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Is Waldorf Education Really Occult Education?

Waldorf education
I was looking for something different. I found traditional academic education horribly lacking in fantasy, imagination, and storytelling. So I was excited to hear that a new alternative school had just opened in my area that taught in innovative ways and instilled a great reverence for the forces of nature.

I visited the school admissions office and was delighted to see that all classroom supplies are made of natural materials such as wood, silk, wool and cotton with rich, natural colors that stimulated my senses. Following my gut feeling I eagerly enrolled my children into Seven Rays Waldorf School.

When I arrived back home I looked up the school on the internet and found some disturbing information. I read that the curriculum is riddled with alchemy, magic, astrology and all the bizarre and weird ideas of the occult. It made me wonder if Waldorf Education is really Occult Education!




Nature table
My fears of occult practice in the school quickly vanished when I visited my children's Waldorf classroom.

An important part of the classroom is the festive Nature Table where I listened to the children joyfully recite their daily incantations about spirits and rhythms in nature.





Handwork
There were many adorable knitting, crocheting, and hand sewing projects on display. Handwork develops hand-eye coordination, counting skills and creativity.




Puppetry
My children participated in a puppet show. The puppets draw the children into the story and enliven it with colorful fun characters.




Story book list

The school librarian did a wonderful job in supplying us with an appropriate Waldorf fairy tale book list. Every evening the children look forward to their uncle's story time.




Lesson book
Students create their own lesson books – valuable learning tools that record progress through the grades. The books include their own verse compositions with ancient symbols that the student illustrates.


Class play

At the end of the year the class presented a dramatic stage performance. I was so proud that my children had leading roles. These presentations complement the subject matter of the grades.


Definitely not occult education

I don't know who is spreading the misinformation online that Waldorf Education has anything occult in its program. This is absurd!

I am so pleased with how Waldorf education is cultivating a great reverence for nature in my children. They are learning how to live within the rhythms and cycles of nature so they can conjure up the powers of the fairies, gnomes, and elves to bound life's trolls.

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Next stop after Waldorf graduation –the military
“We were born in war and we will probably die in war” – words which have not left me since I heard them in November 2014 from a Waldorf pupil in the Harduf kibbutz in Israel.

The conversation took place on occasion of a meeting of the international forum for Steiner/Waldorf education, the “Hague Circle” with class 11 pupils from the oldest of the 18 Israeli Waldorf schools. As all Israeli pupils, they knew that they would soon be called for military service which directly follows school. --Henning Kullak-Ublick

After graduation the aspiring Waldorf students will be forced to join the Israeli military and carry out the governments policy of “collective punishment” upon Palestinian women and children. In the 2014 Israeli military bombing of the Gaze Strip twenty-two schools were completely destroyed and 118 schools damaged.This Israeli policy of revenge is condemned by the United Nations as a serious war crime. 

Suppose they gave a war and nobody came 
In Israel, about 50% of Israeli males have found ways to avoid military service. In Charlie Chaplins “Greatest Speech Ever Made” he encourages men to avoid the military. 

“Soldiers – don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you – who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel.”

“Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate – only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers – don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty.” Charlie Chaplin speech, The Great Dictator (1940)


Refuseniks unwilling to serve in the occupation army 

“If necessary, I will go to jail.” These are the words of 17-year-old refusenik Dafna Landman, one of over 60 Israeli high school 12th graders who signed an open letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring their refusal of compulsory service in the Israeli military as an act of protest against Israel’s 47-year old military occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

Moral courage
The student's letter spoke in the voice of Ethical Individualism by declaring, “We refuse to forsake our principles as a condition to being accepted in our society.”

The meaning of Ethical Individualism is not only to have ideals, but to act on ideals. POF 9.7 This means having the moral courage to speak out and break the code of silence demanded by a social collective.

An Ethical Individualist takes a stand on social and political issues
How a person views social issues says so much about who they are as a person. An Ethical Individualist is thoughtful enough, and confident enough, to take a stand on social and political issues according to what one considers to be right. POF 12.11 The essence of what it means to be human and not "machine men" is individual freedom, not social conformity. This knowledge informs our views concerning human well-being and what we should stand up for.

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Amish schools embrace education technology

It’s pretty common knowledge that the farm folk known as the Amish actively shun the modern world. Although they still use horse-drawn buggies for transportation and use gas lanterns to light their homes the Amish will adapt to a changing world when necessary. They now use the Internet to sell their products with great success and in the last few years the Amish schools have embraced computer technology.

While Amish families continue to live a traditional lifestyle without modern devices, Amish parents want their children to have computer skills to prepare for jobs and future careers. Teacher Sarah Meenan said. “Amish kids really want to learn, they catch on quick because they want to be up to speed with everybody else.”

Waldorf schools shun education technology
But not everyone thinks laptops belong in the classroom. While everyone else is findings ways to use technology to serve their purposes Waldorf Schools deliberately shun it. Educators at the Waldorf School in Seattle take a lot of pride in showing off just how handy, athletic and artistic their students are. The students Waldorf experience was 12 years of education almost entirely free of television, video games, computers and smartphones.

While other schools brag about their wired classrooms, Waldorf schools have yesterdays Amish look, — chalk blackboards, bookshelves with encyclopedias, wooden desks filled with workbooks and No. 2 pencils. Waldorf Amish education subscribes to a teaching philosophy focused on physical activity and learning through creative, hands-on tasks.

Computers aren't television
What began earlier as a justifiable Waldorf attack on the passive non-creative activity of television watching was transferred to computers. Computers are much different. They give immediate access to the worlds knowledge and new programs are being released daily to encourage creative and attentive activity. It is possible to collaborate with other people and schools on a global scale.

Is it the teachers?
The anti-technology attitude varies from school to school. Former student Pippi Groving said, “I went to a Waldorf School where the teachers were old wrinkled hippies very much against anything new. I had to write everything by hand even to the last day in 12th grade. My friends from Waldorf Schools in the other big cities in Denmark were encouraged to use computers.”

Is it the leaders of Anthroposophy?
Waldorf schools are based on the teachings of Anthroposophy. Renowned anthroposophist Sergei Prokofieff wrote a remarkable article entitled “The Being of the Internet,” in which he argued that digital media is a carrier of such darkness that it is unredeemable.

Is it Rudolf Steiner?
Rudolf Steiner followed and was educated in the most current advances in science of his day. He did not fear technology. He encouraged the type of clear thought training required in the technology field received by computer scientists, engineers, researchers, and mathematicians that discipline the mind. Education technology is a tool and introduction to the thought training that is a prerequisite to attain human freedom described in his Philosophy Of Freedom.

Waldorf answer
Waldorf considers the appropriate time for computer use in the classroom and by students is in high school. They believe the students interact with one another and with teachers better without education technology. Students can develop their knowledge, skills, abilities, and inner qualities better without it.

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