Dr. Max Stibbe was born to Dutch parents in Indonesia at the turn of the 19th century. He studied law but after attending a lecture on education by Dr. Rudolf Steiner, he and a group of friends started the first Waldorf school in the Netherlands (Den Haag).
He came to South Africa after the Constantia Waldorf School in Cape Town invited him to do teacher training for them – and he stayed for nine years! During the spring of 1971 he gave a lecture on ‘Education through Art’ in Pretoria. Huibert and Annelie Franken, who had been interested in the work of Dr. Steiner for some time already, attended the lecture and requested a meeting with Max in November 1971.
The Fountain School was founded and started with two children in the Brooklyn Scout Hall in January 1972. By the end of that first year the school had about 40 children between Class 1 and 8, all taught in the same room. Dr. Max Stibbe gave the first small group of teachers intensive training in Anthroposophy and Waldorf Pedagogy. Max Stibbe died a year and a half after the founding of the school and the school’s name was changed to Max Stibbe Waldorf School in his honour.
It soon became clear that the school needed its own premises and moved to a smallholding in Kameeldrift. Max Stibbe Waldorf School found its permanent home in the east of Pretoria on a farm at Mooiplaats (now known as Rosemary Hill Farm) in February 1977.
The nursery school opened its doors in 1977 with teacher Eugenie van der Spuy guiding the first two children – Thomas Franken and Annelie le Roux (neé König). Another nursery school teacher with quite a legacy is Leoni Nel, who started here in January 1986 until her retirement from teaching at the end of 2007. Leoni was assisted by Mary Makweng, currently our carer for the baby group.
Through the years the nursery school has occupied different buildings on the farm and saw many children, teachers and parents come and go. In 2015 the Board of Trustees identified a need for the nursery school to reposition and rebrand itself. An existing building on the farm was earmarked for renovation and the school began work on the new project.
On 8 February 2016, The Kindergarten moved to a specially renovated building (still on Rosemary Hill Farm). We have broadened our service offered to parents and now accept children from 3 months to 6 years old.
The Kindergarten is a feeder school to The Waldorf School, which follows the international Waldorf curriculum and currently accepts learners from grade 1 to 9.