The first Waldorf school shocked educators with its radical approach to educating children in the devastation of European civilization. Ninety years later, Waldorf education is still radical and still relevant, placing its fundamentally human approach against new threats to civilization. Rudolf Steiner wanted Waldorf schools to be open to all children, and there are moves in North America and around the world that would make Waldorf education more widely available. We think this is one of the best hopes for the future of humanity.
This selection of fourteen essays…offers a variety of responses to the questions of what Waldorf schools are and how these schools work. The first two, John Gardner’s “What is a Waldorf School?” and Reg Down’s “The Role of the Teacher-Artist Within the Waldorf School,” offer the most direct responses to the questions, though from very different lines of approach.
The largest group of essays offers glimpses of teachers at work in the classroom or mulling over challenges they have faced. This is the heart of the Waldorf approach, brought into the classroom through the organization of the curriculum and the skill and sensitivity of the teacher.
Following these are essays dealing with what remain two of the most contentious problems Waldorf schools and Waldorf school parents wrestle with: the religious impulse, as Henry Barnes profoundly analyzes it, and the adolescent sexual impulse, as it appeared to Rudolf Steiner.
Helmut von Kugelgen reviews Steiner’s determined stance on keeping the schools independent of government influence, a position now being reexamined by teachers and parents. And finally, we reprint a report from the German news magazine Der Spiegel on the success of Waldorf school pupils after graduation.
Included in this volume are:
- Diana Hughes and John Kettle: Waldorf Education: Radical and Relevant
- John Gardner: What is a Waldorf School?
- Reg Down: The Role of the Teacher-Artist Within the Waldorf School
- Christy Barnes: Can Imagination be Trained? A Crucial Question for Schools Today
- M. C. Richards: Early Childhood
- Eugene Schwartz: Grade One – Notes
- Ruth Pusch: What to Do about Witches
- Heinz Müller: Healing Forces in the Word and its Rhythms
- Amos Franceschelli: Mathematics in the Classroom: Mine Shaft and Skylight
- Hans Gebert: About Goetheanistic Science
- Christy Barnes: Training Capacities through the Study of Literature
- Henry Barnes: Has Religion A Role in Education Today?
- Rudolf Steiner: Education for Adolescents
- Helmut von Kügelgen: How Important is it that Schools are Independent Today?
- Der Spiegel: Research on Waldorf School Graduates: Government-Sponsored Study Comparing Graduates of Waldorf and State (Public) Schools
The editors of this issue, Diana Hughes and John Kettle, might have met in 1943, may have met in 1951, and certainly met in 1967, when John invited Diana, then a student teacher at Emerson College in England, and Alan Howard to become the first teachers of the first Waldorf school in Canada. In 1984 Diana started the first teacher education institute in Canada, from which she retired in 2009. John started and edited an architectural magazine, a political magazine, and a futurological newsletter before he and Diana married in 2007.