After our visit to the Waldorf School summer fair, I went to an
information evening about the school. The meeting mainly concentrated on Kindergarten, as all of the children of parents there
were of that age. We were told about the structure of the Kindergaten day, and what activities the children did. We were also
told that academic education does not start until the age of six. Actually in many cases it does not start until the age of
seven, but I have no recollection of being told that.
I had some reservations about the late start to reading. I had
been reading a book by Glen Doman, who advoctes the exact opposite. He believes in a very early start. I spoke to one
of the teachers about my feelings. She explained the reasons behind the Steiner belief that early reading is not good for
children, but I still had reservations. In the end she said that if I felt that strongly, but otherwise liked the school,
I could always teach him myself at home.
Looking back, I find it rather odd that this teacher wanted to take us into
the school since we obvously did not agree with one of its basic principles, that of starting academic education at a late
age. Perhaps she felt that once in, she could convert us to their beliefs and to some extent this did happen.
I have also wondered if, in this very new school, almost any child would have
been taken to get the school going. That this was why we were told so little and also why at this stage the ability to pay fees
was considered unimportant. Later when the school was well established, to a large extent by the commitment of these early
families, many richer families were attracted to the school and those early people who were still there and who hadn't the
money to pay the higher fees were simply discarded. If this is true, I feel my children have been used in the most heartless
way and then left unable to cope with state education after being promised a total commitment by the school.
After thinking things over, we decided to send Thomas to the Kindergarten
there. It looked like a beautiful place for a little child to start his education, and the teachers seemed very caring. He
was only three, so we still had two years to make the final decision as to whether to keep him there permanently or move him
into state school when he was five.