Dr. Karl Koenig, an Austrian pediatrician who fled the Nazis and settled in Scotland in 1939, founded what is known across the world today as the “Camphill Movement.” Camphill is based on the principles of anthroposophy, the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner that seeks to integrate spirit, body, and soul. Steiner formulated the concept of curative education, which includes the arts as healing and educational forces, and his influence is felt in Camphill Special School’s adapted Waldorf curriculum.
All around the world, more than one hundred Camphill communities in over twenty countries take different forms. Every community, however, is dedicated to social renewal through community building — with children, youth, and adults with disabilities. The Camphill ideal is to engage all the members of each community in meeting their own needs, as well as those of the community at large, to whatever extent their abilities allow.
Like all Camphill communities, the continuity and future development of Camphill Special School depends on a core of committed coworkers who maintain Camphill’s values and mission and impart it to others. As members of the Camphill Movement, they are committed to high standards of care, self-sacrifice, and self-development.
In Village Life: The Camphill Communities, (1986) volunteer coworker (coworker is the Camphill expression for a long-term volunteer caregiver) Wanda Root wrote:
Camphill is a way of life. It is not a job. There are no shifts, no salaries, no relative values placed on people according to the nature of the work that they do … Tasks are undertaken for the good of the whole, out of a sense of commitment and responsibility … Community life is the work of Camphill. People with enormously varied capabilities, talents, and needs, live and work together day after day.