Camphill Movement

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The Camphill Movement is an initiative for social change based on the principles of anthroposophy. Camphill communities are residential communities and schools that provide support for the education, employment, and daily lives of adults and children with developmental disabilities, mental health problems, or other special needs.[1]

There are over 100 Camphill communities in more than 20 countries across Europe, North America, Southern Africa and Asia.[2]


The movement was founded in 1939 at Kirkton House near Aberdeen by a group that included Austrian paediatrician Karl König.[3][4] It was König's view that every human being possessed a healthy inner personality that was independent of their physical characteristics, including characteristics marking developmental or mental disability, and the role of the school was to recognize, nurture and educate this essential self.[5] The communities' philosophy, anthroposophy, states that "a perfectly formed spirit and destiny belong to each human being."[6] The underlying principles of König's Camphill school were derived from concepts of education and social life outlined decades earlier by anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925).Today there are over 100 communities worldwide, in more than 20 countries, mainly in Europe, but also in North America and Southern Africa.[7][8][9][10]


The Camphill Movement takes its name from Camphill Estate in the Milltimber area of Aberdeen, Scotland, where the Camphill pioneers moved to with their first community for children with special needs in June 1940. Camphill Estate is now[when?] a campus of Camphill School Aberdeen.[11] There are six Camphills in the Aberdeen area.

The Camphill School Aberdeen[12] was noted in the HMI/Care Commission report for 2007 as meeting "very good" to "excellent" standards,[13] The school also holds Autism Accreditation from the National Autistic Society.[14]

The Botton village received the Deputy Prime Minister's Award for Sustainable Communities in 2005; the award cited the community's dedication to the ethos of sustainability and mutual respect, as well as their concrete achievements in these areas.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ At Camphill Kimberton, crafting a different way to live - 2013-10-05
  2. ^ "Camphill Worldwide : Creating opportunities for people with special needs". Archived from the original on 2015-03-10. Retrieved 2015-03-20.
  3. ^ Robin Jackson, The role of social pedagogy in the training of residential child care workers, Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 2006 Vol. 10, No. 1, 61-73
  4. ^ Holistic Special Education: Camphill Principles and Practice. 2006, Floris Books, Edinburgh
  5. ^ Marga Hogenboom,Living With Genetic Syndromes Associated With Mental Disability, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2001
  6. ^ Busalle, Rebecca, Cornelius Pietzner, and Stephan Rasch. "The life of the soul". Aperture, Summer 1996 n144: 26(10).
  7. ^ Todd Saunders, Ecology and Community Design: Lessons from Northern European Ecological Communities, Alternatives Journal, Vol 22, Apr/May 1996
  8. ^ "Camphill Worldwide : Creating opportunities for people with special needs". Archived from the original on 2015-03-10. Retrieved 2015-03-20.
  9. ^ Jackson, Robin (2019). "The birth of the worldwide Camphill Movement in the North of Scotland". Northern Scotland. 10 (2): 157–187. doi:10.3366/nor.2019.0185. S2CID 211670655.
  10. ^ Jackson, Robin (2017). "The influence of Moravian Brethren religious thought and practice on the development of Camphill communities". Communal Societies. 37: 25–51.
  11. ^ Report Demonstrates Standards of Excellence at Aberdeen Special Needs School, press release, 12 September 2007. Retrieved on 28 March 2008. Archived on 2010-01-18.
  12. ^ Camphill Rudolf Steiner Schools. Retrieved on 23 March 2008.
  13. ^ HM Inspectorate of Education, Inspection Report: Camphill Rudolf Steiner Schools Archived 2009-01-07 at the Wayback Machine, 12 September 2007. Retrieved on 23 March 2008.
  14. ^ Autism Services Directory: Camphill School Aberdeen. Retrieved on 23 March 2008.
  15. ^ "The Deputy Prime Minister's Award." Learning Disability Practice 9.2 (March 2006): 26(1)

Further reading[edit]

  • McKanan, Daniel: 'Camphill and the Future: Spirituality and disability in an evolving communal movement'. University of California Press. 2020. ISBN 978052034902
  • Jackson, Robin: 'The Austrian provenance of the worldwide Camphill Movement' Journal of Austrian Studies, 46(4): 23–40. 2013.
  • Jackson, Robin: 'Camphill communities: the agricultural impulse' Relational Child and Youth Care Practice, 26(2): 35–41. 2013.
  • 'Discovering Camphill: New perspectives, research and developments' Edited by Robin Jackson, Floris Books, 2011.
  • Jackson, Robin: 'The origin of Camphill and the social pedagogic impulse' Educational Review, 63(1): 95–104. 2011.
  • 'Holistic Special Education: Camphill principles and practice' Edited by Robin Jackson, Floris Books, 2006.
  • The Builders of Camphill: Lives and Destinies of the Founders Edited by Friedwart Bock, Floris Books, 2004 ISBN 9780863154423
  • The Lives of Camphill: An Anthology of the Pioneers by Johannes Surkamp Floris Books (23 August 2007) ISBN 978-0863156076
  • A Candle on the Hill: Images of Camphill Life by Laurens Van der Post (Foreword), Cornelius Pietzner (Editor) Floris Books; 1st Edition (1 March 1990) ISBN 978-0863151019
  • Village Life: The Camphill Communities Edited by Carlo Pietzner, Cornelius Pietzner and Wanda Root, Simon & Schuster (Juv) (January 1987) ISBN 978-0887080302

External links[edit]