Brussel, 15 January 2024

Bringing our take on key competences to the EU policy arena
Waldorf school Osijek
As part of the Lifelong Learning Week 2023, on 29 November in Brussels, we welcomed 25 participants to discuss the development of key competences in formal education settings.

Creating space for the development of a child’s potential in school

Kath Brans­by from Wal­dorf UK and our ped­a­gog­i­cal advi­sor, Mar­tyn Raw­son, pre­sent­ed the idea that com­pe­tences emerge from children’s poten­tial across dif­fer­ent areas of learn­ing. They explained that the capac­i­ties and dis­po­si­tions which Wal­dorf edu­ca­tion par­tic­u­lar­ly val­ues are seen as a poten­tial in all chil­dren, and can be iden­ti­fied as moving/doing/making, lan­guage and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, notic­ing and enquir­ing, well-being, empa­thy, imag­in­ing, lit­era­cies, aes­thet­ics, holis­tic think­ing, learn­ing to learn, demo­c­ra­t­ic capa­bil­i­ty, and mak­ing judge­ments. Using the Wal­dorf UK case as an exam­ple, they clar­i­fied the role of a school cur­ricu­lum in pro­vid­ing rich oppor­tu­ni­ties for the con­tin­u­ous, cross-cur­ric­u­lar, and age-appro­pri­ate devel­op­ment of these potentialities.

Relating potentialities and Core Capacities for Living and Learning

In his con­tri­bu­tion, Dominic Richard­son from the Learn­ing for Well-being Insti­tute drew par­al­lels between the con­cept of poten­tial­i­ties and his work on the UNICEF report What Makes Me? Core Capac­i­ties for Liv­ing and Learn­ing. The report recog­nis­es nine core capac­i­ties that are devel­oped from infan­cy all through­out adult­hood, but the degree of their devel­op­ment depends on enabling envi­ron­ments, such as schools. He also empha­sised that the devel­op­ment of a child’s unique poten­tial relies on their men­tal, spir­i­tu­al, phys­i­cal, and emo­tion­al devel­op­ment, which all have their ded­i­cat­ed place in a Wal­dorf curriculum.

Bringing in the European Union perspective on key competences

Maria Pod­lasek-Ziegler rep­re­sent­ed the DG EAC of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion at the event. She explained how the Com­mis­sion is shift­ing its under­stand­ing of learn­ing towards a more holis­tic view of edu­ca­tion as intrin­sic to human life, where the learn­er is a con­struc­tor of knowl­edge, which does not occur unless it is linked to expe­ri­ence. In its doc­u­ments, the EU recog­nis­es eight key com­pe­tences con­sist­ing of a set of knowl­edge, skills, and atti­tudes. The devel­op­ment of these com­pe­tences asks for a life­long-learn­ing per­spec­tive, needs a vari­ety of learn­ing envi­ron­ments, and a whole-school approach. She acknowl­edged the pos­i­tive exam­ple that Stein­er Wal­dorf schools are set­ting in this regard across Europe.

Want more? Watch the highlights from the event

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Georg Jürgens