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    ndw #208293 12/23/14 10:40 PM
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    Originally Posted by ndw
    Thanks for that Aquinas. Really interesting. I know nothing about Waldorf schools as they were never an option to be explored for us.

    You're welcome, ndw. I researched the method on spec when DS was a baby and quickly ran the other way!


    What is to give light must endure burning.
    aquinas #208294 12/23/14 10:43 PM
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    Originally Posted by aquinas
    My screen name offers a clue to my assessment of the Waldorf method.

    I would not endorse the Waldorf system for any child, gifted or otherwise. The system, as I am sure you are aware, owes its pedagogical and ideological approach to Rudolph Steiner's anthroposophy.

    Among the beliefs of anthroposophists is the view that humans are continuously reincarnated within the same body, and that developmental milestones correlate to the timeline of the individual along the trajectory of reincarnation. I spoke with a local anthroposophist naturopathic "doctor", who advises one of the largest Waldorf schools in Canada, and she highlighted the positive value of children learning to read after age seven because of the view that reading readiness is driven by jaw development and the eruption of adult molars. The spiral curriculum used by Waldorf schools is meant to align with the believed 7 year cycles of reincarnation.

    You might also be disturbed to learn that anthroposophy views intellectualism as an offshoot of the temptations of Zoroastrian devil Ahriman. Steiner also identifies Lucifer's disobedience of God as the fundamental event from which the pursuit of knowledge stems. You might wish to read this book by Steiner to understand his view of the roles of Lucifer and Ahriman in driving human cognition. The anthroposophical ideology that underlies the Waldorf method is deeply anti-intellectual at its roots, grounded in mythology and a series of "communions" Steiner purported to experience between himself and "the Christ".

    http://www.amazon.ca/gp/aw/d/0880103752


    yep this was what I was getting at, creepy. I just really liked the touchy feely aspect of it all, and I'm prob being a bit generous on that point too. Plus I really do have issues with the whole counter culture, look at us were different to you - but we all look the same thingy.

    Re vaccination I am extremely pro. Having spent a large amount of time in 3rd world countries and seen disease up close and personal - there is no way in hell I would let me kids not be vacc'd (of course here in NZ there are a lot less jabs on the schedule than in the us - chicken pox for eg)Esp in these days of air travel.

    Having said that I have good friends who don't agree with me and our kids play together - however they had no contact until mine had their shots.

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    This is fascinating, you would think this was a skeptics forum by all of these responses. I can only say I agree with so much of what everyone has said. A friend told me she was sending her child to the local private Waldorf and I just smiled. Education options are a sticky subject and I won't judge, I understand why a parent would consider all of the options, but Waldorf is not for us.

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    ndw Offline
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    Skeptics forum.....well, Ithink you would expect that on a Gifted Issues Forum you would find people who ask questions and look into the answers with relative rigour. We don't all agree on everything but there appears to be a love of data and evidence.

    Of course, it is difficult when there is a paucity of data as we each deal with a sample of one, each individual gifted child being so different. But the commonalities of experience are a valid way to investigate our options.

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    Btw just want to put to it out there that in no way do I think david Gilmour is not gt himself, just parenting non gt kids!

    I'm not a sceptic in general- but I can see indoctrination for what it is.

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    While the roots of Waldorf education (Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy) date from a century ago, appearing not to have been updated in response to scientific discovery, and may be repugnant to many, some may say that several of the described anecdotal experiences of students in Waldorf schools may not differ noticeably from the lived experiences of students in government schools, or private/independent/parochial schools:
    - indoctrination
    - anti-intellectualism
    - exerting an influence on family life
    - institutionalized bullying
    - pecking order implying degree of worthiness or social acceptance (some schools value athleticism, some value the wealth of large donors, some parochial schools may value large family size, etc)

    There is good and bad in everything.

    Part of the roots described for anti-intellectualism of Waldorf is reminiscent of teaching that those who follow the Bible may be familiar with: the Old Testament verses in Genesis about Adam & Eve indicate that they were tempted into "the fall of man" by desiring to eat the fruit of all knowledge both good AND EVIL and thereby gain wisdom equal to God. This is not to begin a religious debate, but to share that diverse traditions acknowledge there is or perhaps ought to be a limit to one's knowledge (that which is deemed appropriate or beneficial, wherever that line is drawn).

    Delving into secular roots of education philosophy also reveals anti-intellectualism, indoctrination, bullying, pecking order, and exertion of influence. Here is just one link of many which provide historical information which is free and accessible.

    This is not to refute statements which others have made about Waldorf, but to encourage looking equally into all options available and preparing your children to develop healthy boundaries which may help minimize influences which are unwanted.

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    I live in a community with a very active Waldorf presence. I did not choose it for my children, but I think it can be okay for an otherwise typically developing gifted kid in the preschool years. However, you need to be willing to put up with religious stuff that is below the surface but very much there, and to be aware that there is a whole lot of dogma. The dogma was too weird for me, even though many aspects of the philosophy (outdoor play, natural materials, deemphasizing screen media) are in line with our family values. FWIW, I like our local Waldorf school director very much personally.

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    (edited for privacy reasons)

    Last edited by ultramarina; 01/14/15 05:39 AM.
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    Thanks for all of your responses. It is interesting that much of what you responded with is what I got the feeling of when I was talking to someone more familiar with the school than I am.

    We are trying to find a different option for DD6 for next year and have real concerns about the public system in our area. I was hopeful this would be an option, but it doesn't sound like it.

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    Another thing that I have come to realize about Waldorf is that there is a huge emphasis on rote copywork. The children produce these beautiful lesson books, which at first glance look amazing (lovely drawings and notes that seem so clear and nice) but I believe it is all copied verbatim from the board. There is surely some justification for this in the philosophy, but it seems weird to me. A child with fine motor limitations would also find it quite challenging, I think. My DD happens to be a great artist, but even in "regualr" school I often feel bad for unartistic children or those who do not like to draw because it is so emphasized in the early years, and Waldorf takes this much further. You can see Waldorf lessonbooks here: http://www.waldorftoday.com/gallery/Main+Lesson+Book+Pages/ As I say, they are rather lovely, but think of the time spent drawing and consider that they are copied. I believe in learning to synthesize information and put it in one's own words.

    In the end, Waldorf bothers me in large part because it seems guru- and superstition-based rather than logic- and information-based. It is not dynamic, but static. Consider also the content of the lessons in those books. While it is nice content in many ways, I can't help but find it strangely dated. I believe that is because they are still teaching the curriculum dictated by Steiner.

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