This month marks the 100th anniversary of Dr Rudolf Steiner’s first training course for teachers as they prepared to open the world’s first school based on his methods. In September 1919 the school opened, and 100 years later we are enjoying the fruits of their pioneering labours.
Six years after this moment, the lectures of this first training course were published, and in the Foreword, Dr Steiner’s widow Marie Steiner summed up the essence of the complex, organic whole that is Steiner education with the classic words:
“Our highest endeavor is to produce young men and women who out of themselves are able to give meaning and direction to their own lives.”
How contemporary they now sound! At the time, schools were either based on the old, grammar school model of classical languages and learning, or the newer industrial model producing technical professionals and workers for industry. Many schools were founded on a religious base with the aim of producing more adherents loyal to that religion.
Here Dr Steiner is proclaiming an education that would foster individuals able to build their own meaning and direction out of themselves. He was founding a new education that was for the future, and that future is now, the 21st century.