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Each parent carries the flame: Waldorf schools as sites for promoting lifelong learning, creating community and educating for social renewal

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Product Description

By Tom Stehlik

Published: 2002
ISBN: 978-1-876682-37-8
Pages: viii+194
Imprint: Post Pressed


Steiner or Waldorf Schools are based on the educational philosophies of Rudolf Steiner, which include recognition of the human being as a spiritual as well as a physical and intellectual entity.

Each Parent Carries the Flame explores how these schools function not just as schools but as centres for the possible social and spiritual renewal of the wider school community and ultimately society as a whole through the promotion of lifelong learning.

Dr Tom Stehlik suggests that parents who choose a commitment to Steiner Education embark upon a learning journey that can be symbolised by the image of 'carrying the flame', and that the Waldorf School community nurtures this flame through:

  • Practical activities associated with maintaining the physical, social and spiritual fabric of the community
  • Providing a context for personal meaning-making and reflection on values
  • Legitimising the role of parenting as a vocation and promoting parenting education
  • Inspiring individuals to acknowledge and explore their own destiny learning.

Applying theories of adult, lifelong and transformative learning as a framework for analysis, Dr Stehlik explores the extent to which one particular school -the Mt Barker Waldorf School for Rudolf Steiner Education - functions as a learning community and promotes lifelong learning for adults, particularly parents.

Dr Tom Stehlik is a lecturer at the University of South Australia, teaching and researching in the areas of adult and vocational education, teacher education and Steiner education. This book is adapted from his doctoral thesis which was supervised through the University of New England in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Introduction: Situating the Study

  • Introduction to the topic and intent of the study
  • Framing the research question and rationale of the study
  • Methodology
  • Case study of a community
  • Voices in the narrative
  • Data collection
  • Limitations of the study
  • Participant or observer?
  • Data analysis
  • Ethical considerations

Chapter 2 Steiner Education and the Waldorf Schools

  • Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy
  • Anthroposophy - the theory in practice
  • What is Steiner Education?
  • Child development
  • Teacher self-development
  • Core curriculum
  • Teaching as an art
  • Integration of teaching and administration
  • The school as a learning community

Chapter 3 Education for Social Renewal - The Waldorf Community

  • The origins of the first Waldorf School: A threefold society
  • Workplace learning leads to a new form of schooling
  • The Waldorf movement down under
  • The Mt Barker Waldorf School
  • Stages of development and a threefold view of the school
  • Initiative
  • Growth
  • Blossoming
  • Communication
  • Demography
  • A tour of Australian Waldorf Schools
  • Interaction and autonomy within the school community

Chapter 4 Theories of Adult Learning and Development

  • Learning and development over the life span
  • Lifelong learning
  • Transformative learning
  • Anthroposophical theories of adult learning
  • Parenting as a vocation: The learning needs of parents

Chapter 5 Situated Learning and Communities of Practice

  • Situated learning
  • Schools as learning communities
  • School rituals, home rituals
  • Celebrating the festivals
  • Community building through practical activity

Chapter 6 Parents and Their Learning Journeys

  • Why choose Steiner Education?
  • Becoming part of the school community
  • Learning situations identified by parents
  • Individual learning journeys
  • Building the community
  • The Women Together
  • Expectations and limitations

Chapter 7 Community is a Process

  • Factors which bring individuals and the community together
  • Learning embedded in the community
  • The individual reflected in the community
  • Contexts for situated learning
  • How lifelong learning is encouraged and facilitated
  • Community is a creative process
  • The experience of wholeness
  • Mt Barker Waldorf School as a learning community

Chapter 8 Each Parent Carries the Flame

  • The flame that illuminates
  • Conclusions and reflections


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