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What's Waldorf?


HERE'S THE ANSWER

to the Question:



What's Waldorf?

Trying to fully comprehend Waldorf schools and their foundation, the religion called Anthroposophy, requires a great deal of work.

Most people quite sensibly would prefer a brief, direct answer to a straightforward question:

What are Waldorf schools all about?

Here's a stab at such an answer, given mainly in the words of the man who invented Waldorf education: Rudolf Steiner.

All of the quotations in the first section of the page below are statements made by Steiner himself.

Further down the page, and elsewhere, I quote present-day Waldorf representatives;

you will see that Steiner's views still generally prevail — indeed, they are generally revered —
in the Waldorf movement today.

Waldorf education has changed very little over time.


(Concerning the arrogant-seeming title of this page: I'm not claiming that I uniquely have the answer —
I'm saying that Steiner gave us the answer, in bits and pieces, one statement here, another statement there...
Piecing these statements together is eye-opening.)



Waldorf or Steiner schools operate in accordance with the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, who founded the first Waldorf school in 1919. Steiner was an occultist who claimed to have precise knowledge of the spirit realm thanks to his "exact clairvoyance." He laid out his spiritual "discoveries" in such books as OCCULT SCIENCE - AN OUTLINE. He called his body of teachings "Anthroposophy," a word (pronounced an-throw-POS-o-fee) meaning knowledge or wisdom of the human being. Steiner claimed that Anthroposophy is a science, although in fact it is a religion involving prayers, meditations, gurus, reverential practices, and spiritual observances. Waldorf school faculties usually acknowledge that their educational approach arises from Anthroposophy, but they usually deny that they teach Anthroposophical doctrines to their students. In a restricted sense, this may be true in many cases. But in a larger sense, it is false, and we have Steiner’s word for it. Addressing Waldorf teachers, Steiner said:

“You need to make the children aware that they are receiving the objective truth, and if this occasionally appears anthroposophical, it is not anthroposophy that is at fault. Things are that way [in the Waldorf School] because anthroposophy has something to say about objective truth. It is the material that causes what is said to be anthroposophical. We certainly may not go to the other extreme, where people say that anthroposophy may not be brought into the school. Anthroposophy will be in the school when it is objectively justified, that is, when it is called for by the material itself.” [1]


Since Anthroposophists believe that their doctrines are the Truth underlying all other knowledge, they think that the presence of Anthroposophy will be “justified” at virtually every point in every subject studied. They may be circumspect about it, bringing their beliefs into the classroom subtly, covertly — but they bring them.
Not all Waldorf teachers are deeply committed, uncompromising Anthroposophists, but Steiner said that they all
should be:
As teachers in the Waldorf School, you will need to find your way more deeply into the insight of the spirit and to find a way of putting all compromises aside ... As Waldorf teachers, we must be true anthroposophists in the deepest sense of the word in our innermost feeling. [2]

Indeed, one of the most important facts about Waldorf schools is that they are meant to spread Anthroposophy: “One of the most important facts about the background of the Waldorf School is that we were in a position to make the anthroposophical movement a relatively large one. The anthroposophical movement has become a large one.” [3]

Waldorf education is meant to usher students toward true spiritual life, which is inherently Anthroposophical: “As far as our school is concerned, the actual spiritual life can be present only because its staff consists of anthroposophists.” [4]

Waldorf teachers serve as priests in a religion that recognizes many spiritual powers or gods (plural: Anthroposophy is polytheistic). The goal of Waldorf schooling is not so much to educate children as to save humanity by leading it to Anthroposophy. Waldorf teachers consider themselves to be on a holy mission:
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Jag som har denna blogg har själv erfarenhet av Rudolf Steiners lära. Se mitt vittnesbörd.