Today  there are some 640 schools, 1087 kindergartens, more than 300 curative centres and 60 Teacher Training Institutes in 46 countries* whose work is based on Rudolf Steiner's pedagogical impulse. Many of these initiatives exist in areas where the contemporary social crisis has reached the burning point; some are integrated into publicly funded relief projects.
Today´s children will as adults face immense social and environmental challenges as humanity moves on into the 21st century. How can we best prepare them for the tasks that await them? These demand innovative solutions developed and carried through by individuals able to act independently, with compassion and civil courage. If they are to one day consciously grapple with these challenges, children will need to learn more than mere facts and abstract definitions. Only a broad-based, integral education can awaken in children lively, thoughtful interest for their natural and social environment capable of leading them towards creative action.
Children must have the chance to grow toward independence, to have initiative and a feeling of social responsibility. They must have the chance to develop decisiveness in action, spontaneity and flexibility. And they must have the chance to learn to respect themselves, humankind and the world in which they live.
Autonomous, self-governed schools, vocational training centres and institutions of higher learning are by their very nature training grounds for freedom. They demand the exercise of responsibility and individual initiative at all levels of involvement. Waldorf schools have been addressing this challenge since their inauguration 75 years ago.
The Friends of Waldorf Education (Freunde der Erziehungskunst) support these initiatives. They want to ensure that children have the chance to learn what they will need to know in order to face the future.