Where does the path lead?

By Claus-Peter Röh, November 2019

Encounters with colleges of teachers and the first international events for Waldorf 100 show a clear thread running through them: the Waldorf school movement is still very young.

Their dual remit means that the variety of the Waldorf establishments will only grow: internally, each college of teachers will wrestle in its own way from the perspective of anthroposophy with ways to do justice to the individual young person in their spiritual, mental and physical development. Looking outward, the challenges and tensions of contemporary events will grow such that the parents and teachers of every school will establish further initiatives out of this inner core to meet the needs of the time. 

In their inner work, the educational meetings of the schools will, through up-to-date accounts from lessons, through child observation and discussion, develop further ways to recognise the inner core of the young person’s being in their outer appearance. The more clearly the inner spiritual developing person is perceived in the moments of the everyday life of the school, the more urgently educational ways will be sought to actively meet these future forces in the concrete outer work. In accordance with this further increasing trend of individualisation, there will be more space for conversations between colleagues, with parents and with the upper school pupils.

In working on the Foundations of Human Experience, the collaboration between colleagues will become a crucial factor. Alongside individual study and synthesising methods, additional paths will develop: in the overall view of a Foundations lecture among colleagues, new conceptual connections can arise in joint conversation in consecutive work stages. In the management of classes, too, new paths will open up through closer collaboration between class and subject teachers and mentors.

The power of the artistic in forming human beings will be included to a greater extent in the school of the future at all levels. The perception and creation of contemporary qualities will be one of the most important characteristics of the identity of Waldorf schools: as the educational response to the tensions and fragmentation of contemporary events, the artistically creative person will develop new qualities of perception, presence of mind, encounter, deepening and production of initiatives of will. 

The difference between reaction to external triggers and inwardly produced initiatives out of our own innermost intent will be more clearly perceived. It will be a key to quality in dealing with the technical and digital media of our time. Rudolf Steiner’s advice that we should start by deepening general human qualities and abilities in each young person before the necessary and age-appropriate understanding of advancing technology will give food for thought in parental homes, kindergartens and schools.

The highest goal of this still young Waldorf school movement will take us further into the future: to enable each young person to have a healthy education for freedom.

Claus-Peter Röh was a class, music and religion teacher at the Flensburg Free Waldorf School for 28 years; today he heads the Pedagogical Section at the Goetheanum in Dornach together with Florian Osswald.