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Uncommon Schooling: A Historical Look at Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophy, and Waldorf Education

P. Bruce Uhrmacher
Curriculum Inquiry
Vol. 25, No. 4 (Winter, 1995), pp. 381-406
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
DOI: 10.2307/1180016
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1180016
Page Count: 26
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Uncommon Schooling: A Historical Look at Rudolf Steiner, Anthroposophy, and Waldorf Education
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Abstract

Rudolf Steiner founded the first Waldorf school in Germany in 1919. Unique elements of Waldorf education include an arts-based curriculum in which students learn subject matter through a variety of forms of representation, a pedagogy designed to meet students' developmental growth, an administrative system in which teachers govern the school, an organization devoted to sustaining a sense of community, and an integrated conceptual approach to education generally-a place where the cosmic and the mundane are intertwined. Rudolf Steiner's life and writings are the foundations on which Waldorf schools are built. Therefore, this article is devoted to an overview of his work, which should assist us in understanding what goes on in contemporary Waldorf schools. Also, because Waldorf schools in North America are based on the first Waldorf school, I have included an examination of elements of that school's educational program. However, I do not present a simple chronological account of Steiner's life or of the origins of Anthroposophy (an outgrowth of Theosophy and the term used to denote the path of spiritual development from which Waldorf education springs). Rather in the last section of this article, I focus on possible reasons why Anthroposophy has survived and continues to flourish many years after Steiner's death.

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