Over the past four decades Taruna has played a significant role in providing professional development and preparatory courses for teachers, would-be teachers and others wishing to explore a new educational environment; one that honours and addresses what it means to be human. Students are given the opportunity to engage “head, heart and hands” in order to deepen their understanding of the special character of Steiner Waldorf Education in a contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand context.


There are 11 Steiner Waldorf schools in New Zealand offering a diverse, rich and creative educational environment to children from kindergarten through to High School.  Independent of these schools are a range of early childhood centres and kindergartens as well as state schools where inspired teachers strive to incorporate Waldorf pedagogy into their practice.  New Zealand Steiner Waldorf schools are part of one of the largest global alternative education movements with over 1000 schools and 2000 kindergartens in over 60 countries worldwide.

The principles that are fundamental to Steiner/Waldorf education are accessible to and are able to be adapted to, the needs of different ethnicities, cultures and religions. Curriculum content allows for the exploration of a wide variety of traditions and world views.

Each school is autonomous and reflects the unique qualities of the locality in which it has developed. Steiner Waldorf schools in Aotearoa New Zealand strive to imbue their curricula with the unique spirit and history of this land and its peoples.

History of Waldorf Education

The first school was opened in 1919 by a German industrialist, Emil Molt, who recognised that education was the key to finding a way out of the social chaos of post-World War 1 Germany and to growing a new generation of young people who would not want to go to war. He invited Rudolf Steiner, founder of a science of the spirit and path of knowledge known as Anthroposophy, to direct a new school, the Waldorf School in Stuttgart, for the children of workers in his factory.

What is Rudolf Steiner Waldorf Education

Steiner’s clear views on child development, the constitution of the human being and the purpose of existence, were like a shaft of light to those educationalists who heard and worked with him.

Steiner/Waldorf Education is based upon the understanding that the human being is a spiritual being on a purposeful earthly journey and that during this life journey distinctive, progressive phases of development unfold.  Child development is seen as a process of gradual incarnation and individualisation.  While the child “grows up” in its physical body, it also “grows down” from the spiritual world and creates in this meeting ground its own world of soul.

Approximately every seven years a new soul “faculty” emerges and matures during the following period.  A healthy education will make best use of the opportunities for development that the different phases present.  The structure of the school, the content of the curriculum, the teaching methods, and the relationship between pupil and teacher all reflect these distinct phases.  In acknowledging the prime time of readiness for crossing new thresholds, the whole curriculum provides opportunities for learning experiences that can have the quality of traditional rites of passage.

This understanding gives rise to a pedagogy that brings content and skills not only at optimal developmental times, but also in an age-appropriate manner that is accessible and nurturing for the child.  For example, the dreamy at‑oneness with the world in which the seven-year-old lives is met in the pictorial realm of the fairy tale, while the individualising and wakefulness of thinking experienced by the emerging adolescent is reflected in modern history.

In the Kindergarten phase the main focus is on the facilitation of, and immersion in, creative will activity.  During the primary school years the education engages the child more through its feelings and imagination.  The focus in the high school is towards developing the student’s thinking capacity.

Extracted from Curriculum Guidelines, Federation of Rudolf Steiner Waldorf Schools in New Zealand, June 2015

Taruna Certificate in Rudolf Steiner Education

Discover the true heart and art of teaching while undertaking a rich and exciting
journey of personal and professional development. The certificate is an introductory
course to Rudolf Steiner Waldorf education. This part-time year long programme gives a
broad overview of the many-faceted dimensions of Waldorf pedagogy, curriculum and
Alongside lectures and workshops that will deepen and extend your
understanding of child development and approaches to teaching and learning, you will
have the opportunity to engage your creative side with many practical activities including
arts, crafts, music and movement. Biography work, observation and reflective journalling
recognise the importance of schooling and nourishing the inner life of the teacher.
The course is designed to meet the needs of teachers new to Waldorf education who wish to
extend their knowledge or to enliven and re-examine their classroom practice. It is also
provides a helpful foundation for teacher aides in Steiner Waldorf schools, education
students or graduates looking to teach in a Steiner Waldorf school, home-schooling parents
and parents wishing to accompany their children’s education and development with
increased consciousness.

Enrolments for 2022/23 seminars are now open:

Seminar 1: 17 – 22 July

Seminar 2: 2 – 7 October

Seminar 3: 17-22 January 2023

New intake dates for 2023
Seminar 1: 16th – 21st April
Seminar 2: 8th July – 13th July
Seminar 3: 24th Sept – 29th Sept

Feedback from a NZ Steiner School:

“When our staff return from Taruna each time they are brimming with enthusiasm in terms of what they have learnt. The assignments you set are very useful in terms of their teaching practice. Keep up the valuable work.”

Some feedback from past students:

“Taruna was a safe and supporting environment where I could be truly myself. The teachers and classmates were incredible. The course material was beautifully interwoven and structured”.

“My personal goals in participating in this course were around gaining a deeper understanding of children and their developmental stages, to gain more confidence in my abilities to hold space as a main teacher in our school group, to gain more practical tools to use in class, and to assist in bringing self confidence. Additionally I have a great interest in spiritually centred philosophies and those which look at the human being holistically. A further goal was to develop a greater understanding of the essence Steiner Waldorf Philosophy to then utilise in working with and understanding children in a holistic manner.

The journey in working towards these goals has been so vastly different to anything I projected about the course or what the learning experience would be. I guess when you actually live something it is always going to be different than that which you imagine it to be. It has been rich, and given so much. The main thing I now notice is that I feel like I am far more worthy of standing in front of the children as their teacher. To know that I have taken myself on in taking on this course, and will continue to strive to meet the children through a holistic lens makes me feel far more confident in my teaching. The practical skills I have gained through this course have certainly brought me more confidence, as I had hoped they would”.

Overview of Programme and Structure

In this programme, participants will:

  • be introduced to the Steiner/Waldorf curriculum from early childhood to high school;
  • explore and understand human biography and the stages of child development as a process of incarnation;
  • develop observational skills;
  • develop curriculum resources and references;
  • learn to bring consciousness and creativity into teaching;
  • support their learning through reflection;
  • explore the qualities and techniques from a range of arts and crafts, such as:
    • Painting
    • Modelling
    • Music
    • Eurythmy
    • Handwork/ archetypal crafts
    • Drawing
    • Creative writing
    • Storytelling and Creative Speech
    • Spatial Dynamics/Movement

On-site seminar learning will include: Workshops, small group processes, lectures and discussions, journalling, artistic experience through a variety of media, and exploration through movement.  Self-directed home-based study will need a minimum commitment of 3-5 hours per week.  It will include:

  • Artistic exercises, accompanied by process notes and reflections
  • Short research projects, presented in essay format

This programme includes three full-time seminars of 5 days’ duration, beginning at 2:00 pm on the Sunday and finishing at 1:00 pm the following Friday, for Seminar One, Two and Three.  Each of the full days requires 8:30 am to 5:00 pm attendance. All other study is home based.

As a guide, participants need to allow approximately three hours per week of self-directed study or practical activity outside of the seminar weeks.

Course Format

The CRSE programme includes three full-time seminars of 5 days duration, beginning at 2:00 pm on the Sunday and finishing at 1:00 pm the following Friday.  Each of the full days requires 8:45 am to 5:00 pm attendance.  All other study is home based.

Whilst this course is designed and best undertaken as an integrated whole that develops sequentially, it is possible to participate in single seminar modules.  For those wishing to complete the certificate these modules may be taken over two years.  This means a teacher could come to just one or two seminar blocks during the year. Each seminar will stand-alone and not be dependent on attendance of  the previous one.  Please note it is not possible to commence the Certificate with Seminar Three – Seminar One or Two must be completed first.

At the successful completion of all three seminar blocks and homework requirements participants will be issued with the Certificate in Rudolf Steiner Education.  These are presented at a festive graduation ceremony held at Taruna in early December.

Programme Dates 2022 intake

Seminar 1: 17-22 July

Seminar 2: 2-7 October

Seminar 3: 17-22 January 2023

Programme Dates 2023 intake

Seminar 1: 16th – 21st April
Seminar 2: 8th July – 13th July
Seminar 3: 24th Sept – 29th Sept

Certificate in Rudolf Steiner Education 2022/23

All students: $1,100 per seminar for 2022.  From 1st January 2023, prices will increase to $1250 per seminar. The Crystal Bridge loan fund makes interest free loans available to students enrolled in Signature Courses at Taruna.

Taruna will provide morning and afternoon tea and vegetarian lunches while you are studying on site.  Please advise in advance of any dietary requirements.

Participants will need to purchase:

  • Personal stationery and writing materials;
  • Art materials to be used for practice at home;
  • A list of any further requirements will be provided in the Programme Handbook.

Student Support

Taruna strives to ensure that the programmes delivered are beneficial to each and every student.  Support is available to all students via the Course Coordinator whilst on-site and in between seminars to ensure that assignments are achievable.  Please contact the office on info@taruna.ac.nz if you need additional support whilst studying from home.

Crystal Bridge Loan Fund

Crystal Bridge was founded in 1991 as an initiative to help students at Taruna College with their
course fees, at a time when there was no possibility of government-sponsored student loans.
The fund is open to all New Zealanders wishing to undertake study, locally or internationally,
based on the work of Rudolf Steiner. Loans are interest-free and tailored to the individual
borrower, but are usually repaid over 1-2 years. There is also a fund or gift money, the
prerequisite for such a gift being that it benefits a group of people. Donations to the fund are
gratefully received.

New Zealand Steiner Teacher Diploma- Early childhood (NZSTD-EC)
For those wishing to pursue a further professional education (3 years part time) in Rudolf Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood teaching, this Diploma is offered in partnership with Steiner Education Aotearoa New Zealand (SEANZ) and endorsed by the International Association for Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Education (IASWECE). For further details please contact; edith.vandermeer@gmail.com