In celebration of 100 years of a spiritually based holistic education
“Receive the children in reverence, educate them in love, and send them forth in freedom.” (R. Steiner)
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Steiner Waldorf Schools – a school movement with well over a thousand schools in over 60 countries world-wide, on all continents. Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), a pioneer in bringing spiritual insights into all areas of learning, whether sciences, humanities or arts, held that a new holistic education with a foundation in the physical, soul and spiritual development of the child, rather than on what adults wanted for economic outcomes (which was already strongly in place since Victorian times) was essential for fostering creative and free-thinking individuals. This, he saw, was in turn essential for the challenges that humankind would face on in to the future. And the greatest challenges he foresaw would be at the turn of the century ahead, that is, NOW!
“Truth is a seed present in every human being. If we devote ourselves to the development of that essence, the seed can blossom.” (R. Steiner)
The Steiner Waldorf schools over the past century (called simply Waldorf Schools in most countries outside the UK, after the founding school in Stuttgart) have been appreciated by innumerable parents, some with spiritually minded orientation looking for an education which acknowledged and nurtured a spiritual core in the child rather than squelching it, or simply with a view that childhood was being burdened with too many adult pressures from repeated mechanistic testing to influences of commercial interests, for instance in the last couple decades pressing computer technologies on younger and younger children.
“Where is the book in which the teacher can read about what teaching is? The children themselves are the book.” (R. Steiner)
The schools continue to spread and thrive, more so interestingly outside of the UK, and especially in Asian, African and South American countries. They come in many sizes and forms, and its principles have influenced also state education in many countries. In England, they have come under more pressure from a more mechanistic government led educational approach, reinforced by Ofsted, testing and scores (statistics!) playing a major part – that is another story! But it emphasises the need not only to celebrate its achievements but to press all the more in all educational circles for a holistic approach to education, one which nurtures not just a one-sided intellect, but head, heart and hands, as a unified whole. See also (click here for) the Facebook Waldorf 100 site to follow celebrations around the world.
“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” (Albert Einstein)
Below is a link to an inspiring video on Waldorf 100 years. Follow this link to our own Waldorf 100 page, which we will be adding to over the months, where you will find further video links as well as information.
Another shorter informative film clip is also shown below.
“I am deeply grateful for Waldorf education, which woke me up and helped me rediscover my imagination.” (Michael Ende, author)