Any steiner school experiences?

(66 Posts)
mollysmum82 Wed 08-Jun-11 14:22:20

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

LordSucre Wed 08-Jun-11 14:25:07

you will get plenty of replies on this one wink

midnightexpress Wed 08-Jun-11 14:26:12

You will indeed. So much so that MNHQ don't like Steiner being discussed on the boards...

mollysmum82 Wed 08-Jun-11 14:28:07

Oh god what have I done? smile

I didn't know this was a contentious issue (perhaps because I'm a relatively new poster...or perhaps I'm a little naive?!) But its a genuine question and I'd love honest opinions!

montmartre Wed 08-Jun-11 14:28:24

<<pulls up chair>>

LordSucre Wed 08-Jun-11 14:35:04

well there are those who live and breathe steiner, and there are those who have been 'damaged' by steiner.

So prepare for the long haul. I would say 600 plus posts once it gets underway grin

snice Wed 08-Jun-11 14:36:17

"Oh god what have I done?"

Just you wait grin

LordSucre Wed 08-Jun-11 14:40:06

bit slow to start at the moment, but 'word needs to get around that you are asking' first.

AvonCallingBarksdale Wed 08-Jun-11 17:59:24

.

FairyArmadillo Wed 08-Jun-11 18:11:55

mollysmum82 - I wanted to ask the same question on here, but then I did a search. Do a search on "waldorf school" or "steiner." It's not popular here. However, I have friends who have kids in kindergarden and lower school who love it, and friends with two adult children in their 20's who enjoyed it too. I get the impression that it's a lifestyle. I went to an open day/fair at our local Waldorf School, had a chat with some parents and teachers, looked at the Ofsted reports. It sounds like a lot more of a commitment from a parents' point of view than a more conventional style school. I haven't made a decision for DS but am mulling it over.

pointythings Wed 08-Jun-11 21:21:08

It's really not a lifestyle, more of a religion.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Wed 08-Jun-11 21:24:14

How do you feel about gnomes, OP?

AtYourCervix Wed 08-Jun-11 21:26:30

brace youself.

i rather like the whole ethos and i'm not adverse to a bit of gnome and alien theory but i'm too sane to join up wholeheartedly.

RitaMorgan Wed 08-Jun-11 21:27:09

A friend has a children in Steiner and really likes it.

I think you have to be quite committed to the lifestyle/philosophy of it though. Some of it is a bit wacky-spiritual.

MumblingRagDoll Wed 08-Jun-11 21:30:43

[settles down]

I visited one once. With a view to sending my DD. It was quite a distance from our home but we were really keen on finding a stress free and creative environment for DD.

It was one of the oddest experiences I've ever had...from the fact that the school looked like Old Mother Hubbards cottage (all peach and with no sharp corners) and was nestled deep in a forest...with weird atmosphere....to the fact that all the art looked like the same person had drawn it....coupled with a wooden dish of gnomes with no faces and feral kids who almost bashed newborn DD2s head in with a big stick...while the "teacher" looked on smiling...it was not the school for us.

MumblingRagDoll Wed 08-Jun-11 21:32:13

OOoh yes...as OldLady says...how do you like gnomes? What about plastic toys? Do they feature in your life....because Steiner schools are usually very against them. And clothing with ANY pictures or writing on them.

TerrysNo2 Wed 08-Jun-11 21:34:00

My sister (10 years younger than me) went to one from the ages of 12 - 16 because she hated her school and just couldn't get on in a results driven environment, she is not academically challenged by any means but she is not the best at tests or working fast.

She really loved the Steiner school and got on much better there, she is an amazing musician and they really harnessed that kind of talent. However, IMHO they do not necessarily prepare you very well for life in that the child is the focus and you are taught to learn things at your pace and it seemed that you weren't really punished for things like you would be in a state school (lateness etc) which are life lessons I think are important - especially if you then step into a more driven college / university / work environment.

I think it really depends on the type of child you have.

Hope that helps slightly!

PS - I've never posted about Steiner schools before and had no idea they were controversially discussed on here! <off to search it>

MumblingRagDoll Wed 08-Jun-11 21:37:07

Google Anthroposophy OP

ScarlettIsWalking Wed 08-Jun-11 21:52:23

I love the idea of them but DH just wouldn't go for it in a million years, too unorthodox.

ParanoidEyes Wed 08-Jun-11 21:57:55

My friends daughter goes to a Steiner school and they both love it.(They're quite 'hippy'. I like the idea of it per se, but my daughter needs the boundaries and rules of the local primary so it depends on the child I suppose.
I can imagine my DD just lazing about all day given the opportunity!

RitaMorgan Wed 08-Jun-11 21:59:56

I'm not that keen on their approach to art either - very regimented rather than giving children free reign to be creative.

montmartre Wed 08-Jun-11 22:05:37

Nah- google 'anthropophagy' <<sniger>>

WhatsWrongWithYou Wed 08-Jun-11 22:07:27

How would you feel if, as a parent, you suggested to the Head of College (or whatever they call them) that some security measures, such as a locked gate during the school day, might be put into place, and were told 'the angels will look after the children?'

Or your child not being allowed to look at letters or numbers until their second teeth were coming through?

Or your child being refused entry into Class One because the picture she drew of herself for the Anthroposophical doctor (who tests the children before they leave kindergarten) showed her floating above the ground? (This apparently indicates that her soul has not sufficiently 'incarnated' into her corporal body, and she is not ready for 'head-learning.'
I am not making any of this up.

WhatsWrongWithYou Wed 08-Jun-11 22:13:10

No football (blunts the brain and makes the children too grounded (also basic snobbery against it). Interminable hours spent copying pictures and stories off a blackboard, 'learning' about Norse myths.

Literacy and numeracy introduced at too late a stage to diagnose any problems, no support when they eventually are.

Karma used as a guiding principle; if a child is bullied it's karma - either for something they did in a previous existence, or a lesson they need to learn to take into their next incarnation - did I ask whether you believe in re-incarnation?

WhatsWrongWithYou Wed 08-Jun-11 22:18:33

Cruel and inconsistent, inappropriate punishments for normal behaviour (summarily being sent out of the classroom from the age of seven and made to stay there, or being sent to the office to sit for a good hour.
Older, teenage children being brought in to drag a seven yo out from under the desk he is hiding beneath - abuse of each child concerned, as well as the rest of the class exposed to it.
Wild, innapropriate behaviour tolerated because it's perpetrated by children of good Steiner families. Toeing the Waldorf line considered more important than basic, decent human behaviour.

TheCrackFox Wed 08-Jun-11 22:18:43

I know an adult ex-Steiner pupil who is just a little sad about the fact that she has no qualifications and can't actually get a decentish job.

She is, however, very nice. Employers, however, aren't all that impressed with niceness which is a shame.

Tigresswoods Wed 08-Jun-11 22:22:02

My cousin went in the 90's, he is no 30. He has found it very hard to settle into a job and generally what I consider "normal" life. He just always seems to be on the outside of things. That could just be him though.

I don't really remember details because I was a teenager myself when he was there but I do remember:

He could wear what he wanted so long as there was no writing on it
He was not allowed to play football and instead seemed to spend his games lessons doing dance
They didn't seem to "believe" in qualificiations and thought there was no need to have more than 5 GCSEs.

I could have the qualifications bit wrong but that is what I recall. He is not very academic so maybe if he was conventionally "clever" it would have been a more enriching experience for him.

Saying all this he was happy there.

I am going to sit and watch the bunfight now.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Thu 09-Jun-11 08:26:47

i am a big believer that emotional intelligence is far to low down the list of priorities in the standard education system (despite it being better indicator of "success" later in life than IQ). I'd like to know how steiner schools address this...

I also believe there is far too much pressure to get kids reading and writing before they are ready. Some kids are ready earlier than others. I'd rather take the line that you follow the individuals lead (montessori i believe) than not allowing children access to books/letters etc till seven a la steiner. Seems very controling and arbitary to me. I would be genuinly interested if someone could explain the thinking behind this.

I have friends that think steiner is very creative. I don't see how, seems restrictive to me and again i'd be genuinly interested to hear more about this from anyone who is into steiner...or i might have to have the conversation in rl!

I went to a steiner event in a park...was very much an adults idea of what kids want imo. Highly organised and a bit tame. Not nearly raucus enough for my liking... grin

If anyone could answer my q's i'd be very grateful. smile

My parents both went to the Steiner school in Kings Langley back in the 60s. They are definitely not anthroposophy etc! We have lots of friends in Germany who teach/went to Steiner schools. They are a little bit hippyish but in a very gentle way and there was nothing cultish about them. We stayed with them every summer holiday and had a wonderful time running about, doing carpentry, playing in the woods etc. I was a huge reader from being tiny and noone ever commented that I shouldn't be reading until I was 7.

My BIL (now 21) went to a Steiner school when he was 8 simply because my MIL took him out of a school where he was being bullied but then couldn't find another school with places. It was just what he needed at the time as he was suffering from anxiety but when he had to transfer into m/s school for secondary, the academic side was sadly missing. However he is now a tennis coach and I don't think that he was ever going to be an academic regardless of which school he went to! grin

onadifferentplanettoday Thu 09-Jun-11 09:14:41

My son is at our local Steiner school,I had had like most people heard all the negative comments but decided to go and look for myself. For my son it is the perfect environment he had become a confident outgoing child,is learning three languages,two instruments and the academic work is of a very high standard. he has also developed a love of gardening.woodwork,pottery and cooking. I wonder how many of the people who go on about gnomes,no tv and hippies have actually any real experience of steiner many seem to simply be repeating third hand information. My child is certainly in no way 'feral' in fact he is very well behaved,polite and courteous rather more so than many of the children who live in our street. We have tv,internet and xbox and have even been known to visit McDonalds and KFC,we don't sit at home on a toadstool knitting!
Another poster says sport is limited,last term my son's sports were swimming and climbing and this term circus skills and cycling.
Steiner is not for everyone, but then neither is the local state school.
By the way I have three other children each have gone to the school I considered right for them,you know your child better than anyone else and know what will suit them .

snailoon Thu 09-Jun-11 09:37:13

It depends on the school. Some are better than others, but they can be quite closed-minded and judgemental if you don't toe the line.
Staying with the same teacher for years could be a huge problem too, I think.

BamBam21 Thu 09-Jun-11 09:39:56

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.

mollysmum82 Thu 09-Jun-11 13:26:02

Thanks so much for all your posts, they've been tremendously useful!

Its great to hear some people have had good experiences at these schools but I'm absolutely shocked at some of the negatives! The reasons for lack of security and the abusive punishments in particular. How is this not better known? (Or do I walk around with my eyes shut?) I'm a teacher myself and I had no idea! How do they manage to get away with it? Have Ofsted been involved? I didn't know about the religious side either. Is it the case that one or two of the schools have had the odd bonkers teacher and its tarred the brush of the other schools? I'm tempted to post the names for the school(s) I'm interested in to see if anyone has any direct experience of them (or will my post be deleted if I do that?)

Thanks again

mollysmum82 Thu 09-Jun-11 13:29:31

Maybe I should hint a bit at them? Okay the schools I'm interested in are in the region of England initialled the EMs. One of the schools is in the city of N and the other is in D county. If anyone knows either of these schools but is uncomfortable posting (either for good or bad reasons!) would it be really cheeky to ask if you could PM me? Many thanks

WhatsWrongWithYou Thu 09-Jun-11 13:39:43

I can assure you nothing in any of my posts was second-hand information. It all happened at the school my children attended.
I also thought a lot of the things I came across must have been down to rogue teachers/one-offs, but if you google 'Waldorf critics' or 'Waldorf survivors' you will find a lot of similar accounts, and much worse, from all over the world.

As for Ofsted, the schools are very skilled at putting on a fantastic front for prospective families at open days and suchlike (it's how they keep going), so why wouldn't they be equally able to impress Ofsted?

But don't take my word for it - I'm sure you'll do your own research and draw your own conclusions.

mollysmum82 Thu 09-Jun-11 13:42:02

I'm so so sorry to hear you went through all that Whatswrongwith you. I really appreciate you posting, I know it must be really hard to talk about x

WhatsWrongWithYou Thu 09-Jun-11 13:48:31

Oh I'm fine, so are my DCs - we got them out quick enough! Thanks for your good wishes though smile.

All Steiner schools are run autonomously so, just like State schools, there are good and bad. I think the best advert for any school, state or private, is the young adults it turns out into the world, and all the teenagers I have met at my DDs school are polite, well mannered, confident, keen to learn, and the academic work in the upper school is of a very high standard. If there is a school you are interested in, go along, have a look and meet the pupils.

My DD is attending our local Steiner and it is certainly nothing like any of the horror stories I have read online. Yes, the children learn myths, but there is a bit of a clue in that the children are taught them as myths. At the school my DD attends they learn about myths from all over the world, not just Norse ones. They also learn biology, chemistry, physics, maths, geography, history, English, French, German and a lot of other stuff too.

Most of the anti-Steiner comments I have read are really as stupid as expecting Catholic Schools to be teaching that at Communion the host and wine actually become real flesh and blood.

The kindergarten are even allowed to use black crayon - just to pop the bubble of another bit of misinformation I've seen.

With regard to it leading to children unprepared for the world of work, we read enough each day about how ill-prepared many children leaving state schools are. The list of ex-Steiner alumni certainly seems to show a number of high-achievers, including the ex-CEO of American Express, and of course, Sandra Bullock.

RitaMorgan Thu 09-Jun-11 14:16:31

Catholic Schools do teach that the host and wine become actual flesh and blood.

I do agree though that some Steiner schools are probably more orthodox/strict in their beliefs than others.

WhatsWrongWithYou Thu 09-Jun-11 14:32:43

That point occurred to me also, RM. I'm sure Steiner schools do vary in the mix of beliefs and practices prevalent in each.

I'd still urge the Op, as others have mentioned, to research Anthroposophy as it is the underlying belief/religion/philosophy common to all of them.

WGC, you may or may not be interested in finding out which of the above subjects your DD will be able to gain a qualification in. At our local school the maximum, I believe, is six, and that does not include history or geography. Combined sciences is also the only option as far as sciences go, and I believe they all have to take music GCSE.

You may be happy with this, but others contemplating putting their child/ren into that system might want to be made aware of those things.

Gosh? Only 6? It must be to do with the size of school or something similar? Our local Steiner offers a choice of 13 different subjects, including the individual sciences, though I'd presumed that the system was still taking around 9-10? Four are sat in Year 10 and the rest in Year 11. DD's school doesn't seem to have a particularly heavy academic focus but does seem to allow those children who are academic to reach their potential.

I agree it is definitely worth checking what the upper school is like before making any decisions but surely that is also the case with State schools?

WWWY - surely it would be clearer and less antagonistic to say "putting child/ren into that school" rather than "putting child/ren into that system", as the latter implies that all Steiner schools only allow six GCSEs, when clearly this is not the case.

WhatsWrongWithYou Thu 09-Jun-11 19:15:40

I didn't use the word 'system' to be antagonistic - was using one school as an example, but meant that with any school within that system (or any system, for that matter), you would need to check what the situation was regarding exams and availability of subjects.

I didn't intend to imply all Steiner schools only offer six subjects, simply that you'd want to check out whichever school you were considering before entering that system.

I've now said it twice and I'm still not sure I've made it clear! smile

MumblingRagDoll Thu 09-Jun-11 20:42:32

WorldgonecrazyCan I ask...dothey do that "wet on wet painting"? And do all the kids art look the same or are they allowed freedom? Not being provocative...but for me that ws the clincher...I just thought it ws so unhealthy....to make the kids all paintthe same sunset...se the same medium and colours...and it was over and over...all over the school.

mumbling yes they do the wet on wet, but I wouldn't say that the pictures were any more samey than at any other primary school, from what I've seen, pictures have a general theme and I think children at that age tend to copy each other anyway.

The books are the same because the children are creating their own text books, but within these the pictures tend to be different, just the text that is copied down verbatim (interestingly with no spelling or grammar errors in any of the many books I've seen at open days).

I'm sure there are dreadful Steiner schools out there, just as there are State schools that I'm sure many parents would rather eat their own eyeballs than send their children there.

mollysmum82 Fri 10-Jun-11 14:11:22

Thanks so much again for all your posts, its great to hear both sides of the argument in such a productive and balanced way (i.e. no waging of war!)

I think one of my concerns is the reading issue - I love the idea of children learning at their own pace and not being pressurised into learning, thus retaining their joy for knowledge. This is one of the reasons I considered Steiner in the first place. But I worry, what if my daughter is dying to start reading before the age of 7 - would Steiner schools actively discourage this?

I also worry about the kind of situation Whatswrongwithyou describes - how would you be sure the school you chose would not have the same horrific issues? I know you can't be sure about any primary school but at least state schools have the LEA, Oftsed etc to answer to (they seem to have more accountability?) So maybe on balance its too big a risk to take.

I think I'm just thinking aloud now! Thank you again for all your help.

emsies Fri 10-Jun-11 20:39:14

I love the look of the Steiner school near me but its just that little bit too far to commute.

swash Fri 10-Jun-11 21:03:30

Wow this is fascinating! Lots of my friends did the Steiner toddler group and they all loved it. I was a bit disconcerted when one of them sang a hippy-grace with her children at our local cafe though.grin

Another friend just signed up her dd because 'the teacher was wearing a floaty dress and carrying a wand and I thought she would just love to be in her class' hmm

Piccadilly Sat 11-Jun-11 13:27:44

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.

Piccadilly Sat 11-Jun-11 13:32:47

Sorry, when I wrote "I know of parents" it sounds as if I have heard stories of...
i.e. 3rd hand. This is not the case. It happened to a close friend who I trust to tell the truth. Just that I know she is not the only one who experienced this at this particular nursery.

mollysmum82 Sat 11-Jun-11 13:54:04

They has this video on one of the schools' websites and its so inspiring:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY&feature=relmfu

This is why I'm thinking about a different kind of school!

exoticfruits Sat 11-Jun-11 13:54:36

I think they allow far too much disruptive behaviour-no DC is an island and everything they do impinges on someone else. Too many 'free spirits' stops freedom.

cory Sat 11-Jun-11 15:26:51

I think I would treat it like any other school, go in with a set of questions:

how do you deal with bullying?- if they claim there is no bullying, run a mile! they have just proved that they are not dealing with it

how would you cope with a child with special needs?- (doesn't matter if your dc has no sn, still says a lot about the school) beware of any fluffiness, such as "we believe in cherishing everybody"

how would you cope with an academically gifted child who is eager to learn?

exoticfruits Sat 11-Jun-11 17:12:58

See it on a normal working day.

emsies Sat 11-Jun-11 17:23:42

What's the rational for not painting young?

Certainly this has been an eye opening thread for me. As a teacher myself I had liked the idea of starting formal education later, an emphasis on art and music and in my case part time schooling. (I'd ideally like to flexischool and the Steiner School is set up so you can do that).

However some of the more odd things about Steiner do worry me.

pointythings Sat 11-Jun-11 18:26:03

A friend of mine had friends who were devout anthroposophists - lovely, lovely people but I met their DD who was 6 - a very bright, very frustrated child who lived in a room full of books but was not allowed to learn to read. I had a T-shirt with txt on at the time (did I know this was dodgy???) and she was sitting wtih me sounding out the words until her parents jumped down her throat. Very scary.

I have 2 DDs who were both very early readers - chapter books at just 5 - and I have no doubt at all that holding them back because their adult teeth had not come through would have damaged them.

I do think the UK system with its emphasis on early literacy is far too rigid though. Children are ready to read between the ages of (very broadly) 4 and 7 and between those ages the system has to be flexible enough to accommodate everyone when they are ready to learn. I went to a Montessori school in the Netherlands and it did seem to work very well there.

Lysa622003 Sat 11-Jun-11 20:53:02

Here's a good link that explains a lot about Waldorf Education. http://www.montessorianswers.com/my-experiences-with-waldorf.html

SingOut Sat 11-Jun-11 21:00:53

I went to a Steiner kindergarten and school as a child and I loved it. Every one is different though, so the answers you get here may not help you decide. And yes - MN is fairly anti-Steiner grin, generally speaking you'd be best advised to go and check out the one you are interested and ask lots of questions. Go with your instincts rather than what is considered popular. After all, every child is different and for some waldorf schooling might not suit, for others it's perfect.

LordSucre Sun 12-Jun-11 15:24:48

Well I am pleased to see you got some responses OP. What are your thoughts now.

I worked in a 'steiner environment' and being completely unaware of anthroposophy and everything which goes with it, quite honestly I thought the world had gone mad grin

I have to say it gave me the biggest laughs for years. I won't disclose exactly what it was, but before work, we all had to stand at the front of the building and sway around dancing and smiling. Tena pads were in order, we used to cry with laughter

mollysmum82 Fri 17-Jun-11 13:35:41

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

cheekymouse Tue 12-Jun-12 21:43:00

Please do not get sucked in!!!!! I was a bit post-natal and went to a mother and toddler steiner group. When I mentioned television programmes, i was looked at as if I was an alien! The books were all about gnomes and had no words in them. I was told that Thomas the tank was sexist! The library seemed to be nothing but steiner /anthroposophic propoganda.
A boy who went there carried on in steiner mode. He had all his thomas the tanks locked away in the attic and he had to give away all his mr men books: I ask you? Saint Roger Hargreaves?!
When I attended the interview for kindergarten, they asked if we watched tv, I said a couple of hours a day. I was made to feel as if I was being wicked! We are talking balamory, thomas the tank or educational stuff like numberjacks. I asked if they teach anthroposophy? They said we don't ; I read on a teaching site that they are trained to not mention the anthro business till later on.
Also ...look up Steiner and racism.

HereIGo Wed 13-Jun-12 14:51:58

Calm down cheekymouse, this thread is a year old. Why drag up this old thing anyway?

Madmum24 Thu 14-Jun-12 11:22:56

I know it's a year old but i'll add my two cents anyway :-)

I had read up about steier education and then requested a prospectus from our not-so-local school and it seemed absolutely wonderful! images of children tree climbing, boat building, playing in sand etc. It looked perfect so off we went for the open day.................

Firstly I couldn't ascertain who was the "headteacher" (they aren't allowed to be called that) or teachers from the parents. There was no introduction etc, but I was only "mainstream" looking person (ie my clothes were not knitted from alpaca wool) and I got a few strange looks for that.

One of the things that attracted me to steiner education was the no teaching of religion, so I was very surprised to see a bible in every classroom and depictios of the madonna etc. When I asked a teacher about this, she said "Oh we are a very christian school!" (despite the prospectus stating otherwise).

There were one or two teachers who were originally mainstream teachers who seemed really nice and down to earth, the others being on the complete other end of the spectrum where seriously their eyes had this strange glaze (I wouldn't be surprised if they were on drugs)

The school building itself was very picturesque, in wooded gardens etc but once you went in it reminded me of the feeling I had as a child stepping into santa's grotto; it was lovely but just didn't feel real.

ALL of the artwork was the same, I questioned the kindergarten teacher if the work was really the kids because it certainly didn't look like a five year olds painting, it was all diagonal lines in the same colours, not the sort of stick man art work that you might expect from that age group.

The children were all either very sullen (dressed in goth attire) or very unruly, running around making lots of noise. When we went into the woodwork workshop i asked the teacher about the boat building, which he looked very baffled about, when I showed him the prospectus (with the pics of childre building a boat!) he said he'd never heard of it in ten years he had been there! there was a small boy running around the workshop with a hacksaw in his hand, and the teacher was desperately trying to get it off him (this was in front of about 20 parents) In the end one of the parents wrestled it off him.

I spoke to one of the teachers about academic achievement (it seemed rather poor) and he said that was up to the pupil. He was a past pupil, who had moved to mainstream to do his A levels but said he found the adjustment very difficult.

We ended up homeschooling.

katykuns Thu 14-Jun-12 23:50:48

I didn't send my daughter to the Steiner school, but I did check it out. I didn't have a negative experience of it, I didn't feel it was full of rogue children or same looking art work. I was simply drawn into the idea of the Steiner school because my daughter is being assessed for learning/behavioural difficulties, and has been confirmed as having a language processing disorder. She is now in year 1 at state school, where she is under great pressure to achieve, to the point that she has begun to throw terrible tantrums in order to be removed from the class (and relax!). I agreed with the general idea that children should start later, and not be under pressure to achieve... or at least my child shouldn't.

The strange ethos etc wasn't really apparent when I visited. There was no reference the surreal things people have mentioned on this thread. The only different things were that:
1) They didn't encourage television watching
2) They didn't do any work using computers (I wasn't sure I was comfortable with this - seeing as they are becoming something you really NEED to learn)
3) There was emphasis on eating healthy, locally sourced food with no processed food (This didn't bother me, in fact I would have been unhappy if she was being fed cheap processed food when I was paying so much to have her go to Steiner in the first place :P)
4) The children's clothing was... well... weird! It was like going back in time. However, this wasn't all the children, but I think my DD would have stood out in her Disney princesses tops :P

The biggest reason we didn't go ahead with Steiner was because we felt uneasy about the jump for my daughter (she doesn't cope well with change), we thought she might lose out on her assessments by changing schools... and we simply couldn't have afforded the fees in the long term.
We also got the impression they weren't very enthusiastic about taking her on, as we were very honest about her social/educational issues... and it really put me off.

Junoper Mon 02-Jul-12 16:32:50

mollysmum828 you need to be aware, as some have already pointed out, that internet discussions of Steiner Education (and mumsnet is a big one for it) inevitably get jumped on and dominated by self-styled steiner-waldorf critics (some are here). They’re individuals who spend a great deal of time looking on internet discussion boards for posts about Steiner Education, in order to post negative and off-putting comments. They are individuals, some are calm and clear, others are rabid and manic, some are funny, some bitter, some wistful, some scornful. Some have had negative experiences at Steiner schools and often generalise these experiences to cover “all” Steiner schools or Steiner education. Some actually have no experience of Steiner schools whatsoever, and really are more critical of anthroposophy than of Waldorf education. Unfortunately it makes it virtually impossible to have any meaningful or genuine discussion here, and for people who are trying to figure out what is right for your child means that Steiner Education can be ruled out based on internet platitudes alone. So if your're looking at a Steiner School, visit, spend time there (as you would at any school, right?), and meet your child’s future teachers. Talk to parents and students. Ask questions about what youv'e read on the interet. Don’t let critics dissuade you, and don’t let Steiner aficiandos convince you. Gather information and make the decision based on your own experience and your own thinking. Good luck smile

cassyooo Sat 17-Nov-12 23:28:58

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Feenie Sun 18-Nov-12 10:13:41

Some interesting comments at the bottom of this TES article about a state funded Steiner school.

I hope to God you don't get this funding, sorry.

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