Several hundred Waldorf schools worldwide share a common regard for the educational methods of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), Austrian-born scientist and educator, architect and philosopher. Steiner founded the first Waldorf school in 1919 in Stuttgart, Germany, where he put into practice an approach to education that begins with a deep insight into children – who they are, how they develop, why they respond and react.
How much of Anthroposophy and Steiner’s ideas are taught to the children?
The answer is none. On the day Rudolf Steiner opened the first Waldorf school, he stated firmly, “It is not our intention to teach growing human beings our ideas, the contents of our world conception. We are not aiming at education for the sake of any special dogma.” Although there is a worldwide Anthroposophic Society, whose members invariably are supportive of the Waldorf schools, there is no formal connection between the schools and the Society. It is often the case that some Waldorf school parents (or even possibly senior class Waldorf high school students) participate in study groups on Anthroposophy, but such is always entirely voluntary (and extracurricular). What is encouraged is that interested parents meet regularly with their children’s teachers to learn more about the education and about providing a supportive home life.
From Wade B. Holland’s The Waldorf Schools: 32 Questions and Answers