comment on a comment (re steiner post on

Can’t figure out how to comment (and am just a tiny bit lazy) but I did want to comment on one of the comments on the Steiner guest post at DC’s Improbable Science. Namely the one written yesterday by MarkH, who is a Steiner school parent (in some kind of group for small children, that is, as I understand it, not even kindergarten). He writes:

The importance of play in early childhood is widely accepted.

In Steiner kindergartens and schools I assume. But really, who says play isn’t important in early childhood? This idea certainly can’t be unique to waldorf schools — more likely, it’s the most common stance pretty much everywhere. I regularly see groups of small children, even first and second graders, in the park or in the forest. They play. It looks like they’re playing. At least it doesn’t appear as though they’re busy cramming their heads full of facts.

An individual teacher staying with the class as they move up the school.

But that’s not necessarily a good thing. On the contrary, it could be a very bad idea.

“Holistic” teaching, by which I mean such things as illustrating the simple physics of motion in Physical Education/games lessons as well as the science class.

But that’s not what waldorf schools mean by ‘holistic teaching’. They’re talking about something else, although they don’t really get around to explain it to ‘outsiders’. It is, for example, about helping the child’s incarnation process.

I suspect that some Steiner schools take the more esoteric and barmy ideas of Anthroposophy more seriously than others.

The schools that don’t shouldn’t be called Steiner schools or waldorf schools. Either they take the esoteric and barmy ideas seriously, or they don’t. In the latter case, they aren’t Steiner schools — other than to their names. They could call themselves anything. It’s quite pathetic, in that case, to keep using the names Steiner or waldorf. But I suspect that this is a defence mechanism for some parents, they excuse a choice they’re having doubts about by saying to themselves: ‘the school I chose isn’t as crazy as those other Steiner schools’. If the faceless dolls and the gnomes and the wishywashy water colours are there, as MarkH tells us about his child’s Steiner school, then you bet that Steiner school takes the esoteric and barmy ideas very seriously indeed. (Even at the very dogmatic Steiner kindergarten I attended, (at least most of) the waldorf dolls had faces. They had tiny, tiny eyes and mouths. No facial characteristics at all — now, that’s fanatically barmy.)

I hope my son merely enjoys playing with the crayons (no black allowed!) and wooden toys and that I can teach him to think for himself.

Of course one can enjoy the crayons or the wooden toys. Though I suspect the parents are more enthusiastic about the wooden toys than the children. The children will long for plastic, because it looks so funny and colourful, whereas wood does not. Also, the children will risk becoming obsessed with black, since it is the forbidden colour, thus so much funnier than any other colour… I distinctly remember being fascinated with plastic and black as a child myself. On a serious note though, the school will not encourage children to think for themselves. The school will even actively discourage it, and for some children, this could have potentially have disturbing consequences. Being told off for thinking — and even worse, thinking for oneself! — isn’t beneficial for self-esteem. Thinking, in general, isn’t considered good in waldorf, especially not for smaller children. Children should imitate and revere, not think, not use their brains.


23 thoughts on “comment on a comment (re steiner post on

  1. yes, great reply, and it’s linked to via the comments at DC’s blog so I hope MarkH takes it seriously, maybe choosing to reply to you here, which would be welcomed.

    A parent and toddler group at a Steiner school can seem refreshingly peaceful, especially if you meet other nice parents there. On the other hand, some groups are really dismal. I have been to both types: the latter variety only once. Most mothers go to p&t to chat to other mothers (and fathers), not to sing: ‘Time to tidy away’, in a doleful voice after a morning of morbid introspection.

    I heard my first description of the incarnating child in a p&t group from an assistant who was in training as a Steiner kindergarten teacher; I thought she was gently, slowly losing her wits. It didn’t occur to me that anyone else believed this stuff, or that my children would be exposed to it, or that it was anything other than some vaguely ‘spiritual’ add-on to an otherwise practical pedagogy. I was wrong.

  2. MarkH: “The importance of play in early childhood is widely accepted.[in Waldorf/Steiner schools]
    Zooey: “But really, who says play isn’t important in early childhood? This idea certainly can’t be unique to waldorf schools — more likely, it’s the most common stance pretty much everywhere.”

    Just an other occurence of how the anthro/steiner/waldorf present something general as their particular.

  3. And there’s another thing here too, I’m not sure how old the children are when they attend these parent & child activities, but I assume they are very young. They won’t be left behind their peers because they’re in a waldorf steiner group as opposed to whatever other varieties there are of such groups. They aren’t expected to learn anything academic at that age anyway. (As it should be. But waldorf folks make it seem as if other similar groups have toddlers — 1-2 year olds? — focusing unhappily on the multiplication tables or grammar… Somehow a difficult concept to imagine — for everyone else except steiner people.)

    So, it won’t harm MarkH’s child to be there. They could be pretty much anywhere, like go play in the park or visit the zoo.

    While a third grader in waldorf school is behind his/her peers, and effectively stuck in waldorf.

    And it seems the parents are actually present, chatting or helping, so waldorf teachers can’t behave their worst. They’d have to inhibit the worst impulses to talk excessively about gnomes and archangels.

  4. Thanks for following up on my comment over on DC’s blog.

    Firstly, I should make it clear (in case it wasn’t already) that I’m not a fully paid-up, committed Steiner parent. We happened to find the local Steiner school while looking for alternatives to the frankly, not very inspiring state-funded schools near us. It’s superficially a very attractive environment and somewhat cheaper than the other private schools nearby. (I’m in the UK, by the way.)

    “The importance of play in early childhood” is emphasized by the school, but of course this is not a unique claim. That was my point.

    “An individual teacher staying with the class as they move up the school.” Yes, you’re right. If you happen to get a bad teacher, that wouldn’t be such a good thing!

    “Holistic teaching”: holistic was my choice of word here to describe a concept I have heard is practiced in Steiner schools. It’s quite likely that they would mean something else entirely by the word “holistic”.

    I’ve been attending the parent & child group in an attempt to gain some first-hand insight into how the school operates, its philosophy and overall what we might be getting into, should we decide to send our son to the kindergarten and the school proper. And yes, it’s also a pleasant enough social occasion and a chance for me to see little one interact with others his age, which I wouldn’t necessarily get in the playground or the zoo. I don’t believe that it will do him any harm (and am glad that you agree, Zooey).

    It won’t surprise you to hear that it’s been difficult to get straight answers to my innocent-sounding questions: “why do these dolls have no faces?” or “why are there no black crayons?”. I’ve even worn all black clothing and dressed little one in his Scooby Doo and Disney Winnie-the-Pooh tops in an attempt to provoke a reaction, but no, nothing!

    Anthroposophic medicine was the subject of one discussion, where I came out as the only sceptic around the table.

    There does appear to be more to the school than meets the eye and it’s been proving difficult to find out what exactly that is. I’ve been reading a lot of anti-Anthroposophic stuff and bad experiences of Steiner schools, but figure that the only sure, rational way of deciding for myself is to go to the school and talk to people there. I’m not particularly spiritually inclined myself and don’t believe that education should be spiritually motivated. To hide this motivation from prospective parents and even seek state funding (on false pretences?) would be disappointing, to say the least.

    I’ve read about some disaffected Steiner parents in the US setting up their own school, with all the things they liked about the Steiner system and none of the Anthroposophical barmpottery. Sounds like a good idea to me.

  5. I would set up that sort of school too : take the stuff I like about Steiner and leverage on that brand name and leave some things out. Say something like, “Oh, you know the Steiner concept with over 1,000 around the world….well, we’re like that except…..”

    Not wearing black I understand because I don’t buy black anyway. No black crayons – err, do children even choose black? I remember in my kindy days my apple had all 11 colors of my 12 coloring box – except black. Every year my black color pencil remains the longest – hardly used. In art class I avoid using black crayon coz they make my hands dirty and stain the other colors and thus ruin the effect I was trying to create. Try seeing it from a kid’s point of view.

    But then again I have been called a “psychedelic child”. Oh, I’ve only heard of Steiner schools very recently.

    The idea of reincarnation isn’t as difficult to incorporate into our learning our side of the world as it is in the Western world. For instance, Karma. – We use metaphors related to karma all the time. If, for instance, we have to deal with something we feel is unfair or wonder why someone is stuck in a bad relationship we say, “To pay off karmic debt” or “They owed each other in a different lifetime.” I wouldn’t say I believe in Karma but I don’t dismiss its possibility. But then again it’s a cultural thing for me, I grew up with it – like eating rice. It’s just something that’s a part of our culture, the idea of reincarnation.

    Dolls with no face – easy explanation, at least for me. See, when I was a kid I wondered why all our dolls had to be blond or blue-eyed (say, Barbie …and other nameless dolls). I felt that dolls with an image dictated / forced image on to me. I really hated that so I threw any doll that came my way. When I grew up more I realized why. When I started kindy that’s when it started : people kept asking what “mix” am I. I am Asian but they kept saying I look Eurasian, that my mother must’ve been raped!!! – because I did not fit into their image of stereotypical Oriental. I blamed the whole idea of dolls for that – that they give people the impression a person has to have certain “features” to look attractive or not, to fit in or not. But suddenly in the late 80s looking Eurasian became a fashionable thing because America exported Hollywood and Asians started having babies with Westerners. Just because Asians who married Westerners got a higher standard of living, Eurasian or the Pan-Asian look became desirable! I’m still bitter about that but I realized that it’s become an advantage in my chosen field. People think just because I don’t look totally Oriental I must have the genetic code to speak better English and be more advanced in creative thinking! Ha!

    I played with only one cloth doll with very long legs which, I forgot what they nicknamed her, but was after a famous Chinese basketball player at that time – the 70s. People thought she was ugly but I thought she was nice because I can create her in my image and not the other way around!

    But it’s scary to adults, huh! Coz, come to think about it, if I were still a kid and you gave me a faceless doll I’d end up seeing faces of people that I would feel as if I know. I know I kept seeing things on plain walls or doors, like my mind has a projector and if I just stared at blank spaces it will become filled with moving images. Thus, the label – psychedelic child. Yes, I told everyone everything I thought, wrote tons of stories because I thought that world was real! If this happened to a child these days you’d have them sedated. I think being called “psychedelic child” was the 80s’ version of “mentally ill, dysfunctional.”

    I’m glad they didn’t have Steiner schools during my time. An environment like that would’ve reinforced the kind of child I was and made me fit into a world where I was a misfit otherwise. I’ve broken myself down and built myself up again as a normal, cynical, materialistic person. Instead of trying to make the world a better place I am using all my potential to conform, fit it and trying to live up to an image the post-Industrial world has imposed on me.

    I don’t know about the gnomes………..I lived in a townhouse. But now that we have a rooftop garden …………….you know, seriously, my books do go missing when I mess with my uncle’s rooftop garden. Hmm………Must ponder scientifically.

  6. Thanks for commenting, Mark!

    Sure — it is superficially attractive, if it weren’t, a lot less people would fall for it. As for the costs and saving money compared to other educational alternatives, well, it won’t matter at this point in your child’s life. But I’d say when a child is in school — proper school, not child-parent groups — then it’s pretty bad economy to choose a bad school because it’s cheaper. I’m not directing this towards you in particular — it’s a general observation really. Having to pay private tuition for a 5th grader who wants to leave waldorf/steiner to go to a state school… that’ll cost! Because there’s a lot of catching up to do.

    Re play — but do you think that they offer more play than other schools for very small children do? I don’t. So ’emphasizing play’ doesn’t tell us anything about the steiner/waldorf method. What I’m saying is that nobody should choose waldorf because they believe children get to play more in waldorf than elsewhere.

    As for the word ‘holistic’ — it’s true that it is used in a variety of ways. That’s why I think it’s worthwhile pointing out that when waldorf proponents talk about it, they mean something different than other people do. I think when people read your comment, they think, ‘oh that’s nice, I want waldorf and holistic.’ But then they risk choosing something ‘holistic’ without knowing what it is, and risk choosing waldorf without knowing what it is.

    It seems your son is happy to be there and get some playtime, and that’s fine. I don’t think that’s wrong. School, now that’s a different thing — I believe sending a child to a steiner school deprives him/her of opportunities, in particular on the academic side of it. (This will, of course, matter more to some kids than others. Intellectually inclined children are often extremely unhappy in waldorf. But there’s no reason to worry about this until a child is older than your son is now!)

    The steiner teachers won’t react to your black clothes or the scooby doo stuff. You’re a parent. It’s your child they want. You are irrelevant to them (your money, however…). It’s the child’s relationship to his or her teacher that is everything. Plus, yes, you are a potential customer. They need to reel you in first, I’m afraid. Later, when your son is in kindergarten, dress him in black t-shirts with text and cartoon characters — and wait. They may try to lure you on the right path then. Such an attire would be harmful not only for your child, but for the other children as well, so they’d have to say something about it. Or they make your son feel ashamed of his clothes, so he decides he doesn’t want to wear them… then he will influence his parents to make the right choices in clothing! But you can safely wear anything… remember, steiner teachers aren’t there to help you incarnate better.

    On setting up a school ‘…with all the things they liked about the Steiner system and none of the Anthroposophical barmpottery’ — it would be possible, but without anthroposophy, the resemblance to a steiner school would be only superficial. Everything in the waldorf school is based on anthroposophic beliefs. It doesn’t mean you can’t take a few things and apply them in a different system, but in essence it would be totally different — this school would be doing a few things similar to the waldorf school, but it’s foundation would be something quite at odds with what waldorf/steiner is really about. It is really anthroposophy which is unique to steiner education.

    Playing, lots of time outdoors, fairytales, arts… none of these things are restricted to steiner schools. Yet, they are what makes parents choose steiner education, and anthroposophy isn’t what people think of. (That’s the wrong way around, in my opinion.)

    ‘I’ve been reading a lot of anti-Anthroposophic stuff and bad experiences of Steiner schools, but figure that the only sure, rational way of deciding for myself is to go to the school and talk to people there.’

    No, I’d say. The most rational way of deciding is to read what Steiner wrote and said and what other anthroposophists have said and written. Sure, you can and you should talk to the people at the school as well — but also know that they’re trying to pull wool over your eyes. And some of them will become entirely different people the day you (or your child) come into conflict with the school about something or decide to leave (were any of this to happen).

  7. Thanks for your comment too, Shalom!

    Well, children do become interested in black when it isn’t allowed! And yes, of course children draw in black — why wouldn’t they? If they’re drawing something that is black? How to draw a panda without black? A scottish terrier? A black tin roof on a house?

    The huge problem with karma is how it’s used in waldorf schools. When it’s used, for example, to excuse one child abusing an other — they have past life issues to resolve — it can be very damaging for the child who is victimized by the other child and by the inaction of waldorf teachers.

    Waldorf dolls may not always have faces (many have rudimentary facial characteristics though) but they do have skin colour. I always liked detailed toys, so waldorf dolls and the wooden waldorf toys weren’t very popular with me… That’s not to say that such toys may not appeal to other kids — from your description of yourself as a child, I actually think you would have really liked them! And I would never say people should not get a waldorf doll or some other waldorf toy — if their child likes these toys, they’re perfect. It’s most definately possible to get the doll and disregard the philosophy behind it. But a waldorf teacher or an anthroposophist would view the doll a bit differently.

    It’s characteristic of gnomes to steal the possessions of humans, so just blame the gnomes! I suspect gnomes are stealing food from my fridge, by the way…

  8. Mark – great to see you here.

    Of course your child won’t suffer any ill-effects by going to a p&t group with you, I’m sure he enjoys it and I’m glad you do too. You made it very clear in your comment on DC’s blog that you were in the very early stages of contact with the school, indeed that you’re a sceptic. I’m sure you’re far more aware of the odd signs you describe than I was at that stage.

    zooey knows what she’s talking about. Except for the gnomes raiding her fridge, perhaps..

  9. Oh, I second what Thetis wrote. The majority of steiner parents don’t even want to read steiner critical material, they don’t want to find out more, and are prone to react with hostility to anything critical… they’re in love with waldorf! Indeed, MarkH is more aware than most — or he wouldn’t have read the post at DC’s, much less bothered to reply to it.

    Well, the gnomes… it’s true. Somebody is eating my food. It has to be them. I mean, come on, prove to me that there’s another reason the food disappears!! Ha! Thought so! You can’t!! I won!

  10. I seem to be able to draw without black – even pandas. I just never liked black because they made my hands dirty. The problem I had with art classes I was sent to was that they forced me to be “realistic”. I rebelled, saying, “Are you insane? What’s the point of replicating the real world in my OWN world?” – But seriously, have to ask the Waldorf folks why black not allowed. I personally don’t buy black and I never realized it until recently in my adult life.

    I like what you said about Waldorf dolls – the important thing is choice. Not everyone child is as uptight about images as I was. But to be honest one of the things I admired most about Islam is that they forbade the use of images (human and animals) in children’s toys, art in general, architecture, etc. When I read about that during my teens it just struck a chord in me and resonated very deeply in me. So, I guess it’s my “thing”. – If I’m not mistaken the Malay-Islam culture here interpret that as this : “fine spirits that live with us” enter and reside in objects with faces, especially those we pay a lot of attention to or is placed in such a way in a home that it symbolizes a status deserving of admiration. Not even family portraits are allowed t be hung up to adorn – only small ones placed around waist level in a room allowed. Noticed that Islamic art, from carpets to architecture, does not have images?

    About karmic “retaliation” – it’s a cycle. Child 1 affects Child 2 and Child 1 will get back his own somehow, someplace. You reap what you sow. I used to intervene in karmic retaliations, trying to advice people. But lately I’ve realized all my life I’ve caused myself a lot of misery by trying to be “karmic agent”, trying to make life “better” for others.
    My latest philosophy : “Don’t help unless someone asks for help. And even then, only help if it does not make their burden yours.”

    It sounds selfish but unless you’re me you would not understand the whole context of my altruism-gone-wrong-gone-right.

    I think it would not affect a child’s self-esteem if their education/upbringing had already instilled in them a belief in their own autonomy. Even the most shy and passive of children, like my daughter, can learn to forgive grievances and know when to draw the line and stand up for themselves.

    However, if a child comes up to the teacher and asks specifically that something be done, then the teacher must use their wisdom to see the conflict arising in both children It requires a high degree of intuition to know which child is manipulative or truthful, thus a commitment to knowing the child’s family and upbringing is helpful. The Teacher here cannot be neither judge nor jury, just arbitrator. Wisdom is required here to advice but not intervene. A teacher is just the glue that holds things together or a fountain one can drink from.

  11. I understand the idea of karma, but I think it’s evil to apply it to children. Goes for this as well:

    ‘My latest philosophy : “Don’t help unless someone asks for help. And even then, only help if it does not make their burden yours.”’

    I don’t have anything against this philosophy applied between adults. It’s often a perfectly sane approach.

    But for children who have been left in the care of professionals — it’s simply not OK. I was 3 years old. I could not defend myself. I could not ask for help, because everyone acted as though I deserved to be harmed, and I was too small a child to know adults were supposed to help.

    Thus, to me, such a philosophy is cruel. But mostly, it’s unprofessional. There’s no point in having professional kindergarten teachers if they don’t take any responsibility for keeping the children safe. Karma and karmic desert should not even enter into this. And small children need their teachers to be more active and more attuned to what happens in the group of children and take responsibility for it — because children don’t know and understand what they can ask for. And, the smaller the child, the greater the risk that the child adopts the attitudes the other children and the teachers show him or her… that he or she deserves to be treated badly, that he or she has no worth.

    And I do think the teacher needs to intervene. The teacher has to say to the child’s parents: your child is being treated badly by other children in this group, this and this is happening, and so forth. The teachers may not be able to fix every problem — they may not be able to help the child fit in, for example, no matter how hard they try — but there is a definite responsibility to be open and honest about the problems. No excuses — whether based on karma or anything else! The children are children, that’s why they’re taken care of by supposedly responsible professionals. Wisdom won’t cut it (waldorf teachers consider themselves totally wise… even when entirely deluded), but it’s necessary to have education and an interest in children and children’s development.

    So, that was the most important aspect I wanted to reply to. As for the colour black, well, you know, I don’t think it’s terribly important to use black, and I don’t think there’s any reason children should be either discourage nor encouraged to use it. I do think, however, that the prohibition of black in waldorf is a prime example of dogmatism and fanaticism that characterizes waldorf more generally. It’s not so much about black itself, as it is about constantly enforcing all kinds of mindless rules that children (and parents) are expected to accept and follow without any good reason.

    You would have liked the waldorf water colour painting (wet-on-wet techinque) — it was impossible to paint anything more detailed than… amorphous colour blobs…!

    With crayons, though, you could be more detailed. And you were supposed to always copy exactly what the teacher draw or painted — so there was no opportunites for free creativity and such.

  12. True, Zooey, alltogether you have written.
    The concept of karma is a perfect excuse for “professionals” who do not do professional job.

  13. Each person even as a child is different. I empathize with what you’ve experienced but I’ve suffered worse in kindy yet did not feel it affected my self-worth in any way. I still think very fondly of my kindy teacher until now.

    I think the bone of contention with Waldorf teachers in this issue of “karma” is the abuse of the term by the teachers without properly understanding it. If the teacher does not internalize the meaning but simply sprouts it as an “excuse” then it is wrong.

    I also agree that – “There’s no point in having professional kindergarten teachers if they don’t take any responsibility for keeping the children safe”. – You know, it’s time parents woke up to the idea that if they’re subcontracting child-education and nurturing to any third party it can never substitute for the first-class premium quality the parent themselves could’ve offered. One question we have to ask ourselves is, “How much would somebody have to pay me for me give up what I do now to do the job this professional is doing as my subcontractor?” Can we outsource at such tender ages, standards, beliefs, values, expectations, sensitivity, intelligence and love? All the things our child deserves?

    Professional teachers are humans – only humans. The truth is we should never have had this idea that we can pay someone a rate we ourselves think is too low in order to do a job we ourselves are not willing to give up what we have in order to do it.

    No matter how “we parents” want do delude ourselves the fact is that the whole idea of outsourcing nurturing is unexamined. There are no “shoulds” in life, only our ability to take personal responsibility, only our responsibility to re-examine why we follow tradition, why we keep up with the Joneses, why we waste the precious time we have with our little ones.

    It takes a lot for someone to break out of their own boxes and re-examine the whole idea of what education means and whether or not it can be packaged neatly and commercialized. This discussion was a good way to highlight the point that, Anthrosophy, Waldorf, Steiner or otherwise, the commercialization and commoditization of learning under any brand name eventually succumbs to the deficient nature of outsourcing love, care, modelling and nurturing. Anything that becomes a tradition (going to school, Waldorf schools) will cause deterioration, risks devolving into dogma, etc.

  14. ‘I empathize with what you’ve experienced but I’ve suffered worse in kindy’ — how do you know that? I told you one thing about what can go dreadfully wrong when people apply karma thinking to real life situations involving children. That was certainly not all that went wrong in my case, but it is the interesting part since this kind of thinking is what makes waldorf schools go wrong over and over again. They use an unethical standard of treating children, one which derives from their belief system. That’s why it’s relevant to discuss. Whether I fared worse or not is beside the point. I know there’s a whole world full of children being badly treated — but that’s no justification for waldorf schools to continue to use dangerous methods and that’s why I care about this. It’s true there are people who suffer worse — it’s also true that, at this point in my life, empathy or ‘suffering competitions’ are irrelevant. I do care that these methods are still used on children, like they were once used on me and used to hurt me.

    Karma should not be in a kindergarten or a school. It’s not an educationally or developmentally sound concept. It’s a spiritual or religious belief that people can do what they please with in their own free time — but it should never be used professionally and it should not be resorted to by any teachers in any school.

    For fucks sake, can’t these teachers get themselves a proper education that will help them educate children, and responsibly leave the out spiritual nonsense? It’s a hobby, not a way to care for other people’s children. Understanding karma ‘properly’ — whatever that is, I’m sure an anthroposophist has different ideas than a believer in some other brand of spirituality — is certainly not an argument in a school. It may be in a temple.

    I’d much prefer commercialization as long as it gives an effective and good education.

    ‘Can we outsource at such tender ages, standards, beliefs, values, expectations, sensitivity, intelligence and love? All the things our child deserves?’

    But you send a child to school to give the child an education! All those other things are the responsibility of the parent. From a school, expect an education. That’s what they’re there for. The child doesn’t deserve all those other things all the time, most of them are provided for at home. The school should focus on the basics — educating. Of course, in a broad perspective — it is about educating children on, e g, how you behave to each other, to a certain extent. It’s not clean cut. But love…? no. The teachers need to responsibly take care of the children — but I for one do not expect them to achieve miracles. That’s not why I criticize my own kindergarten and school teachers. I criticize them because they didn’t give me a decent education and they didn’t take the responsibility they were required to take as professionals. I don’t criticize them for failing to give me ‘standards, beliefs, values, expectations, sensitivity, intelligence and love’ — I don’t even think I deserved to get any of this from them, they were only my teachers, not my family! But education and other basic responsibilites towards me as a child — yes, I definitely expect that!

  15. Thetis, here is the translation of what I wrote to Zooey in the comment above the links:
    “Zooey, att Du orkar (att dra allt igen för sjuttioelfte gången ..), efter all jobb idag också.
    “( just fill in the name ;) ), that you have the strengh to carry on (over and over again, for the seventy-eleventh time), having done thejob today, too!”
    (Zooey has been helping with moving-house cleaning that day).

    You are welcome, all of you, I will stick to the links!

  16. Zooey:
    “Karma should not be in a kindergarten or a school. It’s not an educationally or developmentally sound concept. It’s a spiritual or religious belief that people can do what they please with in their own free time — but it should never be used professionally and it should not be resorted to by any teachers in any school.”

    (short and neat, to link to later again)

  17. Just because the teacher believes in karma doesn’t make it justified to use karma in school. Really, it is one of the things that tend to enrage me. People argue as though a teacher’s right to use his or her preferred spiritual concept, professionally as well as privately, is a given. It’s not.

    Because it inevitably puts the child’s best in second place — after religious observance.

    If you can’t solve the problem or help the child with his or her difficulties — there is but one responsible way to deal with it: telling the child’s parents that unfortunately some other children are maltreating their child and the teacher, as responsible for a professional service, can’t ensure that the child will be ok, and to avoid detrimental consequences, the child ought to be moved from that environment.

    That’s what they should do. Their private beliefs in karma — eg, as in karma influencing the relationships between the children — should never ever be allowed to interfere in the kindergarten or school setting.

    Thanks, @alfa-omega! Yep, it’s true, I’ve been sweeping up pine needles and cleaning windows, et c… (But today I was lazy all day. Still a bit exhausted…) Thus, if my comments seem partly confused, incoherent and jumbled, it’s because I’ve been typing fast while feeling confused, incoherent and jumbled due to tiredness and being in a hurry…

  18. very good and to the point comments, regardless of tiredness or having to hurry.

    ‘For fucks sake, can’t these teachers get themselves a proper education that will help them educate children, and responsibly leave out the spiritual nonsense? It’s a hobby, not a way to care for other people’s children,’

    it’s a hobby and it’s self-indulgence. Then to say it isn’t a religious impulse is just sophistry.

  19. Well, it’s simple: keep to Zooey’s.
    On her link page, there are all the important links collected.
    One of the important links for those looking for the source:
    Rudolf Steiner hat gesagt, can be followed at
    (Those claiming “we can have a Waldorf school without anthroposophy” are claiming “we can eat the cake and still have it”.)

    As for karma:
    I always strive for finding a general pattern while trying to understand things around me. While trying to understand WHY it’s so difficult for a regular teacher who has been cheated into Waldorf school (cheated because the advertisement didn’t say anything about what they really wanted) to get something accomplished, I could single out the concept of karma. The fact that the requirements of the school legislation and ordinances are not followed at a Waldorf school can be traced back to the concept of karma, as can the negligence to interfere while bullying is going on.

  20. Zooey: “can’t these teachers get themselves a proper education that will help them educate children, and responsibly leave out the spiritual nonsense?” at

    No, the Waldorf teachers can’t. They shouldn’t!
    The purpose of *Waldorf teacher* education is to train instructors who in their turn will train children (who are easy to indoctrinate) into belonging to a cult.
    Read your Steiner!

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