Rudolf Steiner

The first Waldorf school was established in Stuttgart in 1919 by Rudolf Steiner.  2019 marked the 100th anniversary of this school.

Today there are over 1,100 Waldorf schools and almost 2,000 Waldorf kindergartens in some 80 countries around the globe. And more all the time. We are making our Centennial an occasion to further develop Waldorf education for contemporary times, and focus more consciously on its global dimensions. With many exciting projects on all continents. Keep your ears and eyes open, and be part of the movement: 100 years are just the beginning!

The Waldorf 100 celebrations aim to highlight the global movement that is Waldorf education and the opportunity we have to “Learn to Change the World”.


History of Rudolph Steiner:

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.


Art is central to the Steiner teaching philosophy

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.