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

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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