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Parent Classroom Participation

As part of Waldorf Teacher Training, Waldorf teachers read The Study of Man. This book is a collection of lectures Rudolf Steiner gave to the original teachers of the first Waldorf school at the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart in 1919. To this day, every Waldorf teacher reads these lectures as part of Waldorf Teacher Training.

As part of the "kick-off" of this series, Steiner says:

You will have to take over children for their education and instruction — children who will have received already (as you must remember) the education, or mis-education given them by their parents. Indeed our intentions will only be fully accomplished when we, as humanity, will have reached the stage where parents, too, will understand that special tasks are set for mankind to-day, even for the first years of the child's education. But when we receive the children into the school we shall still be able to make up for many things which have been done wrongly, or left undone, in the first years of the child's life. For this we must fill ourselves with the consciousness through which alone we can truly teach and educate.

Rudolf Steiner, The Study of Man, Lecture 1

(An means that teachers read this in Waldorf Teacher Training.)

While at first this quote may seem disconcerting to the new or prospective Waldorf parent, keep in mind that it is taken out of context from the original circumstances. This quote is often used by Waldorf critics to create concern in parents about what is really happening in the classroom at Waldorf schools. Before you take this quote to seriously, you owe it to Steiner to read The Study of Man, and read the quote in it's complete context.


Positive Steiner Quote

Opportunities for Parent Participation at Waldorf

Based on the quote above, one might think that parents would have limited involvement at Waldorf schools, but nothing could be further from the case. On the contrary, there are many ways that parents are welcome to participate in their child's education at Waldorf. Some of these opportunities include:

This is a summary of that discussion with I posted.

1. This is a summary of the DISCUSSION. It is NOT a fully informed description. It by no means represents the policy of Waldorf with regards to parent participation during main lesson.

2. This summary was VERY controversial. Some people agreed with this summary, some people didn't. Other people had alternative opinions that were insightful and meaningful.

3. This varies widely among individual schools.

Parent Participation In "Main Lesson"

One could argue that "main lesson" is the most important part of the day at Waldorf.

Describe main lesson........

Typically, parents are discouraged from participating in main lesson at Waldorf schools. This attitude might vary depending on the individual school or teacher. However, it is more likely a school policy established by the college of teachers, to maintain parity across the school. There have been rare cases of dissatisfaction with this exclusion, but most Waldorf parents don't want to participate in main lesson, and are glad that other parents don't help, either.

Why exclude parents from their child's classroom?

There are many good reasons why parents are discouraged from involvement in core academics at Waldorf:

Finally, there are other ways for Waldorf parents to stay involved in their child's academic progress.These include:

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