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steiner education for early years?

(27 Posts)
mamatilly Mon 27-Apr-09 10:30:13

while considering a village school, also considering steiner education for early years as it really focuses on the outdoors and celebrates the magic of festivals etc..

would then consider transferring at about age 7 to a mainstream school...

any thoughts on steiner early years???


OP’s posts: |
themildmanneredjanitor Mon 27-Apr-09 10:30:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lulumama Mon 27-Apr-09 10:31:47

do a search on here for steiner schools

i would never ever ever ever ever consider it ever

mamatilly Mon 27-Apr-09 10:34:47

ooo, plse give me some headlines while i search... thankyou

OP’s posts: |
becstarlitsea Mon 27-Apr-09 10:42:32

If you search Steiner on Mumsnet you've got plenty of reading ahead of you!

Lots of worries, including that at age 7 in Steiner your child won't have even started to learn to read, so will then struggle to catch up in mainstream. Also the philosophy behind it has more weirdness than first meets the eye.

Personally, I wouldn't.

Lulumama Mon 27-Apr-09 10:46:01

the non acceptance of hcildren with disabilities is a factor i think., unless i have got confused. also the control over how children draw etc. there are some very nasty philosophies, IMO, behind it all, and behind hte lovely facade. search for posts by 'barking'

saintlydamemrsturnip Mon 27-Apr-09 10:49:39

I find the idea that there is a non-acceptance of children with disabilities a bit odd. When Ds1 was 2 and had been 'banned' from various play activities (not for doing anything dangerous or damaging to other children, just for having no speech and not understanding the rules) and had been treated appallingly by a local nursery (again for being odd, not actually doing anything to another child) our local Steiner parent and toddler group was very accepting of him and very kind. He was encouraged to join and and did.

Go and have a look at your local one mamatilly and see what you think. It might be hard to swap across into mainstream say in year 2,but for pre-school years it would be fine.

naturalnursery Tue 28-Apr-09 15:04:59

Not sure at all about some of the comments on here - our daughter is at a Steiner School and loves every minute of it.

Never ever heard any issues about non-acceptance of special needs - indeed at our last Steiner school there were several children with very special needs, that were amply catered for.

In many cases, children transfer into Steiner out of mainstream because of problems encounted by non-acceptance.

Learing to read - many children who are Steiner educated do learn to read before 7 - reading is not taught as such before then but no child would ever be discouraged from learning to read.

Don't forget, it is only in the UK that we have this immense pressure on children to learn to read at such an early age - 6 or 7 is the norm in Europe, America, Australia etc.

Steiner children, as a rule, do learn to read very quicky when they are ready - and this is a key element - by waiting, they are very receptive to learning to read when the formal lessons start.

As with any school, you must go and meet the teachers and other parents and talk to them before making up your own mind.

You will find that there are lots of differences to mainstream schools - a strong discouragement of TV, video games etc, a big emphasis on co-operative play, huge amounts of time spent outside, gardening, on craft projects, a wonderful appreciation of colour and nature and the development of the creative and imaginative side to children rather than forcing them to learn at a pace dictated by "well meaning" MPs who create usless targets as they are desperate to show that they take education seriously.

Like anything "different" Steiner education does have its detractors amongst those who don't understand or are scared of something out of the ordinary - best advice is to go and have a look and meet some of the children who are there and see what you think.


ps - should say that it is a long time since I have posted on here but I was notified of this thread by google alerts

mamajen Tue 28-Apr-09 21:10:21

I'm new to mumsnet and before I join this discussion I should say that I have worked in a Steiner School for the last 18 months. My daughter has also been going to the school since she was a babe in arms - she's now nearly six.

I have found our school to be great for our daughter and she loves every minute of it. As for the reading thing, she's just started making all the right connections of her own accord and I'm thrilled. She's not missed being able to read, it doesn't mean that she's never heard a story and she's been able to write her own name for years. The point for us is that it's not important right now. Although she can't read, she can paint, sew, knit, safely do woodwork and cooking, using proper tools and, above all for me, she can communicate confidently and willingly with people of any age - from babies to adults.

She's ready to go into class now, which I know she wasn't at the four and two months she would have been if she'd gone to the local state schools. I've seen some of her birth peers change from happy, outgoing children to nervous wrecks in the last year and a half and although I also know some children who are very happy in mainstream education, I think my daughter would have been in the former group.

As for the disabled thing - in my more than five years at the school I have seen disabled children, parents and teachers welcomed as part of the community. We are lucky to have a single storey, open plan site which is totally accessible, so that helps, but I've not seen evidence of discrmination when I've been to other schools either.

It's true that Steiner Schools don't suit everyone. Nor do I doubt that some people have had bad experiences with a particular school or teacher. This is not unique to Steiner schools - just look at all the educational blogs to see what families experience elsewhere.

Everyone's experience is their own and the only way to really find out whether a Steiner School will suit you is to visit one (or more) - they all have open days and fairs and the like - and talk to parents and families at that school.

Good luck!

DarrellRivers Tue 28-Apr-09 21:13:16

Oh, I haven't seen a Steiner thread for ages.
Mamatilly, this is likely to become a discussion like no other you have ever witnessed
My advice, step away from all things Steiner

Feenie Tue 28-Apr-09 21:24:48

What, a google alert that tells you to come along and quote the party line?


saintlydamemrsturnip Tue 28-Apr-09 22:40:58

erm well I have been on MN since 2002 & no longer have any children in Steiner - yet if you read my post you will find my experience of Steiner with a disabled child (and he's very disabled- will require 24 hour lifelong care for the rest of his life) to be very positive. At the time far more positive than anything mainstream.

northernrefugee39 Wed 29-Apr-09 08:17:19

thecaty on this thread which has just ended is a Steiner teacher.
He/she doesn't think the word "nigger" is always racist.
If you read maimuna's posts you'll see what happened at her school, and how Tizian tries to belittle her experience, as well as everyone else's.

Mamajen and naturalnursery, we all know there are good experiences and good things about Steiner education. Many of us chose it for the reasons you're citing.

There are serious issues here, to do with the belief system Steiner schools are based on- reincarnation, races, karma, clairvoyance, spirit worlds.
These crazy beliefs in the wrong hands , are nothing less than dangerous.
There are good schools, and good teachers, everywhere. There are also dodgy ones. If they can use a ludicrous and racist doctrine
to justify their actions, it is wrong.

Why is it that the word anthroposophy isn't often on school's literature?
Why doesn't the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship explain what anthroposophical belief entails?

Parents need to be told about anthroposophy, and the Steiner movement needs to take a long hard look at Steiner's writing on race, rather than pretending it isn't there, or saying "he only meant "nigger" in a nice way" angry angry angry

Tizian Wed 29-Apr-09 09:18:40

Steiner never used the word "nigger". He stressed the primary importance of the qualities of people as individuals and humans over any other quality and according to a recent independent study in Germany, that included pupils at Steiner schools, they had far less xenophobic attitudes than pupils at other schools. See also. What Northernrefugee39 and some others engage in here at MN is a purely ideological campaign to unfoundedly try to smear Steiner schools as much as possible.

northernrefugee39 Wed 29-Apr-09 10:44:05

No, Steiner just talked about skin colour in relation to race and how white skin absorbed the spirit best, blond hair bestowed intelligence, and about "evil" races declining, a hierarchy of races, with certain ones at the bottom. And a lot of other stuff......
Steiner actually wrote many extremely contradictory things; one could spend all day cherry picking certain bits, to fit one's promotional websites couldn't one Tizian?

The point here is that an author, Alfred Baur, uses an apparently anthroposophical method of speech "therapy" called chirophonetics,a therapy which is based on the fundamental understanding of the human being developed by Rudolf Steiner.

"the “School of Chirophonetics” can only train therapists who have already acquired the necessary foundation."

Apparently the poem with the word "nigger" in it was from his anthology which you so helpfully pointed to on the last thread.
It is a book written by someone who invented a "curative" technique, based on Steiner's world view of the human being.
It's an anthology of poems apparently published in 1993.
I really can't believe no one has noticed it has the word "nigger" in it before?

More importantly, Steiner teachers are saying it isn't racist, and black children in Steiner school who complain are told off.

These are things happening now.

Another Steiner teacher on a blog recently commented on a passage of Steiner's about skin colour I think, saying he didn't think it was saying anything racist.

There seems to be a gap between what Steiner teachers/supporters think is ok to teach to children, and what other some people think.

Tizian Wed 29-Apr-09 17:44:42

"It's an anthology of poems apparently published in 1993. I really can't believe no one has noticed it has the word 'nigger in it before?"

The fact and comment on it.

mamatilly Thu 30-Apr-09 14:03:33

northern refugee said
"There are serious issues here, to do with the belief system Steiner schools are based on- reincarnation, races, karma, clairvoyance, spirit worlds.
These crazy beliefs in the wrong hands , are nothing less than dangerous. "

are you saying then that steiner, like other faith schools, is just that, a faith school?

surely when one unpicks C of E schools, they sound pretty crazy too, Jesus being the only son of God and that unless we believe in him we are going straight through the door marked 'hell'. their rituals with bread (wafers) and wine would look pretty weird if they weren't happening on every village corner of the land, and better not mention islamic faithe schools at all.

most religious belief systems are, dogmatic, exclusive and pretty outgrageous,

so i am wondering are there any other serious concerns out there with steiner that differ from other faith schools?


OP’s posts: |
Tizian Thu 30-Apr-09 16:02:44

See the normal informative pro/con discussions here at MN before the barking/northernrefugee39 extremist crusades the last years:

- What do you know about Steiner schools?

- Tell me everything you know about Steiner sch0ools/philosophy

- Steiner education - what's the low down?

mamatilly Thu 30-Apr-09 16:32:24


OP’s posts: |
MollieO Thu 30-Apr-09 17:25:45

I have no comment to make on the style of education at Steiner schools but if I were you I would be concerned about moving a 6-7 yr old into year 2 of a mainstream school without the knowledge of reading, writing and maths. She will have a lot of catching up to do and I imagine it could be very demoralising for her and she may end up being the 'nervous wreck' you describe of her peers. Most children of her age (and younger) can do the painting, sewing etc that you describe but they can also do the other things too. My ds is nearly 5 and can do all the social things you mention plus reading, writing etc and I don't think he is unusual.

zazizoma Fri 01-May-09 14:20:16

Thank you Tizian for the reminder of the sort of viable and open pro/con discussions that used to happen before northern et al arrived on the scene.

If you are fundamentally appalled by an educational system that suggests six-year-olds cutting and pasting on a computer is as important as reading, then it may be worth your while to check out your local SW school. If you are in agreement with this agenda, or even ambivalent about it, then SWE will most likely not appeal to you.

As has been pointed out many times over the years, not all SWE schools are the same, so please ask your questions. A good SWE teacher will be able to explain the curriculum and methodology in a way that is accessible to our modern sensibilities.

All of our former kindy dc have transferred into and settled into main stream, as we do not yet have a primary school. Many of them made this move at around seven because their parents felt SWE was healthier and wanted their dc to enjoy it as long as possible. This is the intention with my dc. Again, I would ask your local SW school about their experiences, and ask to speak to parents whose dc have made the transition you describe.

FritztheDog Fri 01-May-09 17:47:21

Tizian are you anything to do with Steiner schools? Or are you just another Mum?

It looks like your "friend" has started a thread so you can post good stuff about Steiner schools after someone on the other thread was in a state because her daughter's teacher said "nigger".

State schools aren't just about computers you know.
It's a low down thing to slag off one system to sell another.
Lurking on the other thread, it sounds like Steiner schools are sold as the antithesis to a "poor" state system, but turn out to be a kind of quasi-religion and a very strange one at that.

Anyway, Steiner schools don't encourage reading do they? [hmn]

Tizian Fri 01-May-09 23:08:17

"Steiner schools don't encourage reading do they?"

Learning to Read & Write in the Waldorf Schools is different than in public schools. It's done in a different way, using an artistic approach and learning to write before they learn to read. They also learn at a different pace, but they do learn to read and once they have learnt it, they need no encouragement to like it. One difference between public and Steiner school pupils according to a recent study is that the Steiner pupils tend to continue to enjoy learning new things when they have finished school, more than publis school pupils.

MANATEEequineOHARA Fri 01-May-09 23:30:17

{hmm} @ 'before Northern et al arrived on the scene!

Northern being someone who had a negative experience at a Steiner School. So et al meaning the others who also had negative experiences??? Well then without 'Northern et al' the conversation would never have been balanced would it? (perhaps also known as one with much influence from Percy Bratt et al!!!???) Incidently that has never been the case really, even reading the linked threads, things seem to go wrong in Steiner Schools at a higher rate per population than any other school.

Btw Northern, you do seen to be something of a celebrity grin

sagacious Fri 01-May-09 23:50:04

sooo this has turned into a typical steiner thread then grin

Am arfing at google alerts

Do you think theres a little flashing light or a light up bat whirring at Steiner HQ?

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