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waldorf steiner

1000 replies

heninthemidden · 01/03/2009 18:01

hi,

anyone had good experience of waldorf steiner education system?

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mimsum · 01/03/2009 22:38

no - had terrible experience I wouldn't wish on my worst enemies' children - do a search on the message boards here but be aware that a lot of the critical posts have been removed so you might get a skewed view

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ecokiwi · 09/03/2009 19:45

My daughter is attending a Steiner kindergarten in Cardiff and we think it is wonderful. It is very welcoming and homely and emphasises kindness.
The children have a lot of free play which is excellent. It is not directed play, and some parents find that very hard that they have such freedom. (It is however observed play and children are to allowed to do anything dangerous, nasty etc.) The idea is that children need to play and move (helping against obesity) and if they don't get the chance it can effect their whole lives detrimentally.
More play is being introduced into mainstream schools as it has been proved to be beneficial, but not to the same extent as is in a Steiner Waldorf school.
There is also no academic side to Steiner kindergarten. Many worldwide studies have shown that the later a child learns to read (around 6-7) the better reader they will be as an adult. If a child starts too early they will learn to read but they will never be a fluent reader as an adult. This again can be difficult for parents as society expects children to be more and more academic at an early age.
There are lots of songs, stories, art and practical stuff (ie tidying up).
The kindergarten is non-denominational and a wide range of parents send their children there.
If you believe that children have a right to play in their childhood then you might find that a Steiner school is for you.
We have no regrets in our daughter attending the kindergarten.

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isenhart7 · 09/03/2009 20:33

As a long-time Steiner mum I'd be really interested in knowing what studies you're speaking of. Early reading does not mean that a child will never be a fluent reader as an adult.

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zazizoma · 09/03/2009 21:20

My DS and I are loving many aspects of his Steiner kindergarten (Cardiff as well).

The approach to discipline is based in setting a calm and lovely rhythm for the cycles of the day and week. The teachers speak in low voices and often sing names or reminders. Each activity has a clear transition to another.

The whole atmosphere is calm with an profoundly artistic attention to detail. For example, the children sit down together for a meal with flowers and a candle on the table. The children set the table and help to prepare the meal. Each place setting has a napkin in a ring on which the child's name is embroidered.

It's a 'character'-free environment; no Thomas, Pat, Bob or Peppa.

It's a very unique and special environment. We attempt to emulate some of the rhythm and transition elements at home, and they make a great difference.

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MrsMattie · 09/03/2009 21:21



This always gets nasty
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AlderTree · 09/03/2009 21:59

Hi Hen

Interested in your reasons for thinking about Steiner education. It's your choice and I believe they can be good if it suits but have you checked out your local infant/junior school and their policies and practice on the outdoor environment and play.

DS's infant school grow things, take turns to fill the compost bins, play outside in all weathers in reception and year 1. They sing, do music in fact they have a very practical hands on approach to learning. Yes they learn to read and write but year r is completely play based. DS has had a great time at school in a calm and stress free atmosphere where the teachers talk calmly to the children and we haven't paid a penny for this priviledge.

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llareggub · 09/03/2009 22:02

heninthemidden, search the archives. These threads never go well. There have been plenty of people posting about the benefits of Steiner, but please take the time to research the negative postings and come to your own conclusions.

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paisleyleaf · 09/03/2009 22:04

QUOTE "As a long-time Steiner mum I'd be really interested in knowing what studies you're speaking of. Early reading does not mean that a child will never be a fluent reader as an adult".

I'd be interested to hear more about that too if pos.

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lowrib · 10/03/2009 00:10

"If a child starts too early they will learn to read but they will never be a fluent reader as an adult"

What rubbish!

I am very suspicious of blanket statement like this. Not all children are the same!

Gonna blow my own trumpet here (sorry) but I could recognise words at 2 and read basic sentences when I started school at 4 1/2. I loved reading then and guess what, I am a "fluent reader" now!!

I'm not saying all children should be taught to read early, and I'm well aware that those who start later catch up fine, but what about those who love it / have a natural aptitude for words? I absolutely treasure my memories of those early books. The idea of not being exposed to reading till years later really unnerves me actually.

Learning through play is essential IMO, but why at the expense of books?!! Way too prescriptive / one-size-fits-all for me.

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Jux · 10/03/2009 00:33

Both my brothers and I could read long before we started school, dh too. I promise you we are all very fluent readers. I can read a book if it's upside down, though it slows me down a little, and my party piece is reading the reflection of a book in a mirror - fluently and with expression, not forgetting doing different voices for each character.

I am afraid your statement is complete bolleaux.

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Jaquelinehyde · 10/03/2009 01:21

Jux I love you. Your post says it all

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OldLadyKnowsNothing · 10/03/2009 01:48

I am also a fluent (addicted) reader and first learned while my elder sister did her practice with mum - I was 3 (and did not attend Steiner Schools).

I have a friend who sent her DS to Steiner and it worked brilliantly for them - but has anyone mentioned the gnomes yet?

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flummery · 10/03/2009 03:22

Another fluent, and constant, reader who started early.

I'm aware that anecdotes are not the same as data, but they can and do disprove blanket statements such as "If a child starts too early they will learn to read but they will never be a fluent reader as an adult"

Especially as I'm married to another early reader and related to many more, all of whom are fluent and regular adult readers.

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PottyCock · 10/03/2009 06:17

I think this thread will get deleted won't it?

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turtle23 · 10/03/2009 06:23

Another fluent reader who could read quite well at three.
(I was Montessori, myself)

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zazizoma · 10/03/2009 07:08

Perhaps we are a bit off-topic here. Yes, I agree that one cannot make blanket statements regarding an individuals reading interest and time they learned to read. Could we perhaps move on?

For LOWRIB, there are books in the kindergarden, and my DS looks at them often. So I wouldn't consider play at the "expense of books." What is not in the kindergarden is instruction with regards to reading.

Both my DH and I are avid readers, and my DC love their books. I would be very surprised if my son does not pick up reading here at home very soon, and the school would not discourage him in any way.

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AMumInScotland · 10/03/2009 09:43

I think the important thing that the OP (and others who find Steiner kindergarten good)should be aware of is that the reason why Steiner Waldorf schools do not teach younger children to read is not because they learn better later, or any lack of fluency caused by learning "too soon".

It is because Steiner believed that children were not fully re-incarnated into their new bodies until their adult teeth had arrived at around age 7.

If you are happy to send your children to a school based on anthroposophy, then feel free to go ahead. But please look into this subject thoroughly first, and go into the decision with your eyes open as to what you are doing.

It is not possible to have a full and frank debate on this issue on Mumsnet, as a number of parents who have had negative experiences of Steiner Waldorf education have been requested not to get involved in threads about it. This is because representatives of the Steiner Waldorf movement have threatened Mumsnet with legal action if these views are repeated.

There are a number of wesbites which give negative views of Steiner Waldorf education, and of course many which support it. Please do your research thoroughly, but be aware that negative views are often removed because of threats of legal action.

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zazizoma · 10/03/2009 10:35

Actually, I do think the reason Steiner Kindys don't teach reading is because children may learn better later on, and have the opportunity more fully to develop their imagination.

Every education system is based on some metaphysical belief system, whether it be genetic randomness, blank slate, incarnation, or any of a million other perspectives. Furthermore, I can't imagine there is a modern school or education theory that does not have the best interests of children at heart.

Education practices therefore must be judged on their success and merits, and their suitability to individual children and their families.

I suppose this thread of positive descriptions of Steiner experiences is finished . . . shame, I would have been interested to hear what other people felt worked well. Of the 18 posts here, only three provide descriptions of what happens in their child's school, and one of those is mine. I am envious that AlderTree has a local progressive state nursery, it sounds like a wonderful option to have.

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Madsometimes · 10/03/2009 11:22

Doesn't most of Europe not start reading until 6 or 7. I do not think that learning how to read early is harmful if a child is ready for it. It is just that it is potentially harmful for the significant number of boys children who are not ready.

My children are at mainstream school and it suits them well. I would be a little put off by Steiner schools beyond age 6, but then I am happy with most aspects of their schooling now. I think that our mainstream schools do nursery and reception very well, but IMO year 1 should also be made much less formal.

I think that by year 2, most children are ready to sit down at tables for most of the day. Before then it seems a little cruel (although my year 1 dd2 is fine with this, but she is a girly swot. dd1 was not ready in year 1).

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MrsMattie · 10/03/2009 12:20

You have to weigh it up for yourself, don't you?

I visited a Steiner school and didn't like it at all. I find the theories behind it suspect and the atmosphere at our local Steiner school was unpleasant.

However, I have friends who are extremely happy with their children's education at a Steiner - and their boys are lovely. My cousin was also educated at a Steiner and is a bright, achieving young man and very well rounded individual.

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paisleyleaf · 10/03/2009 13:06

Quote "Doesn't most of Europe not start reading until 6 or 7. "

They don't start formal education, but they do have the preschool sort of thing til then, where they are doing similar as in ours, looking at letters etc.
Then our reception is (here anyway) so very much based on play.
It's not so very different.

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BoysAreLikeDogs · 10/03/2009 13:18

Justine explains here why it's best that we steer away from Steiner discussions

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Pilgrim · 10/03/2009 13:44

The reason that Steiner Waldorf teachers are taught to delay reading is because the spirit of the mother resides in the childs baby teeth.

Teaching them to read too soon will dim and harden their spiritual development and potentially interfere with their ability to commune with higher worlds.

Steiner Waldorf is the educational wing of anthroposophy, which embraces the idea of reincarnation through the actions of karma. The main priority is to spiritualize the world by nurturing each child's soul as it evolves by successive incarnations into progressively higher racial forms.

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disenchantedgnomie · 10/03/2009 14:23

At first the Steiner experience will be wonderful and you will find yourself in awe of everything and everybody! Then as the years roll, you will start to see massive cracks appearing everywhere!

Do some serious research beforehand and definately concentrate the pros and cons to delayed reading.

My child cannot read, write or spell and she is 8 years old! I am crying as I type this thinking about the terrible mistake that I have made for my LO.

BTW - I have namechanged and am a regular poster.

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Pilgrim · 10/03/2009 14:23

I've just read the link and am baffled as to why some anthroposophists wanted to stop open discussion on a mothers chat forum, what are they so afraid of?

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