Waldorf Pedagogy began when the first Waldorf school was inaugurated on September 7th, 1919 in Stuttgart. It was established under the guidance of philosopher and investigator Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). Given the social context of the time, the manager of the cigarette factory, Waldorf Astoria, decided to create a school to better respond to the needs of the future, and to offer the factory workers’ children an education. For this reason the factory invited the guidance of Rudolph Steiner who had recently presented his theory about social organisms in the context of citizen-led social movements arising after the first world war.
From August to September 1919 Steiner offered a course in pedagogy to the first teachers of the school and to others who were interested in the school initiative. The compilation of this course is called “The Study of Man.” In this compilation Steiner describes his anthroposophic anthropology. This is a vision of man that guides the Waldorf pedagogy as well as the didactic and methodology of the various learning years.
Our greatest effort should be the development of free human beings who are able, by themselves, to find purpose and direction in their lives.
Rudolf Steiner “Study of Man,” 1919 Stuttgart – GA293
Anthroposophy extends its coverage to various branches of society including medicine, therapy and agriculture. Personal development and life long learning is the common point in all of the areas. For almost 100 years, little by little, Waldorf/Steiner schools have spread all over the world.
In the context of the current state of education in the world, Waldorf pedagogy has influenced education reform in many countries. Waldorf pedagogy was recognized by UNESCO as a pedagogy able to respond to many current educational challenges.