When founded in 1963, Camphill Special School was based upon the idea that the new community not only would become a village for children, but a place that nurtured childhood itself. This was powerfully affirmed in 1967 when a foundation stone was laid at Rock Crystal, the village’s first purposely built house where volunteers, interns, and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities could share their lives.
Rock Crystal is named after a small book of the same name by Adalbert Stifter. First published in 1845 as a “Christmas tale,” Rock Crystal is a fable of two children, lost on Christmas Eve on a glacier separating two villages. The youngsters, protected by The Angel of Providence, are rescued the next day when residents of both villages overcome their prejudices towards each other and search together to find the lost ones.
In the same way, Rock Crystal embodied Camphill Special School’s new ideal of a “children’s village” — a collection of accepting and loving homes where children who have lost their way in the world can be found and, once found, lead lives with purpose and significance.