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Looking back to 2022

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It was a year that has challenged us in many ways – be it in educational practice or in our daily lives.

The new team of the Pedagogical Section has been working for a year, both here at the Goetheanum and occasionally on trips to different institutions and countries. Dorothee Prange has been with the Section the longest; she has been responsible for its operational management for over 20 years. Philipp Reubke joined the Section leadership in July 2021, replacing Claus-Peter Röh, who moved to the General Anthroposophical Section. Constanza Kaliks took up her position in the Pedagogical Section leadership in January 2022. She also continues to work on the Executive Committee of the General Anthroposophical Society and in the General Anthroposophical Section.

Ioana Viscrianu has been a research assistant this year with a half-time position. Robin Schmidt is a volunteer advisor and research assistant in addition to his work as a lecturer at the University of Teacher Education Northwestern Switzerland. Carmen Gloria Godoy has been responsible for the website and the newsletter since this spring.

For this year and a few years to come, we have set five focal points for our work: pedagogical anthropology and the spiritual deepening of educational practice, digital technology, interculturality and curricula, resilience and school, as well as training and further education.

The Study of Man: the description of the context in which it was developed by Steiner and the formulation of its relationship to the situation of childhood and schools today have always been one of the tasks of the Pedagogical Section and all Waldorf education training centres. In this field of work, we have organized events, such as the one in collaboration with the General Anthroposophical Section, on the pedagogical courses Steiner held a hundred years ago, as well as a video lecture series on «Voices of a humane pedagogy». We also participated in a large number of conferences, each time trying to formulate for our situation today how we understand the development of the child and the human being with the help of the perspectives developed by Steiner.[1] Particularly important for us has been the point of view that in Waldorf education no fixed programme is prescribed, but that the study of the human being is central.

Digital technology and all kinds of devices and machines determine our lives today. They change our relationship to nature and our bodies and influence our physical, mental, and spiritual development. As the world we live in has changed, education must also evolve to enable children and young people to continue to lead healthy lives in which they can use technology with confidence and be manipulated by it as little as possible. A colloquium with 120 participants took place on this theme at the Goetheanum in April, prepared in collaboration with the Hague Circle - International Conference for Steiner Waldorf Education[2]. A publication is in preparation. The next World Teachers’ Conference in April 2023 will also deal with this topic.

The topic of interculturality has many aspects that are crucial for everyday educational life. It is also of great relevance for Waldorf education, as it has unfolded in very different ethnic, cultural, and ideological contexts in recent decades. For the numerous Waldorf kindergartens and schools outside Central Europe, the question of how to develop the curriculum differently in each case has therefore always been important. Since the parents in many schools and kindergartens today have very diverse cultural backgrounds almost everywhere, nearly every institution is faced with the task of continually redesigning the curriculum. In terms of religious education, too, no single model can be simply adopted. What can education in gratitude, love, reverence, and social commitment look like today? This whole complex of topics was discussed at a colloquium of the Pedagogical Section from 8 to 11 September 2022 with a group of about 25 people from all over the world. A publication is in preparation. The topic was also dealt with at conferences of other organisations where the Pedagogical Section was involved: at a conference in October on curricular issues in Brussels, organised by ECSWE, and at a colloquium of the Care 1 working group on pregnancy, birth, and early childhood (December 2022 in Frankfurt).

In the area of resilience and school, we have started a research project. Promoting human health at all levels – physical, psychological, social, and spiritual – is at the core of Rudolf Steiner's educational impulse. However, few empirical studies have been conducted in this area.  Ioana Viscrianu in collaboration with Dr. Gina Anghelescu from the University in Glasgow, Scotland, is coordinating this project in the field of «Resilience and School», which will take place as a longitudinal, cross-national survey. The project aims to identify and through qualitative and quantitative methods describe elements of educational practice that enable children and young people to be capable adults in an unpredictable future. Close cooperation with schools, training, and further education institutions, as well as universities, will be sought on an international level to further develop the project.

The further development and quality of Waldorf education depend on diverse training and further training opportunities that prepare well for the demanding educational professions. Our efforts to support the quality of training went in several different directions this year:

  • We have continued the International Teacher Education Project (ITEP) which was launched several years ago. Once a month via video conference, lecturers and trainers from all over the world discuss new or proven ideas, methods, and contents in the various training centres in relation to a text that formulates guidelines for teacher education. 
  • We have participated in an early childhood trainers' meeting organised by IASWECE[3] and are planning a colloquium for autumn 2023 and an international trainers' conference at the Goetheanum in spring 2024. Here you will find all further education events.
  • On the topic of «weekly meetings of pedagogical faculties as ongoing research and training institutions» we have organised two events with presentations and conversations via video conference.

In 2022 we continued our collaboration with professional associations and working groups active in the field of school and education: there were many contacts and collaborations with Waldorf associations, with the «Friends of Waldorf Education» (collaboration in the Supervisory Board), with the Hague Circle (collaboration in the preparatory group), with IASWECE (collaboration in the Executive Board), with the IAO (association to support Waldorf education in Eastern Europe, with the International Working Group on Trademark Law, with ECSWE, and in the working group on Pregnancy, Birth and Early Childhood (Care 1) in cooperation with the Medical Section.

After a break during the pandemic, visits by pedagogical training courses to the Goetheanum also took place again this year. For almost twenty groups of students, we were able to present the work of the School of Spiritual Science and engage in very intensive conversations about the priorities of schools and kindergartens today.

We would like to thank all those who have supported the work of the Pedagogical Section this year, be it through contributions and collaboration at colloquia, through articles and suggestions, or through donations. We look forward to further support in every way.

Constanza Kaliks and Philipp Reubke for the Section leadership with Dorothee Prange (management), Carmen Gloria Godoy (communication), Ioana Viscrianu and Robin Schmidt (research assistants)

Translated by Susan Howard



[1] In Denmark, Germany, Switzerland (organised by the Pedagogical Section and the Working Group of Steiner Schools in Switzerland, and the Religious Teachers' Conference, organised together with the International Religious Teachers' Council) in Norway, Lithuania, France, Portugal, as well as by video conference in Japan, Korea and Israel, and at the puppetry conferences in Dornach and the USA and at the birth to three Congress at the Goetheanum (organised by the Medical and Pedagogical Sections).



A sculpture of Rudolf Steiner's head guards the entrance to the Goetheanum.A sculpture of Steiner's head in the main entrance to the Goetheanum looks out into the wider world. (Photo: Goetheanum)