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Waldorf Education: Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was an Austrian polymath: a philosopher, social reformer, educator, artist, and architect. Through his founding of a spiritual movement, anthroposophy, he articulated teachings on topics ranging from Goethean science to art, medicine, economics, and education. The worldwide movement of Waldorf education is perhaps the greatest long-term example of holistic education. This entry discusses Steiner’s views on spirituality, its role in human existence, and his understanding of human development. It then describes the history of Waldorf education, its purpose and curriculum, and the expansion of Waldorf schools across North America.

Although academically precocious as a youth, Steiner attended trade rather than academically oriented schools. Still, Steiner taught himself the more academic curriculum. After working as an editor of Goethe’s scientific writings and as a ...

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