Waldorf schooling for children

92 posts in this topic

Posted

Hello,

I have a friend who is looking for a school for his kid. He was talking about these Waldorf schools. To my opinion, it's more a sect than a school. I was just wondering if someone knew something more about it but more on a personal level?

Thanks

Baloe

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

We looked at Waldorf schooling and would have gone ahead with it if it had been practical (location of school and costs).

To my mind, the Waldorf school can be an advantage if your child does not fit into the 'mould'. Typically, teachers in German schools (at least in our experience) are most interested in the gifted children who shout around and act like they own the place but they spend less time with those who may require more 'effort'. For the gifted and loud children that's good but probably unnecessary and for the not so motivated or quieter kids it's a real problem (and it's no wonder that Germany did so badly in the PISA tests as a result). I find German teachers in the state school system are mostly very lazy individuals, with one or two shining exceptions.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Waldorf schools are the equivalent to grammar schools after they got ride of the entrance exams! They are primarily for middle class kids whose parent cannot accept that their child is incapable of finishing Gymnasium or getting into it.

If your child is not capable it is probably the best choice!

Gymnasium level is high way higher than A levels and broader! If your child can get into this, it is probably the best!

Germany scored badly in Pisa because the two lower levels schools, Real and Haupt Schule are crap. Not because the Gymnasium are bad on the contrary if it had been taken from this level its score would have been amongst the highest!

Be careful where you send your kids as each Bundesland varies in quality (Hessen is amongst the worst).

There are international schools around that teach the International Bacheloriet, if you find that the kids do not fit into any of the above or are two far way from a Waldorf school, but you have to be prepared that a certain percentage of the child’s friends will leave each year!

-1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

A very good friend of mine had (one has left ) his two sons at the Waldorfschule in Hannover, now i know that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and mine is that these sort of "schools " aren't the right place to educate and teach children. They learn things in a different way, which isn't wrong or right, but they have different methods of teaching which i don't think are up to date.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Ours go to a european school which isn't the same as an international school, but I would expect suffers the same leaving ratio. Not everyone with children who comes to Germany stays the course.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

When our daughter changed schools we looked into the Waldorf School too.

We found out various info on the school system and even visited the local one.

If your child is creatively good then this is the right school to send them to. It turns out children who become artists, authors and other professions like this, if your child is above average then dont send them there!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Montessori schools probably fall into that category too.

Jean-Pierre

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Montessori schools probably fall into that category too.

Please elaborate what that is?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

There are hundreds of references to it on the internet, google it and you'll have a bit of information over-load! It's an education system devised by an Italian called Maria Motessori. The basic principle behind it is that children are inherently eager to learn and that they learn best when they have chosen what they want to learn. It is the duty of the "Erzieher" to prepare the environment for the child and to guide them when they require help, but essentially interfere as little as possible.

I reckon it is absolutely spot on for Kindergarten children, but I'm not quite so convinced about older children. Probably the same applies as for Waldorf Schools (which I know very little about) that they are more likely to produce artists, authors or layabouts!

Jean-Pierre

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

From the sound of it, it is what most kids do (admittedly after school)! I learned literature, history, politic, philosophy, after school, my brother chemistry, physic, and a number of other things!

I support the idea, but you have to do this as an out of school activity. After all what can you learn in a class of 30 + in one hour! At best you can skim the surface of a subject at worst you are reduced to the speed of the mean! I think most parent take too little active involvement in the education of their children, making the child too dependent on teachers, as the sole source of learning!

Television and computers are spoiling the creativity of children, as passive information only has a certain worth!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hi all,

waouw... I didn't expect so many answers :D

I have been doing some research already, and I start to get the impression that it's not really the best place to send a child... I have nothing against alternative ways to teach a child but learning without notes or books??? I mean, it's OK if they pass Waldorf but what if they want to go to the university??? They will never have opened a book... by book I mean courses. I also got into contact with a friend who knew someone from Waldorf and as I expected, he never passed university... OK, it's a single case but still, I think it's wrong shutting off so many chances for a child...

Another point I don't like are the many insinuations of Waldorf teachers preaching the Aryan race, and the anti-jew 'campaign'. I was actually astonished that this might still exist... I hope not :o

Baloe

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Yep! There are other things too. Whoever said the word "sect" about Waldorf was not far wrong... Very dubious.

If you are looking for a good school to teach kids to learn, then the Montosori system has a very good reputation. The system is based on the study principle, more akin to university than the regiment in "normal schools". You may find this is better if your child is above the cut (who'S isn't? ;) ) and one is local, and they have places.

In opposition to the opinion that the normal schools cater better for loud bright kids. The opposite is generally the case. The german state system copes very badly with above average intelligence. The syllabus is more aimed to prevent the slower kids from dropping behind, which can be boring for those quicker on the uptake with the associated problems which arise from that.

There are 4 types of school in the state system: Haupt, Real, Gesamt and Gymnasium.

The quality varies considerably. A good Gesamtschule (comprehensive) can be better than an average Gymnasium. Depending on the child, it may be better for them to go to a Realschule initially, if they are a late developer, they can migrate to an Abitur later. There is also the possibility of a "Fachabitur" which is similar to "A"-levels.

Whatever you do, don't push your child to a gymnasium at any cost, in the hope that it will pay out in the end. That is a gamble. Better choose a school that suits the childs abilities at the time.

My oldest is at a gymansium, it suits him, he can cope with it. The other is just as clever, but his mentality is different. He is happy as a pig in ... at Realschule.

Okay.. My experience with my German born kids in the German education system. Others will have other experiences.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Please Jean Pierre do not compare Montessori schools to Waldorf schools! Montessori is one of my Exam topics and it's not comparable to those crappy Waldorfschulen! I would never send my child to one of them! The kids will never be able to face the "real life"

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

If your child is not academically inclined and particularly if he/she has an artistic bent, then a Waldorfschule may be worth considering. However, it would help if you are able to leave the child an inheritance, because, unfortunately, for all the positive aspects one can make out for Waldorfschulen, they tend to produce children who as adults are so unwordly, that they have a problem coping with real life.

Many of the teachers belong to the "Anthroposophen" in fact the school philosophy is based on it. Amongst the more harmless aspects of this group is that they don't like straight lines, hard edges, clear definitions etc. much preferring flowing curves, and undefined contours. Their own view of their ideas you can find here In the later phase of the school, the education includes decidedly esoteric aspects - "Astralkörper" etc - which help to lead to this unwordly result.

A critical view of Rudolf Steiner (and his connection with the Waldorfschule) you can find here although I'm afraid it's in German.

Apart from the above comments, the Antroposophen, and therefore indirectly the Waldorfschule are regularly discussed in connection with occult and racism - how much truth there is in that, is difficult to discern, but there is no doubt that Rudolf Steiner was decidedly exotic.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

In opposition to the opinion that the normal schools cater better for loud bright kids. The opposite is generally the case. The German state system copes very badly with above average intelligence. The syllabus is more aimed to prevent the slower kids from dropping behind, which can be boring for those quicker on the uptake with the associated problems which arise from that.
I think this statement is very incorrect! It copes as best as any other nation if not better, for the brighter kids. There is no system that copes best for genius children, for the simple reason that put amongst "normal" children they are slowed down, it cannot be helped. Who nowadays has the funds to pay for private tutors for their children (it just does not happen)?

There are 4 types of school in the state system: Haupt, Real, Gesamt and Gymnasium.

The quality varies considerably. A good Gesamtschule (comprehensive) can be better than an average Gymnasium. Depending on the child, it may be better for them to go to a Realschule initially, if they are a late developer, they can migrate to an Abitur later. There is also the possibility of a "Fachabitur" which is similar to "A"-levels.

If your child wishes or may wish to stay and live in Germany, and he can hack the pace in Gymnasium, then this is the way to go! Gymnasiums take up about 50% of all the students in Germany (mostly the brightest, but with 50% intake there is a lot of dead wood that comes in). The problem is that nearly all white-collar workers require an Abitur diploma; banks and insurances demand this of even their normal clerks (let alone anything higher). You can get one after going through Realschule, but the effort involved is so much higher and the time it takes is longer, it also makes going to university so much more difficult!

At all cost forget Haupt schüle, this really is for people who can hardly spell their own names, or sign with an X. It maybe harsh to say, but they are usually for unskilled manual labour!

Gesamt Schüle, is a tricky one, it is more like the English comprehensive schools. The student of a class share a few common classes, but the rest, maths, German, etc are divided by ability! Some schools are ok others are poor, usually they do fall below the levels of most Gymnasiums. (I have not herd of any Gesamt schule that does better than a Gymnasium)

With Real schule you can go on to other things from there (though true academics roads are very difficult). If my child ended up in one, but wished to pursue an academic carrier, I would probably send him/her to the UK, and save the child a number of years!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

My wife spent her whole school years in Waldorfschule and is very, very pro.

In summary they are more arty, more social, more religous in the non-denominational sense, nicer teachers if you like the alternativy hippy thing, less pressured (no marks!), probably better for English as they have to do a whole play in English (we are talking Arthur Miller here!) more contact with the earth, compulsory gardening, . Thec schools are normally much nicer too.

You do have to pay though.

My wife is also a teacher in the state system, hoping to change to Walldorf.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I am a trained Montessori teacher and I agree with bridgetjones that Montessori and Waldorf are not really comparable, other than they encourage the child to explore and learn for themselves and take care of their environment. I can certainly get you some info if you are interested in the methods - any UK childcare course will cover it.

My area of expertise is obviously Montessori but I do know a little about Waldorf. I know from teaching in different Montessori schools that the environment can vary between different schools. Perhaps your friends should visit the school and discuss the methods used and maybe the children could experience a day at the school to see for themselves.

There is a trend in Europe for the non-traditional educational methods to continue after primary years. Although I work with younger children, the school I currently work at takes children up to Grade 4, and it has been interesting to see the Montessori method in practice after age 7. I know that we do cover the UK National Curriculum, and whatever the German equivalent is.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

All three daughters of a friend of mine went/are going to the waldorf-school.

As far as I can tell, this system had some nice ideas but in these "modern" times it's just antiquated..

Until you don't see the future of your child as some unrecognized artist, you should send it to a different school.

Here are some facts:

Negative:

-The kids start reading/writing in the 2nd half of the 2nd year at school.

-The first foreign language they have to learn is...russian.

-Secondary languages are available after finishing the 6th grade.

-No marks are given, just some notes.

Positive:

+Less violence, compared to "normal" schools.

Generally spoken, the waldorf-kids are a few years behind in almost every schoolsubject. To me it looks a little bit like the cheap copy of some woodstock-fans, sorry if i may sound polemic.

Thats at least my experience and I do know that family and the waldorf-school for more the 15 years...

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I reckon it is absolutely spot on for Kindergarten children, but I'm not quite so convinced about older children. Probably the same applies as for Waldorf Schools (which I know very little about) that they are more likely to produce artists, authors or layabouts!

Personally I'm very impressed with my daughter's primary school. Normal state run jobby.

As for Montessori schools I've heard they work well for certain learning types. But, on the whole, I think kids need more structure and guidance.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Firstly, let me apologise for mentioning Montessori in the same breath as Waldorf! I did say that I didn't know much about Waldorf, I was just going on what had already been said. But since we have a couple of Montessori experts here, I'd liketo pose a question, if I may. I listened to a lecture from a Montessori "Erzieher" in a Kindergarten where she talked about praising a child. She said that if the child does something and does it well you shouldn't praise them. They should learn to rely on the inner satisfacton they get from achieving a task which they've set themselves rather than learning to expect some kind of "external" reward, like praise or a Gummibär. I can see the sense in this to an extent, but does that mean that you shouldn't praise them at all? She said it was okay to tell them how it makes you feel. For example "That drawing you've done makes me feel very proud of you", but not "Well done, what a fabulous drawing!". Can a four-year-old really tell the difference?

She insisted that good behaviour shouldn't be praised, because it changes the motivation the kid has to behave well. What about crossing the road then? If your little boy usually doesn't look when crossing the road, and you always have to tell him off. Then one day he remembers to look. Do you just ignore it? Do you say "Well done!". Surely anything positive you might say is going to change his motivation for looking when he crosses the road, but is that really important? Who cares what motivates him if it might save his life?

Jean-Pierre

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

If that's true about Montessori, all I can say is, "What a lot of crap!"

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

A thoughtful, considered and truly enlightening comment. That makes me feel very proud.

Jean-Pierre

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

The Montessori method does not condone praise and punishment in such black and white terms. The objective is to encourage the child to be independent and make their own decisions, based on knowing the consequences of one's actions. If your child was crossing the road and kept forgetting to look, you wouldn't tell them off, you would say "it is important to look before you cross the road" and you would explain why. And then when they did remember to look, because it is the behaviour that they should be exhibiting, there is no need to comment. I personally believe that a "good job!" causes no harm, but you asked about the Montessori purists.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Why bother explaining when a clip round the ear would suffice? And then, when next time he bothers to look, take him down the sweetshop for the entire afternoon.

Given a choice between sherbert lemons and a painful ear, I know which one I'd take.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Bad boy,

Was it clip round the ear that made you the thoughtful and considerate person you obviously are ?

:lol: (Can't find an emoticon that represents sarcasm)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now