Fwd: To Christine

 

From: golden3000997
Date: Sat Feb 14, 2004 1:11 pm
Subject: Fwd: To Christine

Sorry! forgot to CC y'all!

From: Golden3000997
Date: Sat Feb 14, 2004 1:10 pm
Subject: Re: To Christine
To: waldorf-critics@topica.com

Hello Walden,

I have written quite a bit already about your Sistine Madonna question and I have invited you to read more that is freely posted on the AT group site. In my experience, all Waldorf schools offer lecture series throughout the year and would offer more if more people had the time and inclination to come to them. And our lectures always have a question and answer period - with lots of room for interaction in the lecture. I certainly have offered to speak with anyone about anything. In fact, the first lecture I gave here in Miami, I think there were about 5 people in the audience. I gave it anyway. It was designed and advertised as a series of 5 lectures and the first was an introduction to Rudolf Steiner and Philosophy of Freedom! I did a GREAT job of summing up Philosophy of Freedom, too!!! The next lecture, there were about 20 - 25 people and the third about 125 - 150 people. I don't think we were able to continue the series for some reason. I have also given interactive workshops, and this is the way I would like to work with this in the future:

Friday night - a general lecture open to the public
Saturday -
Morning - Kindergarten Watercolor Painting workshop (the whole process - story, candle, set up, just as if the adults were the Kindergarten Children
Afternoon - First Grade "Four Temperaments" Workshop (I do really fun stuff with Winnie the Pooh and short poems!
Evening - Forum - rather than a "lecture" everyone would sit with the chairs facing into a circle and questions would be forwarded and discussed. This would be limited to people who had attended the lecture on Friday night and/ or one of the workshops. Then, we could address questions arising from the previous content.

Sound good?

In regard to the following from 02.12.04:

(Walden)
"In my experience there is much more controversy surrounding Waldorf than other school movements. I would be surprised, however, if there were no critics of those other schools. But I have not seen a similar controversy, support group(s) for survivors, web sites, law suites, news stories, etc. Nothing close. No groups of people expressing the concerns we see here and elsewhere regarding Waldorf."

I think this is broad and unfounded. We would have to discuss specifics. I am sure that other schools have their critics and detractors, in cyberspace and elsewhere. The "others" can range from large systems like Catholic schools, Hebrew schools, Montessori schools, etc. to small, individual private schools. In my opinion, this group of people critical of Waldorf schools per se is following a decided agenda and one that is tied into legal issues. You have found or created a "hot topic" and made it hotter by throwing words like "racist" and "cult" into the mix. As I said before, the larger "religious" schools have been 1. kept out of the public school system and 2. had a large base of support within the larger institutions from which they originated - more money and lawyers at their disposal, so they have been better able to fight spurious and even justifiable allegations.

Waldorf Schools are individualistic in nature and the organization under which they operate is only loosely formulated. Perhaps more so in recent decades, but it is not an institution per se from which the schools come. Each school arises in its own way and form and then goes to the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America for guidance and acceptance if it so chooses. The Association is not a judgemental or directive organization. It has set criteria by which a school earns the "right" to the Waldorf name, but these have broad applications.

The amount of individual criticisms of other private schools to be found in articles, biographies and literature would take up a whole library room. And the criticisms of the public school system over the course of the past century would take up a whole library. There are news stories and law suits in connection with the Catholic church and its treatment of children very frequently and very recently.

As to the following paragraphs at the end of your post:

"See - those "certain spiritual beliefs" might just be a little much for some parents to understand without having them spelled out in some meaningful manner. Many parents are fine with "spiritual beliefs." Such beliefs in Steiner's mind (and Waldorf schools) need a great deal of explaining. Parents deserve as much. So do our children."
(Walden)

I totally agree with you and think you are owed an apology if, in fact you were denied the opportunity to learn about Steiner and Waldorf, felt you were "kept in the dark" (my phraseology), brushed aside or that ideas which should have been immediately forthcoming were not.

On the other hand, as a parent trying to choose from a wide range of public and private school options available in the United States in the past few decades, unless one opts to take "pot luck" from whatever the local public school offers or has a prior affiliation to an organization such as a church, temple or a branch of the military and has pre-determined to go to a school associated with that organization, every parent then bears an enormous amount of responsibility for his or her choice or choices.

Choosing a school for your child because they make tissue paper butteflies at an open house is, in my opinion, not responsible decision making. To go by outward appearances, hesitate to ask questions, fail to actively seek information on the published history and philosophy of the school system and then to berate the school for "failing to inform" the parents ahead of time is inexcusable. Especially, in my opinion, when you walk into a school which by the colors on the walls, the artwork of the children that is displayed and the materials the furniture and toys are made of announces loudly and clearly that this is a school like no other. The first question any parent should ask is "Why?" And if you do not get an answer that satisfies you personally - do not put your child there.

Christine

When the "nature of the human being as a spiritual being" is identified as such (above) and when all questions are answered (as opposed to a response of "these concepts are not easy" or "live into the answer") then I would agree that you have the right to establish Waldorf schools
(Walden)

Neither you or any other critic has the right to grant us the right to establish Waldorf Schools when they are privately funded. You do, as I said, have the right to ask questions and to expect clear and reasonable answers BEFORE placing your child into a Waldorf School or any other private school and to leave at any time that you feel that either you or your child is not being well served.

Christine

...................................................................................................................................

From: golden3000997
Date: Sat Feb 14, 2004 5:29 pm
Subject: Re: To Christine

In a message dated 2/14/2004 5:18:47 PM Eastern Standard Time, awaldenpond writes:

Thanks for your response - I do appreciate your thoughts. I will check your articles. Maybe I am asking too much at one time. I'll try to make it simple as some of your thoughts regarding our conversation are still not clear to me. My previous post was rather long so I'll chop a couple of questions from it and try to be more specific:

1) Do you think Waldorf outreach (via web sites, pamphlets, etc.) should include information regarding reincarnation, soul work, the nature of faculty meetings, the meaning of Eurythmy, wet-on-wet painting, lazure, main lesson books throughout the grades, Steiner's epochs and how that concept finds its way into the classroom, as well as the meaning of "child study?"

I have spent quite a good amount of time writing in response to your questions. You can do me the courtesy of reading what I have posted and referred to. I think that in both my direct responses and in what I have referred to, I have answered a lot of the first question and pointed to how and why I believe Waldorf schools should be forthcoming in answers about all of these items. Taken on by one, each item requires a lengthly amount of talk or writing to explore with justice. Blurbs in pamphlets or on websites are not sufficient to get across the information. Having links on websites to fuller articles would be terrific. But as I said, such articles may not yet have been written due to factors I have outlined recently elsewhere, which is a good reason why, after ten years away from teaching, I may be in a welcome position to take the time to write articles and to have the luxury of distance from my work to have really digested my own life experience. What other schools and individuals have or do not have on their websites is not for me (or anyone else) to dictate. I own a domain name (have for several years) but I have not yet been able to figure out how to get it created. I can't get my articles to upload the way I want them to. When I finally do, they will be posted there.

2) I wrote:

Incredibly, at each school web site there was no mention of Rudolf Steiner's connection or belief in Occultism, reincarnation, karma or soul work. In short virtually everything Steiner believed in and worked from and towards with regards to Anthroposophy and Waldorf Education - the essence of the man - is missing from these sites. Instead, from the sum of eleven Waldorf School web sites, we are told that Rudolf Steiner was a - teacher (mentioned 1 time), an architect (1), thinker (1), scholar (1), educator (5), artist (6) and a scientist (7). My question to you, Christine, is this: Do you think that Waldorf outreach (via web sites, pamphlets, etc.) should include in their description of Rudolf Steiner, the words, "occultist, clairvoyant, reincarnation, reality of the Christ, great spiritual teacher, soul and spirit, esoteric researcher, karma research, spiritual cosmology as well as any other similar accurate, descriptive words we find at Anthroposophic web sites?

In other words, do you not find it odd that Rudolf Steiner is described using such very different words (artist, scientist, etc.) at Waldorf web sites as opposed to (occultist, great spiritual teacher, etc.) Anthroposophy web sites?

Thanks.

-Walden

I have no objection to using the words

"occultist, clairvoyant, reincarnation, reality of the Christ, great spiritual teacher, (of? - Christine) soul and spirit, esoteric researcher, karma research, spiritual cosmology as well as any other similar accurate, descriptive words we find at Anthroposophic web sites?
(Walden)

IN ADDITION TO:
artist, scientist, educator, teacher, thinker, scholar

Certainly a link to any accurate biography of Rudolf Steiner should be or could be on any school website. I don't think I would personally be able to write such a biography and do it full justice, but I would absolutely include a link to one written by someone else. How about:

http://www.elib.com/Steiner/RSBio.php3

http://www.oranaschool.com/rudolf_steiner_biography.html

http://www.detroitwaldorf.com/links.htm (back to e-lib)

Christine

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