to järna with love (xi)

When I posted my Järna photos i to ix in August of 2009, I had never even noticed this one. It’s probably nothing but a fluke I hadn’t tossed it out. I don’t even remember it; I don’t remember taking any pictures like this one. Which is an indication I definitely didn’t like it. Maybe because it’s too light or there are too many different things going on in it (despite the lack of people). Now I really do like it; this often happens, actually, a few months later a rejected photo suddenly seems… interesting. Particularly if I cannot remember shooting it. Well, I know from the environment that I shot it while waiting for my sandwich at the café. And I remembered the other photos from the same occasion, shot while waiting. This one, though, must have slipped by my consciousness without registering.

12 thoughts on “to järna with love (xi)

  1. (I see I first put this comment on bjorneboe. You can delete it from there.)

    Zo,

    Remember that photo of the dining room of the Threefold Vegetarian Restaurant near Carnegie Hall in NYC I sent you? That was taken in the early 1920s and it just goes to show how little has changed in anthroposophists’ ideas of furniture and room design from Steiner’s day in New York to the present day in Jaerna.

    Here’s the link on the 3-fold Farm history page with the photo
    http://www.threefold.org/about_us/history_and_chronology/history/page1.aspx

    You ought to put up both photos side by side.

  2. In 1987 I was in Solvik near Järna, visiting the school at that place. Teachers were a.a. Pär Ahlbom, Ivar Heckscher, Merete Lövlie. In that time they were building a new house for the school. It was in summer so there were no classes. Yet I experienced something from what a real free school could be.
    Surely they were anthroposophists, but in their own free way. It was not just a copy of the Waldorf modell. They had there own philosophy, their own pedagogics.
    Nothing on earth however is 100% perfect, so you one can also have points of critic there, but the main impression was very positive. I don’t no how it is now.

  3. The school still exists, as far as I know. I also know there are those who were involved in it earlier and who now feel that maybe some aspects of it weren’t really working as well as had been hoped. It’s still not formally a waldorf school, but it’s definitely a school for people who’d otherwise choose waldorf. It’s not an alternative to anything else or anyone else.

    From what I’ve read, it seems to me it was another of these projects adults conceive of to reach spiritual fulfillment for themselves — the children are there to justify it… and end up being, too often, those who pay for it. Sure ‘free’ but free for whom? Perhaps not the kids.

    It’s true though that nothing is perfect. It would be silly to ask for perfection.

  4. Waldorf school or not, it was a free school run by anthroposophists.
    I would say no “imprimatur” required.
    You are assuming something about this school but do not know for sure. Still you have a rather negative judgment. Why don’t you give it a fair chance?

  5. And it’s definitely not an educational option for anyone who wouldn’t otherwise be into waldorf.

    Remember, I went to a school run by anthroposophists. That was a pretty dumb idea.

    From what I’ve read about that particular school, there’s even some disappointment among some of the people who ran it. From what I’ve read about the intentions — as these are presented by people who are very much positively inclined towards this school — it is primarily a venue for the spiritual needs of adults. Just as so many other waldorf schools have been.

    It seems even less academically oriented than ordinary waldorf education. There’s no question: such a school could never suit a child like me.

    Children who have no intellectual interests, well, I can’t speak for them. I think they’ll enjoy any school where you can go out and play instead of read books.

  6. Jan — another thing: I do have a rather negative view of all waldorf and all waldorf or anthroposophically inspired schools. It’s not just that one, of course. But it’s also true that I never read or hear anything about waldorf (and similar) schools that makes me attracted to them — it’s more or less the oppsite. They repel me. Whether it’s positive or negative stuff doesn’t really matter — waldorf’s not my kind of thing. There’s no doubt to me that Solviksskolan would have been hell for someone like me — and I could actually establish this from the positive accounts solely. I didn’t need the slight criticism I’ve since come across to tell me this.

    But of course I don’t go around the country giving all sorts of waldorf (and other similar) schools ‘a chance’ — I’m 33, I don’t need to go to school, thank dog ;-) I occasionally read school websites, promo material, other articles or testimonies, et c. But as for giving anything a chance, in practical terms, I’m way too old for that!

  7. “It seems even less academically oriented than ordinary waldorf education. There’s no question: such a school could never suit a child like me”.

    I think you are very much right here.
    Waldorf schools aren’t the best for all pupils.

  8. To be not misunderstood here:
    I think Waldorf Schools are for most children the best option, but for some children not.
    It depends on the child, it depends on the particular teachers too.

  9. Well, yes, of course. But I’m not sure it’s the best option for most children, really. For example, I don’t think delayed reading and writing is beneficial for most children — at least not delayed as much as waldorf schools would prefer.

    (On the other hand — I agree that ‘forcing’ children to develop faster than they’re able to is wrong too. I don’t think any schools should do that, but I also think that they way waldorf proponents put it — as though it were true that in other types of education, children are forced — is misleading. I think that has to do with what they’re pretending happens in other schools, not with actual reality.)

    For a very few children who are very slow — well, yes, delayed reading and writing may put less preassure on them. But they’re not the norm, and should not be treated as the norm.

    Needless to say, the fact that waldorf is not suited for some children places a responsibility on waldorf schools to admit this — they need to be clear about it, and advise parents to go elsewhere. Providing such a non-standard approach, the schools need to develop methods to discover which children waldorf is not suited for. (They don’t take this responsibility.)

  10. I also had this other interior photo from the café. As you can tell I was standing in the wrong place to shoot photos, but I was standing there waiting. Unfortunately the photos taken then were the only ones of the interior… Well, here’s the other photo.

    järna kafé kulturhuset

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