Blog – Inner Development Goals

Inner Development Goals for Integrative Learning

Where did the Inner Development Goals come from? 

In 2015, all UN member states adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These goals represent international agreement that we have to dramatically change our ways of living, if we are to continue to inhabit Earth without destroying her irrevocably. According to who you are, those changes should occur very soon, right now, yesterday, or at some point in the future. But there is almost universal acceptance that something drastic needs to change. The UN talks of us being in “an ambitious decade” at the end of which the goals are met, in 2030. 

Why are we not steaming towards the accomplishment of these goals? For many who are concerned about it, movement towards the goals seems achingly slow, or even non-existent. The recent return of populist governments across the world has further scuppered progress and, in some cases, introduced dangerous regressions. 

Frustrations about this lack of progress began to grow soon after the goals were ratified. In early 2019 a group of academics, thinkers and leaders got together to discuss the view that what was impeding the world’s transformation to sustainable development was something about the way humanity currently functions, “at the core, we are the problem. The way we’re acting in the world, and the way we solve problems, is the problem.” [] 

Environmental lawyer and academic Gus Speth articulated it best, when he said: “I used to think the top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and climate change. But I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed, and apathy.”  

This group agreed that, as humans, “we lack the inner capacity to deal with our increasingly complex environment and challenges.” Luckily though, all is not lost, because, “modern research shows that the inner abilities we now all need can be developed.” [] 

The development of these inner abilities is the foundation of the Inner Development Goals (IDGs). 

What are the Inner Development Goals? 

The IDGs are an identified list of transformative skills for sustainable development. They show us which qualities and skills we need to develop and nurture, in order to be able to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. 

Crucially, there will be guidance on how to develop these necessary skills, which will be “open source and free for all to use”.  

Reading the full IDG report is interesting, because over a thousand people worldwide have had an input in their evolution. And there were many discussions on how they ought to be presented. Essentially, though, there was a need to make them accessible, and easy for mass communication and education. Agreement was made that 23 skills and qualities would be presented in five ‘dimensions’ or categories: 

Why do we think they are important? 

At CFI, we have a commitment that everything we do should make the world a better place. We believe that education has the power and potential to be a force of positive change in the world. And we aim not only to care for and nurture the environments around us, but to promote environmental responsibility wherever we can. 

For us, then, the IDGs align clearly with what we wish to help our learners achieve – real, lasting, positive change in the world. 

How can they improve and enhance IE? 

The IDGs give us a framework to develop our own skills and qualifications. Many of those skills are vital to becoming effective learners. For example, developing your co-creation skills (as part of part 4. Collaborating – Social Skills) will ensure that learners are better able to work in pairs or groups to create their work. It will lead to more satisfying learning experiences; better outcomes for learners and teachers; and a higher quality of work that we can showcase as a result. Everyone benefits! 

If anything, we think Integrative Education and IDGs complement each other. Arguably, young learners are better equipped to grasp the concepts of, and improve, their skills and qualities for life, in an environment where the learning better reflects the world around them; where their thinking is already connected across different subject areas; and where they are required to work in pairs or groups as part of their everyday educational experience. 

Most importantly, the IDGs give us practical help in addressing the needs of humanity. And they help people to navigate the anxieties and uncertainties that can impede progress and impair the quality of our lives. Climate change anxiety, rising alarmingly in the younger demographic, is a very real challenge that we must support our young learners – and their teachers – through. As this article in the Lancet argues, “we owe it to children and young people to prioritise mitigation of climate change at its source, while at the same time investing in evidence-based tools to support their mental wellbeing in the face of this ongoing crisis.” 

How have we used them in our work? 

We have embedded the principles of the IDGs into our Integrative Education Level 3 qualifications. 

The IDGs work alongside research methods, independent project work, cross-cultural competencies, eco-literacy and many other complementary elements that prepare young people for the next stage in their lives, and to be active and responsible global citizens. 

How can you find out more? 

Contact the training providers, Kato Education to find out more about the Integrative Education suite of qualifications. 

Read the full IDG report to find out more about the project. 

Blog – Integrative Education

What is Integrative Education?

What does ‘integrative education’ mean? 

The definition of ‘integrative’ is, “combining two or more things to form an effective unit or system.”  

What happens when we apply that to education and learning? It becomes a multi-faceted term that encompasses many elements of the learning process, the students and the teachers.  

The best-known version of integrative education (IE) is where the student learns in a way that combines or crosses over the boundaries between traditionally-divided subject areas. Sometimes called transdisciplinary, cross-curricular, or inter-curricular learning, students partake in learning that requires a range and combination of skills, and may include several subject areas. For example, a project making musical instruments that might combine musical, mathematic, physics, and handwork skills. 

However, it isn’t only the idea that day-to-day living is not neatly divided into subject silos, and that by fragmenting the student’s learning experience into artificial categories, the student is working in a way that isn’t reflecting the reality of the world around them.  

Education that is truly integrative also encourages an integration of intellectual, emotional, physical and social skills within the individual. It integrates the learner with the world in which we live; the societies that are fluctuating around them; and the planet that so desperately needs more understanding and support from humanity.  

Why does CFI awarding embrace IE? 

For CFI, there are three ways that education can be described as ‘integrative’. For us, integrative education: 

  1. Engages the whole person – both teacher and student. They use and develop their mental, physical and emotional skills.

  2. Connects the learner and their learning to their daily life. Their own experiences become valuable in their learning; their learning is useful in their own lives, within their particular context. The student’s educational experience remains relevant for them, and continues to do so as they leave the educational setting and move out into the world. 

  3. Connects or combines both different subjects and the skills those subjects seek to develop. 

Education that is integrative will – we believe – be more engaging, more enlightening, more meaningful. Students will have the chance to love what they learn and apply it wherever it is most needed in their lives. 

The good and the great 

So, what advantages can this way of learning produce for the learner? 

Arguably, integrative education: 

  • Better prepares students for a swiftly-changing world, one that isn’t divided into subjects. 

  • Allows students to come up with better ideas and solutions, when looking at a project or problem as a whole, rather than by dividing their thinking. 

  • Encourages students to apply their skillsets in a fluid and dynamic way, rather than trying to approach something with a fixed mindset. 

More broadly, we can see that humanity is facing some serious challenges, with increasing numbers of crises threatening us at every level. Things have to change, and education is a crucial part of that. Our education systems are not currently enabling people to function happily, healthily or sustainably in the world. 

The challenges and reservations 

Although there are clear problems with education, it’s still an unnerving idea to many that everything about the current system needs to be overhauled in favour of something different, a move into the unknown. However, integrative education isn’t a new concept. Pedagogical experts have mooted, examined and proposed IE ideas for over a century (Kilpatrick’s The Project Method was published in 1918!) 

Yet, in many of the world’s mainstream education systems, IE has not been implemented in any meaningful way. There are reasons for this: 

  • Time: On a practical level, teachers often don’t have time to collaborate in a way that would make their students’ experience truly integrative. There are many gestures and nods towards IE (numeracy in your English lessons anyone?) but these do not make the educational experience truly integrative, and therefore don’t bring along its benefits. 

  • Organisation: There has to be some way to organise the educational experience. And there are advantages to structuring the students’ day so they learn a certain set of skills, and are able to focus on one thing at a time. Also, even if they did work on a multi-disciplinary project, they’d need to break that down into manageable chunks. Some argue that subject-silos are an effective way to do this. 

  • Change: Embracing IE fully requires big changes to be made. Large-scale reforms are difficult and often unpopular at first, making it an unappealing job both for educators and the politicians who may direct or enable such reforms at a national level. 

However, these challenges can be met and mitigated by the right IE system. One that allows teachers to collaborate; one that recognises the importance of specialist knowledge, but doesn’t restrict teachers and learners within subject silos; one that is organised and purposeful; one that works with education settings to support and implement the changes in a manageable way.  

Where to begin 

At CFI, our IE programme aims to allow all students to achieve their best and stay engaged. It’s also more inclusive than the current exam-based system, because it uses a fairer, wider range of assessment such as portfolios, presentation and performance. The courses run at both Level 2 and Level 3. Schools and organisations who adopt the IE qualifications are given support and teachers are offered training, to ensure they feel comfortable with and capable of delivering the materials.  

Find out more about the IE suite 

New Level 7 PPIE Certificate Launched

New Level 7 PPIE Certificate Launched for 2022

Crossfields Institute Level 7 Certificate in the Philosophy and Practice of Integrative Education

This fully-online qualification introduces a range of integrative theories and approaches to education.

It was developed in response to the major social, environmental and technological changes that are being experienced globally, and the changing skills and competences that young people need.

As a response to these challenges, many educators are now experimenting with new approaches to teaching and learning with the aim of nurturing capacities such as creative thinking, empathy, resilience and resourcefulness.

Who should apply?

  • School leaders
  • Teachers
  • Curriculum designers
  • Those thinking of a career in teaching
  • Home school practitioners

Our curriculum

The certificate will cover:

  • Integrative approaches to teaching and learning
  • Contemporary approaches to educational practice
  • Student wellbeing
  • Lesson planning and implementation
  • The teaching role in an organisational context
  • Colleagueship and collaboration
  • Classroom leadership
  • Peer-mentoring networks
  • Holistic and formative assessment

Our faculty and key speakers

  • Lorraine Teviotdale (Scotland)
  • Andrea Brandão (Finland)
  • Jonathan Code (UK)
  • Toby Cann (UK)
  • Sven Saar (UK)
  • Silke Weiss (Germany)
  • Dr Bronwen Haralambous (Australia)
  • Dr Eeva Raunela (Finland)


£1500 (staged payments available)

Further information

To apply for a place on the course, please click here to complete our application form.

If you would like to download the course brochure, click here.

For more detailed information about all aspects of PPIE, including learning hours, faculty, fees, delivery dates and certification, email

About Crossfields Institute

Crossfields Institute is an educational charity specialising in holistic and integrative education and research. The Institute develops specialist qualifications which aim to support the development of autonomous students with the intellectual rigour, practical skills, social responsibility and ability to think creatively and act decisively.

Crossfields Institute
Stroud House | Russell Street | Stroud GL5 3AN | United Kingdom
T: +44 (0) 1453 808118
Company no: 06503063 | Charity no: 1124859

PPIE Flyer 2022

Exciting New Modular Qualification – Enrolling for 2022

Crossfields Institute Level 7 Diploma in the Philosophy and Practice of Integrated Education

Philosophy and Practice of Integrative Education (PPIE) is an innovative, international teacher development programme that is now entering its fifth year. The main aim of this postgraduate level programme is to inspire teachers to develop their own practice drawing on relevant theory and on their own capacity for critical and reflective inquiry. For the January 2022 intake we have made a significant change, which is that PPIE can now be taken as separate, stand-alone short courses. This enables you to be more selective about what you study and to complete the programme at your own pace. General information about the programme is given below. For more detailed information, visit:

For more detailed information about all aspects of PPIE, including learning hours,
faculty, fees, delivery dates and certification, please visit: or email

Crossfields Institute
Stroud House | Russell Street | Stroud GL5 3AN | United Kingdom
T: +44 (0) 1453 808118
Company no: 06503063 | Charity no: 1124859

Early Childhood Qualifications Re-Launched

Early Childhood Qualifications Re-Launched

Crossfields Institute Early Years qualifications

After many years of working collaboratively with NCFE CACHE, Crossfields Institute are delighted to announce the re-launch of following qualifications:

Crossfields Institute Level 3 Diploma in Holistic Baby and Child Care (Early Years Educator)
Crossfields Institute Level 4 Diploma in Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Studies (EYE)
Crossfields Institute Level 5 Diploma in Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Studies – Leadership and Management

These qualifications were previously awarded through NCFE CACHE but will now be part of the Crossfields Institute suite of qualifications NCFE CACHE made the following statement about the qualifications:

“NCFE CACHE has worked with Crossfields Institute since 2013 and would like to wish students following these qualifications the best of luck as they embark on their studies. These specialist qualifications are of quality, robust in both content and assessment and they offer insight into the expertise, skills and professional approach needed to practice in an early childhood setting.”

Below is some further information about each of the qualifications:


Crossfields Institute Level 3 Diploma in Holistic Baby and Child Care (Early Years Educator)

The aim of this qualification is to provide the learner with the expertise, skills and professional approach needed to become an EYE qualified holistic early years practitioner, and includes classroom based and placement hours. This qualification prepares learners to use a Steiner Waldorf and Pikler approach to baby and early child education and care, appropriate to holistic and mainstream settings.

Learners completing this qualification may proceed directly to work in an early childhood setting, for example in the role of an early years educator, adult and child group leader, or childminder and carer of children under 3 years, in a Steiner Waldorf or mainstream setting. Learners can also progress to the NCFE CACHE Level 4 Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Studies (EYE) (VRQ).

Learners interested in studying this qualification should contact Emerson College, East Sussex +44 (0)1342 822 238; +44 (0)1342 826 055 or email


Crossfields Institute Level 4 Diploma in Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Studies (EYE)
Crossfields Institute Level 5 Diploma in Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Studies – Leadership and Management

These Crossfields Institute qualifications were originally created in collaboration with subject specialists including London Steiner Kindergarten Training Company Ltd and Dorothy Marlen in order to provide the learner with the expertise, skills and professional approach needed to be an holistic early childhood educator.

Learners interested in studying this qualification should contact either The London Steiner Kindergarten Training Company by contacting the course administrator Suzanne Leek at: The London Steiner Kindergarten Training Company based in London with residentials in Gloucestershire.

Alternatively, learners can also contact North of England Steiner Waldorf Early Childhood Studies by contacting the course coordinator Jill Taplin at or telephone 01782 504567. This course is based in York with residentials in the Midlands.


Any organisations wishing to deliver this qualification should contact Crossfields Institute at or 01453 808118. Crossfields Institute is a Gloucestershire based education charity, approved by Ofqual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulations in England) as an awarding organisation. The Institute specialises in the development of specialist qualifications for providers with a particular vision or ethos.

Pisa tests: UK lags behind in global school rankings

Results from the recent Pisa test confirms at least two important points: 1) teacher education is vital and more work is needed to address the situation in the UK but 2) the Pisa test itself focuses on a very particular kind of learning and does not assess other ways of knowing or take into account our human diversity. Crossfields Institute in collaboration with the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship are launching a new teacher education programme (with a focus on 14-19 education) in September 2017. This programme will focus on gaining competence in teaching, learning and assessment, the core principles of the new ACTS Diploma, such as transdisciplinary approaches, the integration of Creative Thinking Skills, Steiner pedagogy and more. Follow the developments by keeping in touch. If you wish to hear more, write to

Could Steiner schools have a point on children, tablets and tech?

Interesting article yesterday in the Guardian, questioning the overuse of technology in schools and asking whether Steiner schools have the right approach. We believe that technology has its place in classrooms, but that the early years particularly should involve young people learning through making and doing.

Maria Woolley with her class at the Iona school in Nottingham, a Steiner school that rejects the use of tablets and computers. Photograph: David Sillitoe for the Guardian

Danish State Approval for Steiner Upper Schools

The Rudolf Steiner Upper Schools in Denmark have been state accredited for classes 11 and 12, which have hitherto been financially unsupported. This official state recognition also includes the grade and exam free approach that is applied in the Danish Steiner Schools. Crossfields Institute congratulates the students and their parents, the Danish Federation of Steiner Schools and the hard working parent and teachers who worked on this approval process over the last eights years. We are excited that this news will also enable Denmark to continue to engage with the new Erasmus Diploma currently in development with teachers from Norway, Finland, the UK and Denmark, lead by the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship, UK.

Interesting article in the Guardian this weekend about the importance of Early Years Education

Interesting article in the Guardian this weekend about the importance of Early Years Education:

5130The early years are vital for the development of autonomous, happy, well adapted children and teachers need to be well prepared and resourced. In partnership with NCFE CACHE we have developed a range of specialist early years education qualifications – in Montessori Pedagogy and the Steiner Waldorf approach to early years education. These qualifications blend the academic knowledge with practical skill through placement. They equip teachers to work with children in ways which gives them the creative, playful start to their education they deserve.