Waldorf Education is something familiar to many of us. Parents and teachers choose Waldorf Schools because they are comfortable with the picture of the child as a developing human being that underlies the curriculum. We choose Waldorf because we want children to be challenged to become creative thinkers, and to be encouraged to become masters of their own ships. This is something the pedagogy provides for every child, and yet the setting of the large classroom may not be the best place for every child. More and more we meet children who need a smaller setting, who need more individual attention than a teacher of a class of twenty to thirty children can appropriately provide. It is also clear that these children need to move in order to form right relationships with their own bodies and to the space around them. They need the healing aspects of movement to better integrate themselves with their surroundings; to learn and progress academically and to form relationships to others.
What many people don’t know is that Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf Education, also gave a curriculum for these children who need something more. He referred to this work as the deepening of Waldorf Education. He presented it in a course of lectures the title of which is best translated as “Curative Education”. At Mulberry, we have been working out of Curative Education for the last ten years, and we have seen the results of Steiner’s intentions carried out in the progress the children make.
Through this work many children have been able to return to a large classroom without significant difficulties and ready to take up their work academically and socially. Other children are served by Mulberry in that they can receive a Waldorf Education tailored for their own time schedule; one that allows them to succeed at their own pace and feel real pride in their work.
Curative Education also serves many children in the larger classrooms. By working to educate teachers we are able to give them new insights and tools to support more children in the large class. The work we do is applicable to every child and every family. All of us as human beings are in need of healing sometimes. Mulberry Farm exists to serve children who need this support more directly, but a knowledge of Curative Education is something needed more and more in every classroom and every family. More and more we are looking for answers to the difficulties we find as parents and teachers. As supporters of Waldorf Education we are familiar and comfortable with the concept of working from the whole to the parts. Curative Education provides a way of viewing the human being that mirrors this philosophy. We start with who each child is at heart; each one an individual, and then we work to find what is in their way of manifesting that individuality. This individuality is what Steiner calls the genius of the child. More mainstream approaches look at the symptoms and then attach labels to those symptoms. Steiner tells us when we do that we destroy the genius in the child. At Mulberry you won’t find children with labels. You will only find children being helped to heal themselves, because this is how it should be. This is the kind of respect each human being deserves.