Local Talk

cambridge steiner school

(58 Posts)
woolly76 Sun 06-Nov-11 14:41:09

Hi all,
I have been looking into the cambridge stiener school, i went to the mother and baby group and found it....well, odd. Quite a serious, nature worshipy, cultish atmosphere, strange monotone singing and general cringy pagan hippy stuff, i was a bit concerned. Any experiences of the steiner school would be really appreciated!

EauRouge Mon 07-Nov-11 13:12:24

Hi Woolly,

I've no experience of the Steiner school but it's something that I (very) briefly considered for my DCs. There are lots of threads about Steiner schools if you do a search in the education forum, they seem to generate fairly strong opinions....

umf Mon 07-Nov-11 16:46:46

Yes, that happened to me too.

An0therName Tue 08-Nov-11 12:54:08

again no experience of the cambridge school - but my fairly hippyish SIL dropped out their teacher training because she thought it was too much - too odd, too inflexiable - and the threads on the education section are quite illuminating about it in general.
I would urge you to visit your local state primary school - my experience is the states schools in cambridge are they of a very high standard and are really lovely places. Have a look in the primary school forum for more general info on looking for a primary school

neolara Tue 08-Nov-11 22:35:50

I know a number of people who have defected from the Cambridge Steiner school into state mainstream. Their experiences weren't very happy.

MarkH1 Sun 13-Nov-11 08:12:02

Hello, I'm a dad who took our 2 year old son to the parent/child group at Cambridge Steiner school for a few months last year. Our experience was relatively benign, pleasant even, but your concerns do ring true. I suspect that the level of oddness depends a lot on the group leader.

If you read up on Steiner education you're sure to come across Anthroposophy, on which their theories of child development and much else is based. I think it's fair to say that the Cambridge school seems more coy than most about this with prospective parents. Looking back at our experiences, it is deeply influenced by Anthroposophy.

One of the surprises for us was a weekend course for parents ostensibly on 'home nursing' but which turned out to be promoting the Steiner brand of alternative medicine. Discussions over snack time at the p/c group were occasionally on the evils of modern medicine and technology, topics which made me feel uncomfortable.

Meanwhile, little M is showing early signs of wanting to read and an interest in numbers. Reading and arithmetic are not subjects generally promoted in Steiner education until the age of 7, so it's clear we're already on a different course...

I found this thread via Roger Rawlings site 'Waldorf Watch', which is definitely worth a read.

Hope that helps.

rachelfrost Fri 16-Dec-11 18:51:26

Hello, My toddler and I go to parent and child at the Cambridge Steiner school and find it really worth while.

My toddler enjoys: the action rhymes, joining in with craft activities, raking the leaves outside, socializing, snack time, the toys...
The same routine is followed each time so the children know what's happening next. I think this helps them feel secure enough to wander off and explore the toys and socialize while mum drinks tea.

Yes all the singing can be a bit grating and it can be hard not to roll my eyes at some of the topics of conversation among the parents but I feel my child is really benefiting from being there. It is a much less chaotic environment than your usual parent and child and the children really do learn to independently join in whichever activity is going on.

I will definitely be sending him to the kindergarten there when the time comes and will wait and see about the primary school.

So, woolly76 , what you say is true but the kids seem to love it! I would disagree with the notion that the school is strict or inflexible because they seem quite the opposite and pleased to adapt to each individual child. The other thing to consider is that not teaching reading and arithmetic until age 7 doesn't affect a child's academic development (Sweden's education system being the famous example).

I think the theory seems quite strange ( http://www.skepdic.com/steiner.html ) but works well in practice! Hope this helped. Perhaps you could see if there is an open day?

rachelfrost Sun 18-Dec-11 19:17:03

"all the singing can be a bit grating and it can be hard not to roll my eyes at some of the topics of conversation among the parents"

I should clarify that I find the singing difficult because it is so high pitched and I am more of a bull frog. Also the staff and parents are lovely people, I would hate my comment to be misinterpreted, if I roll my eyes it is not because they are wrong or foolish in anyway. smile

TheBFactor Mon 09-Jan-12 13:13:38

WARNING: they belong to a cult. I have personal experience of the Steiner schooling system although it was NOT in Cambridge, but elsewhere in the UK.

Fortunately, I can read German, unfortunately, I did not investigate Anthroposophy (the cult they follow) before sending my son to one of their schools. Steiner's followers will tell you that Steiner was not a "racist" well - it all depends on what you think of his views on Germanic "superheros" and "white" superiority (including what he wrote/said about the superior brains of "whites"!)

I am a WHITE lawyer/academic and I am highly OFFENDED by Steiner's writings and pseudo-psycho-babble rubbish regarding "race". I can only imagine what someone who isn't white must think of him.

I have read Steiner's work both in English and German so PLEASE don't be taken in by the rubbish they spout. They are supreme experts in covering up what they actually do in their schools, I would say that what I observed was so well covered up it was sinister.

In case you think this is some sort of personal grudge, please go off and read the work of well-respected academics (google is good) as well as the recurring court cases going on around the world against Steiner schools. It will put things into perspective for you.

I wish I had known about forums like this and that people had been honest enough to warn me before I sent my poor son to one of their schools.

TheBFactor Mon 09-Jan-12 13:16:40

Another warning: there will be an "Anthro" coming on this thread soon attempting to close down debate. Don't be surprised if MN removes this and other threads grin I have seen the pressure they manage to put on freedom of expression and have seen threads deleted and shut down on other forums.

mummytime Mon 09-Jan-12 13:44:36

Just to agree, this the OP and others new to Steiner need to note, this thread will be gone soon. All Steiner threads are pulled quickly. (Either before or after someone threatens to sue MN).

TheBFactor Mon 09-Jan-12 14:11:46

Yep - good old freedom of speech ! Welcome to the world of cults.

abc123d Tue 10-Jan-12 13:49:55

TheBFactor, was not Steiner jewish? I thought he was jewish so a bit strange that he had racist views although Hitler also had jewish blood.

abc123d Tue 10-Jan-12 14:01:52

Google search shows that Steiner was a member of Freemasonry. One of his books www.steinerbooks.org/detail.html?id=9780880106122

TheBFactor Tue 10-Jan-12 14:06:45

No he was absolutely NOT Jewish. He was a Christian.
They also believe in fairies which is why they talk a lot of tosh at their schools about fairies in the garden/woods shock - there is a lot of Germanic/Nordic mythology interwoven into their so called philosophy of life.
I am an atheist with a strong belief in scientific evidence, so as you can imagine was not too pleased about my son being given homeopathic WATER as a cure for a grazed knee hmm and being told about non-exitsent creatures in the woods !
I encourage any sane person interested in Steiner education to do their homework BEFORE wasting their time, money (and possibly their child's sanity) on these people.

TheBFactor Tue 10-Jan-12 14:14:55

abc - I am not sure what orgs he belonged to - I wouldn't be surprised if he belonged to a voodoo club or some sort of circus full of fairies with pink wings grin
They have not been able to unearth conclusive evidence of his links to the Nazis - but I have read enough to say that even if not a fully paid up member of the Nazi Party, you wouldn't really wish your children to go to a school whose founding father had extremely controversial views on race.

norriscoleforpm Tue 10-Jan-12 14:16:46

You mean there aren't fairies in my garden ?sad

abc123d Tue 10-Jan-12 14:20:22

I am not interested in sending my kids to them anyway. They are not transparent.

abc123d Tue 10-Jan-12 14:24:10

I think his background is full of mystery but nevertheless I still do not like what I read about his schools. It looks like a sect brainwashing you into something.

TheBFactor Tue 10-Jan-12 14:30:49

www.social-ecology.org/2009/01/anthroposophy-and-ecofascism-2

You need to read the works of an academic called Peter Staudenmaier.

TheBFactor Tue 10-Jan-12 14:35:18

there may be a few in your garden - but there sure ain't any in mine - i have anti-fairy devices in the back of my garden grin

Tizian Tue 10-Jan-12 14:49:58
TheBFactor Tue 10-Jan-12 15:55:20

oh..oh...here we go !

TheBFactor Tue 10-Jan-12 16:10:15

Tizian - I think you forgot to say that the ONLY people who don't approve of Peter Staudenmaier's academic work are the Anthrosposophists !

Quote from Peter Staudenmaier per my link above:

"The centerpiece of anthroposophical belief is spiritual advancement through karma and reincarnation, supplemented by the access to esoteric knowledge available to a privileged few. According to anthroposophy, the spiritual dimension suffuses every aspect of life. For anthroposophists, illnesses are karmically determined and play a role in the soul’s development. Natural processes, historical events, and technological mechanisms are all explained through the action of spiritual forces. Such beliefs continue to mark the curriculum in many Waldorf schools [Steiner schools]."

The "privileged few" refers to white Aryans (oh and persumably the fairies in his back garden as well) !

TheBFactor Tue 10-Jan-12 16:14:55

Another quote from the same article:

"Anthroposophy’s peculiar predilections also shape the Waldorf curriculum. Jazz and popular music are often scorned at European Waldorf schools, and recorded music in general is frowned upon; these phenomena are considered to harbor demonic forces. Instead students read fairy tales, a staple of Waldorf education. Some sports, too, are forbidden, and art instruction often rigidly follows Steiner’s eccentric theories of color and form. Taken together with the pervasive anti-technological and anti-scientific bias, the suspicion toward rational thought, and the occasional outbreaks of racist gibberish, these factors indicate that Waldorf schooling is as questionable as the other aspects of the anthroposophist enterprise."

ps - TV is considered the modern form of "demonic forces" by Steiner schools.

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