Waldorf Schools celebrate 100 Years of Education Worldwide
New Zealand, 24 September 2019 - September marks the 100 year anniversary of Steiner/Waldorf education worldwide, and to celebrate this milestone Steiner/Waldorf schools within New Zealand are celebrating by creating awareness of environmental issues.
With a curriculum that focuses on the environment, wellbeing, and warm technologies, such as knitting and crafts, activities to celebrate this milestone include planting 100 trees, festival celebration days with music, sculpture, and a centenary tree planting ceremony. Coinciding with the national ‘Bee Aware’ month, there will be a workshop for gardening for climate action, while younger children are planting wildflowers to attract bees.
Environmental awareness is important in Steiner/Waldorf education, and some schools are particularly interested in climate change issues. Planting Trees and flowers for bees is one way for the children to support the environment. The United Nations (UN) says that ‘Climate change is the defining issue of our time and now is the defining moment to do something about it’. The UN Climate Change Summit began on 23 September 2019 in New York to address climate change related issues of our time.
Founded in 1919 by Rudolf Steiner, Steiner education, also known as Waldorf Education, aims to develop pupils' intellectual, artistic, and practical skills in an integrated and holistic manner, with a keen focus on the environment. There are over 1,000 Steiner schools and kindergartens worldwide, and there are 11 schools and 23 kindergartens within New Zealand.
Janet Molloy, CEO of Steiner Education Aotearoa New Zealand says that Steiner/Waldorf Education has been gaining more interest throughout New Zealand over the last 50 years, and even more so recently with the rise of interest in well-being.
“We are seeing more interest than ever before in Steiner/Waldorf Education; we believe that this is because of a heightened awareness and shift on well-being and taking things more slowly in modern day life. Parents are also becoming more concerned by the damage to children from the access to visual media, phones, TV, computers, and the overload of children’s senses, and instead are wanting a focus on holistic, natural teaching environments which work with the developmental stages of childhood,” says Janet Molloy, CEO Steiner Education Aotearoa New Zealand.
The first Steiner school in New Zealand was established in 1950 in Hastings, previously the Queenswood Anglican boarding school for girls, which became Hastings Rudolf Steiner School, later renamed in Taikura. The latest school to be established was Waiheke Island in 2017.