Steiner Waldorf education
In the chaos of Europe after the first World War, many people hoped for and believed in a better future, based on new social forms. One of these was the industrialist, Emil Molt, owner of the Waldorf Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart. Molt was a friend of philosopher and scientist, Rudolf Steiner. Steiner had written books and given lectures on education and now Molt asked him to found a school for the children of the workers in his factory. Steiner agreed, trained twelve teachers in his method, based on a study of child development, and ‘The Waldorf School’ opened in September 1919.
The first Waldorf – or Steiner – school in the English speaking world opened in south London in 1925. There are now around 1000 schools worldwide.
Each of these schools, whilst being independent and part of its local community, shares an approach to education behind which stands a deep understanding of the human being in body, soul and spirit, which Rudolf Steiner wrote and spoke about in several hundred books and lectures during his life.
He called this knowledge ‘Anthroposophy’ – literally ‘wisdom of the human being’ – and in it he described and characterised the different stages of development which can be observed in the journey through childhood (and also through adulthood). In his lectures on education, he gave many indications for suitable subject matter and approaches to teaching for different ages but always stressed that teachers must be free to interpret these indications in their own way. Indeed, he said, if they did not do so, Steiner Waldorf education would become a method as good as, but no better than, many other methods.
The London Waldorf Seminar has this guiding principle at heart. Our aim is to help our students develop the personal qualities and the deep understanding of child development necessary to interpret the Steiner Waldorf curriculum in their own creative and sensitive ways to meet the needs of the children who stand before them, no matter who they are.
“Teachers must feel themselves supported by the whole breadth of modern society and how this interacts with the future ... we should work out of what speaks loudly and clearly to us as necessary for the development of present and future humanity. What in human developmental progress we see as necessary for our time should enter and strengthen our teaching.” RUDOLF STEINER