Dr Rudolf Steiner (1861 – 1925) was an Austrian philosopher, scientist and educationalist who dedicated his life to improving humankind. He lectured, wrote and influenced thinking in the areas of agriculture, medicine, performing arts, natural sciences and education.
Steiner believed that flawed and neglected education systems contributed to catastrophes like World War I, and that poor training of teachers was at the root of the education problem. He championed the idea that education must begin with an understanding of a child’s nature and development.
The first Steiner school was opened in 1919 in the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart, Germany. Industrialist Emil Molt had invited Steiner to lecture workers there, and the school was established to educate the workers’ children.
During Steiner’s lifetime, five more schools were established in Germany, England and Holland. Today, in 60 countries around the world, there are over 800 Steiner schools, including 50 in Australia, 1000 kindergartens and 60 teacher training centres.
The independent schools individually fit into their own country’s cultural and educational frameworks. Together Steiner schools around the world form an international network of schools with a shared educational philosophy.