Rudolf Steiner was one of the most significant thinkers of the twentieth century, whose work in science, art, agriculture, architecture, health, human development and education continues to be revolutionary today.
Rudolf Steiner was born in the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1861. Rudolf Steiner grew up surrounded by the natural beauty of the Austrian Alps which inspired great wonder and joy, whilst also being exposed to the modern technologies of the era. His father worked as a station master at a small railway station where the young Rudolf Steiner was fascinated by the railway and telecommunications.
When he was nine years old, Rudolf Steiner discovered a geometry book belonging to his teacher. He was fascinated and spent many happy hours tackling geometry problems. This same teacher awakened his interest in art and taught him to draw using charcoal.
As a teenager, Rudolf Steiner became interested in mathematics and philosophy and from age 15 he tutored fellow pupils and younger children in order to help his parents pay his school fees. His father wanted him to become an engineer, so the family moved nearer to Vienna where Rudolf Steiner could attend university and he began his advanced studies in natural history, physical sciences and mathematics.
During his university years, Steiner became interested in the scientific writings of Johnannes Wolfgang Von Goethe. In Goethe’s writing Steiner found an appreciation and understanding of the spiritual element that lies behind and within nature. He spent seven years editing the scientific writings of Goethe and published his first major work The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity.
In 1902, Steiner began lecturing to the Theosophical Society which developed by 1912 into the Anthroposophical Society. Steiner continued to lecture in Dornach, where he directed the building of the Goetheanum as a centre for the growing international movement.
At the end of World War 1, Emil Molt asked Rudolf Steiner to establish a modern school for the children of factory workers. The first Waldorf school was established in Stuttgart in 1919.
There are now over one thousand Steiner Waldorf Schools in over 60 countries around the world. It is the fastest growing independent school movement in the world.