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What is Steiner Education?

Rudolf Steiner was an Austrian philosopher, lecturer, author and scholar whose work influenced many fields of cultural/social life in the first two decades of the 20th century. These areas include architecture, medicine and agriculture (bio-dynamic farming).  He is perhaps best known to many of us for his insight into child and human development and his leading work in the renewal of education, which he believed represents a fundamental and integral aspect of human civilisation and its development.


The establishment of the first  Steiner (Waldorf) school occurred within a particular historial context,  in Germany, after the end of the first world war. The school was founded independently from the Anthroposophical society, which was founded in 1912 as the centre for the study of Steiner’s philosophical works.

 As the introduction to the volumes “Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner” clarifies, the first Steiner (Waldorf) school was not created as an ideal, completely thought- out school program. Rather, Steiner showed how…..’ a school organism and how schools in general, must necessarily arise  from the capacities of the people involved, and from the conditions of the time and place according to the needs of an independent cultural life.’ Tallowood exists as an example of this adaptation to and reflection of, a specific context, in a particular time and place.


Steiner (and those who translated his many lectures), used the lexicon of his time and place to lecture, write and communicate his body of knowledge and understanding. Today, this language, and the social context it arose out of, can be inaccessible to us at best and alienating at worst as we navigate the modern terrain of education and child/ development in our 21st Century world.

Significantly, we find that Steiner’s deep and abiding insight into human development and age appropriate educational practice is now confirmed by evidenced based research. It is testimony to the enduring and penetrating visionary work of Steiner that his findings are now firmly verified and backed up by evidence into how the human brain develops and what conditions are needed for optimal, healthy functioning. His findings into age appropriate educational activity for children are affirmed over and again by developmental Psychologists and Educators from all walks of life.

There are many examples of the correlations between Steiner’s findings and the neuroscience of brain development. For instance, the work of clinical school psychologist Dr. Reggie Melrose clearly articulates why Waldorf (Steiner) educational practices work, from the perspective of neuroscience. Her work on this can be accessed through this blog Why Waldorf Works.

The work of Canadian Developmental Psychologist Gordon Neufeld, (‘Raising Children in the Digital Age’ and ‘Hold on to your kids….. Why parents need to matter more than peers’), is also outstanding. Nuefeld gives us a modern, research based  perspective on the pre-eminent need that children have for parents (and teachers) to take leadership and authority, in guiding children and their development. His valuable work verifies many underpinnings of sound Steiner Educational theory and practice.

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Why Steiner Education?

Our teachers work with Steiner’s educational indications and in addition to their university teaching degrees, are supported to continually develop their understanding of Steiner Education, through professional courses and workshops throughout the year.

Teachers at Tallowood are actively involved in ensuring that our understanding of child development and our educational practices are firmly grounded in 21st century research/evidence based practice.

While children are simultaneously developing their physical bodies, their emotional, social and moral selves and their academic capacities, different aspects take predominance at different stages of their growth and development.

Our approach strives to ensure that our students are engaged and participating in the multitude of ways in which they are active as learners. This includes making full use of their natural need for movement, rhythmical activity, music and song, poetry and recitation.

Presenting curriculum content through rich imagery, through story and through biography in the older years, really appeals to children’s feelings and directly develops their innate capacity of imagination.


Phone(02) 6564 7224

Address220 Bellingen Road, Bowraville

Office Hours9am-3pm, Mon-Fri during school terms

Our school, staff and students respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of the Gumbaynggirr nation on which we live and work. We extend this respect and reverence to all Indigenous Elders across all nations through the world.

© 2020 Tallowood Steiner School