Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14

Thread: Waldorf - jewel of a school or creepy cult?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    167

    Waldorf - jewel of a school or creepy cult?

    Considering possibility of Waldorf high school for my daughter. Last contact with their approach was when looking at preschools. Decided against it for a variety of reasons, but was torn between liking the connection to nature, lack of emphasis on technology, slower pace, nurturing atmosphere, simplicity, etc. vs. it all seeming kind of cultish, like they were trying to dictate what you did at home, people seemed remarkably homogeneous, and all the stuff about fairies and gnomes and not being allowed to use black crayons. It was almost more like a whole "lifestyle" and it seemed like an oddly large percentage of families got REALLY into it and next thing you know the parents were studying to become Waldorf teachers, etc. etc.

    Looking again at the high school level and in a different geographic area I really like their focus on the whole student/person, certain elements of a "classical" well-rounded education, "social justice" element, spending a lot of time outdoors, doing crafty things like blacksmithing, hands-on learning especially in science, emphasis on being curious and asking questions, still less technology-oriented than some places. It also just seems really different than "traditional" public school, which my daughter really hasn't liked, so my thought is maybe this different approach would be more her style? But again, there is all sorts of stuff on the internet about how it is actually a cult and all the horrible experiences people have had and how founder Steiner was a racist anti-Semite. Waldorf people I have met don't seem that way, but I don't know any of them really well.

    Anyone have any experience to share pro or con, especially beyond the preschool/elementary level?

  2. #2
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    8,295
    I would say "creepy cult," but maybe because a relative was turned away because he was allowed to watch TV.

  3. #3
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    11,094
    The "social justice" aspect woild give me pause since I don't know whose rulebook is in play.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    2,396
    I read several for and against articles. Personally, I would run for the hills. There is something about the "community" and the parental groups that form that does not seem right. We belonged for a time to a church that had a lot of these young parent groups and the minister had sermons about the need for these groups to stop being so exclusive.

  5. #5
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Central Jersey
    Posts
    7,109
    I also LOVE the idea of educating the whole person. That approach would have probably kept my son in school--the traditional school system pretty much caused his dropping out at age 16. He just didn't belong in a typical public school setting.

    OTOH, I wonder if basic skills in Waldorf are paid ENOUGH attention to. My permaculture teacher was a product of a Waldorf education. He is a FANTASTIC, passionate speaker. So intelligent. Able to take threads across 10 disciplines and tie them all together. Has the name of a million books and authors on the tip of his tongue.

    But I was surprised to see his posts on Facebook and in other places, because he can't write worth a darn. No paragraphs, misspellings all over the place, rambling sentences. Seeing his verbal communication skills and then reading his writing was like watching the movie Singling in the Rain, when the beautiful and elegant silent screen star suddenly winds up in the talkies where her crass, nasal voice is just such a horrendous disconnect.

    We still need basic skills in life, so I would check into how rigorous that part of their education system is.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Posts
    1,601
    I think Waldorf education has much to recommend it. I would ask if my child could shadow at the school for a few days and I would meet as many parents as I could and see what I thought of that actual school.

    Public schools in affluent areas are remarkably cliqueish, with many exclusive parents.

    As to the internet accusations, I would examine it all myself and see whether there is truth there or not. Ask for lesson plans, talk to teachers, etc. But don't eliminate a potentially great school because of internet slander.
    By slander I don't mean anything on this thread--I mean the accusations of anti-Semitism online.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    3,751
    We never seriously considered Waldorf, but we know several "Waldorf families". They seem normal enough to me, along standard wealthy liberal, my-other-car-is-a-Prius lines. I understand it costs a fortune, even compared to other private school options, to "educate the whole person". Any school with significant parental involvement will have its queen bee and dominating drone types competing for influence.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    109
    I would try to meet and socialize with a few of the families before making a decision. From my personal, limited experience, the school is a magnet for children with behavioral problems that are mostly caused (again my non-professional opinion) by lack of boundaries. Peer pressure is important and you can draw your own conclusions by observing how families interact.

  9. #9
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Offshore
    Posts
    6,707
    When our daughter was little, we investigated Waldorf as a possibility.

    Our conclusion was that it was homeopathy for education. And that we should stay far far away.

    We instead started our own preschool -> 5th grade school, which has now been operating since 2001, and the first wave of kids through it are just finishing up college.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    167
    Thanks for all your responses. Decided to continue investigating for now. Don't even know if my daughter will be interested once she finds out more and they also only have a few openings (probably in the single digits because most of the incoming high schoolers will be the 8th graders who already go to school there) so even if she is interested, she might not get in. All in all, don't need to make any final decisions for a while.

    As for cost, in this case the cost of the school is not so bad as private schools go, more in the range of Catholic school and not as much as the "toniest" independent schools around here, some of which cost more than twice as much.

    Next steps are a visit/tour designed for parents and for daughter to spend a day "shadowing" another student at the school. I've also asked around my neighborhood and have several people I plan to talk to who either had a Waldorf education themselves or who specifically are familiar with this particular school. Will keep you posted!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •