2 volumes: September 8, 1919 – September 3, 1924 (CW 300a/b)
The Waldorf school movement has its roots in the chaotic period following World War I. Struggling to create the first school, Rudolf Steiner worked on every detail-lesson plans, religious education, school hours, course resources, administration, finance, and child study. Guiding the faculty, Steiner moved toward his goal of creating a vehicle for social transformation.
These two volumes span 1919 to 1924 and cover, meeting by meeting, the development of the first Waldorf school. Participating in a work in progress, Steiner deals with an amazing array of problems, frustrations, successes, and failures. His sleeves rolled up and his sight on a vision that he made a reality, Steiner lays the foundations of Waldorf education. This detailed look behind the scenes will interest not only teachers, but also parents, students, and anyone who wants to know how a successful worldwide school movement arose.
German source: Konferenzen mit den Lehren der Freien Waldorfschule 1919–1924 (GA 300a–c)
Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up (see right). As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.
Betty K. Staley was born in 1938 in the Bronx, New York, attended City University of New York, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in psychology and a minor in history. She received her Waldorf teacher training at the Michael Hall Teacher Training Course, Sussex, England. She earned her MA in education at St. Mary's College, Moraga, California. Ms. Staley began her Waldorf teaching at the Sacramento Waldorf School as a kindergarten substitute and handwork teacher, and then became a class teacher from 5th through 8th grade before returning to take a 7th grade, which became the first high school class, graduating in 1978. She guided the high school and taught in it full-time for nineteen years. Ms. Staley a founder of Rudolf Steiner College, Fair Oaks, California. She has been a consultant and guide to Waldorf teachers, both in independent Waldorf schools and in Waldorf methods public schools, and for teachers of at-risk students. A worldwide lecturer on child and adolescent development, multiculturalism, and Waldorf education, Ms. Staley is thus far the author of five books: Tapestries: Weaving Life's Journey (1997); Soul Weaving: How to Shape Your Destiny and Inspire Your Dreams (2000); Between Form and Freedom: A practical Guide to the Teenage Years (2009); and Africa: A Teacher's Guide (2017, 2021).
Robert F. Lathe has translated several books by Rudolf Steiner on Anthroposophy and Waldorf education