whole people knit

‘Unlike traditional educationalists, Rudolf Steiner encouraged children to acquire alternative life skills. Activities like crochet, knitting, recorder, dancing around the maypole and planting veggie gardens definitely prepared us for the future. . . . Another distinguishing feature of we Waldorf kids was our extensive knowledge of Greek, Roman and Norse mythology, although we were not that strong in maths and science as we only covered these subjects every six months or so. But don’t get me wrong, we may not have been great with times tables, algebra or trigonometry, but we could calculate exactly how many guardian angels existed in a ball of mohair.’

Read more.

In another — wholly naïve and uncritical — article in the same paper:

‘Rhonda Silberbauer, a “Waldorf parent” for 19 years whose four children have been through this system said: “It gives them an all-round education, meets their inner and outer needs and they come out such whole people.”‘

Unlike other schools which have children coming out as half people or quarters of people. Another individual who ‘taught art at Bryanston Waldorf school Michael Mount in the ’90s, and her son attends the preschool’, describes waldorf educaiton ‘as “a beautiful pedagogy” that “looks at the evolution of the human soul in relation to the evolution of the individual soul”.’

The head of a waldorf teacher training, Van der Velden, says:

‘The education methods differ according to children’s natural developmental stages’

… natural, according to anthroposophy, which curiously isn’t even mentioned in the article?


20 thoughts on “whole people knit

  1. Joking aside – I’d dispute they know much about the Greeks etc. The ‘gardening’ is often a disaster or, as my son put it ‘slave labour’. He knows less than nothing about plants. It instilled in him nothing but a desire to live in a city.

  2. yes – in fact I have knitted my own mythical paradigm : a giant representation of the present UK Dept of Ed. It is both fantastic & incredibly dull.

  3. It was useless. I don’t know more about gardening than regular school kids — possibly even less.

    The mythology is nothing but an extension of the fairytales of the earlier years. It’s justification to keep going in the same vein although the kids are actually old enough to learn about real ancient history or religion.

  4. Oh — that’s cool. We learnt to crochet ugly and dull gnomes in waldorf — of course, this may in some ways resemble a knitted dept of education.

  5. yes – ugly and dull gnomes exactly describes Michael Gove & c0. Gnomes in suits. Beardless & taller than average, granted but still STUNTED IN OTHER WAYS. I blame their education.

    This comment from the above link is more than usually bollocks:

    “I believe Steiner education gives children an internal strength and capacity for understanding the underlying energies of the world, and in no way did it disadvantage them academically or emotionally – learning was a holistic process which enabled them to understand the complexity of life in its fullness.”

    Yes. What this actually means is anyone’s guess.

    Here’s a new comment on Carol Wyatt’s blog:

    ‘I now work in mainstream secondary education and occasionally stumble across Waldorf graduates struggling to catch up with everything they missed out in primary. It’s such a shame for them and it always makes me feel really cross with the parents who perpetuate this negligent system. My children spent one of their two years there doing pretty much NOTHING. So annoying. I think you have to see it to believe it because it is unimaginable!’

    Carol replies:

    ‘I’m sure someday, a serious misstep on their part will result in the Waldorf schools being shut down. It’s impossible to hide the truth forever.’


  6. “I believe Steiner education gives children an internal strength and capacity for understanding the underlying energies of the world, and in no way did it disadvantage them academically or emotionally – learning was a holistic process which enabled them to understand the complexity of life in its fullness.”

    I suspect it means nothing at all. It’s vaccuous bollocks. It doesn’t actually translate to anything that goes on in the schools, nor does it say anything at all valuable about results. It’s just a whole lot of fancy blah-blah-blah-rubbish.

    It’s supposed to make people think ‘oh, fantastic!’ without making further inquiries. Why nobody — I mean journalists — ever asks these people to explain themselves is a mystery.

    If it really were fantastic, you’d see results. Some kind of results. But nope. Only more of the useless fluff talk.

  7. That mantra heads-hearts-hands — what do they think it means? Why aren’t they asked to clarify?

    So in other schools, people don’t bring to use their heads, hearts and hands? ‘The feet went on their own to school today… tomorrow I send my aorta… on Friday I think it’s time for the follicles to enjoy some maths… ah, no, the rest of me stays home on the couch…’

  8. there is an assumption that certain words mean something good. Spiritual. Holistic. Natural. ‘You don’t expect a school to lie’, as a mother once wrote on mumsnet.

  9. Tragic and dangerous. You could certainly have a highly spiritual experience by eating a whole natural mushroom. Why bother about the poison… dying is spiritual experience for the whole person and a more ‘natural’ death is difficult to conceive of… Besides, the words spiritual, holistic and natural sound so terrifically attractive…

  10. Please pass on the poisonous quiche to any and all believers in The Natural®. And everyone else thinking it’s a good idea to involve the gnomes in building an education system.

  11. Ha! I was thinking like… as in giving it to someone else, as in ‘pass mr Dog the steak and gravy’. Which would be a different thing, I think, than mr Dog saying, when being served, ‘I’ll pass on that rotten cat carcass and will fetch myself a freshly killed bunny instead.’

    (Now I’m utterly confused.)

  12. I suppose it tells us something about my immorality and murderous mindset though — overjoyed at thinking you’ll serve other people poisonous mushroom pies. (Well, I do my best to provide mr Bee with juicy quotes, don’t I…)

  13. it’s a pretty good assessment of me too, to be fair. You knew I WOULD do it. In fact, it hadn’t occurred to me before you suggested it but since you did, I’ve quite convinced myself it was my idea.

  14. I never doubted you would do it. It didn’t even occur to me to think the thought, not for a minute. Serving poison quiches to woo people is nothing but a variation on the theme of running over vicars with your car. As for mr Dog and myself, we sometimes eat anthroposophists for breakfast. Although it does make you slightly queasy during the remainder of the day, so usually we munch on buiscuits and bread instead.

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