Support areas


Personality development instead of simply the communication of knowledge

Education lays the foundation stone for the development of every human being and is one of the most important bases of modern society. However, educational measures frequently focus exclusively on the one-dimensional communication of knowledge and neglect personality development as an essential overriding aspect of education. Sustainable education is only possible, however, if both aspects are taken into account. One focus of the MAHLE FOUNDATION therefore is to promote holistic education projects that incorporate the conventional impartation of knowledge in addition to the development of an emotional world, creativity and social behaviour. The funded projects include not only international initiatives based on a Waldorf education, but also projects supporting disadvantaged children and adolescents, as well as intercultural educational work, teacher training and the funding of scientific studies.

Waldorf education as a sought-after alternative model

Since the publication of the first PISA study in 2000, the German school system has been subject to increased monitoring in view of the poor results of its pupils. Within the framework of numerous reforms, curricula have been modified, all-day schools introduced and a grammar school education reduced by one year. However, teachers, parents and pupils now criticise the frequently encountered pressure to perform and obtain good marks with less scope available for the development of personality, individual talents and creativity. As a consequence of this, private schools with alternative learning concepts are becoming increasingly popular. Their share of the educational system more than doubled between 1998 and 2012.

One of the best known types of school not run by the state with an alternative educational concept is the Waldorf School. Currently there are around 245 such schools in Germany and more than 1,000 worldwide. The Waldorf education system was developed as long ago as 1919 by Rudolf Steiner and is based in accordance with Steiner's anthroposophic world view on his guiding principle: "Receive the children in reverence, educate them in love, and send them forth in freedom." Emotional development, the training of practical skills and the furtherance of pupils' self-confidence are therefore just as important as cognitive learning content in the Waldorf education system. Pressure to perform and obtain good marks should be minimised as much as possible, and in contrast individual skills and talents discovered and promoted.

In addition, the achievement of social justice in the education system is an essential element of the Waldorf education method. This includes - within the possibilities available to schools - support for financially disadvantaged children as well as the inclusion of pupils with physical or mental limitations. For this reason there are also many Waldorf institutions around the world with a medical and special educational orientation.

The principles of the Waldorf education system are also applied in adult education, especially in vocational training. For example, initiated by the anthroposophic convictions of the dm founder and former partner of the MAHLE FOUNDATION Götz Werner, the training of employees at the dm drugstores is also based on these approaches.

Examples of support from the MAHLE FOUNDATION in the field of education and upbringing 

One of the many support projects in the field of education is the Intercultural Waldorf School in Mannheim. Under the central idea of the "tolerant coexistence of civilizations", more than 200 male and female pupils from 17 countries and different social backgrounds learn from and with each other here. The teaching staff, who themselves come from different countries and cultures, incorporate intercultural themes into the lessons to a greater extent than usual. Integration therefore takes place on all levels and throughout the entire living environment of the school. Learning the German language is promoted in the classroom by specifying it as a separate subject, as well as through various forms of social activities – with very considerable success. The initiators of the Stuttgart Intercultural Education Initiative – IBIS for short – which is also funded by the Foundation, therefore also used the commitment of the Intercultural Waldorf School in Mannheim as their role model. In a socially deprived neighbourhood in Stuttgart, their initiative pursues the goal of establishing an educational programme with an intercultural, socially-inclusive and vocational orientation – starting with the daycare facilities for children through to A-levels or vocational training.

Another example of the support provided by the Foundation is the "Parzival School" in Karlsruhe: Since the school was founded, the MAHLE FOUNDATION has supported various projects of this school with its Waldorf educational model, which also receives and cares for, inter alia, socially disadvantaged and often exceptionally difficult pupils who have been expelled by other educational institutions. The Parzival School combines special education teaching, an education for the disabled and assistance with bringing up children and adolescents in socially precarious situations. Children with learning difficulties and pupils with educational difficulties are taught together and therefore benefit mutually from the different abilities of their classmates. The Parzival School employs not only teachers, but also therapists to look after the pupils. Various offerings, such as the large educational farm, vaulting or music therapy, are integrated into the school day in order to strengthen physical and creative skills as well.

Click here to go to further funded projects in the field of education and upbringing