Rudolf Steiner had a special interest in the education of children and saw schooling as a way to achieve social renewal. He initiated Waldorf schools to counteract certain trends of his time, which continue to move toward an increasingly mechanistic, analytical, and intellectual educational environment. Waldorf students do not learn in a fragmentary ways, nor is the curriculum prepackaged. Their education is centered in creativity and social values, forming a solid foundation for learning the skills needed to integrate into the society and the workplace.
Mary Goral explores ways that Waldorf principles can be applied in public schools to educate children for life rather than simply to meet the demands of rigid, one-size-fits-all programs such as “No Child Left Behind.” She points out ways that Waldorf methods require teachers and parents to engage more fully with students, to practice ways of self-development, and to build a greater sense of community. Using the concrete example of the “Waldorf-inspired Cadre”―a group of “public-school teachers who have agreed to go on such a journey, take risks, and learn new skills along with their students”―Dr. Goral shows how teachers can bring many of the benefits of Waldorf education into the public setting, with remarkable results.