Sunday, 14 April 2013
Albrecht Strohschein This man had a tremendous influence on Clara Lehrs, even though he was a few years younger than her eldest son, Ernst. He was very accomplished in his work with special education within the Steiner movement and so was concerned with exactly the type of children who were later taught by Karl Schubert in the special class at the Waldorf School in Stuttgart. This class was later housed in the house on Schellberg Street.
It was probably because Clara was quite impressed with what could be achieved with one particular child who had very special needs that she eventually agreed to work as a housekeeper for the institution in Lauesnstein,Jena.
The German word for what went on there is “Heilpädogogik” - literally “healing pedagogoy”. Usually it is translated as “curative education” or simply “special” education.
We have now, by 2013, come a long way since the 1920s with our special education. What Rudolf Steiner, Karl Schubert and Albrecht Strohschein did was extraordinary for the time. Karl Schubert taught these children, albeit in a separate class, within a normal school. Although the Lauenstein centre was an institution where children lived away from their families, the aim was to allow the children to become as normal as possible, not just to hide them away from the world.
It fascinates me that Germany is so tolerant, respectful even of the Steiner school system and also of its special education methods. Both Karl Schubert’s and Albrecht Strohschein’s work is carried on by schools that are named after them.
Clara Lehrs was a little wary of Steiner and anthroposophism. I am too. And yet. The more I read the materials I’ve accumulated in the name of research, the more I see that there is something quite extraordinary within it.
Certainly both Shubert and Stohschein did a lot for children with severe learning difficulties.