History

The first Waldorf School was founded in 1919 to serve the children of employees at the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart Germany and was the first school to put the principle of social justice into practice. Grounded in the social philosophy of Rudolph Steiner, the school educated young people together, irrespective of their social, economic backgrounds or abilities. It was the first school to replace selection with a child centred pedagogy, where every child was valued and offered encouragement and support. There are now over one thousand Waldorf Schools spread throughout the world, and in many cases the philosophy of social justice has impacted on the external social order. Under the apartheid regime in South Africa, the Waldorf School was one of the few schools in which children of both races attended the same classes, despite the en suing loss of state aid.

A Waldorf training college in Cape Town, the Novalis Institute was described by UNESCO as an organization which had a great consequence in the conquest of apartheid: ”It has prepared the way and laid the foundations for a new and integrated community. “The Waldorf pedagogy adopts a humanistic approach, whose overarching goals are to provide young people with the foundations on which to develop into free, morally responsible and integrated individuals. The Waldorf curriculum carefully balances academic, artistic and practical activities to prepare the child as thoroughly as possible for life’s experiences. Waldorf schools attach great importance to the artistic, technical and scientific tuition of pupils. Waldorf schooling also focuses upon nurturing the child’s self-confidence and self-reliance, while fostering his or her personal integrity and a sense of social and environmental interdependency and responsibility.