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Please talk to me about Steiner Schools

(152 Posts)
DoTheBestThingsInLifeHaveFleas Fri 17-May-13 19:42:11

Hi there

Please bear with me, I may ramble....

There is a Steiner School opening near to where I live. It will open when DD is due to start school. I do not know much about them apart from the prospectus information and an informal chat with the headmaster. It will be a free school funded by the local government. Initially I like the ethos, but do have some concerns.

My DP and I were both state educuated and feel massively let down by the system and that it really prevented us from making more of our lives. Only our wonderful parents support ensured we are where we are today, and although we both take personal responsibility for our actions, we want better for our DD. I really do not want her going to a school where the kids make you feel that 'learning is for geeks and saddos' and that she has to be naughty and rude just to try and fit in (Yes this is what I felt I had to do and until I started to behave badly to try and fit in life at school was unbearable. And yes I am bitter!!!) or aspiring to be a WAG when she grows up. DP was the other extreme and one of the ones who made my life miserable. He is a bright and intelligent person, and was bored and under stretched at school and so started trouble and distracted others. Again we both take personal responsibility for our actions, but really at 12 - 16 years old it's hard to understand the impact you are having on your life.

So anyway, do we go for a private school, which will be very hard financially (although a sacrifice we are willing to make) and also have its pitfalls, or could a Steiner school be the right move? Any comments welcome, thank you in advance.

uncongenial Fri 17-May-13 19:47:56

What is it you like about the Steiner ethos particularly? I'm not sure you'd get the academic stretching there you imagine you might.

TweenageAngst Fri 17-May-13 19:48:04

www.quackometer.net/blog/2012/11/what-every-parent-should-know-about-steiner-waldorf-schools.html
Have a read of this.
If I remember correctly Mumsnet is quite divided on the subject. I would not even consider it.

DoTheBestThingsInLifeHaveFleas Fri 17-May-13 19:56:05

Thank you. I imagine it is very divided. I like the creativity and the 'non text booking learning. I like the way that they relate what you are learning to practical activities and making it memorable and enjoyable to learn.

I do have concerns about it not being very 'sporty' (I don't want to push sport, but think it should be an option) and also that children are a little too free to make their own choices....

I will do more research. Any more comments very welcome please. Thank you all.

DoTheBestThingsInLifeHaveFleas Fri 17-May-13 19:58:15

Wow, TweenageAngst, just read that link. Feel a little bit cold and sick now!!!!

claraschu Fri 17-May-13 20:04:59

Steiner schools vary quite a bit. The very doctrinaire ones are awful, I think, but some more flexibly-thinking Steiner schools are really wonderful.
I think it depends if the administration swallow the philosophy whole, or if they are just influenced by some aspects of Steiner's thinking.

swampster Fri 17-May-13 22:57:57

Threads about Steiner schools tend to go pouf and disappear. They aren't known for their openness to discussion or tolerance of different opinions.

Tizian Mon 27-May-13 20:03:14

TweenageAngst, The blog you link to is centrally influenced by a Janus faced intellectual con artist. For some comments on it see thebee.se/BBC and bit.ly/1144VOu

Perihelion Mon 27-May-13 21:06:48

My pal's child went for a while at the age of 10. Asked to go back to a proper school as although they became rather good at knitting, they were bored and missed proper teaching.

Wallison Mon 27-May-13 21:13:19

I've been along to a few events at our local Steiner school and also for a look-see around and while I'm sure they do vary across the country, what I saw there made me feel very uncomfortable. It was almost cultish and there seemed to be some kind of mind-meld going on - reminded me of evangelical types with a sort of blind devotion to all things Steiner. Plus the kids were some of the most badly-behaved kids I've seen anywhere, even with the double whammy of parental and teacher supervision. They had ideas that even I, as a lentil-weaving leftie type, found way out-there, backed up by nothing more than "That's how we do things". I did give it a fair try, honest, but resolved to Avoid.

Ruprekt Mon 27-May-13 21:15:41

This thread will not last long probably.

From what I can gather, Steiner schools do not accept disabled children or ethnic minorities as they are considered impure. confusedconfused

I would NEVER send my child to a Steiner school.

Maria33 Mon 27-May-13 21:31:26

Ah yes. The magic of childhood...

My kids went to one for a couple of years. It was bonkers. My son was diagnosed with incarnation problems (I shit you not). We left. confused

It was so mad. Do yourself a favour: research anthroposophy. This informs every aspect of the school curriculum, beliefs about child development and the aesthetic- down to the color each classroom is painted (kindy in peach, class 1 pink, class 3 green). If you like what you read, you'll love it. If you think it sounds a bit mad, run for the hills smile

Good luck.

SchrodingersFanny Mon 27-May-13 21:32:58

lunatics! I wouldn't send my kids to one.

ZZZenagain Mon 27-May-13 21:33:57

incarnation problems sounds odd. Don't they believe that a dc is reincarnated in stages, something like that? The soul about age 14, etc

Wallison Mon 27-May-13 21:37:00

The whole thing sounds bloody odd. I think it's madness that the govt is funding vehicles for these crack-pots to be let loose on children.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 27-May-13 21:49:46

I went to one, got three As at A level and a first from Oxbridge. One of my peers is now a major stage actress, two are doctors, one is a West End choreographer and another is a jewellery designer who's featured in Vogue.

My experience is that if you want your kids to run the world when they grow up (or just to have professional careers eg lawyer, banker) you'd be better off with a mainstream independent school, but if you want them to be creative and possibly want to save the world you could do worse.

Some of the teachers can be a bit weird though.

WouldBeHarrietVane Mon 27-May-13 21:53:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Maria33 Mon 27-May-13 21:54:35

A child is not fully incarnated till they're 7 (when their teeth come in). This is why formal learning is delayed till 'the change of teeth' . Exposure to too much 'head- thinking' e.g. reading, maths, being explained anything in scientific terms brings children into their heads too soon and can cause damage to their souls.

Steiner schools see education as a spiritual journey. I thought this was a metaphor but it actually refers to a very specific and structured belief system, created by Rudolf Steiner, about the different stages of a soul's development. It's a sort of Christo-Judaic spiritualism with a bit of Eastern mysticism thrown in which was quite popular in the early 20th century in Europe.

The problem that most people who leave angrily have, is that the schools are not at all open about the fact that this is where their ideas come from.

This coupled with a very poor teacher training programme means that families can have some quite disastrous experiences.

Maria33 Mon 27-May-13 21:57:44

<<some families>>

Some people love it.

Good luck.

ZZZenagain Mon 27-May-13 22:03:16

what I keep reading is that they don't intervene in bullying because this is seen to be karma playing itself out. Wouldn't be good if your dc were on the receiving end. The schools look attractive and I do really like some aspects of it but not Steiner's philosophy as I understand it - and not the teaching of history. I have a big problem with that (as an historian)

JewelFairies Mon 27-May-13 22:03:41

I wouldn't go near and didn't after a disastrous one off session in a baby/toddler group where a hyperactive toddler was encouraged to express himself by hitting babies over the head with pine cones...hmm

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Mon 27-May-13 22:05:57

all i know is that on my own website, which is just a wee thing about babies, whenever the subject of Steiner comes up we are invaded by trolls telling whoever will listen that it's all FABULOUS and any naysayers should shut up and stop being bitter etc.

the steiner lot google alert the name, they tweet each other with details of threads where the schooling is being discussed, and descend... those tweets are watched by the anti-mob as well, so the whole thing tends to go tits up quite quickly and quite poisonously.

OhTheHugeManatee isn't doing that, i hasten to add, she's a regular, and has always seemed to me to be perfectly sane and lovely. However, any organisation that needed to control its brand in quite such a rigorous way... i dunno... bit culty if you ask me.

Patchouli Mon 27-May-13 22:11:56

I vaguely recollect a thread on here from a mum who felt sick with regret at sending her DC to a Steiner school. Something had made her pull them out and put them into mainstream later in key stage 2, and not being able to read and write yet, it was a difficult experience for them.

(I'll try not to take it personally that you think our state schools DCs are ^naughty, rude & aspiring to be WAGS^)

Anifrangapani Mon 27-May-13 22:16:02

I went to one.
It was not exclusive, there were both ethnic minorties ad those with diasabilities. It depends on the individualschool and how far they take the pure Steiner ethos. Mine took the child centred learning and ditched the rest thankfully.

With regards to how far kids are streatched depends, obviously given the educational underpinning, on the child. I came out with a better education than if I had gone to a mainstream school, but I have always been self motivated. For my brothers it was not so sucessful.

It does teach you how to learn not what to learn.

Anifrangapani Mon 27-May-13 22:18:51

Zzzz- not all schools are the same. We had a school council that was run by the students and proposed and voted on appropriate punishments. Usually 20 minutes picking up rubbish in the playground.

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