“important today”: Waldorf ideology: “creative alternative” or “dangerous parallel world”?

Podcast “important today”
Waldorf ideology: “creative alternative” or “dangerous parallel world”?

today important Waldorf school

Presentation of a Waldorf school at an education fair in Berlin

© Adam Berry / Getty Images

“Waldorf schools are a kind of black box,” says education reporter Bent Freiwald in the 375th episode of “Today Important”. For months he researched this very special educational system.

Waldorf schools are very controversial in Germany, not least since the pandemic has repeatedly linked them to the clientele of opponents of vaccination and deniers of the corona virus.

“You don’t dance your way into high school there”

For “Krautreporter” Bent Freiwald, the reason for the polarization clearly lies in the anthroposophical world view behind the Waldorf schools. “You don’t dance your way into the Abitur there. You take normal Abitur exams here,” says the reporter, and yet the anthroposophical principle according to founder Rudolf Steiner initially sounds like “paradise on earth” to many: gardening, handicrafts, painting and playing instead the usual pressure to perform. “You can’t just sit there, there are no grades either, which many see as a huge advantage,” says Bent Freiwald.

Waldorf school as a black box: Anthroposophy researched by anthroposophists

If you look at the satisfaction among students, many surveys result in above-average values, only: “There are also studies that show that an above-average number of students leave Waldorf schools.” According to Bent Freiwald, it is not that easy to get reliable evaluations, because: “Anthroposophy is primarily researched by anthroposophists, i.e. people who are very well disposed to the principle.”

Whether the teachers follow the spiritual, esoteric principle and what they teach is usually not known before the child attends school. But the fact is that 33.9 percent of Waldorf teachers say that they are committed practicing anthroposophists. And in the end, the teacher decides on the content, independently, in case of doubt without a state teaching degree and over the entire period of school training.

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