is no way blood loses its significance in the future. Here’s some of what Steiner had to say about the blood and the races:

        “But all such questions are illuminated as soon as we recognize the nature of the spiritual essence which lies at the back of our blood. Who can deny that this question is closely linked to that of race, which at the present time is once more coming markedly to the front? Yet this question of race is one that we can never understand until we understand the mysteries of the blood and of the results accruing from the mingling of the blood of different races. And finally, there is yet one other question, the importance of which is becoming more and more acute as we endeavor to extricate ourselves from the hitherto aimless methods of dealing with it, and seek to approach it in its more comprehensive bearings. This problem is that of colonisation, which crops up wherever civilised races come into contact with the uncivilised: namely – To what extent are uncivilised peoples capable of becoming civilised? How can a Negro or an utterly barbaric savage become civilised? And in what way ought we to deal with them? And here we have to consider not only the feelings due to a vague morality, but we are also confronted by great, serious, and vital problems of existence itself. Those who are not aware of the conditions governing a people – whether it be on the up- or down-grade of its evolution, and whether the one or the other is a matter conditioned by its blood – such people as these will, indeed, be unlikely to hit on the right mode of introducing civilisation to an alien race. These are all matters which arise as soon as the Blood Question is touched upon.” (Steiner, The Occult Significance of Blood p. 13)

        And here’s a quote from… you guessed it… Faculty Meetings (required reading for Waldorf Teachers): “The use of the French language quite certainly corrupts the soul. The soul acquires nothing more than the possibility of clichés. Those who enthusiastically speak French transfer that to other languages. The French are also ruining what maintains their dead language, namely, their blood. The French are committing the terrible brutality of moving black people to Europe, but it works, in an even worse way, back on France. It has an enormous effect on the blood and the race and contributes considerably toward French decadence. The French as a race are reverting.” (FACULTY MEETINGS WITH RUDOLF STEINER, pp. 558-559.)

        The above was Steiner joining many Germans who after WWI, complained about the stationing of black soldiers in France and on the German border.

    3. Stephanie says:

      “Advancing Anthroposophy is the whole purpose of Waldorf. And NO, they don’t tell you this.”

      Of course, that is ONE way of perceiving Waldorf pedagogy.

      “steiner’s instructions to deceive parents…..and “faculty meetings- which is required reading for ALL waldorf teachers” I’d like to ask, do these statements leave room for personal freedom? They are inherently divisive and beg for either complete approval or rejection; when using such statements, its clear one does not seek to alter his/her perception, or wishes to leave anything open. Is seems clear that they hold contempt yet one must also recognize and admit that it comes from one person’s individual experiences.
      There are many people who have similar reactions to Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy itself… from my own understanding and experience it seems that the world view which is Artistically portrayed in R. Steiners lectures and books, is most misunderstood when taken literally. One needs an active and flexible imagination, and not just for reading Steiner. Words such as Christ, God, Angels, Spirits are heavy words, loaded with subjective feelings. We can simply equate Christ = Jesus = Christianity as we see it now, or we can try to delve deeper. We can seek out gestures or forms which exemplify Christ yet do not hold religious connotations. But this takes time, reflection and courage. It is much easier to dismiss it something upon superficial grounds, yet what kind of example is this for our children?

  16. Valdemar W. Setzer says:

    Sorry, in my reply to Margaret Sachs of today, I wanted to say “my oldest granddaughter” and not my “my oldest daughter”.

  17. Enthusiastic parent says:

    Great schools, wonderful children and community. Waldorf rocks.

    1. Thirumoorthy says:

      students always like to learn new things, our company developing new products based on students, We mainly into E-Commerce application development

  18. TEX says:

    I believe we have better schools in Texas. that school doesn’t even have a football team or cheeerleaders.

    1. Margaret Sachs says:

      Students do not play football in Waldorf schools. Supposedly, the founder’s wife believed that kicking a ball activates the hip area in children in a premature fashion. Just another example of something parents would not know unless they had done substantial research on Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy.

  19. Lorena says:

    The proof of Waldorf education lies in its results. Do your own research, what are Waldorf graduates like? There are several research studies both in Europe and the USA. Find out for yourself. I’ve had my kids in Waldorf schools for 14 years. They are bright, compassionate, and capable human beings who know nothing about anthroposophy.

    1. Margaret Sachs says:

      I know of no such studies done by non-Anthroposophists. Perhaps you could cite the studies.

      1. Lorena says:

        I believe there are European research studies by non-anthroposophists, either German or Swedish.

      2. Margaret Sachs says:

        Then please provide citations that support your belief. My own research and that of other people I know has not uncovered any such studies.

      3. Lorena says:

        Here are a few reports and studies that include Waldorf students, all of them from non anthroposophists, I believe.

        2005 report Steiner Schools in England by Philip Woods, Martin Ashley and Glenys Woods of the University of the West of England, Steiner Schools in England

        Bo Dahlin, The Waldorf School – Cultivating Humanity. Karlstad University Studies, 2007:29

        Maureen Cox and Anna Rolands, “The Effect of Three Different Educational Approaches on Children’s Drawing Ability”, British Journal of Educational Psychology 70, pp. 485–503 (abstract)

        The Comparative Status of the Creativity of Waldorf Students- Earl J. Ogletree

        Hether, Christine Anne, The moral reasoning of high school seniors from diverse educational settings, Ph.D. dissertation, Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, 2001, 209 pages; AAT 3044032

      4. Margaret Sachs says:

        1. The controversial “Steiner Schools in England” report is not a scientific or statistical study and has received a fair amount of criticism from outside the Anthroposophy/Waldorf world. It is a report written by people known for promoting education by religious and cultural movements that have no scientific or rational basis. Glenys Woods’ academic bio reveals her foundational interest as an educational researcher as “spiritual awareness” but omits her quack sideline as an angelic reiki healer. Martin Ashley’s bio states that it was his lasting interest in spirituality and identity that was instrumental in his being selected to research Steiner education with Philip Woods. So here you have Steiner education being researched by individuals whose primary interest appears to be in spiritual education. And even they manage to find fault with the many teachers who “are too dependent on following the guidance and ideas of Steiner as if they were ‘sacred’ directions.”
        2. Bo Dahlin is an Anthroposophist who is a member of the curriculum committee at the Masters program at the Rudolf Steiner College in Oslo and is the external examiner of the Integrated Masters Programme in the Eurythmy Masters degree.
        3. The Cox /Rowlands article appears to be the only example of an actual study. It’s a study, however, that is limited to comparing the drawing skills of a sample of 5-7 year olds. It does not relate to your statement “Do your own research, what are Waldorf graduates like? There are several research studies both in Europe and the USA.”
        4. Ogletree is an Anthroposophist who received his Waldorf teacher training at Anthroposophy’s Emerson College in England and promotes the quackery known as therapeutic eurythmy.

        5. Christine Hether is the parent of two Waldorf students and a member of the Board of Directors of the Haleakala Waldorf School in Hawaii. As such, she has a clear bias. She describes Joan Almon as an independent researcher doing a similar study when Almon is, in fact, an Anthroposophist. Hether states, “Moreover, Steiner’s epistemological conceptualization in some sense equates spiritual and moral; his definition of spiritual is inclusive of those qualities that lift us out of solitary egoism into community with other human beings and all aspects of our environment.” It sounds lovely, but she either ignores or does not know about some of the more despicable aspects of Steiner’s teachings, such as his racist theory that the darker a person’s skin the less spiritually evolved they are, his claim that some learning disabled children are demons in human form, and his cruel treatment of a child he brought onstage in a lecture to demonstrate to the audience the physiological characteristics of an inferior intelligence.
        Lorena, you said, “Do your own research,” and then, when I asked you to support your statement by citing independent studies, you cited some reports and studies that you apparently did not adequately research to see whether or not they were independent or relative to your claim.
        I absolutely believe that your children are bright, compassionate, and capable human beings. My children, too, grew up to be bright, compassionate and capable human beings because they were born with good brains, they received intellectual stimulation at home, and my husband and I taught them compassion. Most of the Waldorf parents I knew were very involved in teaching their children to be good people, because those are the sort of parents who are attracted by Waldor PR. My children’s Waldorf schooling, however, left them with huge gaps in their education, and one of my children has become an active promoter of exposing the truth about Waldorf as a result of this (and inappropriate teacher behavior). I know of many other families whose Waldorf-educated children needed significant remedial tutoring post-Waldorf, and I’m talking about children who left after the end of third grade.
        There are several websites in various languages, created by people in different countries, that provide information about the dark side of Waldorf. I recommend you follow your own advice and do the research. The website WaldorfWatch provides a particularly detailed expose by a former Waldorf student. Another good site is Waldorf Critics. I know it’s difficult to accept criticism of the education one has chosen when one is an enthusiastic Waldorf parent, as I once was, but I wish someone had opened my eyes sooner. So if you really are just a Waldorf parent and not one of those Anthroposophists who pose as parents online, that’s why I’m taking the time to provide this information. I wish you and your children the very best.

  20. waldorfmom says:

    My kids don’t know anything about Ahriman.

    1. Margaret Sachs says:

      The children are not taught about Ahriman. That might tip off parents.

  21. Pete Karaiskos says:

    Stephanie wrote: ” I’d like to ask, do these statements leave room for personal freedom? They are inherently divisive and beg for either complete approval or rejection; when using such statements, its clear one does not seek to alter his/her perception, or wishes to leave anything open. Is seems clear that they hold contempt yet one must also recognize and admit that it comes from one person’s individual experiences.”

    Is that what you believe goes on in Waldorf teacher training? That they read statements by Steiner and discount them as the experiences of one individual? Seriously?

    “There are many people who have similar reactions to Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy itself… from my own understanding and experience it seems that the world view which is Artistically portrayed in R. Steiners lectures and books, is most misunderstood when taken literally.”

    Steiner was VERY clear about the fact that his words were to be taken LITERALLY, not as metaphors or parables or analogies. If you don’t take what he said literally, then it is YOU who is misunderstanding Steiner – according to Steiner.

    “One needs an active and flexible imagination, and not just for reading Steiner. Words such as Christ, God, Angels, Spirits are heavy words, loaded with subjective feelings.”

    It takes quite an active and flexible imagination to read Steiner’s words and to come away with something not contained in them… I’ll agree. This is not, however, what Steiner intended, nor is it something that Waldorf teachers are at liberty to do. They are trained to follow Steiner’s words and Steiner went to a lot of effort to meet with Waldorf teachers to instruct them on exactly how to interact with children of each of the different races, children with special needs, children who were demonically possessed, and so forth. As the very first Waldorf teachers expressed individual concerns, Steiner corrected them back to his twisted way of thinking. Please read Faculty Meetings (I provided a link) which is required reading for Waldorf teacher trainees.

    “We can seek out gestures or forms which exemplify Christ yet do not hold religious connotations. But this takes time, reflection and courage. It is much easier to dismiss it something upon superficial grounds, yet what kind of example is this for our children?”

    What kind of example does it set to go to such great efforts to infuse Christ into our children’s education? While claiming to prospective parents that it’s a non-religious education? It’s obviously dishonest and there is NO reason for it. If anything sets a bad example for children, it’s dishonesty.

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