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Criticism of Waldorf Education

As with all things that are unfamiliar, there are some areas of controversy surrounding Waldorf education. Rather than espouse a certain P.O.V., OpenWaldorf will describe these areas as respectfully as possible.

Criticism that Waldorf is Secretive and Deceptive

If you search the discussion lists at, you will discover posts by individuals claiming that Waldorf is deceptive in how it presents Waldorf education. Typically they argue for "full-disclosure."

Waldorf may be selective about how they present Waldorf education, but there is no conspiracy to deceive parents about what Waldorf "is really doing." There is NOTHING about Waldorf education that a parent should know that is not freely available on the web. It is a parent's responsibility to critically question anything that is as important in your child's educational development. Take responsibility for your own ignorance about Waldorf; it's not their fault.

In short, Waldorf's "secrets" aren't really secret at all, and you can find them all over the web from's Researching Waldorf page. No cloak-and-dagger here, I'm sorry to say.

Criticism That Waldorf is a Religious Education

This is a wildly complex subject, and I am neither informed nor interested enough in this particular topic to give it the justice it deserves. I bring it up mainly because as far as I know, this topic is the only major subject of an ongoing court battle between Waldorf and an organization called PLANS, who are opposed to public funding for Waldorf schools. While it probably wouldn't affect your day-to-day Waldorf experience, you may come across it as you investigate Waldorf.

If you have questions about the religious nature of Waldorf, you should look at Anthroposophy, the "Spiritual Science" upon which Waldorf is based, and think for yourself. During the teacher training, prospective Waldorf teachers study a great deal of Anthroposophy in many of Rudolf Steiner's core works on the subject.

Waldorf's Response to PLANS

Spirit Working

Waldorf has responded to these criticisms in various ways, with varying degrees of success. There are some interesting PR efforts for Anthropsophy through

This page was withdrawn from public viewing. It is now password protected.

The BEE, home page of Sune Nordwall

The BEE, home page of Sune Nordwall, has Comments on PLANS.

Criticism of OpenWaldorf has published this piece criticising OpenWaldorf:

That Mr. Holland, publisher of the self-described "Waldorf Education Super-Site!", evidently did not know that Rudolf Steiner died in 1925, nor that the Nazis only rose to power in 1933, when he was interviewed for the article, is one indication of Mr. Holland's unreliability as a source of even basic facts related to Waldorf education. The article also reveals that he is not a markedly reliable source on anthroposophy as the philosophical basis of Waldorf education, either.

Learn more about Rudolf Steiner and his theory of reincarnation in child development.

...Steiner's "theory of reincarnation" states that our reincarnations during the cultural development of humanity, since the last glacial age, will "end" with something quite else. This "end" in his view will be a culture thousands of years in the future, developing as what he called a global "American cultural epoch".

...In Steiner's view, the original postdiluvian "Aryan" (meaning "noble") high culture, under the leadership of Noah, was later followed by a mythical Persian culture, also occurring far in the past. Like the preceding mythical original Indian culture, the original Persian culture developed, in Steiner's view, before the more well-documented cultures of historical time, starting out later as river cultures in China, India and the fertile crescent of the Middle East from around 3,000 B.C.

Talk about it! What do YOU think about OpenWaldorf? Voice your opinion!

Criticism of Racism

I would like to begin this section by stating that I have never, ever, personally witnessed any racism or discrimination in my experience with Waldorf, however, there appears to be some debate over Rudolf Steiner's view of the races.

For a response to the author visit:


A vocal minority of critics have pointed to my description of a performance of The Congo at my daughter's school as evidence of racism in Waldorf. Personally, I disagree with this analysis. There's been much literary attention to the question as to whether or not this is a racist poem.

When I heard this poem recited, I was certainly surprised at its selection, especially considering the accusations of racism against Waldorf. "What if there had black families in the room?" I thought to myself. It would not be dissimilar to performing the Merchant of Venice for a room that included Jewish families. Yet, typically this play is not denied it's literary merit despite its stereotype of a greedy Jewish merchant.

While I certainly believe that this was incautious and insensitive considering some of the concerns about racism at Waldorf, I never considered this a racist act. Would I have made a similar selection? Never. Did I appreciate this act? No. Do I think it was malicious? No. Clueless. Yes.

You might have a different opinion. I encourage new and prospective Waldorf parents to read the poem, to consider the accusations of racism against Waldorf, and to imagine yourself in the same scenario. Think for yourself and decide if this is the kind of experience you would appreciate for your children and family. is updated frequently. Sign up for FREE email updates!

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