A brief history of Erziehungskunst

By By Editorial Staff, April 2023, May 2023

In October 1927 the bimonthly Zur Pädagogik Rudolf Steiners is published for the first time as the organ of the Verein für ein freies Schulwesen (Association for Free Schools) in Stuttgart. The editor-in-chief is Dr Caroline von Heydebrand, an educationalist who was asked to join Rudolf Steiner's first course for teachers while still a student of education and who took over a class at the newly founded Waldorf School in Stuttgart in 1919.

In the school year 1927/28 there are already about 1,000 children being taught in the Stuttgart Waldorf School, and in other schools in Essen, Hamburg, Hanover and Jena (special needs education) there are a further 1,000 children in all. There are also Waldorf schools in Poland, Hungary, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and England.

From 1932 the journal bears the name Erziehungskunst. When the National Socialists seize power in 1933, there are initial attempts to maintain Waldorf education in spite of Nazi ideology. From 1934 to 1938, Dr Erich Schwebsch was the editor in charge of the magazine. In 1936, however, the Waldorf schools are prohibited from accepting new pupils, which means that most of the schools gradually close. In April 1938 the journal Erziehungskunst is banned and impounded by the Gestapo.

In 1948 the magazine appears again, from September onwards Dr Helmut von Kügelgen is the editor in charge for the next 33 years.

In 1950 the German Association of Waldorf Schools becomes the publisher and issues are published monthly. In 1982 Dr Manfred Leist replaces Kügelgen. In 1978 there are 50 Waldorf schools throughout Germany. In 1987, Dr Klaus Schickert becomes editor-in-chief, the staff include Elisabeth von Kügelgen, Dr Manfred Leist, Andreas Neider, Walter Riethmüller, Justus Wittich - and from 1989 Mathias Maurer.

In 1988, the design changes and photos appear in the magazine and on the cover. In 1999, full-page photos fill the cover, the title is superimposed on the photo. Mathias Maurer becomes editor-in-chief in 2003 and remains so until the end of 2021. His editorial team includes Lorenzo Ravagli and Dr Ariane Eichenberg, and for a shorter period Matthias Niedermann as well.

In 2009 the format of the magazine grows to almost A4, the circulation increases from about 5,000 (as a subscription journal) to 70,000 (as a member journal distributed through the schools to all parents, teachers and staff). Layout and distribution management is contracted out to Verlag Freies Geistesleben.

From 1990 to 2018 the number of Waldorf schools roughly doubles. In 2018 enrolments at Waldorf schools accounted for around one per cent of enrolments in Germany. There are currently 253 Waldorf schools in Germany and around 1,200 worldwide.

In 2022 Angelika Lonnemann becomes editor in charge, her team includes Daniela von Pfuhlstein, Heidi Käfer and editorial assistant Marion Rocca. In September 2022, Erziehungskunst is offered to subscribers in PDF format for the first time, with the medium-term aim of reducing paper consumption.

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