Keeping the faith

Steiner's mirror

Are Steiner schools religious? It’s rare to find a straightforward answer to this question and it is one the movement itself struggles with. Usually the question is answered along the lines of not adhering to any particular faith or denomination but instead cultivating a more vague form of spirituality. The word “reverence” pops up a lot in relation to a child’s appreciation of nature but, especially in the earlier years, they are also meant to revere their teachers. I can’t help feeling that there are slightly sinister undertones to that.

The Steiner educator Eugene Schwartz was unequivocal on the place of religion:

“I’m glad my daughter gets to speak about God every morning: that’s why I send her to a Waldorf school… I send my daughter to a Waldorf school so that she can have a religious experience. So that she learns something about reverence. So that she learns something…

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