Rudolf Steiner School, Milan

Figure 1.--Here we see a class at the Rudolf Steiner School in Milan during 1973. The children all wore smocks. Note all the different styles and colors. The children look to be about v8 years old.

The first Italian Rudolf Steiner school was founded in Milan after World war II. The school was a project persued by Lavinia Mondolfo. She as a young woman graduated in letters at a time when university studies were difficult for women. She traveled to Italy doing her job as a teacher in various locations. She ended her career as a lecturer at the Academy of Brera. After teaching at the Master Charles Tenca, a normal school. Graduates received the "license" enabling them to teach in primary schools. Mondolfo married noted socialist Ugo Guido editor of "Social Critica" (1909). They worked together tompromote socialism and the after World War I to fight Fascism. She worked with the rehabilitation of veterans and war blind. She developed an interest in the Anthroposophy of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), a German philospher intereted in education among other topics. (Steiner was of Jewish ancestry. He died before the NAZIs seized power, but was hated bt the NAZIs both because he was Jewish abd his philosophy wa influential. Hitler attacked him personlly and when the NAZIs seized power they closed down the several schools based on his work.) Mondolfo was particularly interested in his thoughts on education and the arts. She had to leave Italy during the Fascist era. I thonk she had to leave because she was Jewish, but do not yet have full details on gthis and where she went. She retuned after the War. Together with the poet Lina Schwarz and other individuals from the Milan cultural life she worked to establish aschool based on Steiner's works. Hundreds of such schools exist around the world today, mostly in Europe and the United States. Milan was heavily damaged during the War. The chaotic years of the World War II favored the foundation and refoundation of many city institutions. They found a location in the garden of Palazzo Sormani and built the school with pre-fabrigated materials. The mayor, Antonio Greppi, supported the effort. Mondolfo, at an ahe when many were retiring, launched an entire new career. She and a group of pioneer teachers, created a small school as a pilot effort to show case innovative teaching principles (1946). They began with Kindergrtners and gradually added other years. Steiner's work promoted what he called Anthroposophical cultural teaching which stressed character formation. Numerous other Steiner schools were subsequently fouded in Italy. One source writes, "Children from the school have now reched 50 years of age. They have not forgotten the small, elegant, kind director who knew each of them. She consoled them with her sweet nature, cautioned them firmly when necessary, gave them a book when they left school. She helped their teachers judge with insight, fairness and impartiality in the brief profiles prepared for their parents. And their parents have not forgotten lessons in the difficult art of educating." Lavinia Mondolfo Priest died (1972).


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Created: 7:45 AM 5/16/2012
Last updated: 7:45 AM 5/16/2012