The Camphill Movement is an initiative for social change based on the principles of anthroposophy. Camphill communities are residential communities and schools that provide support for the education, employment, and daily lives of adults and children with developmental disabilities, mental health problems, or other special needs.
The movement was founded in 1939 at Kirkton House near Aberdeen by a group led by Austrian paediatrician Karl König. It was König’s view that every human being possessed a healthy inner personality that was independent of their physical characteristics, including characteristics marking developmental or mental disability, and the role of the school was to recognize, nurture and educate this essential self.
The communities’ philosophy, anthroposophy, states that “a perfectly formed spirit and destiny belongs to each human being.” The underlying principles of König’s Camphill school were derived from concepts of education and social life outlined decades earlier by the founder of anthroposophy Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925). Today there are over 120 Camphill communities worldwide, in more than 30 countries, mainly in Europe, but also in North America, Southern Africa and Asia.
Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925)
Rudolf Steiner was an Austrian philosopher. He founded anthroposophy, a spiritual-scientific world view that is connected to modern philosophy. Using this starting point, Steiner gave influential suggestions for various spheres of life, such as pedagogy and curative education, the arts (eurythmy, architecture, speech and drama), socio-political sphere (threefoldness of the social organism), medicine, biodynamic agriculture, religious renewal.
Karl König (1902-1966)
Karl König is known as a physician, author and lecturer. In 1939 he founded the Camphill movement in Scotland. Based on the educational ideas of Rudolf Steiner, the special education schools for children and villages for adults with special needs are now established all over Britain and Europe, North America and South Africa.