Steiner schools - does anyone have any experience of them?

(20 Posts)
SunIsShiningWeatherIsSweet Wed 24-Feb-16 14:04:38

We have a Steiner primary near us which we are considering for DC but it's fairly new so you can't really see the outcomes for the kids yet. There is no steiner secondary only a high school or grammar school so I'm wondering how kids usually do when they move from Steiner into non-Steiner education. Do they settle in well to a different style of education? Do they get good grades? Would a secondary school teacher be pleased to teach kids who've been educated with the Steiner methodology or would they see it as challenging? Any other general comments or experiences of Steiner will be welcomed too!!

SexTrainGlue Wed 24-Feb-16 14:18:18

I looked into Steiner, and decided it wasn't for us.

Don't be misled by the later start to reading. It struck us as a very regimented (and occasionally peculiar) programme. But if you want that level of control, and are happy with the concept of anthroposophism and the ethos it produces in schools

PatriciaHolm Wed 24-Feb-16 14:32:35

Probably worth doing an advanced search on Steiner on the talk boards, to be honest. They have been discussed lots, in depth, with few people having anything positive to say and lots of negative!

Kewcumber Wed 24-Feb-16 14:32:44

Over the years I've been here there have been many threads about Steiner schools. Started OK then various ex-parents came on and shared their concerns then the whole thing was hijacked by someone pro-Steiner and the threads ended up deleted.

I'd try googling as much as you can and talk to the parents and see if you can find some ex parents too

SunIsShiningWeatherIsSweet Wed 24-Feb-16 16:31:43

God I'm glad I asked this question! I had no idea there was this sort of controversy. I found an old thread on here and the stories made me feel so upset I felt physically sick! Those poor children. I definitely need to know more about the individual school. Id need to make sure it's being run very well before I sign DC up for anything!

opioneers Wed 24-Feb-16 16:46:50

There is a Steiner school near us. Anecdotally, the children who move from the school have to have additional tuition as they are 1-2 years behind the national curriculum, so I don't think it's an easy transition.

If there is a Steiner nursery or playgroup, then I'd suggest that you went and tried that with your DC, as that, more than anything else will give you a feel for it. [disclaimer: I did this and never went near it again]

sanam2010 Wed 24-Feb-16 17:05:44

a lot of my cousins and aunts / uncles went to Steiner schools and taught at Steiner schools. It was quite tough for them to transfer to traditional schools later for GCSE / A-level, get into a good university etc.. They weren't used to the pressure and were a bit behind as well.

At the same time, may I say that those kids I know who went there are the best and loveliest, kindest human beings. They are not competitive or aggressive like many other kids, they are very generous, kind hearted, simply the nicest people. I think it is a very gentle environment. In the end, they did very well as well, despite taking some detours. One got into a top conservatory and is a head of music now, one won a journalism scholarship and is a successful journalist, another cousin got into medical school in the end (via some detours) and is doing great there.

So in the short term, I think it makes life for them a bit harder when they transfer to secondary school, and I don't think I would choose this path for my children, but it's not all bad, I think they turn out to be great, creative people and many become successful artists / entrepreneurs or even go the traditional path but they tend to be more well-rounded than your typical person.

SavoyCabbage Wed 24-Feb-16 17:17:15

We just considered the one close to us as we couldn't get a place in a mainstream school.

When I called to book a place on a scheduled tour, the school,seemed aghast that unwanted to bring my dd. As if it were no place for children. She suggested that I leave dd home alone rather than bring her.

I found it all very strange. Balls are completely banned from the premises for example. I found the children to be really lacking in self awareness. Shoving past us in corridors, yelling in the classrooms.

When we went to the school fair it felt really insular. Not one person talked to us, tried to get us to buy something from their stall or anything. It was like being in that 'I see dead people' film.

The biggest thing I didn't like was that they have the same teacher right the way through. So if they were rubbish you were doomed!

Feenie Wed 24-Feb-16 17:55:05

Steiner schools are apparently a recognised cult in France and Germany. Does that help?

blaeberry Wed 24-Feb-16 19:46:18

My dc did a year each at a Steiner kindergarten. It was lovely and they had a great time. However it was pretty woo and there were belief aspect we felt uncomfortable with so wouldn't have considered any more time than that. I also hadn't realised quite how prescribed it all is - classroom wall colours, songs, painting style, etc. (It also wasn't a 'normal' Steiner kindergarten for several reasons so was a bit diluted with mainstream stuff).

MsMermaid Wed 24-Feb-16 20:04:57

My cousins go to a Steiner school. They will be going right up to 18 so won't be transferring to mainstream at all. I'm unsure about whether they will get GCSEs/qualifications. The eldest is 11and would be in year 7 in mainstream, his writing that I have seen is about what I would expect from an average year 2or3. It may be that he has some form of additional needs and would be at that level in mainstream too, but his school haven't flagged anything up about special needs or given any intervention, which I would expect in a mainstream school.

Their family is very happy with their choice. It would not be a choice I would make for my children. It does seem as if they are a bit brainwashed by the whole thing tbh. School says no plastic toys, so they only have toys made from natural materials at home. School says no computers til a certain age (not sure what that age is), so they aren't allowed to play on the computer at home doesn't seem to be applied to mum's phone though I worry about how those children will cope in the outside world, but maybe I'm worrying about nothing.

cheapandcheerful Wed 24-Feb-16 20:11:52

I would not send my children to a Steiner school because of this stuff

Also, they apparently believe in gnomes. Really.

OhWhatAPalaver Wed 24-Feb-16 21:24:40

Tried a couple of Steiner groups before dd was even kindergarten age. Glad I did because in theory it all sounds like a lovely idea but when they all started maypole dancing and singing the same songs over and over again I couldn't get The Wicker Man out of my head!
Needless to say I didn't sign up to the kindergarten... It's cliquey to say the least.

SunIsShiningWeatherIsSweet Wed 24-Feb-16 23:16:09

Really shocked by what I've read. I thought it was just a lovely gentle education which would encourage a more rounded development. There's a whole other side of this type of education that I had no idea about. I hope the one near us is okay for the sake of the kids that are already there.

Feenie Thu 25-Feb-16 07:20:14

I think lots of people assume Montessori and Steiner = fluffy and lovely. They're most definitely not the same.

MrsUnderwood Thu 25-Feb-16 07:32:09

I have a friend who works at a local secondary and she has told me that when they get children transferring from our city's Steiner school they have a very hard transition as many of them as far behind in literacy and numeracy. They also struggle to adjust to the different style of school. I'm not sure it's a path I would go down unless I could be sure the child stayed in the Steiner system for their entire school career.

FellOutOfBedTwice Thu 25-Feb-16 07:38:07

Knew nothing about this!!! Am shocked, to say the least, and I went to a catholic school as a non Catholic- I thought I knew what weird was but clearly not.

blaeberry Thu 25-Feb-16 08:36:45

Some people are comfortable with the belief side of things and I know friends who have come through that system and thought it was great so it must work for some. However, I also know one family who went to a normal school after their local Steiner school closed. They were very wary of the new school and were completely surprised how well their children settled in and the whole system - I think they thought 'normal' education was stuck in the 1930s too!

tumpymummy Thu 25-Feb-16 18:10:38

I agree with sanam2010. There is a Steiner school where we live and a few of those children do transfer to mainstream education often around Year 3 or 4. Initially they are behind but they do okay, but they are usually the loveliest children. You don't know if that is because they are simply from the sort of families that are happy to choose a Steiner school and would have been like that anyway, or whether it is a product of the school. I considered it when my kids were little, but decided it was too alternative for us. Sounds like every school is different so like any school you really need to go and sus it out and see how the idea sits with you. Also depends what the alternative is like too.

madwomanacrosstheroad Thu 25-Feb-16 18:53:21

I looked at steiner years ago and did not go with it. Also grew up in a country where it is more mainstream an a lot of my peers went.
The good: kids end up very grounded and good self esteem, confident etc. A lot of creative musical stuff.

The cotroversial: aperture from bizarre issues around gnomes and reincarnation and whatever you call the movement thing they do, reintegration into mainstream is an issue. I think it is a general lifestyle choice, so if you envisage organic farming or self build strawberry houses as longterm career choices it's brilliant. In terms of traditional academic route it is not.
Apart from that working conditions and wages for teachers are often not great so high staff turn over and as private has been known as middle class solution to kids with behavioural /emotional issues who can't be maintained at mainstream schools.

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