What was and what is

Mathias Maurer

Waldorf demonstrates self-assurance and has arrived bang slap in the middle of our society. Henning Kullak-Ublick (board member of the German Association of Waldorf Schools and coordinator of Waldorf100) demands that, as the largest independent school movement in the world, “we owe it to our time to make our voice heard”, and Volker Frielingsdorf (Alanus University) affirms the close correspondence between the growth phases of the Waldorf schools and social and political upheavals.

Nana Goebel (Friends of Waldorf Education) in her reflections indeed sees the worldwide spread of the independent Waldorf schools as a model that provides a real counterweight to education systems under threat from neoliberal and digital concepts of the way forward. The educational foundation of The Foundations of Human Experience is transcultural and universal, emphasises Tomás Zdrazil (Freie Hochschule Stuttgart – Seminar for Waldorf Pedagogy). Alain Denjean and Dietrich Esterl (both former teachers at the Uhlandshöhe school in Stuttgart), as well as Christof Wiechert (former head of the Pedagogical Section at the Goetheanum) sketch out the vital importance of the teachers’ meetings as the “central heart organ” of the schools, but also the permanent mission to strive for a real education that starts with the child; new forms of collaboration are described in two contributions on parent involvement (Ellen Niemann) and pupil representation (Lucas Bauer and Justus Gilsbach).

There are numerous core projects and “beacon” campaigns which can only be presented in this issue briefly, as well as many individual activities at schools worldwide (further information is available at www.waldorf-100.org).

That the Waldorf schools are facing up to the burning questions of the present time in the field of education can be seen in the interview with Christian Boettger and Klaus-Peter Freitag (both managing directors of the German Association of Waldorf Schools) as well as the brief outlines of individual subjects such as, for example, the salutogenic approach of Waldorf education (Michaela Glöckler), media education (Edwin Hübner), inclusion (Maud Beckers), interculturality (Johannes Mosmann), school & work (Wilfried Gabriel), and the position of Waldorf education in education studies by Jost Schieren (Alanus University).

In the anniversary year 2019, a second special issue will then be largely devoted to future perspectives and ask: what next?