About Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner was born in 1861 in Kraljevic (then in Austria, now in Yugoslavia), the son of a minor railway official. From an early age, Steiner was aware that the reality of the spiritual world was as certain as that of the physical one. He devoted much of his life to deepening his knowledge of the spiritual world. He was educated at the Technical University in Vienna, where he specialised in mathematics and science. His scientific ability was acknowledged when he was asked to edit Goethe’s writings on nature.

Steiner’s doctoral dissertation, Truth and Knowledge, was his first substantial philosophical work, which he called a result of ‘introspective observation’ following the methods of ‘Natural Science’. This line of thought and experience was expanded on in his book, The Philosophy of Freedom, published in 1894.

Rudolf Steiner believed that through his attachment to material things, man had largely lost the ability to participate in spiritual processes. He felt that it was possible to regain this spiritual perception by training the intellect to look beyond the physical realm. He addressed many fundamental spiritual issues, such as the being of man, the nature and purpose of freedom, the meaning of evolution, the relation of man to nature, and life after death and before birth.

Steiner went on to publish more than 50 titles, and these form the body of knowledge which he named ‘Anthroposophy’, or Science of the Spirit. In 1912 he founded the Anthroposophical Society. He has works published on philosophy, architecture, education, science, biodynamics and agriculture.

Rudolf Steiner established his first school in the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart (Germany) for the children of the workers. It was a free school. Steiner did not really want his name attached to the name of this education lest it appear sectarian. Hence the school became the Waldorf School. Over time, however, his name has crept into the names of many schools so that now one can find the education being referred to both as Steiner Education and Waldorf Education.

Rudolf Steiner had extraordinary insight into the processes of human development. He made it clear that already in our time, and increasingly in the future, sound practical undertakings in all spheres of life need to have their foundations in a deeper insight into the nature of the human being and the reactions that exist between humans and the wider world.

Teachers in a Steiner school share a commitment to deepening their understanding of the growing human being and the pedagogical indications that arise out of this knowledge.