Rudolf Steiner & Anthroposophy
Anthroposophy (“wisdom of the human being”) is the body of spiritual teaching that underlies Waldorf Education and all the work at Sunbridge Institute.
Through anthroposophy, an individual grows spiritually by applying uniquely human abilities to develop clear thinking and a truthful perception of the world. This practice, diligently applied, is at first the path to a better understanding of—and higher moral conduct in—the physical world. Eventually, it leads to insight into the workings of the spiritual world and heartfelt understanding of the lively interplay between the spiritual and physical worlds.
Anthroposophy was articulated by Austrian scientist, philosopher, and visionary Rudolf Steiner across the span of a life devoted to teaching, writing, and social innovation. Steiner (1861-1925) first attracted notice as a brilliant young scholar of German philosophy and natural science; this led to him being appointed editor of a new edition of the scientific works of Goethe. Later, his work as a magazine editor and teacher in Berlin’s Free Workers’ University bolstered Steiner’s reputation as a fierce advocate for universal education and self-improvement as a route to constructive social change.
As he developed his ideas, Steiner traveled and taught widely. In more than two dozen books and some six thousand transcribed lectures, he articulated a path of inner development that drew upon all the world’s spiritual streams but with special insight into human needs and abilities in the twentieth century and beyond.
Rudolf Steiner consistently taught that social improvement and individual inner development must go hand in hand. In the course of his career he sparked numerous educational, social, and artistic movements that flourish around the world today. These include Waldorf Education, biodynamic agriculture, anthroposophical medicine, Camphill Villages, anthroposophical architecture, and numerous social movements and experiments.
Anthroposophy itself is not taught in Waldorf schools, but Waldorf teachers, including those educated at Sunbridge, use insights gained through their study of anthroposophy to understand and apply Steiner’s insights into child development in a loving and lively way. Through these insights, Waldorf schools create a uniquely humane and nurturing environment for fostering the development of the entire child: head, hands, and heart.