Anyone any experience of the steiner school near canterbury?(16 Posts)
I am considering this school for my middle ds who is suffering as a result of being a very sensitive and creative boy.
I am wondeering if anyone had any thoughts or dealings with it? Its all a bit new to me.....
Be prepared for an enormously long thread - Steiner education is very controversial on here.
I looked at this school when my dd was little. It's incredibly beautiful and very tempting with all the wooden toys and things, but we decided against it because I had lots of concerns about the academic achievement, and also at whether genuine individuality was dealt with properly. There are also questions about how far you have to take on board the Steiner philosophy to be a child or a parent of the school.
We know a 13 year old who goes and he is reasonably happy, but is not (to my mind) being challenged academically or intellectually.
I have briefly dipped my toe in others!
My ds is seven and can already read. He is creative though and struggles with the rough and tumble of his main stream school and I am called in a lot to discuss the fact he is very emotional. I have all boys and he has a very vivid imagination but is not particularly academic.
I am not very aware of Steiner philosophy tbh.
From what I've heard of Steiner schools (not personal experience), children often get rather a lot of "rough and tumble" as the teachers generally do not intervene to stop it, as they believe it is "karma"! There have also been a number of threads where parents have criticised the fact that all the children are expected to produce very similar "artwork" as they have a set way of doing this, so I don't think individual creativity is encouraged.
One of the things that concerned me about the school was that the children are not encouraged to read before 7 - I'm not sure how they would deal with a child who is reading already. I get the feeling (and this is my opinion only) that the children are expected to fit neatly into boxes. Different boxes perhaps to mainstream schools but still boxes!
Do you mind saying roughly where you live? I know there are excellent primary schools in Canterbury.
From my experience they are not very inclusive ie racially and if you have a disability
This thread will end up being deleted so do be aware that this could disappear!
Just wondering how long it will be before a certain internet propaganda spreader lands on this thread via internet searching of steiner school references ?
Hi - My youngest dd attended the kindergarten at Canterbury Steiner School and her friends who we are in regular contact with still attend. We actually moved areas. There were quite a lot of children who moved there from other schools who were already reading and it is no problem. To Gossipmonger - you are so wrong re both your comments - re disability - there are children there with many disabilities and are included totally and are accepted by the other children completely. The school is totally non racist and there are many nationalities and colours amongst pupils and parents.
We thought the school was wonderful and the kindergarten teachers are amazing. If your child is a high flier though he/she could find the pace a little slow. I would be more prepared to talk openly in private email.
Preggydonuts - Just noticed your ds is the same age as my dd so he would go into what was her class!
amumiscotland / preggydonuts (realise this is a bit of a long time after the thread was posted but feel its important to say ....
that it is a complete misundersatnding about eh artwork at steiner schools , this is why you need to read up a bit about what the steiner ed is about becsue it is a big misunderstanding that 'same' pictures means no individuality! Its quite the opposite, there is a reason why they explore different themes together becuase it reflects where they are AGE wise in their development ... if you actually look at the paintings on a steiner classroom wall you will see that despite the theme being the same every piece of work says someting very individual about the children. Art in a steiner school is not just a 'subject' through whcih to proove yourself, as it is in so many other places ... it is about an internal process .... its about much mroe than producing a piece of art, it has a real purpose in terms of a child's development. The whole education is not about pleasing some kind of external idea of what 'art' or individuality' is .. it is about an internal process that strengthens the individual in a way you will not see in mainstream education ... You just have to be prepared to look beyond conventional ideas of WHY children learn in the first place ... ! and what purpose it serves ... becuase its a very dfferent approach to and understading of education. So its hopeless to go in there wanting something 'different' for your child and then try to make steiner education fit into your 'mainstram' expectations ...it doesn't work and you will come out miserable ad disappointed. It requires a total shift of perspective on how you want your child to move through this world. If you think the world is improved by academic achievements, then stick with schools whose focus is to produce academics. Steiner education has something else in mind and can easily be misunderstood from the outside if you are trying to overlay conventional ideologies onto it ... On the other hand if you want your child to have an experience of what it is to feel like a complete human being, living from a place of inner connection and understanding rather than a place of disconnection and 'pleasing convention' ... then have a deeper look at the Steiner route ... but dont judge it before you have knowledge of what its about ... all the children I know from Steiner ed are full bodied individuals who don't live their lives just to tick boxes, but to bring something a bit more meaningful ...... ! Llike any education it has its drawbacks .. but you have to decide what matters to you .. it is NOT an siply an easy alternative for sensitive children !.. Good Luck ...
sorry i meant to say .. it is not SIMPLY an 'easy option' for sensitive children ..
totally agree on disability issue ... Rudolf Steiner did a huge amount of work to help children and adults with learning challenges. Google Camphll !!!! He saw chidlren with 'disabilities' as having special gifts to bring .. so i dont know where the idea came from that they discriminate against disabled children ... ! however they would always assess whether any child was going to benefit from the curriculum or maybe needs something more specialised for their needs ...
A few points to previous comments in this thread...in order of posting:
There will be, contrary to what school teachers say, very little help or provision for any child with special needs or a 'sensitive' child due in part to the small size of the school and staff. They may do ok in kindergarten, transition or class 1 & 2 but then it will be all down hill most probably due to bullying.
Dont by fooled or charmed by the nice setting, the pretty buildings, wooden toys of pastel classrooms. This is a cult and most teachers and staff (if not all) are far more 'into' anthroposophy' than will be apparent from a conversation or open day
AMuminScotland writes: From what I've heard of Steiner schools (not personal experience), children often get rather a lot of "rough and tumble" as the teachers generally do not intervene to stop it, as they believe it is "karma"!..." It seems odd to me that a euphemism is needed for bullying, but I can assure you that there is a greater risk of peer to peer and teacher to pupil bullying in Steiner. When bullying or abuse happens parents are fobbed off, and the staff do little or nothing as they believe it is the child's Karma to be bullied and a beneficial correction for a previous life. There is no head, but a college of teachers. In practice this means that teachers can avoid individual responsibility and accountability. Parents also almost always come of second best because they usually know less about anthroposophy so are looked down on as a result. When the school teachers and staff close ranks...there is no clear path for parents to follow...no place to turn.
Find out how many teachers currently working at Canterbury Steiner School (formally known as Perry Court Steiner School) have a PGCE or are properly qualified for the subject they teach.
Regarding Rosesinbloom comments about the artwork.
The method of painting is not free at all. Rather the materials are specified/allowed (eg no felt tips), the colours are specified (no black, brown, white or grey), the content of the pictures is specified and copied from a teachers example. The picture will be of amorphous shapes or various crystal type forms while normal things like people, animals, houses, cars, planes etc are discouraged or forbidden. There is a lack of individuality because so much is not allowed and so much is simply copied from a teachers example or is heavily circumscribed. Of course they actual pictures look different to a degree, but its not free or individual. Art is heavily restricted to and circumscribed by anthroposophical ideology. The purpose is not to let kids be individuals, but so that the class teacher can, by analysing the painting, label (in his or her mind) your child with one of the four temperaments and make spiritual judgements about your child. It is also done in order to help the teacher develop their 'clairvoyant' powers and thereby get to know what is going on spiritually with your child. Of course its all rather open to errors of judgement, but there you go.
Roseinbloom is possibly one of the paid staffers who are tasked with propagandising for Steiner Schools and misleading parents on forums and websites throughout the www. The lack of intellectual rigor or indeed any kind of clarity of sense in what he/she has written is a good example of the gobbledegook, obfuscation, denials and misleading comment put about by Steiner fans and Anthroposophists.
Regarding Roseinbooms comments about the Camphill movement. Actually Steiner did not start Camphill.
Camphill was founded by a paediatrician named Karl Koenig. Steiner was well known to Koenig, but they disagreed about fundamental things in education and special needs in particular. So we can see on this forum that misleading comments are posted by a Steiner supporter.
In Steiner schools, pupils with special needs and physical disability will be very vulnerable and the ethos of Camphill Schools and Adult villages are not applied.
Look on google for example at the logo of Theosophy. Notice anything a bit creepy about it? Well Steiner was the head of Theosophy before going off to found Steiner Schools...you have been warned.
For those in the right area, I am aware that Petham Primary has a Good Ofsted rating and small and in a lovely area. There are also many other good schools in the Canterbury and Ashford areas for all ages and abilities.
My children went there, they were challenged and encouraged to learn and excel in academic and artistic areas. They flourished as independent young people.
Canterbury Steiner School has had 3 different leaders or Heads in three years. The discussion regarding Heads in a Steiner school is for another time.
Pupil numbers are at an all time low, 53 when I last checked.
Classes have merged. Class 1 and 2 are now one class and so on.
The upper school is shut so no GCSEs. The official line is the "upper school is in hibernation" !!!!!
Almost all of the good teachers have left.
There are staff members currently at the school who actively trawl web sites like mumsnet in an effort to promote the school. Their posts often contain untruths and serve to distort and prolong the thread.
If you want to send your children there then ask yourself (and the school) the following questions
1. Why 3 heads in 3 years?
2. Why is the upper school closed?
3. What happened to the new school at the top of the hill that was PROMISED to current and future parents/pupils?
4. What is the current number of pupils?
5. Why have a large proportion of people left over recent years?
6. Why do staff regularly post on review sites and not disclose their interest, leading to misinformation.
7. Teenage female pupils refused to be taught Eurythmy by the trained Eurythmy teacher some years ago. Ask Why? and what action was taken against the teacher?
8. Why have classes of different ages merged when a core principle of the school is age appropriate learning. How can you teach to children of mixed ages in one classroom ( e.g. 8, 9 and 10 years old) and maintain age appropriate education?
If you care where your children are going then you should, as a minimum, ask the above. We were at the school before we asked even some of the above. BIG MISTAKE. ASK BEFORE YOU SEND YOUR CHILDREN THERE.
At the very least, why use your children as an experiment to check if the school is good or not? There are other schools nearby, some even formed by decent ex-Canterbury Steiner teachers - search and you will find. Other schools do not attract the negative comments that Canterbury Steiner School does.
There are reasons why LARGE numbers have left the school over the recent 4 years, these people are not stupid.
Do not pay any attention to posts that have a whiff of propaganda put out by current staff members of the school.
DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH AND ASK QUESTIONS.
The school is in crisis.
I missed out point 9 in my original post.
Here it is.
9. Why did 3 of the most senior members of the school (including the head) all take early retirement (jumped ship) in 2014 and all at the same time?
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