Camphill School Hermanus was established in the Hemel en Aarde Valley in 1952, thanks to the efforts of a woman with extraordinary vision and determination. Mother of an intellectually impaired son, Robert, May Redman was determined to identify a school which would provide quality care and education for her child.
Meanwhile, in the late 1930s, in Scotland, another visionary, Karl König, a Jewish refugee from Austria, had recognised a similar need. A student of renowned educationist, Rudolf Steiner, he was offered refuge on Camphill Estate, near Aberdeen and together with other Rudolf Steiner students, he started a community committed to providing residential care for children with intellectual disabilities.
They believed that, irrespective of their impairments, each child was a perfect spiritual being, deserving of love and respect. König focused on the unique qualities and potential of each child, believing that in so doing, a new and more humane society would be created.
Hearing by chance of Dr König’s project, May Redman became convinced that this was just what her son, Robert, needed. With help from friends, she bought the run-down Dawn farm and in 1952, with the support of Dr König, two pupils, and a teacher from Camphill, Aberdeen, Camphill School Hermanus was launched and welcomed into the world-wide Camphill movement. The School presently caters for 60 day and residential learners with special needs. Despite many ups and downs, it has remained grounded in its founding principles and is proud of having offered quality education, care and hope to generations of young people.