Camphill Movement

The Camphill Movement is an international nexus of therapeutic intentional communities serving those with singular needs or disabilities. Situated in village communities together with workers, who are usually unsalaried, and their families, people with special needs live communally to facilitate close personal relationships, and provide them a social and cultural framework for work, community service, worship and educational services. Its residents live together in family homes, and the industry of the villages are typically centered around biodynamic farming, craftswork or the household; the communities' aim is to support every member to be able to contribute to the community in some fashion.

The movement was founded in the 1940s by Austrian pediatrician Karl König near Aberdeen, Scotland with his establishment there of a small residential school for children with special needs. 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 to this essential self. The communities' philosophy, anthroposophy, states that "a perfectly formed spirit and destiny belong to each human being." 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 about 100 villages world-wide, in twenty countries, mainly in Europe, but also in North America, South Africa, Russia and Eastern Europe..

Communities in the UK

There are a number of Camphill Communities in the UK, six in the Aberdeen area grouped as Camphill Aberdeen City and Shire, including Newton Dee, Beannachar, Camphill Rudolf Steiner Schools, and Botton Village; Larchfield, Blair Drummond, Ochil Tower, Milton Keynes, Delrow, The Mount, Sheiling School Ringwood, and Pennines Community, Coleg Elidyr (Wales) and Glasallt Fawr (Wales), and Camphill Community Glencraig (Northern Ireland), Camphill Holywood (Northern Ireland), Camphill Community Mourne Grange (Northern Ireland) and Camphill Community Clanabogan (Northern Ireland).

The entire Camphill Movement takes its name from Camphill Estate in the Milltimber area of Aberdeen, Scotland, where the Camphill pioneers opened their first community for children with special needs in June 1940. Camphill Estate is now a campus of Camphill Rudolf Steiner Schools.

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. Camphill Rudolf Steiner Schools was noted in the HMI/Care Commission report for 2007 as meeting "very good" to "excellent" (sector-leading) standards, with special praise for the "quality of pupils’ learning experiences along with the planned approach to promote self esteem, communication and social skills. The school also holds Autism Accreditation from the National Autistic Society.

Communities in Ireland

There are 10 Camphill Communities in Ireland, at Ballybay, Greenacres in Dundrum, Dublin, Dunshane and The Bridge (separate but one in and one near Kilcullen, the former with Ireland's only Anthroposophical bookshop), Duffcarrig near Gorey, one at three locations around Jerpoint and Thomastown (one of which is the Watergarden tourist attraction), Ballytobin and Kyle near Callan (the former also runs the KCAT art and study centre and a biogas plant), and near Carrick-on-Suir, both Grangemockler and the Carrick-on-Suir Community, which also runs the Journeyman Programme at Ballinagrana. There is also a proposal in development for a community in Dingle.

Communities in the United States

Seven villages springing from the Camphill movement which were established in the United States are: Camphill Village Minnesota, Inc. (founded 1980), Tobias Community in New Hampshire (founded 1988); Camphill Village U. S.A., Inc. (founded 1961), Fellowship Community (founded 1967), Triform (founded 1977), each in New York; and Camphill Special Schools (founded 1963), Camphill Village Kimberton Hills, Inc (founded 1972), and Camphill Soltane, all in Pennsylvania.

Communities in Canada

Ontario has two Camphill locations: Camphill Nottawasaga, a rural community for adults with several homes and workshops (woodwork, pottery, forestry and a vegetable garden). Camphill Sophia Creek provides residential workshops in an urban environment in Barrie, one hour north of Toronto. British Columbia also has two Camphill facilities: The Cascadia Society in North Vancouver, which provides residential home care and daytime activities in an urban setting. The Ita Wegman Association of BC in Duncan, operates Glenora Farm, a rural, agriculturally-based community for adults with special needs. Glenora is a biodynamic farm. In Quebec, Maison Emmanuel Centre Educatif, located in Val-Morin, Quebec (one hundred kilometers north of Montreal), serves about 20 adults and adolescents.


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