A research paper by Gerwin and Mitchell (2007) sum up the attributes of Steiner graduates by recognising three key characteristics:

  • Steiner school graduates value the opportunity to think for themselves and to translate their new ideas into practice. They both appreciate and practice life-long learning and have a highly developed sense for aesthetics.
  • Steiner school graduates value lasting human relationships . . . and they seek out opportunities to be of help to other people.
  • Steiner school graduates sense that they are guided by an inner moral compass which helps them navigate the trials and challenges of their professional and private lives. They carry high ethical principles into their chosen professions.

There is a high level of alignment between these predominant characteristics and the three main categories of the Melbourne Declaration of Goals for Young Australians (November, 2008).

  • The sphere of thinking, of cognitive skills and intellectual ability is implicit in the orientation towards the goal of ‘successful learners’.
  • The realm of feeling, and the ability to manage emotional, mental, spiritual and physical wellbeing, creates ‘confident and creative individuals’.
  • Willing or the domain of behaviour and action learning resonates with the educational striving towards ‘active and informed citizens’.

The need for imagination, a sense of truth and a feeling of responsibility – these are the three forces which are at the very nerve of education. Rudolf Steiner

“My Steiner education allowed my imagination and creativity to flourish … it is this aspect of my education that I most value. My teachers impressed upon me a sense of enquiry and self-expression that I have retained to this day. During high school, my teachers encouraged me to think independently and not to be afraid to do so … My hope is that the next generation of educators might look to some of the merits of Steiner teaching, and that the mutually reinforcing aspects of academic and creative intellectualism might be recognised and incorporated into the wider education system.”

Amber Parkes – Steiner graduate. Australian agency for international development – currently working in Thailand. Amber holds a bachelor of medical science, a bachelor of arts in international studies, and a masters of public health.