What is Waldorf Education? Is right for you and your family? In this short film “Why Waldorf”, parents recall and explore how they came to the decision to bring their children to Waldorf school.
In North America, Waldorf Education has been available since 1928. It has its roots in the spiritual-scientific research of the Austrian scientist and thinker Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). According to Steiner’s philosophy, anthroposophy, the human being is a threefold being of spirit, soul, and body whose capacities unfold in three developmental stages on the path to adulthood: early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence.
Today, there are more than 1,100 Waldorf schools and over 1,700 kindergartens in 80 countries worldwide. These schools exist in large cities and small towns, suburbs and rural enclaves. They have grown in response to the demand for education that truly meets the needs of childhood at all developmental levels. Waldorf education is the fastest growing education in the world.
History of Waldorf Education
In April of 1919, Rudolf Steiner visited the Waldorf Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart, Germany. The German nation, defeated in war, was teetering on the brink of economic, social, and political chaos. Steiner spoke to the workers about the need for social renewal, for a new way of organizing society and its political and cultural life.
Emil Molt, the owner of the factory, asked Steiner if he would undertake to establish and lead a school for the children of the employees of the company. Steiner agreed but set four conditions, each of which went against common practice of the day: 1) that the school be open to all children; 2) that it be co-educational; 3) that it be a unified twelve-year school; 4) that the teachers, those individuals actually in contact with the children, have primary control of the school with minimum interference from the state or from economic sources. Steiner’s conditions were radical for the day, but Molt gladly agreed to them. On September 7, 1919, the first independent Waldorf School (Die Freie Waldorfschule) opened its doors.
Today, with more than 900 Waldorf schools in 83 countries, Waldorf Education is the fastest growing independent educational movement in the world.
Read more about Waldorf Education from the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America.