A worldwide survey of Steiner/Waldorf
Steiner/Waldorf Schools are the only brand of schools we found to have their own school doctors with an explicitly holistic approach. There has been no research on such integrative school doctors to date.
This study aims to assess the spectrum of the Steiner/Waldorf Schools School doctors’ tasks and the various organizational and financial arrangements they have with the schools as well as medical, social and spiritual aspects of their work.
A questionnaire was devised and sent out in Germany, Austrian and Switzerland via the Medical Section at the Goetheanum. Based on the first round of feedback a further questionnaire in languages was devised and spread internationally via the International Postgraduate Medical Training (IPMT)-network, leading to the second round of feedback. The „Freunde der Erziehungskunst“ network was used to assess how many schools have a doctor. Answers were evaluated qualitatively and quantitatively.
So far we have received 85 responses from 16 countries. The evaluations show a broad spectrum of salutogenetic and therapeutic work in collaboration with teachers, remedial educators, art therapists, eurhythmy therapists, parents and school nurses. Steiner/Waldorf schools thus often include mini therapeutic institutes where health and education combine to become a source of regeneration and healthy future development for society as a whole. This work is felt to be very rewarding and meaningful, yet it is threatened in some schools and countries due to poor pay, heavy social work, legal uncertainties, lack of professional networks and associations and, especially, a lack of school doctors worldwide.
Sustainable models of school-doctoring urgently need to be further developed, alongside with enlarging the professional network and the international training courses. The network created by this study is a valuable step towards addressing these challenges.