The impetus to establish a special needs school on the basis of Waldorf educational principles came from the Kühne family. They lived in Vienna and had four children. The eldest of their three daughters, Johanna, was a child with "special educational needs."
The Kühnes had previously been instrumental in founding the first Rudolf Steiner school in Vienna, and now sought to add a special needs class to this school. In its earliest days, they made rooms in their house at Jesuitensteig available to the school.
Dr. Heide Zäuner, who had quite a bit of experience in special needs education, was the first principal, joined by two eurythmy students, Elisabeth Erdmenger from Germany, who also had training in music therapy, and Genevieve Bachelet from France. The fourth member was Sebastian Holzhuber from Vienna.
In 1972 the Karl Schubert School Association was founded. The board included members who had already gathered experience in the founding of the Rudolf Steiner School: Professor Kühne and Walter Schulz, who is still faithfully assisting our school today. Dr. Gergely, with her experience from the founding of the previous school, also helped a great deal in paving the way.
A school of this type was a novelty in Austria at the time—and official recognition of this completely new, unconventional school experiment took correspondingly long:
- As of 1973, status "not prohibited“
- As of 1975, support for transport and school fees from the Office of Social Services
- As of 1983, recognized under public law as "suitable for the fulfillment of compulsory schooling," thanks to the great advice and help of Dr. Raoul Kneucker
Over the years, the Karl Schubert School and its staff have given rise to several socio-therapeutic institutions:
- 1981 Karl Schubert Haus Mariensee, Gesellschaft für Sozialtherapie und Lebensgemeinschaft through the Jakobs family
- 1986 Sozialtherapeutische Lebens- und Arbeitsgemeinschaft through the Wirth family, as of 1987 with residential groups and workshops, currently at four locations in Vienna and Lower Austria
- The Himmelschlüsselhof in Texing, an initiative by student parents, the Fischer family
- 1997 the Dorfgemeinschaft Breitenfurt, thanks to the perseverance and dedication of Elisabeth Erdmenger, currently with 8 residential groups and 12 workshops
- 2020 the Dorfgemeinschaft Wienerwaldsee
Around the same time, the Rudolf Steiner Seminar für Heilpädagogik und Sozialtherapie was founded on the initiative of several staff members, which has since brought forth many committed social therapists.