FondsGoetheanum: Social Therapy and Curative Education

Step by Step towards Health

Chronic illnesses are very difficult for those affected. They often considerably reduce the quality of life.
The benefit of curative eurythmy for chronic illnesses has already been presented in the context of the Anthroposophic Medicine Outcomes Study (Hamre et al., BMC Public Health 2007, 7:61). In the years ahead, it will be necessary to develop and deepen clinical research, in particular into prevention and salutogenesis. New studies (especially on the efficacity of curative eurythmy in respect of allergy illnesses) will make these forms of therapies better known and in the long term will facilitate their integration into the general health system.

Dr. Michaela Gloeckler, Leader of the Medical Section at the Goetheanum.

Your gifts go to work

The FondsGoetheanum actively supports research projects in different fields of anthroposophical activity – agriculture, medicine, education, curative education, social therapy and art, among others. The following examples give an idea of what your donations make possible.

The FondsGoetheanum is a new and growing movement aimed at furthering nature and human welfare in ways that are sustainable and fruitful for cultural life. Everyone can take part freely. Your donation is a building stone for the future.

Three campaigns, a good echo

The first campaign of the FondsGoetheanum, successfully launched in spring 2008, was dedicated to biodynamic farming. The second focused on anthroposophical medicine and healthcare, with their wide image of man and their many therapies promoting health. The third campaign, centred on education, accented child development and the needs of children from infancy through adolescence. During these three campaigns, we have received 4,600 donations totalling over 270,000 CHF. 100% of these funds will be used in a transparent and efficient way to further biodynamic agriculture, anthroposophical medicine and Steiner education.
The costs of the campaigns including their administration have been entirely funded by the donors or by the Anthroposophical Society in Switzerland, as instigator of the campaigns.
Here are some examples chosen from the numerous research activities that are being supported in this way:

Marc Desaules, Council Member of the Anthroposophical Society in Switzerland.

Support Life

Today, chickens are usually bred for their egg-laying performance. The male chicks are killed, quite needlessly, directly after hatching.
The Swiss Biodynamic Association gave itself the task of finding a breed of chickens that obviated the killing of male chicks, allowing them to live and be sold as pullets, and that fed chickens and pullets in accordance with their needs, without the use of ‘fake’ foodstuffs.
The Association, together with the Biological Agricultural Research Institute (FiBL), launched a project to evaluate different chicken breeds. The Sussex seems to best meet the requirements. According to the five Demeter farms taking part in the project, Sussex chickens are able to defend themselves and therefore less likely to be pecked by others. As a result, their plumage stays intact and they have better egg-laying ability.

Esther Zeltner, FiBL


What is the point of animals, especially cows?

Falling milk prices due to free trade agreements and media pronouncements such as “cows are bad for the environment” are leading people to ask : Why do we need cows? Of course they provide milk, cheese and meat. But isn’t there enough of that already?
It is well-known that cows on Alpine pastures keep the meadows free of shrub encroachment and that their dung is the best maintainer of soil fertility. But are such ‘functions’ justification enough? This is the focus of a research project at the Agriculture Section of the School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum near Basel being conducted by way of interviews, discussions with farmers and ‘on farm’ research. A preliminary conclusion of this work is that, if one considers agriculture as an organism, cows are its soul!

Nikolai Fuchs, Leader of Agriculture Section


Applied Research Projects

School is a preparation for life as a whole. Research is needed so that this can be the case even in times of rapid change.
Steiner schools in Switzerland and in other countries, invest a great deal in applied pedagogic research. In 2007, a Switzerland-wide inquiry looked into ex-Steiner school students’ satisfaction with their education. The results showed a high correlation between what they aim to do in life and what they achieve and a high tolerance of other value systems. The students had a low interest in anthroposophy, but their degree of social engagement was above average. Compared to state school students, they were five times more likely to look for careers in the natural sciences and medicine. They also showed a much higher percentage choosing teaching: 17%.
A recent inquiry undertaken in New Zealand is special. This long-term study is looking at the question of the outcomes of learning in early years. The provisional conclusions are surprising: no advantage in terms of career, or scientific training or intelligence levels have been observed. The research will be useful for policy discussions and decision-making in the development of pre-school programmes.
At the same time, research is being undertaken at different locations to consider the role of play in infant development. This is crucial in today’s world, where there are great pressures to displace free play by structured learning. The pedagogy founded on the anthroposophical image of the human being, cannot place enough value on the benefit of free play for little children. The preliminary results of the New Zealand study seem to confirm this view. With financial support, one could make research on this theme in the Zurich kindergarten with the Research Institute of Professor Spitzer, a neurobiologist, psychologist and philosopher.

Christof Wiechert