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Any recent experience of Steiner schools?

(34 Posts)
lindasw15 Wed 28-Sep-11 10:33:51

Hello there,

We are currently trying to decide where to send our 3 1/2 year old son to school next year. Having been a little scared at the amount of pressure that some schools place on kids these days we thought we would investigate all options. Just wondered if any of you had any experience with the steiner school system? I know that there are a lot of old threads on here but just wondered if anyone had any recent input?

Hope to hear from some of you.
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AitchTwoOh Wed 28-Sep-11 10:44:17

wouldn't it be an idea to say which schools? i think some are worse than others.

IndigoBell Wed 28-Sep-11 11:10:22

I would also say that most state schools don't place pressure on kids.

AitchTwoOh Wed 28-Sep-11 11:26:16

tbh if you've read the older threads and haven't run for the hills at the way all the steiner loons descend and the links to the 'surviving steiner' sites, you should just go for it. i personally think you're crackers, but that does seem to be the steiner way...

lindasw15 Wed 28-Sep-11 20:17:22

Good state schools near me are church schools and heavily over subscribed. Therefore we have been covering our options by looking at private schools (a lot of which are very pressured!).

We looked at the St Michael Steiner school in Wandsworth, london.

Yes I have looked at old threads and I was concerned but also curious to know of recent experiences as most threads are now a few years old.

As for the question of being crackers I don't think I am that crazy- bit sleep deprived maybe but just trying to research all options!! smile

Will check out the surviving Steiner sites thanks for the tip!

AitchTwoOh Wed 28-Sep-11 21:05:56

i dunno, at least christianity is a well-known cult... wink steiner seems to keep its cultishness in the background until you are in its midst.

the reason that the threads are old is that people got tired of being shouted down, tbh.

IndigoBell Wed 28-Sep-11 21:14:34

Why don't you look at Montessori schools? There are a few in London.

BarryShitpeas Wed 28-Sep-11 22:10:49

I have visited the St Michael Steiner school in Wandsworth.

All the mums are expected to get involved crafting stuff to sell at their fairs.

All the kids look really washed out, and in need of a steak.

That is the extent of my knowledge of the place.

And I would cut the heads of my dc before sending them there

smile

lindasw15 Wed 28-Sep-11 23:02:44

Appreciate all your honesty and suggestions.

Am looking into montessori as that seems much more positive. The local one has a huge waiting list which is a shame as that was my first choice. Would have had to put DS on the waiting list as soon as he was born and I was a little side tracked then.

BarryShiftpeas- My crafting really isn't up to much anyhow so guess it wasn't meant to be!!

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onadifferentplanettoday Thu 29-Sep-11 07:36:02

My son has been at our local Steiner for nearly two years he started at secondary level ,he loves it is doing very well and every one is really friendly and I have certainly not witnessed any of the 'playground mafia' that was very evident at his old school .Steiner is not for everyone but you don't have to be a lentil weaving hippy despite what most people on here think! We also have a tv and an xbox and love a piece of steak when the budget allows! I've never crafted anything either though do happily make cupcakes for school events.

samphireandpebbles Fri 30-Sep-11 12:04:50

Does anyone know of a new Steiner School starting up in Devon? I had heard something. I know about the Totnes & Exeter schools. I am looking near Honition / Lyme regis.

Ceebeejay Sat 01-Oct-11 21:23:54

I would recommend Steiner for ages 3 to 6 then switch to mainstream. that way the childs imagination has developed and they are ready to learn to read and do maths without parental headaches. We did that for our DD's and they are both at the top of their classes - the extra time spent playing at Steiner has proved invaluable in their self confidence too.smile

Suckstobeme Sat 01-Oct-11 21:35:39

My DS goes to Montessori and I am impressed with the school (and skint!)

lindasw15 Mon 03-Oct-11 16:41:24

Hi Ceebeejay,

Just wondered how the transition was from Steiner to mainstream? Particularly in relation to reading and writing? Could your kids already read and write? Did you teach them? Or did they learn just really quick at mainstream?

Thank you really appreciate your time.
X

greengoose Thu 06-Oct-11 13:19:07

Hi, Just wondered if you had looked into other alternative schools? I live in Totnes, Devon, and although there is a big Steiner school here, Im not so keen on it personally for my boys. They go to Park School in Dartington, which you should google, as it is a good example of a not-at-all-out-there but small scale holistic approach. There are schools like this all over, lots in london. They tend not to advertise as much because the size of them means they have no problem filling up......
My two DSs completely love it, to the point where they want to go in the holidays! The focus is on respect and consideration for yourself, others and the environment, and there is much imaginative teaching (as it doesnt have any tests and is freed from NC). An example would be they just had an apple day where the whole school spent the day doing apple related activities on the orchard, then pressing the apples, baking apple cakes, debating which charity to give the profits to, and setting up and running a cafe at the end. Teaching of maths, written work and environmental studies flow through it all. Its a joy. The fees are banded to make it very doable. Seriously, google; Park School Dartington..... if nothing else itll give you more ideas!! (By the way the local senior school loves kids from this system as they are so confident and good at communicating, and have a real love of learning, and the EY's curriculum was based on work done at Park School..... so it works too)!!

restlessnative Thu 06-Oct-11 17:54:28

greengoose - I just want to hug you smile

greengoose Thu 06-Oct-11 18:39:20

restlessnative do you know Park School then??

Ceebeejay Thu 06-Oct-11 23:14:07

Lindasw15 - sorry for delay been away smile We didn't do any teaching of reading or writing but dd taught herself basic reading from being stuck in traffic jams on the way to school - she read the back of buses!! Reading clicked almost immediately and they whizzed through the compulsory reading schemes - After about 3 months they had overtaken most of the class who had been at school since reception. Maths was a little harder - I think it was the strange concept of manipulating numbers - they could count but that was it. I would guess it was almost a year before they felt confident but 3 1/2 years on they are at very academic schools and are comfortably in the top 5.
As mentioned it is their imagination that sets them apart especially in story writing, both also love drama. I wouldn't hesitate to do it all again - I have 3 older children who went through the conventional way and I think Steiner followed by mainstream later on is way way better for parent and child. Children are too young at 4 to start school - its a shame it took me 3 children to realise this!! Good luck to you whatever you decide smile

Ceebeejay Thu 06-Oct-11 23:15:18

greengoose - you must know one of my closest friends whose dd went to Park School and also lives in Totnes. She too thought it was wonderful smile

overthetop66 Sat 08-Oct-11 21:53:45

My son is also 31/2 and we've been looking at steiner as a gentle option I am really freaked out and disappointed to discover so much crazy thinking is behind what seems like a gentle open minded approach to education.
I just don't want my children to be bombarded with guns and disney images pre-school time watching or playing super heroes.
i am not a yogurty weaver but I hate that exposure to media and materialism at such a tender age.
Don't feel up to home education but worried about the idea of unqualified staff at independent schools.
Steiner seems like the soft option.
I don't want the crazy indoctrination and the knomes.........surely nobody really can trust a teacher who says a knome whisperes in their ear.
Mad, I felt exactly the same when I did my Yoga teachers training love the practice but in this day and age you can't believe in that racism and re-incarnation beuleux

An0therName Sat 08-Oct-11 22:12:18

no expert on steiner - although by SIL was training as a Steiner teacher and dropped out.. and she is a self confessed hippy but it was too much for her...
but overthetop - never come across guns or disney at main stream school - odd playing super heros but that comes from the other children not the teacher

greengoose Sun 09-Oct-11 09:05:52

Hi Ovethetop, Just wondering why you think that staff at indi schools are unqualified?? In my experience of Park School , Dartington, and Sands School, Ashburton, if anything they are all way over qualified.....the Early Years teacher at Park practically wrote the Government EY policy, and was an ofsted inspector for many years, also lecturing on EY education around the world. All of the teachers there are v. experienced too. (Park always gets 'outstanding' across the board for its EY provision from Ofsted). At Sands the people who set it up are oxbridge, and have written books on education, as well as being respected internationally for the work they do.
Contrast this to Steiner where they train as 'Steiner' teachers (much woowoo) often after attending Steiner schools themselves, and need never have any mainstream teaching or EY experience... bit of a concern, if you ask me.
One of the reasons we went for Park school was the obvious experience, and love of teaching, that the school carries through its staff.

Perhaps some Indi schools get away without that, but the ones I am familiar with have staff who are working in Indi schools because of the same reasons you would consider them... a freedom to teach what is important in a way that fosters respect for each other and the world we are part of, while not being ruled by tests and deadlines and endless paperwork. These teachers have time to make learning creative and fun, to play, and laugh and go outside if its sunny (or rainy!)... all the things kids need IMO... my 9yr old Ds still dresses up if he wants, plays with sticks, building dens and forts, more than playing on computers (although he is very good on a computer and they do IT at school), and has huge confidence in himself and a real love of learning. He wants to be a scientist, and loves maths. He invited his teacher to his birthday party.... My 3yr old has just started, and thinks his teacher is as good at cuddles as Daddy (high praise) and he is begging to go for full days already.
Google Park School Dartington, if you want to have a look at what Indi schools can be about, this is not an exception, there are many like this.

mousymouse Sun 09-Oct-11 09:17:40

if you want a softer more child centered aproach montessori might be good for your dc.
in a way steiner and montessori seem similar, eg. plain class rooms wooden toys, but montessori is a teaching method and not a cult.
montessori (usually) keeps to the national curiculum but the aproach is different to state school.

mousymouse Sun 09-Oct-11 09:22:33

as for steiner pupils changeing to mainstream: I went to school in germany. the local steiner school only went up to the gcse equivalent and a handfull of steiner students then switched to the mainstream school to achieve the equivalent to a-levels for university entry.
they had major problems keeping up with the amount and speed of learning and had quite substantial gaps in subjects like science and maths.
half of them dropped out.

overthetop66 Mon 10-Oct-11 15:34:38

Thanks this is really helpful, I have heard park school is excellent and I'll check sands Ashburton.

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