Steiner education and Special educational needs?any experience

(27 Posts)
stripeycat13 Sun 20-Jul-14 15:38:57

I only want to hear from people with positive or constructive things to say please, I like the idea of my son who has sensory processing problems going to one right the way through.Not having the pressure of exams,sats and having to catch up with main stream which moves too fast for his abilities.He is far more of a doer, a nature lover and creative boy and is wanting to learn formal stuff now finally at 8.He has many clothes sensitivities and doesn't like things too busy/noisy. Its a shame mainstream doesnt accomodate this.Thanks in advance for any replies.

tenderbuttons Sun 20-Jul-14 16:10:44

Well if you only want constructive answers, you are going to get a very one-sided view.

I am going to give you one you won't like, because unfortunately Steiner and SEN do not mix well. They believe that SEN, like bullying, is the result of bad karma in a previous life. Which means that they don't need to do anything about it.

Jinsei Sun 20-Jul-14 17:59:17

I have no real experience of Steiner, but I wonder about the point of asking for positive stories only. What will you gain from their thread, OP?

stripeycat13 Sun 20-Jul-14 22:16:53

What I mean is I don't want my post to turn into what some other posts have turned into about steiner on here, I just want constructive answers about any experience of SEN. That's not to say I don't want to hear bad stuff as long as its not a a mud slinging session at steiner in general!.

Toapointlordcopper Sun 20-Jul-14 22:19:22

My friend took her SEN daughter out of her prep and into a Steiner.

Unfortunately I can't tell you any more because you only want positive experiences. My friends experience was beyond shit.

stripeycat13 Sun 20-Jul-14 23:46:47

Sorry to hear this I have said constructive answers not only positive ones there is a difference

capsium Sun 20-Jul-14 23:52:32

No experience personally of Steiner but can appreciate why you would be thinking outside of the box. However, from what I have read, parental involvement is sidelined quite early on in Steiner. The children ready are left to their own devises, a la Swallows and Amazons, quite early on. Would this suit your DC, or could you envisage a Lord of pathetic Flies scenario?

capsium Sun 20-Jul-14 23:53:11

^ Really, not ready. Typo.

capsium Sun 20-Jul-14 23:54:37

Lord of the Flies. Do not know where pathetic came from at all. Bad case of predictive text. Shudder.

wigglylines Mon 21-Jul-14 00:02:44

stripeycat13, may I ask, what's your impression of Steiner schools? What kind of education do you think they provide?

I'm asking as it seems to me that many people don't really understand what Steiner is all about (I certainly didn't used to), but I don't want to make assumptions about what you do or don't know about them.

BertieBotts Mon 21-Jul-14 00:11:17

I would be wary, because one of the most strong Steiner beliefs involves karma, and I suppose it would depend on how the individual educator was interpreting this, but in general the belief is that difficulties such as your son has are caused by "bad karma" from a previous life.

I would be REALLY cautious about potentially exposing him to such views. He is not wrong, he just has different needs. It is a shame because a lot of the educational ideology of Steiner is lovely and would be really beneficial, if only it wasn't tied up so inextricably in the religious side.

Have you looked at Montessori at all?

BertieBotts Mon 21-Jul-14 00:12:07

Here's a link about the karma thing and how it relates to SEN in general.

www.dcscience.net/?p=3853

BertieBotts Mon 21-Jul-14 00:13:51

Also have you seen this section of mumsnet? Not that this question isn't relevant here but the SN boards are very helpful too, and I haven't seen your name before so thought you might not have come across it yet.

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/special_needs

BunnyPotter Mon 21-Jul-14 00:26:14

From a slightly different perspective: I was a Steiner pupil for almost all my school education. There were two people in my class who, years later, I realised must have had SEN. One probably had autism/aspect gets and the other a mild for of Downs. I can't be sure, but that's my guess. There was never any distinction made between these two and the rest of us, although sometimes they had extra help. There was never a label out in them, at least in front of us, so as far as we were concerned, they just just, individually, they weren't lumped together, found some subjects/tasks harder than the rest if us and others easier. If I had a child with SEN, I'd want him to be included like that.

I also lived my education and the school I was at.

However, I do have children and I shall not be putting them in Steiner education because of the bullying issue. The only way around that would be a written guarantee that the school would act immediately to stop any bullying that was taking place. As that would probably require 20 committee meetings before a signature appeared, I doubt I'd get it!

YouAreMyRain Mon 21-Jul-14 00:38:08

This appears to be a Steiner school specifically for children with special needs here

I am not promoting it, I don't know much about the issues and personally think the philosophy behind Steiner education is a bit shaky. Just thought it looked interesting,

soddinghormones Mon 21-Jul-14 06:02:12

Ds (Tourette's/ADHD) was at one briefly - hideous experience

The classroom was very badly managed so it was pretty chaotic most of the time

The school weren't interested in his diagnosis at all or what it might mean for the way he learned and were convinced that he was a case of 'failed reincarnation' - his tics at the time tended to be lots of arm movements and we were solemnly told that he must have done something very bad in a former life which involved his hands/arms

We got him out of there ASAP and he was so much happier

WaveorCheer Mon 21-Jul-14 08:22:44

Are they allowed to be so overtly disablist? Has anyone challenged them?

BertieBotts Mon 21-Jul-14 12:07:23

Problem is Wave that they can be very insular and you have to be careful what you say (especially online) as they are quite quick with legal action. Threads tend to mysteriously disappear. I think because they are private schools there are very few rules which they have to adhere to and anyway it's not like they're putting these things in writing, they are just verbal comments which can't be proved.

What Bunny describes sounds ideal. It's a shame that it can't be extricated. That's a lovely philosophy of how to treat children with disabilities.

HPparent Mon 21-Jul-14 17:53:27

Only one I know of was a dyslexic child. His Mum was very unhappy with the school (he couldn't read at age 9) and he was also bullied. She also said a lot of the kids were being tutored outside school to get into various independent or selective secondaries.

Saracen Wed 23-Jul-14 23:30:59

A number of people who start by considering Steiner schools end up with home education, so that might be another possibility to consider. The inclusiveness and acceptance of individual differences which BunnyPotter observed at her Steiner school are also a natural feature of home ed.

For instance, my HE 8yo is delayed by several years in most areas, but she doesn't even know this yet because she doesn't do formal academics alongside her age peers. Her friends are of various ages, so comparisons aren't so usual because they expect everyone to be different anyway IYSWIM. Some of them realise she isn't like them, but it isn't an issue.

DD goes to Steiner. She is not SN but I do know that the schools admissions look at each child on a case by case basis. The school is honest about not having the teachers or assistants needed to provide specialist care. There are a couple of children I would describe as "borderline" (sorry I'm not an expert at these things) but that is out of a cohort of a couple of hundred.

All Steiner Schools are different, so I would advise you to go for a chat and a look around and see if it's the right setting for your son. It might be, it might not be, until you go and look for yourself and talk about your son's exact requirements you won't know.

escaped Fri 25-Jul-14 12:18:18

First hand experience on a steiner school. They cannot cope and do not have resource to deal with children that need SEN support. They way that they do deal with children with extra needs and support is quite unethical and cruel. In our experience the child is singled out and made an example of.

escaped Fri 25-Jul-14 12:31:26

Also, if you are looking for structure dont go to steiner. If you want your child to have his love of life encouraged and not quashed dont go to steiner. Steiner schools do not encourage individuality or free thinking-you must conform and copy exactly what the teacher does and says. No your child will not have to conduct the usual mainstream tests, however he will be pressured to conform in other ways. We lost of fun loving child at the age if 6. We started out with a confident, fun loving, nature loving child and we were left with a frightened, upset and fragile little boy.

stargirl1701 Fri 25-Jul-14 12:35:18

I would look into Home Ed if I were you, OP.

NigellasDealer Fri 25-Jul-14 12:40:10

from what I have heard from a close friend whose children were 'steinered' for a while Steiner do not 'do' SEN nor do they deal with bullying

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