European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education (ECSWE)
The European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education (ECSWE) is a European network of 25 national Steiner Waldorf associations representing more than 700 Steiner Waldorf schools in Europe. There are currently about 1,050 Waldorf schools in 61 countries.
Aims in brief
- To create and co-ordinate a common policy on a European level.
- To conduct advocacy in the public sphere for better quality in education.
- To engage in dialogue with fellow educationalists, academics, politicians and education policy makers and all those who care for the well-being of children.
- To promote independence of curriculum and assessment and freedom of choice of schooling.
- To be an international platform for the member associations.
- To exchange information and experience and best practice between members.
- To strengthen and develop Steiner Waldorf education in the member countries of the network.
- To promote quality care in our institutions.
- To discuss, choose and implement international projects.
- Holistic education
- Education as an art
- Learning for life
- Continuing personal and professional development of teachers
- Assessment for learning
- Age appropriate approach to IT and media literacy
- Influence on Politics
The Steiner Curriculum
The international Steiner curriculum provides the key principles for an education founded in local context and culture. Our innovative approach encourages children to grow as confident world citizens capable of valuing their own circumstances and background within a diverse world. Self-esteem, respect for the culture, values and traditions of others, tolerance and understanding are essential qualities for the unfolding of individual potential as is a commitment to lifelong learning.
Educational systems are in a process of great change brought about by the vast amount of research conducted in the last few years regarding neurobiology, child development, emotional capacities and learning processes.
Membership in the European Commission Working Group on Schools
In January 2016, ECSWE put in an application for membership in the Education and Training Working Group on schools. The Working Group is one of six working groups established by the European Commission to support Member States in addressing the key challenges of their education and training systems and the new priorities agreed at European level: four sector focused working groups (working groups schools, vocational education and training, higher education, adult learning) and two issue-focused working groups (working group on digital skills and competences, working group on promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education).
“ET 2020 Working Groups are informal Commission expert groups at the service of the ET 2020 framework. The primary focus of the Working Group is to benefit the Member States in their work of furthering policy development through mutual learning and the identification of good practices. They are a forum for discussions, providing high-level input from a wide range of sources and stakeholders, and as such are also open for input by European social partners and European-level stakeholder/civil society associations.”
Regular members of the Working Groups are EU Member States, Candidate Countries, EFTA Countries (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland), relevant EU bodies, EU agencies such as the ETF, CEDEFOP and the Eurydice Network and other international organisations such as the OECD and the Council of Europe. To involve a limited number of European Social partners and European civil society organisations, the European Commission published a public call on 21st December 2015.
Following a decision of the ECSWE Board and the Advocacy Group and after consultations with our partner organisations, Georg Jürgens drafted the application in close cooperation with Richard Landl and members of our Advocacy Group. The results of the call were published by the European Commission on 17th February 2016.
ECSWE is one of only three European Civil Society / stakeholder associations who made it into the Working Group schools. The mandate lasts for 2½ years; it involves regular meetings in Brussels and peer learning activities in participating countries. During these events, ECSWE is represented by its president Richard Landl.
This membership is a big success for a small NGO like ECSWE and shows the interest of the European Commission in learning from innovative pedagogical approaches like Steiner Waldorf pedagogy.
Executive & Administrative Officer
European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education