Where is Waldorf going?

By Mathias Maurer, November 2019

It is not that easy to break away from history, tradition and habit and to get a clear view of a development that lies in the future. In this respect, thoughts about a possible future for the Waldorf school movement do not differ from those about the possible future for our children: we do not know what the future will bring us through either.

And yet it is possible to develop an idea of where this journey will lead if one understands human consciousness as a confluence of ideas formed in the past and impulses of will coming from the future. We often experience these impulses as incongruous and disruptive, indeed even counterproductive, to everything we have thought and felt until now. Rudolf Steiner described how such impulses of will must be read back to front, so to speak. By this he meant that our usual view of cause and effect has to be reversed, for these impulses of will often show themselves in a mirrored form. To develop “prophetic sight”, it becomes necessary to go backwards in time. Elsewhere he spoke of a form of “prophetic sight”, which recognises that even in the most “ill-mannered of urchins” there is a good core, and that later on they would become the “most valuable of people”, while this may very well not be the case with a large number of so called “good children”. Teachers and educators had to look for “interior aspects”, which were not expressed externally and therefore required an almost “prophetic gift” to be able to find.

So what future impulses are currently emerging for the Waldorf school movement? They can be characterised in summary – in other words mirrored – as counter images to the established and recognised form of schooling that we know today. We have lost sight of some areas that need to be revisited and which are not readily associated with the concept of school, but which provide a response to the most pressing challenges of the present: It is the strengthening of the artistic in the broadest sense against over-intellectualisation; it is the intensification of the preservation of our planet and natural environment against consumption and exploitation without limits; it is the provision of holistically attractive and meaningful places for living communities – pupils, parents and teachers – as opposed to artificially created learning spaces and goals which one is forced to adjust to. 

That we not only rethink the concept of school, but also that it become something that we want to do, is an impulse that will be demanded by children with increasing urgency.

More about »Where is Waldorf going«: Whither Waldorf?


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