Celebrating 100 Years of Waldorf Education
The first Waldorf school was founded in Stuttgart, Germany in 1919. Today there are over 1,100 Waldorf schools and almost 2,000 Waldorf kindergartens in more than 70 countries around the globe. Waldorf Schools are based on the pedagogical principles and methods of Austrian philosopher and educator Rudolf Steiner. The Centennial, Waldorf100, is an occasion to further develop Waldorf education for contemporary times, and focus more consciously on its global dimensions. In celebration of this milestone, Waldorf schools and communities worldwide are participating in exciting projects and initiatives. Here is a glimpse into the Waldorf School of Lexington’s projects:
Postcard Exchange Project: During the 2018-2019 academic year, Waldorf schools around the world participated in a postcard exchange initiative to both broaden the perspective of students and celebrate the 100th anniversary of Waldorf education. Students from every Waldorf school created and sent a postcard to every other Waldorf school in the world. Each postcard was individually designed by a student, telling or showing something of their country, school, or self. This innovative global project has connected 1,100 students and schools to one another through individualized and artistically designed postcards, which have been arranged, by each school, into a map for public display. Stop by our main office to view the collection of postcards that WSL received from other Waldorf Schools.
GreenBee Wildlife Web Initiative: The world’s bee and pollinator population has declined at an alarming rate in recent years thereby threatening the world’s food supply. One-third of the world’s food source relies on pollination by bees, birds, bats, and other insects, of which bees are by far the most significant player. As part of the Waldorf education centennial celebration, Waldorf schools across the globe are taking action by cultivating gardens, tending bees and establishing bee-tending programs to help support and rebuild the pollinator population.
At the Waldorf School of Lexington, gardening and farming are valued and essential components of our experiential curriculum. In our beautiful biodynamic garden, students are introduced to principles of planting and growing. Our community cultivates flowers and vegetables, many of which are used in our school kitchen and lunch program. This past Earth Day, our students planted pollinator seeds around our campus in celebration of Waldorf100—we thank the Turtle Tree Seed for donating over 3,500 seeds to our school!
WSL also maintains beehives and a student-built “pollinator hotel” for native bees. This past spring, our fifth grade witnessed the exciting arrival of new bees to our beehives. To further our understanding of pedagogical tools for teaching about the bees, WSL Kindergarten teacher Mary Mansur attended a four day workshop at Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary. This workshop was dedicated to the Honeybees and Waldorf Schools in light of Waldorf100.
A Global Education
Waldorf education is a global educational movement, with over 1,000 schools on six continents, and in over 60 countries, worldwide. Each school is autonomous and independently run, yet linked by a common educational philosophy and curriculum.
Waldorf education grows out of the work of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), an Austrian scientist, philosopher, architect, and educator who founded the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart, Germany in 1919. Through a developmentally based pedagogy, Steiner intended to cultivate young peoples' independent thinking and imagination, empathy for others, and also to develop their strength of will, so they would rise to individual, social, and economic challenges both contemporary and future.
Waldorf teachers receive specialized training in the Waldorf developmentally based curriculum and methods in colleges and training centers in North America, Great Britain, Europe, South America, Australia, and around the world. The Waldorf School of Lexington does not educate students in anthroposophy, the philosophy associated with Steiner's teachings. Wherever a Waldorf school may be located, its curriculum consistently provides a comprehensive academic and cultural education that encourages students to develop into clear-thinking, creative, balanced, and responsible individuals.