And special guest, the Mayor of Totnes, Jacqui Hodgson, and her husband, Consort Richard, also came along to join in the festivities.
Thank you to Rob Carney, John Platt and Tom Parker for holding the event, and special thanks to parents, Becci Erickson and Alexander Gifford for their presentations. Music was beautifully performed by Oliver on Cello.
On this momentous occasion, it’s worth reflecting on why we have all chosen Waldorf education for our children (as parents, and as teachers). Here follows a snippet of the official press release that will be released today:
The Steiner movement is the most successful alternative educational movement on the planet with over 3000 schools and kindergartens in nearly 90 countries worldwide.
It is based upon a holistic understanding of the development of the child and young person, with a strong emphasis on craft, artistic activity and self-expression, combined with a rigorous academic approach that encourages independent and flexible thinking.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate our global, educational vision.” said Tom Parker, a senior teacher at the school.
“In a world where young people will grow up to face considerable social, economical and environmental challenges, they need to be far more adaptable and resilient.
Having useful skills and a store of knowledge, although important, is not enough. Young people need to be sure of who they are and have confidence to apply their own ideas and approaches to life.
When young people are able to think their own thoughts, these new ideas will bring the positive change that the world needs, as well as allowing them to create their own unique and fulfilling path through life.”
As part of the celebrations, Alexander Gifford, a parent at the school, gave a talk on the founding of the first Steiner school, one hundred years ago.
“It was very much a response to the devastation of World War One,” he says. “The burning question for many people was: how can we educate our children in a new way so that this will never happen again?
Rudolf Steiner, a respected philosopher and pedagogue, proposed some impressive answers and pretty quickly there were schools, based on his ideas, springing up all over Europe.
The first one was in the Waldorf Astoria Cigarette Factory in Stuttgart, which is why Steiner schools are also called Waldorf schools.
Their goal is to create confident, responsible young people, who will want to contribute to building a better world and not just fit themselves into the social status quo.”
The South Devon Steiner School is itself celebrating its 40th anniversary this year; and so the celebrations on the 19th were also an opportunity for the school to mark an important, personal milestone.
“We’ve hit middle-age” says John Platt, an ex-teacher at the school, “and with that comes a feeling of being grounded and established. At the same time, we are constantly evolving and finding new ways to adapt our curriculum and practice to make it more relevant and meaningful for children here and now.”
Bundle McLaren, a current parent of the school, gave this picture:
“I was on the beach with my children and some friends from the school last autumn. The children were looking at the rocks and seaweed together in a way that struck a passer-by as being impressively curious and collaborative.
He said to his friends: “They must be from the South Devon Steiner School” – which shows how well-known for the right reasons we are.”