Anthroposophic Social Care
The work in care, education and social therapy out of anthroposophy started in the UK and Ireland with the founding of Sunfield in Clent in 1930. At that time people with learning disabilities were excluded from education and many other dimensions of society. The work with the children in need of Special Care and Education was then called Curative Education, a direct translation of the German term ‘Heilpaedagogik’, but not a term in existence in English. Over time and even earlier other special Curative Education schools and places for adults were established in England, of which some are still in existence such as the Peredur Trust, Cotswold Chine, Philpots Manor School, Pericles and Nutley Hall.
Dr Ita Wegman was the guiding star for many of the early establishments and she was also instrumental in the founding of the Camphill Movement through Dr Karl König, an Austrian paediatrician. The first Camphill community was founded in Aberdeen in 1940 by a group of refugees led by him. Camphill became a world-wide movement dedicated to building communities where everyone can find purpose and belonging and where the individuality and potential of children and adults with mild, moderate, and severe Learning Disabilities can develop.
Of the several small places that were started around the same time or even earlier, which are no longer in existence, there are now few records. In Scotland, Garvald Home School was founded in 1944 by some ex-Camphill co-workers. Other Garvald places were gradually added and now form the present thriving Garvald Trust.
Camphill Communities still offer opportunities for people with learning disabilities, mental health problems and other needs, to live, learn and work with others of all abilities in an atmosphere of mutual care and respect. The facilities include independent residential and day schools, specialist colleges of further education and adult communities where each individual's abilities and qualities are recognised and nurtured as the foundation for a fulfilling life. Association of Camphill Communities consists of four neighbourhoods: English/Welsh, Scottish, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. There are also other communities that are not part of the Association of Camphill Communities. The full list can be found on the Camphill Families and Friends website.
Since 1987, Ruskin Mill Trust, RMT, developed its unique method of ''Practical Skills Therapeutic Education in working with children and young people from the age of 6 to 25, as well as adults with complex behaviour and learning difficulties and disabilities, including autistic spectrum conditions, whose needs cannot be met elsewhere. Its provision offers both residential and day placements in schools, specialist further education colleges and adult social care centres for male and female students and residents.''
The Anthroposophical Care Education and Social Therapy Association, ACESTA, is an overall platform for collaboration, co-operation and association and for sharing information between individuals and places in the UK and Ireland. Affiliated organisations within the UK such as Alliance of Camphill, Camphill Communities Trust Northern Ireland, Camphill Communities of Ireland, Camphill Scotland, Camphill Communities UK, Garvald Edinburgh, Nutley Hall, Pericles and Ruskin Mill Trust. There are many organisations across the globe as well such as European Co-operation in Curative Education and Social Therapy, European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities, and Anthroposophic Council for Inclusive Social Development.
The Association for Camphill Families and Friends also offers support. They are here to help, to support siblings, and to help family members or friends who are taking on the role of supporting someone who lives in a UK Camphill community. For more info, please visit Camphill Families and Friends website.
SCHOOLS and RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS
Most schools for care and therapeutic education out of anthroposophy work with an adapted Waldorf Steiner School Curriculum, complemented by individual therapies and treatments. In residential schools, the care and therapeutic education are based on indications by Rudolf Steiner with the image of the human being as a spiritual being at its centre.
Some years ago, Ruskin Mill Trust was asked to take over Sunfield in Clent, which had long been under different management, and re-established Sunfield School. They also founded Brantwood Specialist school in Sheffield and Grace Garden School in Bristol, to counterbalance the closure of St Christopher’s School, which had pioneered the education of children with extremely complex needs since 1945.
Some Camphill Communities still have schools, providing day classes as well. They are:Camphill Schools AberdeenThe Sheiling School Ringwood
The Sheiling School Thornbury
In the Further Education Colleges, the emphasis is on developing a certain degree of independence. Apart from more academic lessons, practical work, and craftwork are also taught.
Ruskin Mill Trust works with
“hand, head, heart, and place, to provide students with the tools to transform material and in doing so transform themselves. In this way students come to recognise themselves and others, they develop self and social awareness and are empowered to achieve and make positive contributions to society at large, giving back in a self-directed, productive, and enjoyable way.''
Some Camphill Communities also provide specialist colleges of further education.
They are:Camphill Community Glencraig
The Sheiling School Ringwood
The Sheiling School Thornbury
DAY PLACES and RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITIES
Some students go through one or more of the above schools and further education colleges, others join the adult communities and day places from different backgrounds. Most places and residential communities offer meaningful work on the land, in the houses or craft workshops. Some places have a community shop, bakery and/or café where some of the adults find meaningful work.
KCAT in Callan, Ireland offers art classes for people of all abilities. Pericles in West Sussex has a professional theatre company that provides training and participation in all the theatre disciplines and touring of productions to artists with complex needs within a professional as well as community setting. Pericles provides training and work in organic fruit growing and processing and organic catering and has two green woodland craft centres at local biodynamic farms.
Places offering adult residential, or day opportunities are: