GA 297

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The Idea and Practice of the Waldorf School

Idee und Praxis der Waldorfschule

Nine lectures, one meeting and answers to questions between 24 August 1919 and 29 December 1920 in various places.

Contents (selection)

World War I destroyed the structures, values, and self-confidence that created the seeming greatness of the nineteenth century. In its place stood ruins and the shards of a civilization. In response to this, Emil Molt ― the director of the Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette Factory and a student of Rudolf Steiner ― decided to establish a school to educate people who could create a new culture. Thus, the Waldorf school movement was begun. Rudolf Steiner agreed to act as the school’s consultant, and his insights guided the school in accomplishing this ambitious task.

The goal of this education was that, through living inner work guided by the insights of Rudolf Steiner, the teachers would develop in the children such power of thought, depth of feeling, and strength of will that they would emerge from their school years as full members of the human community, able to meet and transform the world.

These lectures occurred around the opening of the first Waldorf school. They serve as an excellent, inspiring introduction to Waldorf education as a whole. Here Steiner outlines ― with freshness, immediacy, and excitement ― the goals and intentions of a new form of education and speaks to parents of prospective students. He explains the school's guiding principles and describes how parents must participate, with understanding and interest, in the awakening of their children's creative forces so that a healthier society can come about.

What are the considerations behind the establishment of a Waldorf school? / Lecture for the parents of Waldorf school children / From what spirit can a contemporary art of education develop? / Supersensible knowledge and social-pedagogical power / Spiritual science and education / Education and social community from the standpoint of spiritual science / Lecture for teachers from Switzerland / Discussion evening on pedagogical and psychological questions / Anthroposophy and pedagogical art


  • Rudolf Steiner, Robert F. Lathe (Translator), Nancy Parsons Whittaker (Translator): The Spirit of the Waldorf School: Lectures Surrounding the Founding of the First Waldorf School. ‎ SteinerBooks 1995. ISBN 978-0880103947


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References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
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Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English (by Steiner Online Library).
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.