Waldorf Education was developed by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). Born in Austria, Steiner was known early in his career primarily as a scientist and philosopher concerned with scientific and epistemological questions. From around the age of forty, Steiner began to speak publicly as a spiritual teacher. Drawing from his own profound spiritual experiences, he addressed such basic questions as the origin, nature, and destiny of the human being, the evolution of human consciousness, and the relationship between the religions of the world.
Steiner addressed nearly every area of life and research: philosophy, religion, education, science, mathematics, medicine, agriculture, architecture, social organization, economics, art, drama, speech, music, the movement arts, care of the handicapped and of the elderly, and so on. A theme in all of Steiner’s work is that modern humanity must discover and experience anew the divine spirit that exists in the world and within each human being and must transform modern culture on the basis of that spiritual reality.
Steiner holds that the human being is ultimately a spiritual being, who incarnates out of the spiritual world and who returns there after death, and who is in an endless process of evolution and self-development. The modern scientific/materialistic view of the world and of the human being is both incorrect and disastrous. It is incorrect in that it is blind to the invisible spiritual world that creates, permeates, and supports the physical world, and blind also to the spiritual dimension of the human being. It is disastrous in that it has led to a secular culture that does not meet human needs and that has brought much human suffering. Modern humanity must renew its connection to the divine and create a way of life that supports the wholesome spiritual evolution of the human being.
Taken with permission from Waldorf Education, Schooling the Head, Hands and Heart by Ronald Koetzsch.