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The Essence of Waldorf Education

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Read an excerpt from this book (PDF). Schools reflect the state of society. If society is materialistic, competitive, egoistic, technological, and without concern for human values and long-term thinking, our schools will tend to reflect those values. However, what if education were about something else? What if education were about the future? What if education were a abou Read an excerpt from this book (PDF). Schools reflect the state of society. If society is materialistic, competitive, egoistic, technological, and without concern for human values and long-term thinking, our schools will tend to reflect those values. However, what if education were about something else? What if education were about the future? What if education were a about nurturing a new generation of human beings, integrated in body, soul, and spirit and able to think for themselves and have the capacity to love? Perhaps the world would change. The Waldorf school, initiated and guided in 1919 by Rudolf Steiner, was conceived with precisely such an end in view. In this passionate, inspiring, and moving book, Peter Selg, speaks from a deep knowledge of Anthroposophy and from his extensive experience as a child psychiatrist. He returns to the original impulses behind the first Waldorf school to show their continuing validity and how they still respond to what we need. From this view, Waldorf education is future-oriented, based on a holistic worldview and cosmology that is humanistic, scientific, and spiritual, and develops through a curriculum and a teacher-student relationship based on love. Its focus is the miracle of the developing human being. Recognizing the equal importance of thinking, feeling, and willing, Waldorf education works through bodily movement and art, as well as through intellect and mind. Waldorf Education is not a theory but a living reality, and Selg brings this reality to life before us through the biography of the first Waldorf school. Thus, we learn to see it in a new way--in its essence, as a healing model of what education might become if the primary relationship, the inner core of a school, is the free relationship between teacher and student. As Steiner wrote: "It is our task as teachers and educators to stand in awe of the individuality of the student and offer our help so that it can follow the laws of its own development. We are merely called upon to remove any obstacles in body or soul that might hinder the individuality from realizing its potential freely." A verse given at the dedication of a building at the Waldorf School in Stuttgart expresses the essence of Waldorf Education in poetic form: May there reign here spirit-strength in love; May there work here spirit-light in goodness; Born from certainty of heart, And from steadfastness of soul, So that we may bring to young human beings Bodily strength for work, inwardness of soul, and clarity of spirit. The Essence of Waldorf Education is a translation from German of Der geistige Kern der Waldorfschule (Verlag Ita Wegman Institut, 2009).


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Read an excerpt from this book (PDF). Schools reflect the state of society. If society is materialistic, competitive, egoistic, technological, and without concern for human values and long-term thinking, our schools will tend to reflect those values. However, what if education were about something else? What if education were about the future? What if education were a abou Read an excerpt from this book (PDF). Schools reflect the state of society. If society is materialistic, competitive, egoistic, technological, and without concern for human values and long-term thinking, our schools will tend to reflect those values. However, what if education were about something else? What if education were about the future? What if education were a about nurturing a new generation of human beings, integrated in body, soul, and spirit and able to think for themselves and have the capacity to love? Perhaps the world would change. The Waldorf school, initiated and guided in 1919 by Rudolf Steiner, was conceived with precisely such an end in view. In this passionate, inspiring, and moving book, Peter Selg, speaks from a deep knowledge of Anthroposophy and from his extensive experience as a child psychiatrist. He returns to the original impulses behind the first Waldorf school to show their continuing validity and how they still respond to what we need. From this view, Waldorf education is future-oriented, based on a holistic worldview and cosmology that is humanistic, scientific, and spiritual, and develops through a curriculum and a teacher-student relationship based on love. Its focus is the miracle of the developing human being. Recognizing the equal importance of thinking, feeling, and willing, Waldorf education works through bodily movement and art, as well as through intellect and mind. Waldorf Education is not a theory but a living reality, and Selg brings this reality to life before us through the biography of the first Waldorf school. Thus, we learn to see it in a new way--in its essence, as a healing model of what education might become if the primary relationship, the inner core of a school, is the free relationship between teacher and student. As Steiner wrote: "It is our task as teachers and educators to stand in awe of the individuality of the student and offer our help so that it can follow the laws of its own development. We are merely called upon to remove any obstacles in body or soul that might hinder the individuality from realizing its potential freely." A verse given at the dedication of a building at the Waldorf School in Stuttgart expresses the essence of Waldorf Education in poetic form: May there reign here spirit-strength in love; May there work here spirit-light in goodness; Born from certainty of heart, And from steadfastness of soul, So that we may bring to young human beings Bodily strength for work, inwardness of soul, and clarity of spirit. The Essence of Waldorf Education is a translation from German of Der geistige Kern der Waldorfschule (Verlag Ita Wegman Institut, 2009).

30 review for The Essence of Waldorf Education

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    2019 edit: the emphasis Selg places on the therapeutic and healing dimension (mission?) of Waldorf pedagogy is way stronger than I realized in my first reading of this long, long ago. It makes sense that I’m writing my thesis on physician–teacher collaboration now: I started my literature review seven years ago. Eesh. This is a lecture given by Selg about the founding of the the original Waldorf school in Stuttgart. It's very short, but an interesting overview of the original intentions of Waldor 2019 edit: the emphasis Selg places on the therapeutic and healing dimension (mission?) of Waldorf pedagogy is way stronger than I realized in my first reading of this long, long ago. It makes sense that I’m writing my thesis on physician–teacher collaboration now: I started my literature review seven years ago. Eesh. This is a lecture given by Selg about the founding of the the original Waldorf school in Stuttgart. It's very short, but an interesting overview of the original intentions of Waldorf Education. "[The core of Waldorf Education] is sometimes seen as something historical or traditional, and more often than not it is rejected as a nostalgic whim that needs to be overcome, or as a turning away from the 'real world' in the pursuit of an unrealistic ideal." "What a child is is not a question of ideas and models, but of the right approach to a given reality." "...Rudolf Steiner proposed that an education that was appropriate for children and suitable for the future could arise only out of a genuine insight into the human being, especially the developing human being. He saw this as a vital cultural task and said that if it could not be realized out of anthroposophical spiritual science, anthroposophy would continue to be regarded as a religious sectarian movement 'of a few strange visionaries.'" "Waldorf Education is not about knowledge transfer, it is about educating the individuality, about developing our humanity."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dian

    Good introduction about the origin of Waldorf school and a little of Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy. This book doesn't detail the practical application, for that one should consult other books such as Torin M. Finser's "School as a Journey". Good introduction about the origin of Waldorf school and a little of Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy. This book doesn't detail the practical application, for that one should consult other books such as Torin M. Finser's "School as a Journey".

  3. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Important for its' reflections on the importance of the teacher/student relationship and the future facing nature of education. That is, we always educate children to live in a world that is not yet come to be, and so Waldorf seeks to educate for the person that is to come, to give space for the spirit of the child to open up to the greatest expression of itself. This is a good book for people who already know something about Rudolf Steiner and Waldorf education and will serve to deepen their un Important for its' reflections on the importance of the teacher/student relationship and the future facing nature of education. That is, we always educate children to live in a world that is not yet come to be, and so Waldorf seeks to educate for the person that is to come, to give space for the spirit of the child to open up to the greatest expression of itself. This is a good book for people who already know something about Rudolf Steiner and Waldorf education and will serve to deepen their understanding of this approach to education and human growth..

  4. 4 out of 5

    Edna Loureiro

    re-read it in December 2019 for books to re-read in 2020. still a great little book about Waldorf education and Steiner's foundation of his "first" school with the important focus points in the Waldorf education and Steiner's interventions. re-read it in December 2019 for books to re-read in 2020. still a great little book about Waldorf education and Steiner's foundation of his "first" school with the important focus points in the Waldorf education and Steiner's interventions.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kenzi

    It's about a very limited slice-I wouldn't call this the essence of Waldorf-everything was left out except for a couple f details plus his love for the man. It's about a very limited slice-I wouldn't call this the essence of Waldorf-everything was left out except for a couple f details plus his love for the man.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Morrissey

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gaurav

  8. 4 out of 5

    O

  9. 5 out of 5

    Teal Tegtmeier

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mary Admirre

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ana Carmen

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laura Beth

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sonya

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gabriela

  16. 4 out of 5

    Vít Kotačka

  17. 5 out of 5

    Poliana

  18. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ann Key

  20. 5 out of 5

    Edith Santiago

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa Brooks

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nad Venturini

  23. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  24. 5 out of 5

    David Levin

  25. 4 out of 5

    Abbey

  26. 5 out of 5

    A Holscher

  27. 4 out of 5

    Robin

  28. 5 out of 5

    Patrick M.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

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