When I was at the Waldorf School I didn't see it as a cult,
in fact, I remember thinking the idea ridiculous when I heard that this was being said by some people. It was only after leaving,
when I joined the Waldorf Survivors online support group and read articles on the Internet that I began see that the
behaviour of Waldorf people was what many people would call cultish.
When we joined the school we knew nothing of Anthroposophy
and had never heard of Rudolph Steiner. We were attracted by what appeared to be an alternative style, arts based, child centred
Once in, however, we gradually became indoctrinated. I admit
that I in particular, was very vulnerable. I was very disillusioned by conventional education because of my own experiences.
Waldorf people think they have the answer to everything and I believed them. They encourage you to believe that conventional
education is very damaging to children. I even remember one Kindergarten meeting where it was said that early academic
education could cause school phobia in later years. Looking back I find this very ironic as both of my younger two children
developed school phobia and my eldest has other social type phobias, yet all were Waldorf educated in the early years.
You are expected to devote a great deal of time to helping
and supporting the school. I do not see this as unreasonable in itself as it helps to keep the fees down, but this together
with the unconventional lifestyle you are expected to follow, has the effect of isolating you from people outside of
In the early years we made a great effort to see that our
children mixed with children who did not go to the school, but as they grew older it became difficult. Waldorf children are
not supposed to watch television, use computers, or listen to recorded music. Children from other schools regard this
as very odd.
Anthroposophists have their own type of alternative medicine.
We were already very much into alterative medicine, but some of their ideas, in retrospect, seem way over the top. I
remember at one parents evening we were discussing vaccination. Anthroposophists don't believe in vaccination and were explaining
why they felt it to be damaging. Some of the new parents were becoming concerned as they had had their children vaccinated.
It was then said that they were not to worry because any damage would be healed because they were in a Waldorf School. Looking
back, I can't believe I accepted this.
The thing is, once you accept these ideas, the thought of
your children going to any other school fills you with fear. This is why we got into debt to keep our children there, and
this is why it was so traumatic for us when our daughter was asked to leave. I felt as though she was being thrown out of
paradise. Many people reading this may think I am some kind of nut to say this, but, believe me, most of the people there
felt this way.
Teachers at Waldorf Schools are usually Anthroposophists.
It is claimed that this is not taught to the children, and it is not taught directly. However, everything they teach is influenced
by their beliefs.
It is difficult to say how you define a cult but I will say this. When you join a Waldorf School
they are not open with you about their true purpose. They will tell you as much as they think you will accept. Then gradually
they indoctrinate you with their ideas.
I think the word indoctrinate is justified because they put great pressure
on you to conform. Free thinking is just not allowed. Most importantly is their attitude towards television, computers, pop
music etc. All of these are forbidden to the children. If you allow your children to watch television you are made to feel
guilty. If you allow them to play with plastic toys, you are made to feel guilty.
I feel this is different from expressing
opinions. I often disagree with friends, but I do not try to make them feel guilty. Nor do I insist I am right. This sort
of non judgemental attidude is simply not tolerated at a Waldorf School. They ARE right. The is no other alternative. It goes
on and on until you either agree or appear to do so.