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Steiner school (Orana) in Canberra

By Pandy - 5 March 2010 38

My niece is thinking of sending her kids to the school as apparently the kids seem to become free thinkers. Anyone here have good/bad things to say about it?

From what I have read, it is a cult of witchcraft, Christianity, enviromentalism, Aryianism, with sprinkling of Scientology. That got me a bit scarred that my niece is becoming one of them.

[Ed] Maybe you should do some more reading then [insert derogatory term in response to your generalisations], start with typing Orana into the RiotACT search box or check out therir website Orana School, their parent ideology or even what the much maligned My Schools website has to say.

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38 Responses to
Steiner school (Orana) in Canberra
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HenryBG 10:29 am 09 Mar 17

The Canberra Times does a big write-up on Orana school again and demonstrates journalism failure by neglecting to highlight Orana’s curiously unique participation levels in the NAPLAN testing.

If you look at the particpation rates:

In Year3, 85% of students were not tested. The national average for non-participation is 3%.
This is absolutely clear evidence that Orana is gaming its NAPLAN results and it should be given a “Did not participate” instead of being allowed to pretend it achieved decent NAPLAN results.

tiffwat 2:24 pm 12 Mar 10

I have no personal experience with Steiner Schoools, but have read comments by a gifted student that this was not a helpful system for her though she believes it may be helpful for bringing the average students up to a higher level. A friend of my son’s was taken out of the state school system and put into Steiner (because his mum had been through the Steiner system and loves it). He hated it as the work was not at all challenging compared to what he’d already done. He lasted a couple of traumatic years- before they gave up and let him go back to the state system where he has settled quite happily again.

I guess my biggest concerns around Steiner based education is that:

1: It is based on the educational philosophy of one man who died in 1925- our society has moved on since then and I’m not sure if the Steiner schools are equipping the children to meet the expectations of mainstream life- eg working to deadlines and writing within strict parameters.
2: It appears that bright children are deliberately held back academically in order to meet the needs of the philosophy- if a child teaches themselves to read at age 4 or 5 they still have to wait until they are 7 to be ‘allowed to do so’- can you imagine how frustrating that must be.

Pandy 9:34 am 11 Mar 10

“Epiphany Planet”

Phany for short eh? 🙂

imhotep 9:06 am 11 Mar 10

CraigT said :

…most teachers in the ACT can attest to having an experience of. No intelligent person …..

Craig, since you were being an apostrophe Nazi above, allow me to point out that you shouldn’t end a sentence in a preposition.(‘It isn’t difficult. All of 2 minutes study…’)

As to Steiner schools, my children attended one for a year (interstate). In my experience, they are great for self motivated, creative kids. Children with other personality traits can easily fall behind.

Steiner teachers are generally very motivated and caring, while the parents can certainly be a mixed lot. A girl in one of my daughter’s classes was named Epiphany Planet.

CraigT 7:30 am 11 Mar 10

Actually Kuku, what I guess I’m saying is that teachers have a duty to help their students in the face of what is often an acutely deprived intellectual home environment, be it parents who have never bought a book in their lives, or parents who cram their house full of books about crystal healing and other nonsense.

And earthrepair – the “point of comparison” comes precisely when the parents realise the damage that Orana is doing and move their children to a proper school – the teacher is then lumbered with a child who is academically behind and socially untrained, as most teachers in the ACT can attest to having an experience of. No intelligent person would consider Orana school fees to be money well-spent.

earthrepair 1:37 pm 10 Mar 10

Craig it’s pointless to continue this discussion. People can choose where they wish to send their kids. They obviously like the school and would find your comments about academia irrelevant as you don’t have a point of comparison. You simply sound like an exponent of the politics of envy with your comments about fees. Most intelligent people would consider it money well spent.

Kuku 8:33 am 10 Mar 10

Actually Craig, what you are saying that the children are intellectually inferior. And I still hope that you are not a teacher with that type of attitude.

CraigT 11:28 pm 09 Mar 10

earthrepair – One area that could be improved is in the use of apostrophes. It isn’t difficult – all of 2 minutes study can teach you how to use them correctly. However the most telling thing in your post is this: “their results are certainly not academically any worse than the state system”. We’re talking a school which charges horrendous fees here, which means a self-selecting minority of very well-paid people are using this system. And yet you can’t boast of obtaining any academic advantages over the state system? What on earth are the Orana teachers up to?

Kuku – I fail to see how an attitude of scepticism towards nonsense beliefs which quite demonstrably harm a child’s ability to develop intellectually could be incompatible with being a teacher.

earthrepair 4:37 pm 09 Mar 10

Orana as a Steiner School is based on furthering the spiritual, creative and artistic in a pragmatic environment. Any esoteric teachings of Steiner (like reincarnation) are like any visionary open to many interpretations and are not part of the curriculum. In fact by introducing children to spirituality from different cultures it fosters greater understanding and tolerance. This is a comparative approach to religion (specific religious indoctrination if desired by parents is left to parents) that even Dawkins might admire. Rather than take the above web sites at face value (I found them to be inaccurate propaganda and not my experience at all) attend an Open Day, you might be pleasantly surprised. Worldwide their results are certainly not academically any worse than the state system. In terms of care and attention to pupils holistic needs Orana appears to excel. Of course like any system of education it has it’s faults and areas where it can improve. I am sure it is evolving towards that.

Kuku 10:56 am 09 Mar 10

CraigT said :

The huge rate of non-vaccination should tell you all you need to know about the intellectual atmosphere pervading Orana.

And just about every teacher in Canberra can tell you a story about getting ex-Orana students in their class and trying to repair the damage caused by the lack of actual teaching that goes on there.

Believe what you want to believe Craig. I hope you’re not a teacher with an attitude like that.

Pandy 9:07 am 09 Mar 10

@ earthrepair

Oh thanks for that too. Did a little research and found that Steiner was definitely anti-vaccinations. The schools these days and in the main have taken a for-and-against public education stance to the issue.

CraigT 7:49 am 09 Mar 10

The huge rate of non-vaccination should tell you all you need to know about the intellectual atmosphere pervading Orana.

And just about every teacher in Canberra can tell you a story about getting ex-Orana students in their class and trying to repair the damage caused by the lack of actual teaching that goes on there.

earthrepair 6:42 am 09 Mar 10

Obviously I am referring to teachers/admin/school board as as parents we wouldn’t have a public policy on anything as such..

Pandy 11:57 pm 08 Mar 10

Well of course I do not come here as a convert but someone concerned and skeptical, especially when the Wiki article, has references like the following:

• Steiner attempted to find a synthesis between science and mysticism; Che?

• Germanic culture as representing the high-point of human evolution as of the early 20th century

• Steiner promoted full assimilation of the Jewish people into the nations in which they lived

Never read the ABC transcript. Plenty of other articles that says Steiner teachings are a form of cult worship.

Wiki is editable by all, including Steiner followers. Are you saying they have not bothered to correct a great misconception?

I scoff at anyone who believes in fermenting a couple of grams of stuff, burying it in a field in a cow horn thus protecting and nourishing hectares of crops.

If the school has a high academic record, all well and good and that is what I would like to hear from and see from readers. If it is a cult that converts others to its cause, then I am concerned. My concerns are based upon reading (for example):

Tibbs 8:40 pm 08 Mar 10

Wow, what an open mind!
I looked up Steiner on wiki. There’s nothing disturbing on there. If you google ‘steiner’ and ‘cult’ the second entry is from ABC’s Compass – which is almost entirely positive. From the whole transcript you selectively chose the one slightly odd sounding bit and took it out of context.
How’s this for cherry-picking to describe your stance: from Wiki – “massive defamatory press attacks against Steiner were undertaken by early National Socialist leaders (including Adolf Hitler) and other right-wing nationalists.”
For the record, I have no connection to Steiner schools. I just get annoyed by ignorance.

georgesgenitals 8:31 pm 08 Mar 10

New information just in: Orana is actually a bogan school in disguise. Put a ‘T’ in front of the school’s name and you’ll see why.

Kuku 7:20 pm 08 Mar 10

Pandy said :

As the OP I looked at Steiner on wikipedia; Googled “Steiner” and “cult”; Looked at Steiner and Anthroposophy and thought it looked all like a dark art to me. And who believes biodynamics and buring cow horns with a certain potion according to the zodiac calendar will improve vegies?

Lots of people believe in planting by the phases of the moon. Why wouldn’t an organic potion work any less than a concoction of chemicals?

You are confusing Anthroposophy with the type of children that this school produces. There are things I find repugnant in religion but that doesn’t mean that education in religious schools are wrong. The same goes for Steiner education. The mythology I’m hearing here is quite interesting. The school has one of the most classical curricula that I have seen. My children have learned about Greek, Roman, Norse, Renaissance to name a few.

No, my daughter did not ‘learn’ to read until she was in 2nd class but she was read to constantly by her teacher. When she did learn to read on her own she was relaxed and loved it. She has a reading age above her level, as does the majority of her class. This was the antithesis of my son’s experience in mainstream, where in Kindergarten, he was stressed and upset because he thought he didn’t ‘get’ reading.

People send their children to Catholic schools who aren’t necessarily Catholic, or Grammar when they’re not Anglican. The plethora of ‘Christian’ schools that have reared their heads lately is testament to this. And these families don’t blink an eye when children have to worship a zombie that was his own father, by pretending to be vampires and cannibals. That Steiner was an Anthroposophist doesn’t mean that every family at Orana follows this.And nor do they spend hours at ‘chapel’, ‘mass’ or scripture.

It seems Pandy, that you are looking for the worst. So why didn’t you just google Steiner and Cult than post here?

Skip 7:20 pm 08 Mar 10

“As the OP I looked at Steiner on wikipedia”

Ah Wiki, that irrefutable source of truth and accuracy. I don’t think I need to say much more about your research, do I?

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