In this first chapter of the book Economic Explorations, leading Waldorf educator Werner Glas provides an overview of the basic themes facing Waldorf schools and economic life in light of Rudolf Steiner's social ideas. This is a general overview and introduction of the Threefold Social Order and its relationship to school organization.
From the beginning of the chapter:
"Each Waldorf School evolves and changes its organization and administrative structure as it moves from infancy to maturity. Many factors, quite unique to the character of a single school, have to be integrated as part of this process. Important shaping influences can be attributed to the cultural sett ing of the school, its geographical opportunities and limitations, the level of its community involvement, the local economy, political relationships, and legal requirements. Most important of all, Waldorf Schools do not educate children in the abstract. They are dedicated to the children entrusted to their care, and the needs of children may vary. It is therefore not surprising that, as a matter of principle, each school is autonomous; develops its own identity; and has to carry the legal, economic, and spiritual responsibility for its own life. Nevertheless, there are other vital considerations which unify all Waldorf Schools. These deserve attention from the moment a school is conceived and throughout the many phases of its development. In order to be a Waldorf School in spirit, as well as in name, the fundamental principles and practices of Waldorf Education must be central, bringing form and substance to the educational tasks undertaken and to the organization of the institution as a whole. The social impulse of Waldorf Education is best served when all the policies of the school are an integrated whole.
It is perhaps a novel thought for some that economic policies and educat ional policies can and should have more than a superficial relationship with each other. We are so used to compartmentalization and specialization that we easily forget the whole experience of an institution and focus on its specific parts. What is the place of a school in society? How should it relate to parents and the close geographical community around it? How should it relate to culture, the job market and the lifestyles of its time? What are its economic and legal responsibilities?
Four months before founding the first Waldorf School, Rudolf Steiner asked such questions in a book which is the cornerstone of his social thought."
Economic Explorations is a publication of AWSNA, made available to the public online by the Online Waldorf Library, a project of the Research Institute for Waldorf Education. This publication is available in ebook form as a free download EconomicExplorations. The book is also available in print form at AWSNA Books and More and through Amazon.