Wednesday, 6 November 2019

A Waldorf School Education


The First Waldorf School in Stuttgart

T      This opened 1919
·         By 1924 it had twelve year groups
·         The children of workers at the Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette Company came in response to the initiative of founders Emil and Berta Molt.
·         When Hani joined the school in 1931 it had several classes in each year group.   
·         Steiner wanted the school to be in the direction of independence of the economic, governmental and cultural realms.
Discuss with other in your groups why such a school needed to exist in those days in Germany and why Hani’s parents wanted her to join it. Report your conclusion to the rest of your class.

Educational principles in the Waldorf School

Steiner insisted on the following for his schools:  
1.      The school should be open to all children;
2.      It should be coeducational;
3.      It should that it be a unified twelve-year school;
4.      The teachers, those individuals actually in contact with the children, should have primary control over the pedagogy of the school, with a minimum of interference from the state or from economic sources.
Discuss in your groups how this compares with your school. Are the differences important? You may need some help with number 4.  Talk to your teachers.  

The Waldorf School Day

The Waldorf school day is divided up into three main parts: head, heart, and hands. The Head lesson is also referred to as the Main Lesson and is done first thing in the morning. After a break, the Heart subjects follow. Heart subjects include drawing and painting, drama, foreign languages, music, and so on. The afternoon is reserved for Hands. This is PE, dance, handwork (knitting, woodworking, etc.), gardening, and other physical activities.   

Were your primary school days like this? Can you rearrange your present school timetable according to this? Does it fit?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

The Influence of the BDM


The BDM had a lovely uniform:
A calf-length navy blue skirt, a white shirt, a neutral shade  flying jacket and a black neckerchief held together with a small leather ring.    
Some girls couldn’t afford smart black shoes, the flying jacket or the great coat for winter.  
Look for some pictures of BDM uniforms. Just how “uniform” were they?        
Germans were quite poor at this time, so the uniform was a real bonus.
Imagine a conversation between one of the girls and her leader or her parents.

BDM activities

 The BDM – started off looking like our guiding / scouting movements. There were campfires, hikes through the woods and sports activities.  Gradually, however, the girls were encouraged to become home-makers.
They had their own magazine, Das Deutsche Mädel. Try an internet search. Even if you can’t read German look at some of the pictures.
Imagine you are BDM girl and you write a letter to a friend about some of the things you have been doing.           


 Der Giftpilz

The girls were encouraged to distrust and dislike Jews. They were also asked to report their parents if they had any dealing with Jews.
Der Giftpilz – the poisonous mushroom – was written for young people and often read and discussed at BDM meetings.  You can read it here.   
What do you think of this material? One of the Nazi leaders even didn’t think much of it. Why not, do you think?
Discuss this with other students in your group. Ask your teacher to join in.   

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Hani - A German Childhood 1925-1938

(Picture by  Hans Braxmeier via Pixabay)

Hani is a completely made up character.  Below are some of the ideas that helped to shape her.  
Can you imagine what it must have been like for money to keep changing value? How much shopping you would have to do in one go?
Can you produce a spread sheet to show money changing in value rapidly? And how would that affect the way you spent it?
What would be the most sensible things to buy?

Stuttgart, a town surrounded by woods and countryside  

Stuttgart is one of the towns built on seven hills. There are areas of woodland. In Bad Canstatt there was an open air swimming pool which got its water from the Mombach spring nearby. Stuttgart can be very warm in summer and gets plenty of snow in the winter. Hani and her friends would live though all four seasons.   
 How does this compare with where you lived when you were a young child?  


The school in Stuttgart

In the stories, Hani is not getting on well in her school. Her mother meets Clara Lehrs and decides to send Hani to the original Waldorf School in Stuttgart.  
Steiner education:
  • Works for all children irrespective of academic ability, class, ethnicity or religion;
  • Takes account of the needs of the whole child – academic, physical, emotional and spiritual;
  • Is based on an understanding of the relevance of the different phases of child development;
  • Develops a love of learning and an enthusiasm for school;
  • Sees artistic activity and the development of the imagination as integral to learning;
Does your school do this?  How well does it do this? Give examples.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Käthe Edler Becoming English

German? Jewish? English?


Käthe had to obtain a visa to exit Germany and another one to enter England.   
She had to leave most of her property behind. She could not bring much money with her.
In order to obtain a visa for England she would have to have a job. 

Imagine Käthe applying for a job as a domestic helper. (This was actually the job that she obtained.) What would she write in her letter? Remember she had experience as a wife, mother and scientist.  She could also drive.     

German Jews in London

Käthe settled in north London. There was quite a vibrant group of German Jews living there.  This would be useful to her as she didn’t speak English all that well at first. Just like her daughter Renate she was unsure of her identity.  Was she German Jewish or English? 

However, Käthe had no firm religious belief and neither was she submerged in the Jewish culture. How might she have made friends with English people?   Create a short scene to show this. 

A shared London experience

London was not an easy place to live in during World War II. Search for details of London bombings. 

Write a letter from Käthe to Renate about what it was like during the blitz and how she had shared this experience with English people.