Creating An Inclusive Society: Waldorf Education’s Social Mission

Dear Parents and Community Members,

As the year comes to a close, we would like to pause to reflect on the social mission of Waldorf education in the context of our tumultuous times. As an educational institution, we are aware of our important role to educate children to grow into engaged and compassionate adults. The foundational principles of Waldorf education demand that we take our citizenship in the world seriously, and assume that the context of current society will both impact our students and in some way inform the approach and content of our educational programs.

Two of the foundational goals of Waldorf education are: 1) to recognize the unique and equal value of every human being and 2) to foster social renewal by cultivating human capacities in service to the individual and society. Out of these founding ideas, Waldorf Schools, which exist all over the world, have historically sought to include and defend marginalized populations and to build bridges between people in places as diverse as Nazi Germany, apartheid South Africa, and Israel and Palestine.

Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education, advised the teachers in the first Waldorf School in Germany in this way:

“…we as teachers must be interested in everything that is going on in the world and in all the concerns of (hu)mankind … We should take an interest in the affairs of the outside world, and we should also be able to enter into all the concerns, great or small, of every individual child in our care … The teacher should be one who is interested in the being of the whole world and humanity.”

This dual task, to being fully awake to the world while dedicated to the care of the individual children whom we serve, is a driving force in our work at City of Lakes Waldorf School.

While it is not our role to comment on political issues, it is our role to educate and care for our students to our utmost; this must involve considering the effects societal issues may have on them. We feel it is important to reaffirm our strong commitment to create and maintain an open, welcoming and safe school environment for all of our students, families and staff. We consider our work of nurturing diversity, inclusivity, and equity at City of Lakes more vital than ever. We acknowledge that students and families who are part of marginalized or vulnerable populations may be at risk to be further marginalized or particularly affected; we will hold these students with care within our school community.

We continue our work to promote multiculturalism and diversity in the curriculum, an inclusive festival life, a welcoming and inclusive physical environment, and equity in all walks of our school-life. In addition, we will continue to work together, as teachers, staff and parents to attend to the social-emotional health of students, and to consider ways in which we can engage students in projects that ignite hope and build inner strength.

As a Waldorf school, we honor the uniqueness of each individual and value the gifts and contributions of each child. We categorically reject racism and discrimination in all its forms. City of Lakes strives to be a place where all families are welcome, and where we nurture love, kindness, and mutual respect.

We invite parents to review our Non-Discrimination Policy and our Inclusiveness Statement, as well as the resources included below. If you have specific concerns or suggestions, please reach out to your child’s class teacher, our Diversity Committee co-chairs, or our Administrative Director.

In service,

City of Lakes Waldorf School Diversity Committee, Coworkers and Board of Trustees

Administrative Director, Marti Stewart

Diversity Committee Co-Chairs, Zena Kocher and Sarah Rose Miller;

Additional resources:

  • Please click here to read AWSNA’s Statement of Equality. This declaration was made to clarify the intent of Rudolf Steiner’s pedagogical theories and work, and to explicitly reject allegations that Waldorf schools in any way espouse racist or nationalistic views. Updated November 2016.
  • Please click here to read an article by early childhood educator and administrator Susan Weber, titled How Do I Find and Create Goodness for My Children?
  • Please click here to read Marti Stewart’s presentation to our school community last March, entitled Deepening our Roots and the Social Mission of Waldorf Education.

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