14. The Waldorf Education System and Religion
Liselotte Frisk [+]
Dalarna University, Sweden
The Anthroposophical movement originated with Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) in Berlin 1913. The Waldorf educational system, which originated in 1919, will be the subject of this chapter. The main focus in this educational system is on creativity and art, especially for younger children. The educational system is based on Steiner´s ideas that the human being develops through three stages during childhood and early youth. The guiding principles are thought, feeling and will, three functions or processes which are conceived of as working in different ways at different developmental levels. Thus different kinds of activities are conceived of as optimal at different ages and during different parts of the day. In this chapter the relationship between Anthroposophy as a philosophical-spiritual system and the Waldorf educational system is investigated. There has been a discussion in Sweden about whether the Waldorf educational system should be understood as religious or not. Against this background, the question is discussed. Annaskolan, a Waldorf school in Garpenberg, Dalarna, a local area in northern Sweden, is used as an example and illustration. Today there are more than 900 Waldorf schools all over the world. This chapter has previously been published.