An emergent, rhizomic approach to curriculum for Waldorf schools


  • Neil Boland
  • Martyn Rawson


Over the last century, Waldorf schools have become established around the world. They are united in pedagogical approach, but distributed in different geographies, cultures and contexts. This article critiques the arborescent model of a single, original, authentic and historical Waldorf curriculum that has often been ‘transplanted’ as an ‘exotic’ in other cultural and geographical spaces, suggesting in its stead the Deleuzoguattarian botanical metaphor of an emergent, rhizomic process, one which allows ‘native’ species to develop. A brief survey of the history of Waldorf curricula suggests arborescent curricula are inappropriate and inadequate when dealing with the factors of time and space. The need to adapt and modify Waldorf curriculum is both intrinsic, given the need to take account of cultural differences, and extrinsic, in response to the major social, economic and ecological challenges faced today. Neoliberal educational policies of performativity and standardisation increasingly require Waldorf schools to demonstrate their educational outcomes in measurable forms, which can threaten curriculum autonomy. By exploring what a common rhizomic network might comprise, the authors believe that this model can help enable Waldorf schools to recontextualise curriculum in their own situations and overcome discernible Eurocentric traditions.






Fundamentals / Grundlagen / Peer Reviewed Articles