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Paper presentation at the International Steiner Symposium 2021. The Actuality of Rudolf Steiner: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Steiner in the 21st Century.

Unlike other educational models, Waldorf education is not a method based on learning a technique. Its foundation is based on anthroposophy and therefore harbors an esoteric-spiritual background that has implications in the way of understanding life and education. This element constitutes it as a very unique pedagogy in the current educational panorama, at the same time that it has conditioned its process of world expansion.

In the case of Spain, interest in anthroposophy and Waldorf education emerged at the end of the Franco dictatorship (1939-1975). A time characterized by ideological unity around the values of the regime and that over time would cause the emergence of groups that aspired to openness and modernization. In Madrid, a small group began to meet to practice yoga and read short texts on anthroposophy in the late 1960s. Soon after, another group specialize in Waldorf education was created. This educational model contained the possibility of experimentation with a different concept of spirituality with an esoteric foundation, at the same time that it dissociated itself from the official discourse.

Currently, there are around 30 educational centers that develop Waldorf education in Spain. Waldorf schools offer an education that integrates ecological commitment, art, and a community dimension. These elements present a pedagogical approach with a certain flexibility that is key for families who choose Waldorf centers for their children, as well as for teachers who are looking for other spaces to work.

This research, which takes the specific case of Spain as a reference and is located in the field of knowledge of the history of education, aims to analyze the way in which Steiner’s educational thought has found a fit in two different historical moments, as well as exploring the contextual and educational reasons that have motivated its reception and expansion to date.

Dr. Patricia Quiroga Uceda: University Complutense de Madrid, Spain

Patricia is Assistant Professor at Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain). Her area of expertise is the History of Education. She has developed her PhD and published some works about Waldorf Education. Among them we can find: “Waldorf Teacher Education: Historical origins, its current situation as a higher education training course and the case of Spain” in Encounters in Theory and History of Education, “The international expansion of Waldorf education: a historical analysis” in Temps d’educació and “Waldorf Education and Play in the Kindergarden. An Outstanding Theoretical Proposal”, in Bordón. Revista de Pedagogía. Within her academic activities she is co-editor of the journal Espacio, tiempo y educación. She has been working as a Waldorf Teacher in El Puente Azul School (Valladolid, Spain).