Waldorf education aims to support children in discovering their own impulses and developing their own potential for their realisation. The longer they can openly follow their own motivation, the broader they can develop their abilities. “The child‘s developmental prospects are based on his first years of life and extend far into adulthood,” says Florian Oswald, co-director of the Pedagogical Section at the Goetheanum. “We also include the prenatal period”.
The implementation of this ideal depends on the cultural and regulatory conditions in the country where the child grows up. The Waldorf movement is looking for forms of cross-country, cross-linguistic and cross-religious cooperation in the sense of the threefold nature of the social organism. For Rudolf Steiner it helps to understand and develop the various areas of society – culture (intellectual life), legislation (legal life) and trade (economic life) – and their respective principles and natural laws. One area of supranational cooperation is the International Association for Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education (IASWECE). Here, educators from America, Europe, Asia and Oceania use reports, conversations and study projects to gain an impression and understanding of young children‘s current situation; for example on topics such as ‘sleep’ and ‘digital media’.
“The Waldorf movement wants to draw attention to the crucial importance of childhood and adolescence,” adds Philipp Reubke of IASWECE. “It is important therefore, that the work of nursery school teachers, kindergarten teachers, nannies and their male colleagues be valued accordingly”.