Anthroposophical Curative Education & Social Therapy ...

... aims to provide an individualized physical, soul, and spiritual development for children, youth and adults with disabilities. It aims to help establish an honorable and self-determined life and supports community and societal integration. It allows their contribution to society become visible.

«Whoever wants to educate children with developmental problems and disabilities will never be finished, but will find that each child presents a new problem, a new mystery. But he will only discover what he needs to do in each specific case if he allows himself to be led by the real Being within the child. It is not a comfortable job, but it is the only one that is real.»

Rudolph Steiner


What does "special care of the soul" mean?

Rudolf Steiner called those children who were born with developmental disabilities "children in need of special care of the soul" (seelenpflegebedürftig). What did he mean by this?

The term indicates that on the level of the individual body/soul development, each human being is not only in need of development, but is also capable of developing. The more or less apparent imbalances in all of us are simply called into greater focus in people with disabilities. Curative education provides opportunities for the child to balance out these special constitutional characteristics with the diagnostic and remedial means at its disposal.

Often enough, when we think of those whom we would call disabled, we are confronted by individualities whose intensity of life, willpower and social sense may greatly astonish us. They show us that the human being is not his body, but has a body which he has to deal with and which he can to a greater or lesser extent make his own. We may compare it to some extent to a musician and the instrument he plays. The circumstances surrounding our lives are therefore not a passive absolute that we have to take as given, but appear rather as the point of departure for the biographical tasks we have been challenged to face.

Where does the term “…in need of special care of the soul” come from?

Albrecht Strohschein, one of the founders of anthroposophical curative education, reports:

"…we thought we would just take over the name of our home from our predecessor on the Lauenstein. He was a doctor who had wanted to found a "Home for Pathological and Epileptic Children,”

‘No', said Rudolf Steiner, 'what is actually taking place there must already be apparent in the title.' I looked at him questioningly, until he replied: 'Curative and Educational Home for Children in Need of Special Care of the Soul.'"

I continued to look at him. I did not understand the unusual words properly as yet, but got out my notebook, whereupon he began to dictate word for word: "Seelenpflege" to be capitalised, "- bedürftig" written with a small letter…" then added "we have to be careful to find a name that does not immediately put a stamp on the child."