The European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education (ECSWE) consists of 26 national Steiner Waldorf schools associations representing 712 schools and 159.230 pupils in 28 European countries. The organisation is funded by contributions of our members that are calculated based on pupils numbers in the member countries.
Education enabling all children to holistically unfold their unique potential throughout their lifelong personal and professional development.
Supporting genuine Steiner Waldorf education and promoting human-centred and independent education in Europe
President: Dr. Richard Landl, Germany
Role: The board formally administers and represents the association. The board offers guidance and steers Council activities, sets the agenda of Council meetings and hires and supervises staff. The board represents the Council towards the EU Institutions in Brussels. Board members are elected by the Council for a period of 3 years.
Managing Director: Georg Jürgens
1 person full-time, 1 person 20%
Role: The Brussels office coordinates the work of the Council, organises meetings, facilitates communication with and between members, builds and maintains a network with partner organisations. On behalf of the board, the managing director can represent the Council towards the EU Institutions in Brussels.
Each of our 26 member associations is represented by its appointed representative and has one vote in the General Assembly; 6 partner organisations have permanent guest status without voting rights.
Role: The Council is a forum to report on important organisational, political and legal developments in the member countries, to exchange best practices and to coordinate joint activities and advocacy around shared goals. The Council meets 3 times per year; each time in a different member country.
To implement our mission, we promote freedom in education and school autonomy. The provision of genuine Steiner Waldorf education tailored to local needs is best achieved if the following conditions are met:
- Freedom of curriculum: National associations and local schools can define and fully implement their own school curricula without state interventions;
- The freedom of parental school choice as described in Article 14, Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union is granted Europe wide. Where necessary, national governments change their legislation accordingly;
- Full public funding for independent non-profit schools is granted Europe wide to realize the right of parental school choice, irrespective of financial means;
- Pluralism in assessment is a reality and Waldorf schools may develop and provide their own, state-recognised diploma. Standardised and centralised tests are replaced with individualised assessment;
- Age-appropriate ICT and media pedagogy: Our schools can provide their own ICT and media pedagogy based on our development-oriented approach.
- ET 2020 Working Group Schools: Since February 2016, ECSWE is a member. The Working Group is facilitated by the European Commission and brings together experts from national education ministries, relevant EU bodies, international organisations, social partners and civil society to further policy development through mutual learning and the identification of good practices.
- Initiative for an age-appropriate media pedagogy: Together with IASWECE and ELIANT, ECSWE lobbies EU Institutions and engages in an open debate with our partners and other stakeholders;
- Initiative for Pluralism in Assessment: In close cooperation with the Learning for Well-being Community, ECSWE collects good practices in assessment to show alternatives to standardised tests. These are also used to inform our Advocacy towards EU Institutions;
- Lobbying for Freedom in Education: ECSWE maintains a network with other organisations promoting Freedom in Education.
Steiner Waldorf education
Steiner Waldorf education emphasizes the role of imagination in learning and integrates the intellectual, practical, and artistic development of pupils holistically. The Steiner Waldorf curriculum is non-prescriptive, in accord with developmental needs of the child and avoids an undue early specialisation or inappropriate academic pressure. The Steiner core curriculum is taught in bloc lessons. A class teacher accompanies children from school entry age for several years in succession. Our schools are co-educational, and usually both comprehensive and integrated from the age of 6/7 to 18/19. Most schools are run co-operatively by a College of Teachers using a flat management system.
A worldwide movement
It has nearly been 100 years. Rudolf Steiner founded the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart in 1919, upon request of entrepreneur Emil Molt, who had asked him to create a school for the children of workers at the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory. Today there are over 1,100 Waldorf schools and 1,700 Waldorf kindergartens in over 80 countries around the globe – and the movement is growing fast. Most of these schools are located in Europe and represented by our members:
|Country||Schools (2017)||Pupils (2016)||Country||Schools (2017)||Pupils (2016)|
|Czech Republic||18||2.665||Portugal***||2||no data|
|* numbers in brackets: schools/pupils represented in the national association **represented by the United Kingdom, ***represented by Spain, ****pupils numbers include Ireland|