16 Aug 2012

Dinner meeting: Speaker: Mr. Hans Mulder (topic: Waldorf Education)

Visiting Rotarian, Rtn Devin Erhig from the Boston club joined us and exchanged banner with President Michael.

Our speaker today was Mr. Hans Mulder, and his topic was “Questions asked by young people today everywhere in the world.  How can Waldorf Education help young people prepare for life”.

Hans Mulder was a Waldorf educator and anthroposophist, Hans van Florenstein Mulder has been involved in Waldorf education and Biodynamic agriculture since 1972. As a Dutch he spent his youth in Indonesia before returning to the Netherlands and later moved to New Zealand. Helping established the high school for Taikura Rudolf Steiner School, Hans served for 14 years as General Secretaty of the New Zealand Anthroposophical Society until 2006.

Waldorf education (also known as Steiner education) is a humanistic approach to pedagogy based on the educational philosophy of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, the founder of anthroposophy. Learning is interdisciplinary, integrating practical, artistic, and conceptual elements. The approach emphasizes the role of the imagination in learning, developing thinking that includes a creative as well as an analytic component. The educational philosophy’s overarching goals are to provide young people the basis on which to develop into free, morally responsible and integrated individuals, and to help every child fulfill his or her unique destiny, the existence of which anthroposophy posits. Schools and teachers are given considerable freedom to define curricula within collegial structures.

Waldorf schools approach learning in early childhood through imitation and example. Extensive time is given for guided free play in a classroom environment that is homelike, includes natural materials and provides examples of productive work in which children can take part; such an environment is considered by Waldorf pedagogues to be supportive of the physical, emotional and intellectual growth of the child through assimilative learning. Outdoor play periods are also generally incorporated into the school day, with the intention of providing children with experiences of nature, weather and the seasons of the year. Oral language development is addressed through songs, poems and movement games. These include daily story time when a teacher usually tells a fairytale, often by heart.

Mr. Mulder explained to us the differences of young people now and the past, also how Waldorf education can help the young people, he emphasised that people just need to compete with themselves not with other people.

We collected HK$340 for raffle and fines, Mr. Mulder draw the raffle gift as Rotary Moon Cake Coupon and the winner was Rtn William.

President Michael presents guest speaker Mr Hans Mulder with artwork created by residents of leprosy villages in Liangshan, Sichuan, China.

President Michael exchanges banners with visiting Rotarian Devin Erhig from the Boston.