FondsGoetheanum: Education

A school for the whole of life

Today’s world is subject to ever-faster change; young and old alike are constantly faced with new challenges. Steiner-Waldorf education equips children with capacities that put them in good stead for life.

Our world is subject to rapid change. Whether with regard to work, to society or to climate change, new situations call for new skills and aptitudes both of which are acquired and shaped early on in life. As the saying goes: “What is not learned when young is difficult to learn when older.” Any education suited to our times will therefore give central consideration to how children can unfold their potential, overcome their weaknesses and develop social skills. But what does this mean?

Openmindedness can be learned

Modern information and communication technologies, combined with greater mobility and worldwide travel, are making the world a smaller place. Education must help students to be open to people of all social, ethnic and religious backgrounds. The smaller the world becomes, the larger must become the heart.

Concern for hunger

Today’s material progress is not to be gainsaid. Yet every year more and more people die of famine. It is no longer enough to bemoan the rich-poor divide. Children need an education that develops in them the ethical basis to understand and be mindful of the place and impact of human deeds on the world as a whole.

A comprehensive pedagogy speaks to the individual in his totality.

Responsibility for the earth and for nature

Climatic changes call on us to take care when using the earth’s resources. So education also needs to acquaint students with humanity’s dependence on a living earth and thriving nature.

Life must be meaningful

Modern technology displaces the need for work and frees us from ordinary tasks. We have more free time, but also the problem of unemployment. We know how to obviate work, but not, it seems, to provide meaningful activity.
Education therefore needs to equip students to value themselves and be resourceful when faced with life’s difficulties. A spirit of initiative, a wide world view, strong imagination and a clear sense of one’s own worth are thus as important for the individual as they are for society.
Whatever future awaits us, basic human competences will play a role as important, if not more so, as professional or other skills. Oriented to the needs of children, Steiner-Waldorf schools have placed this consideration at the heart of their pedagogical work for over 90 years.

Thomas Marti