This week Tuesday was a key moment in the Waldorf Education movement. On April 23rd, 1919 Emil Molt asked Rudolf Steiner for his help and guidance to start a school for his workers children. It was on April 23, 1919, after a lecture Steiner gave to the factory workers on the 3-fold social order that Molt asked Steiner to take on the planning & leadership of the new school. Molt later said he considered this the true birth date of the school. Steiner, as we know, enthusiastically accepted the task.
“In the end, the Waldorf School movement is connected to the
threefold movement.”, said Rudolf Steiner.
Its pedagogy emphasizes the role of imagination in learning, striving to integrate holistically the intellectual, practical, & artistic development of the students.
Steiner’s division of child development into three major stages is reflected in the schools’ approach to early childhood education, which focuses on practical, hands-on activities & creative play; to elementary education, which focuses on developing artistic expression and social capacities; and to secondary education, which focuses on developing critical reasoning and empathetic understanding.
The overarching goal is to develop free, morally responsible, & integrated individuals equipped with a high degree of social competence.
On May 13, 1919, Molt, Steiner and E.A. Karl Stockmeyer had a preliminary discussion with the Education Ministry with the aim of finding a legal structure that would allow for an independent school. Stockmeyer was then given the task of finding teachers as a foundation for the future school. At the end of August, seventeen candidates for teaching positions attended what would be the first of many pedagogical courses sponsored by the school; twelve of these candidates were chosen to be the school’s first teachers. The school opened on September 7, 1919 with 256 pupils in eight grades; 191 of the pupils were from factory families, the other 65 came from interested families from Stuttgart, many of whom were already engaged in the anthroposophical movement in that city.