School and kindergarten in specifics
The adults get to know the children and start to understand what they express through their corporeality. In doing so, we encounter individuals with specific concerns.
We see what the teachers and parents achieve with the children.
If we then think about kindergarten and school, we are not united by an abstract ideal because kindergarten and school are made by specific pupils, parents and teachers. If we remain true to reality, the content of kindergarten and school will result from an understanding of the human being and not theoretical stipulations.
Today, a hundred years after the foundation of the Waldorf school, it is necessary to take up this basic idea and bring it into dialogue with social reality, the academic world and the substance of the legal framework.
But Waldorf schools and kindergartens often lead a successful niche existence. They have positioned themselves there and made a name for themselves. Yet Steiner’s impulse is there for everyone. How can we enable that?
Every person can create a basis for fulfilling the educational task through studying anthroposophy and assimilating it. As a result they will obtain the insight that shaping reality in the above meaning is a demanding task because they themselves share in the way it comes about. It is never “finished” but always has to be worked on anew. This triggers cognitive work filled with life.
That is the one side. The other is revealed in becoming active in the world. And every person can ask themselves:
- Do I want to enter into dialogue with the other person, including those with little education or with an academic outlook? Can I speak a language which the other person understands?
- Do I want to place myself fully in the public sphere, in other words, not lay claim to any special rights for “my” initiative?
- Do I really want to include other people in the initiative or am I restricting myself to a selected group?
People are needed who act out of insight and who give away their treasures. Herein lies a fundamental gesture of the founder of the Waldorf school. He gave everything away that he had, abundantly.
In contrast to material treasures, spiritual treasures have the attribute that they do not diminish but grow. The fear of dilution is inappropriate when we are talking about living insight. This is always specific and fresh because it keeps being produced anew, like the school. It only exists in “flux”, it is an establishment which constantly renews itself and is shaped by the people present in it. The first Waldorf school in Stuttgart, at least, was fresh and specific in that way.
Florian Osswald was an upper school teacher in Switzerland for many years and is the co-head of the Pedagogical Section at the Goetheanum.