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A Deeper Understanding

of the
Waldorf Kindergarten

Articles from the


Waldorf Kindergarten Newsletter
1981 to 1992
VOLUME 2

Edited by Joan Almon


With special thanks to our European colleagues
who have regularly come to North America to
help us deepen our understanding of the young child.

Copyright 1993 by the Waldorf Kindergarten Association


of North America, Inc.

Third Edition

For permission to reprint or to order, contact:


The Waldorf Kindergarten Association
1359 Alderton Lane
Silver Spring, MD 20906

Reformatted with permission for posting in PDF on the


Online Waldorf Library
of the Research Institute for Waldorf Education
June 2014
Table of Contents
Section One: The Developing Child
Stages of Development in Early Childhood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Kindergarten Education with Mixed-Age Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
The Significance of Imitation and Example for the Development of the Will . . . . . . 15
Kindergarten Readiness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Further Considerations about Kindergarten Readiness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Section Two: Etheric Forces and the Young Child


The Birth of the Etheric . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Forces of Growth and Forces of Fantasy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Childhood Illnesses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

Section Three: The Young Child and the Spiritual World


How Can We Find a Connection to the World of the Angels? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Continuing the Work of the Hierarchies in the Age of the Etheric Christ . . . . . . . . . 56
The Religion of the Young Child . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
How Can We Work with the Karma of the Young Child? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
Working with the Angels, the Archangels, and the Archai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72
Walking and the Incarnation of Destiny . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
The Wonder of Acquiring Speech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81

Section Four: The Sistine Madonna


The Sistine Madonna by Raphael: Is It Appropriate in the Kindergarten? . . . . . . . . . . 85
The Sistine Madonna . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88

Section Five: The Education of the Teacher


Working with an Assistant Who Is Striving to Become a Teacher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
Supervising a Student Teacher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99

Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
The Developing Child

Stages of Development in Early Childhood


Tasks and Goals for Parents and Educators
Freya Jaffke
International Waldorf Kindergarten Association

To be able to foster a childs development thinking. A second larger area consists of the
rather than disturb or hinder it through faulty connection between the rhythm of breathing
behavior, we must become familiar with and and the heartbeat, in whose subtle variations
understand these stages of development. The the feeling life is manifested. It is called the
following article is written by a seasoned Rhythmic System and has its center in the
kindergarten teacher who through long years of chest area. The organs of metabolism perform
work has been able to condense her observations their work deep in the unconscious. If their
into a picture of the developmental stages of activity is injured, then the human will is
early childhood. Her starting-point is based weakened or even disabled. In no other area
on the fact that has been proven by anatomical does the will impulse live more fully and
research that a childs body inherited from her with greater strength than in the movement
parents does not represent a smaller form of the of the limbsthe spontaneous, willful joy of
adult. The childs body is being metamorphosed movement in young children is a good example
toward its own goal. One can clearly see that a of this. Thus Steiner combines this lower
Will, an individuality is at work here which is region and calls it the Limb-Metabolic System.
not identical to the body that has been inherited.
The life processes of the organism and its
Three different stages of development during the
formation cannot be adequately explained by the
years before a child is ready for first gradeup
chemical reactions of body substances. Expert
to the seventh yearare described in Rudolf
anthropologists acknowledge the workings of
Steiners Soul Economy and Waldorf Education,
formative forces. Rudolf Steiner calls them the
Lecture VII (Anthroposophic Press, 1986).
formative or life forces. Their effects in the
For readers who are not familiar with shaping of the organism and in the physiological
Rudolf Steiners information regarding human processes are evident. However, what exactly
development, we include a brief introduction of is at work is invisible to the external eye and is
basic concepts necessary for an understanding. revealed only through supersensible methods
Steiner observed that the human organism of observation, as Steiner describes in the
is divided into three areas. Since the sense Fourth and Fifth Lectures of Soul Economy.
perceptions are conducted through the nerve He describes how the formative forces are
system to the brain, Steiner calls this association completely occupied at the beginning of human
of functions centered in the head the Nerve- life with the forming of the organism. Then, as
Sense System. It is the physical basis for the organs draw nearer to their final form, these

5
The Developing Child

forces are gradually freed up from this task and gradually become more ordered and directed
metamorphose then into spirit-soul forces: those through his tireless will to be active. We see
of memory, imagination, fantasy and the power how he acquires the upright position and
of thought. They all point to a spiritual shaping how he develops a relationship to the worlds
and forming. Thus childhood development equilibrium in learning to walk. We observe
consists essentially in the birth and gradual how from the worldwide language of babbling
unfolding of these forces. a young child finds his way ever more surely
and with greater control to the exact sound of
If we wish to understand a child in the first
his regional language. We see how a much more
seven years of life, we must look very closely at
strongly differentiated and more meaningful
the individual steps of development. Before we
activity develops from the early toddling about
do this though, let us keep in mind the whole
after adults and the beginning imitation of their
situation of the young child at the beginning of
behavior.
life.
We can see through all these processes how
To begin with, three things must coincide
the individuality is endeavoring to work itself
if a birth is to happen. First the two streams of
into the body and to make it its own. All the
inheritance of the parents unite to give the body.
impressions from the environment that meet the
A soul-spirit being, a human individuality then
child also work very closely in this process of
joins with the body.
shaping the inner human being.
For instance, in spite of its outer
The impressions work in from the outside
completeness, this physical body still remains
through the senses. In the young child these are
unfinished in many ways. The individual
digested inwardly by the core of his being, the
inner organs have not yet attained their final,
individuality, in two ways: through the imitated
differentiated forms. In the limb system, we see
behavior and in the development of the yet
a lack of differentiationchaotic, involuntary
unfinished organs.
movements. In the nerve-sense system, the child
is still totally open. The young child is born unprotected into
its new environment. His whole body acts as a
The childs task in the first six to seven
single sense organ serving in an indiscriminate
yearsyears that are his by right for this
way to join the outer world with the inner one.
purposeis to take hold of his inner body and
We can compare it to the eye. The eye itself does
to develop its differentiation until he is ready
not see, it only transmits. We see through the
for school. Thenwhen the process of forming
eyes. Thus the childs body is a sense organ for
the organs is largely finished and only growth is
the individuality, for the spirit-soul being of the
still taking placehis body stands prepared as a
human.
useful instrument. The soul-spirit individuality
that had joined the physical body at birth can, The outer impressions come into the child
after further steps of development, begin to through the senses, while the inner activity
manifest itself fully in an external way through of shaping the organs moves outwards. This
this body without being hindered by it. working together of the outer impressions
and the inner shaping manifests itself in that
How can we observe the joining of the
wonderful power of imitation with which each
individuality to the body? We see how the
healthy child is born. Every observation is first
childs involuntary movements of kicking about

6
Freya Jaffke Stages of Development in Early Childhood

taken in deeply, grasped by the will and then, between meaningful and foolish behavior, he
like an echo, comes forth again in a childs brings to his own activity what he sees in his
behavior. representatives of life, which is the role we take
on in the process of education.
There result from this fact two significant
tasks for parents and educators. The first is a The imitative behavior of the child goes
gesture of protection. Wherever we are able through three different stages in the first six to
to do so, we ought to choose carefully out of seven years. It is subject to the forces forming
the environment the impressions that meet the organs, whichbeginning in the head area
the child. The child is best surrounded calmly work through the whole body right down to the
by happy family sounds of normal speaking tips of the toes. Although they work through
and singing rather than those of uproar and the whole body, they concentrate in the first
quarreling. We also ought to protect the child stage of life, from birth to about two and a half
from every type of technical apparatus such years of age, on the forming of the organs in the
as radio, television, cassettes, videos, etc. In a Nerve-Sense System. During this time the child
childs room and for cradles and walls of one, acquires three of the most important human
soft color is preferable because of the soothing capabilitiesgaining uprightness in the face of
effect to the well-meant childrens fabrics and gravity, walking, and then speech, which is a
wallpaper which are covered with flowers and prerequisite for thinking. All these capabilities
animals. When riding in the car is necessary, lets the child learns exclusively through imitation.
make sure that the child can be seated to have a Tragic examples in history have shown that
view of mother rather than overstimulating the children do not acquire these human capabilities
senses by exposing him to the street traffic. when they grow up surrounded only by animals.
This shows clearly that humanity can be learned
The second great task consists in guiding
only from human beings.
the child step by step into life, allowing him to
learn about life for his whole life. This happens
From the Age of Crawling to the Awakening
chiefly by meaningfully and methodically paying of the I in the Age of Independence
attention to the capability that the child has
brought with himthat of imitationrather In what way are children active in this first
than by means of clever teaching. stage of life?
This presupposes that when we as grown- As soon as they can barely crawl or propel
ups make the effort to be good examples of themselves forward, they begin to explore their
human beings, that we will have the effect of home environment, and it becomes unsafe.
awakening impulses in the child through our They follow Mother and want to do everything
activities. For we cannot teach a child to imitate. that she is doing. With the greatest enjoyment
This is a matter of the will and must be grasped they clatter together the cooking pots, covers
by the childs own will. We can be aware of our and spoons, put their hands into the wash
own behavior: how we go about our work in water, pull out the wash and stick it in again,
the home and garden, how we speak with other spreading puddles about. They bustle about
people, how we care for others, how we arrange with the broom dispersing the dirt rather than
and care for our environment. The child takes gathering it into the middle in a small pile; they
everything deeply into his own bodily formative eagerly carry things that have just been placed
processes. Without being able to discriminate in a certain spot to some other spot. And all

7
The Developing Child

this is done with the motto, Johnny, too or From the Third to the Fifth Years: Fantasy
Me, too! They take great joy in moving and and Spontaneous Play
busying themselves as much as possible with real
Let us now take a look at the second stage,
household items, yet without insight into the
the time between about the third to fifth years.
purpose and goal of the adults workwhich,
The life or formative forces, which until now
of course, progresses very slowly. Without
have been at work chiefly in the head region,
such willing helpers the adult work would
concentrate in this second stage in the middle
be done much sooner. However, this is true
part of the body, where most importantly
only from one point of view, for the parent has
the rhythmical organs (heart and lungs) are
taken care not only of the house, garden or
located. At this time, two quite new capabilities
handwork, but at the same time she has also
appear in the child, which clearly give him a
accomplished educational work. This should
new relationship to his environment. These
become recognized again much more in todays
capabilities are: a childlike fantasy and memory.
educational awareness.
Here are some examples of play in children
Along with their impulsive engagement with
who have developed in a healthy way:
the environment, there are also moments when
children linger devotedly near Motherfor A four-year-old has small round pieces of
example, when she is peeling apples or working real tree branches in front of him on the table
with needle and thread. There are times when and he asks me, Do you want soda, beer or
they busy themselves in the play areafilling apple juice?
up baskets and emptying them, building towers
A four-year-old girl takes a piece of bark,
and knocking them down, singing and pushing
lays two stones upon it and says, I have a ship
a doll carriage. Here it is important to pay close
with a man at the wheel. Then she comes to my
attention to the quality of the play materials.
table and asks, I have brought you some pieces
The best objects are those found in nature or
of chocolate, do you want them? and she lays
which have been only slightly shaped by hand.
the stones in front of me. And now the bark
(Toymaking with Children, Jaffke, 1988) In
becomes a roof for a small dwarfs house.
his close connection with these objects, the
impressions made upon the child will be natural, A small bench was first a dolls stove, lay on
organic shapes, and this works to stimulate his its side it became an animals feeding trough,
inner organ forming processes. Toys with dead and upside down it was first a dolls bed, and
mathematical forms alone have a desolating and then part of a train.
killing effect upon a childs formative forces.
These examples show that children of this
(The Education of the Child, Steiner)
age are capable of changing things in their
The child passes through a first real crisis environment, using them for different purposes
point when for the first time the feeling of I in certain cases and, with the help of fantasy,
is awakened during the Age of Defiance. He making them into new things. Children see
experiences his own will more and more, but objects, perhaps remembering them only
must now learn to bring it into harmony with his vaguely, and their imagination fills in all the
environment. Whereas earlier he always called other necessary details. The prerequisite is that
out Me, too, now he says, I dont want to. children have already experienced such things
before. If a child has never seen a ship, or only

8
Freya Jaffke Stages of Development in Early Childhood

seen one in a picture book, he cannot bring it From the Fifth to the Seventh Year: Pictures
into his play. from the Imagination and Planned Play
A characteristic of play at this age is that it is The third big developmental step of the first
stimulated by external causes. For this reason, it seven years begins around the fifth year. The
is best if the available play materials are capable forces that have been used to form the organs are
of transformation by being incomplete and being freed more and more from the Rhythmical
simple enough so that a childs imagination, System and are now working in the Metabolic-
remembering the details, can transcend Limb System. The children are increasingly
the available objects and fill them in. The capable and dexterous right down to their
imagination needs this type of activity in order fingertips.
not to become stagnant. Everything depends on
Many childrenespecially those who were
the inner work.
able to play in a rich and creative mannergo
As the muscles of the hand grow firm and through a second crisis in the fifth year. For
strong in performing the work for which the first time they experience a real boredom.
they are fitted, so the brain and other organs They can stand before you and say, I dont
of the human physical body are guided into know what to do. It is as if their fantasy has left
the right lines of development if they receive them and suddenly they have no more ideas.
the right impression from the environment. The fantasy needs a rest now and ought not
(Education of the Child, Rudolf Steiner) to be called upon by reminding the child of
It is immediately striking that the play is full yesterdays fine play. We can help to strengthen
of change. There are always daily events that it much more by having the child participate
are imitated and there are many spontaneous in our own workfor example, peeling apples,
changesoften without any connection. The drying dishes, sweeping, baking, sewing. After
children continuously think of something new. a while, sometimes after only a few days, new
Many adults who see this may despair and impulses for their play arise in the child. A
believe the children are unable to concentrate change has taken place. The stimulus for play
in their play. Concentration at this age level, no longer comes so much from external objects,
however, lies in the continuity of play which but it comes now more and more from inside.
between three and five years old is characterized This means that now the children have an inner
in this way. To be sure, quite a bit of disorder picture, a picture from their imagination of past
and even chaos arise now and then from this events and they can bring these up in their play
play. But it can be called meaningful chaos for it independent of place, time or people.
continuously effects the children in such a way Five- and six-year-old children love to
that they remain stimulated and interested. By crouch together talking and making plans for
the fifth year, this already changes on its own. their play. For example, they are building an inn
Of course, after the playtime, the adult will and folded cloths become napkins, menus and
plan sufficient time to clean up, participating purses. A cold buffet is set up and little woolen
herself to set an example so that it becomes sheep are offered as fish. One child who is selling
an indisputable and joyful habit rather than drinks has a large log with small branches on it
a sporadically ordered, almost overwhelming standing before him (it is his real beer keg),
burden which one faces alone. and he is able to fill an order for any kind of
drink with it. Another time they set up a doctors

9
The Developing Child

office with needles, stethoscopes, bandages and world suitable for imitation with adults who are
a waiting room where the folded cloths serve as active in a purposeful way, who like to do their
magazines. work, and who, at the same time, accompany
the children in their play in a quiet way.
Other typical themes of play are: trash truck,
Creative play depends more on a calm, joyful
ambulance with a red light, school, carpentry
atmosphere of work than on many clever words,
shop, fire engine, cable-railway, telephone
suggestions for play or instructions of any kind.
installation, deep sea diver and much more.
The children must be lifted up by the adults
Their play becomes more and more planned.
work, they must have a place in it in the broadest
This does not mean, however, that it cant be
senseeven if they are not directly involved
suddenly changed in the middle if one of the
in the work. This seems like a contradiction,
children comes up with a rousing idea.
but it can be experienced by every mother who
Children of this age do not need fancier, brings her mending basket or ironing board
more detailed play things. Play materials that to the childrens room and who radiates calm
can grow with them are better. Their relationship and interest while workingor by every father
to the materials is changing. Before the fifth who goes about his work in the garden, yard or
year an idea is stimulated by the materials. cellar. The most important thing is the people
After the fifth year an imaginative idea comes who surround the childthat they make life
first, then comes an effort to find and make rhythmical and ordered, that they like to work
something acceptable from the play materials and are ready to take on a large part of the work
that corresponds to the imagination. Now the themselves. The young child is an imitator!
fantasy, which had been so richly developed
The unspoken reward and thanks for such
before, begins to function again.
efforts come to the adult through children who
Nowadays it is no longer a matter of course are able to play in a fulfilling way and who are
that children can play so spontaneously and building the basis for later life in these early
enthusiastically at their corresponding level of stages.
development. This is due less to the children
In retrospect, the tasks of the educator
than to the immense influence from all sides
can be discovered easily from all the above
upon them from earliest childhood on. For
descriptions. If we look at the goals, we can
example, fully detailed, technically exact toys
summarize by saying that nothing more
make it difficult for children to be satisfied with
wonderful can happen in childhood than
such outwardly simple things as objects from
that a child is able to grasp completely each
nature, cloths, wooden branches, etc. A healthy
developmental step and pass though it in a
child would rather be right in the middle of play
healthy way, and that he is able to practice and
than outside as an observer of perfect, technical
gain strength during each particular challenge.
instruments. The fascination for such toys is
When the body is completely formed and
soon past and leaves behind an emptiness and
accomplishes its first change around age seven,
longing for more.
the child may turn to his schoolwork with the
One of our most important tasks is same joy, strength and enthusiasm for learning
to arrange the spaceat home and in the that he showed earlier for play and be equal to
kindergartento guarantee the needs of its demands.
creative play. Above all this means creating a

10
Kindergarten Education with Mixed-Age Groups
Freya Jaffke

In this article an example will be given connection with real life. Therefore, it is the
of how the type of preschool education for educators duty to include in the kindergarten
which we aim is feasible, particularly when the plan whenever possible the necessary work of
childrens group is composed not only of one daily life. Some examples: Houseworkcooking,
age group (five- and six-year-old children), but baking, washing, ironing, sweeping, dusting,
rather of three to four age groups (three-, four-, and flower care; Toymaking and toy careto this
five-, and six-year-old children). To what extent belong, among other things, sawing, rasping,
the adult masters the necessary differentiations cutting, gluing, repairs of all kinds, sewing,
of the various age levels and satisfies the different and mending; Garden workdigging, sowing,
needs of the children depends largely, to be sure, planting, watering, weeding, mowing, and
upon her imagination and inner versatility. harvesting. In addition, there are Experiences on
walks, for example, encountering rubbish trucks,
In such a mixed-age group, the children live
street workers, woodcutters, chimney-sweeps,
together as in a large family. They learn from
the ironing woman, the workers in the adjacent
one another and help one another in a way that
nursery.
is rarely necessary or done among those of the
same age. It is even quite realistic for the three- Nevertheless, the quantity of experiences
year-olds to experience that the six-year-olds is not of primary concern, but rather that the
may be allowed to do things that they are not yet children can experience the work as well as the
allowed to do; and, conversely, the three-year- attitude of the people doing the workhow they
olds are excused from many things that would perform the various jobs one after the other
not be tolerated with the six-year-olds. and how they work hand in hand helping one
another. All this will be taken by the childnot
If one wishes to lay a foundation for later
with the intellect in an evaluating, critical or
ability in life during the preschool years, one
reflective way, but with his entire being which is
cannot do better than to have children learn
so capable of surrendering itself to experiences.
about the diversity of life. However, it is the
In this way impulses for his own activity and
adults task to choose from the fullness of life
practice are awakened, and, simultaneously,
what is particularly beneficial for the different
the forces that build up and form the body are
developmental levels of the children. On the
stimulated in various ways.
other hand, she will not attempt to introduce
too early certain activities (especially in the From these developments arise the guiding
intellectual domain) so that the development principles for the educators methodology in the
does not proceed in a one-sided manner. preschool years. She herself will work together
with the children in significant, necessary
The way a child learns from life reveals itself
ways so that the children can take up the work
in his urge to participate in all activities or events
directly and be imitative in their activity. She
in his environment, joining in immediately or
will not, however, teach this information about
carrying them out by imitating them in play.
life in a scholarly fashion. The aimed-for method
This is, however, only possible when these
is comprised of a well thought-out and richly
activities can be looked at and experienced in

11
The Developing Child

endowed education of opportunities that, tables placed one behind the other. The three-
however, leaves quite open: and four-year-olds, as patient passengers, get
on and off the train at the conductors order.
1. what the respective child grasps be imitating;
Suddenly, the big children notice that the saws
2. how the child imitates the activity, according noise fits well with their railroad, and so we
to age (from three to six years old); agree to be attentive to one another. First we
go slowly, then faster, then slowly again, then a
3. which results will arise from the imitation in
pause. With great enthusiasm the engineers look
the developmental progress of the individual
out of their window to the carpenters bench
child.
and follow with close attention how quickly the
It is not necessary to have extensively saw goes through the wood. Shortly before the
prepared activity times in which the children are block of wood falls off, it seems that they hold
restrained and told now and not later, this and their breath and in the next moment breathe out
not that, for this long and not longer or shorter, again forcefully shouting out the stations name
together with these children and not alone in that with joy. The conductor urges the passengers to
corner. The imitative ability and differentiation hurry, for he notices that the pauses made by the
in this respect depend upon quite definite saw do not last very long.
suppositions:
Under the carpenters bench eager hands
1. about the way the adults shape the world to are gathering the sawdust and pieces of bark.
be imitated; Markus, four years old, takes it as feed for his
horse; Gernot, four, lets it snow in the room;
2. about the age of the child within the first
Tanja, five, bakes a birthday cake out of it and
seven years; and
decorates it with fruit pits from the store. Next
3. about the individuality of the each child. to the pieces of wood which are yet to be sawed,
In the following example of different work Mathias, Aurelia and Susanne, all four years old,
situations (in a group of twenty-three children are standing and saying, Here you can make
from three to six years old), the explanations a bridge out of it, and That would be a good
should become clear. Such work happens during coffee can, Look, if you saw off some here, it
the childrens free play time and consequently will be a little house with a chimney, and, That
becomes an organic part of the daily and weekly looks like a dog. They use some longer branches
rhythm of the kindergarten. as a flute, violin and cello and move through
the room playing music with them. Shortly
The gardener gives us a freshly cut birch tree afterwards, they carry the branches on their
and from it we want to saw new pieces of wood shoulders by twos and offer apple juice for sale
for building. The five- and six-year-old boys from the buckets hanging in the middle. But
immediately take the meter-long pieces of trunk, the variety of possible uses for their branches is
lay cloths underneath and push the wood like a still not exhausted. They also serve as walking
train over the floor and under tables draped with sticks, ski poles, and finallyfurnished with a
cloths (tunnels). Other six-year-olds are again crocheted bandas bow and arrows.
nearby, helping and competing with one another
who can work up the most sweat. After a while, Georgia, three years old, is standing next
Jan and Markus, both six years old, begin to to the carpenters bench with a doll under her
build a railroad through the whole room with arm. Delighted, she waits anew for each piece of

12
Freya Jaffke Kindergarten with Mixed-Age Groups

wood that is sawed off to fall down or to be ably several times that she try on a pair of fur shoes
snapped up by an older child. In between she in his shoemakers workshop.
brings single blocks to Helge, six, and Michael,
This small glimpse into a play and work
six, who are building in the corner with bark and
situation of a mixed-age childrens group already
big pieces of wood.
shows how differently the individual children
After the sawing work is done, the remaining participate in adult work, how they act according
branches will be dragged outside, the carpenters to their age, and how many possibilities
bench pushed against the wall, the work things for differentiation can arise. Thereby, three
cleaned up, and the sawdust swept into a pile. very different developmental stages can be
recognized, the knowledge of which is a
It is now time for the breakfast preparation.
necessary presupposition for the stimulation of
There is muesli, and the apples for it must be
the children. For playing and being purposefully
peeled. Stephen, three, stands next to me and
active need to be relearned today by many
enjoys the long peels which may be eaten.
children, especially when they come into the
He then goes into the playhouse and tells the
kindergarten for the first time at age five and
other children, We have already peeled the
have not had opportunities beforehand to play
apples. Cornelia and Aurelia, both four years
imaginatively.
old, would also like to peel such a long peel but
barely succeed in going once around the apple. In the first developmental stage, which is just
Eventually, they have finished peeling an apple ending for many children as they begin their
all the way. Their great satisfaction lasts for kindergarten time, a large change in activity can
several weeks. They like to imitate this activity be observed. They watch, help out, in some cases
in imaginative play, for example, by wrapping let themselves be included in a game by the older
a crocheted band around a block of wood for children, and for moments become absorbed
the apple peel and letting a piece of bark be the in play to the extent that they forget everything
knife. The work is quickly finished in this way, about them. The activity of the four-year-olds
and the imagination has the possibility of using is also defined by a large change, but now it is
the same items in another way by letting the through their developing and often exuberant
band be the shores of a lake and the bark a little imagination. However, a prerequisite for this
ship; or the band is wrapped around a big piece is a toy selection that is kept so simple that it
of bark to become a stringed instrumenta stimulates the imagination as well as allows for
kantalina. Jan, Michael and Antje, all six years transformation of the toys themselves. After
old, notice that I peel the apple in a spiral and the fifth year, when the child has more and
that in this way the peel becomes very long. more imagination and memory capability at his
They are unable to do it the same way and do disposal, the spontaneous activity is organized
not stop until all the apples are peeled. gradually into purposeful activity. When several
children of this older group are together, the
During this whole time, Ulrike, six, was
play is mostly a question of a project that will be
busy sewing. She has put a pin cushion, scissors,
logically accomplished. This does not preclude
thimble and material scraps into the little basket
that spontaneous ideas can arise and totally
and taken it into her house. She has knotted
change the play situation again and again.
herself a little doll and, in addition, has sewn
However, the play of these older kindergarten
two pillows. She has allowed nothing to disturb
children is usually goal-oriented and resolute.
her, not even Dietmar, five, who has requested

13
The Developing Child

Difficult situations can also be overcome adults for a job. In general, they pay very close
if, as an educator, one bears in mind how the attention to how the adult does his work and
childrens behavior is based on age, which is only try to do it as carefully and as well. For example,
briefly sketched here. This should become clear they fold cloths very neatly or arrange the
in this description of the cleanup after free play baskets in the building or shopping corner. They
time. have an overview of the work sequence and its
logic that they acquire through the repetition
During cleanup time the three- and four-
of doing it again and again during the year, and
year-olds are either busy beside the adults or
they can give a hand independent of the adults.
thoughtlessly busy, for they do not yet quite
Thus, they already fetch the broom and dustpan
understand the correlation and purpose of
for sweeping when the building corner is barely
this activity. In certain cases, with the best of
finished being picked up.
intentions, they move things which have just
been put away in the correct place to another Such differentiations in the various age levels
place. are represented in all activities that take place
in the daily life of the childrens group. Each
The four- and five-year-olds eagerly help
child can normally fulfill the developmental
out, but often make a game out of cleaning up
stages appropriate for him or her in such a
and need much encouragement. When we can
group situation. The modeling effect of the
manage it, it suits the child well if we build a
children on each other in the mixed-age group
picture for him, for example: You can now be
is also invaluable. The concern that perhaps
the farm boy who is bringing all the animals
the five- and six-year-old children would not
back to their stalls form the pasture, instead of
come into their own in a mixed-age group
the abstract order, Now put the animals back
that they would be hindered in their continued
on the shelf. When four- and five-year-olds, for
developmentis only justified when the actual
example, pick up building blocks, fold cloths
group includes more than twenty to twenty-
or bring chairs to their places, it often happens
three children, and when, because of space
that they do it in very creative ways stimulated
limitations, play which requires a lot of room is
by their rich imaginations. The cloths are slowly
not possible. After these outer considerations,
pulled over the edges of the tables or ironed
however, all else depends on the inner activity
with a small, turned-over stool as mother does it
with which the adult carries out her work. For
at home with the iron. The chairs will perhaps be
this is also perceptible to the children and,
carried on their shoulders, because they are just
therefore, is imitable and helps the children
being brought in from the carpenters, or they
learn to evolve their own initiatives.
are pushed in a row in front of them as a train.
The building blocks will be laid, for example, In the later life of the child, much will
on a slope to a basket after being hoisted up, depend upon what type of experiences they
because the cleaners have just become dump encountered in the first six or seven years. For
truck or ship loaders. what is germinated in these early developmental
stages must appear one way or another in a
The five- and six-year-old children can
later stage. Thus, abilities and deficiencies can
already distance themselves from the play and
occur in many areas. For example, a child
accomplish independently a task requested of
who has been allowed, by imitating, to absorb
them. They either choose for themselves an area
purposeful and understandable work from his
that they want to clean up alone or they ask the

14
Freya Jaffke Kindergarten with Mixed-Age Groups

environment will, as an adult, have a command can then achieve an outer calm and increase
over such abilities on an intellectual level; as an more and more of his inner activity. Of course,
adult, he will have at his disposal logic in his in addition to the capabilities, which, as
thinking. All that which a child perceives in the indicated, are transformed, there are also some
working adult and can practice by imitating which intensify in a linear manner.
like consciousness, attention, order, purposeful
The work of the adult and the transformation
results of workis accompanied by intensive
of the work throughout the childrens play
experience. With this, the experiences go into
have been depicted here. The artistic activities
deeper levels which later can be stirred from the
(eurythmy, painting, modeling, music-making),
consciousness and can assist in an independent,
the storytelling and the outdoor play are, of
goal-directed shaping of ones life. A child will
course, equally important components in
be able to follow the teachers words with greater
the total educational work. In each of these
alertness and concentration if he has had the
activities there could also be shown both the
possibility in every respect, especially in his
specific formative value of the activity and the
limbs, to attain numerous skills. In this way, the
differentiations according to age levels.
child will be able to control his movements. He

The Significance of Imitation and Example for the


Development of the Will
Freya Jaffke

This is a summary of the lecture which Freya within the human being must be at work. The
Jqffke presented at the North American whole physical body is one great sense organ for
Kindergarten Conference at High Mowing School the spiritual and soul being of the child, which
in August 1989. The summary was written from came from his pre-earthly existence.
her lecture notes and may differ somewhat from
Now we can see two phenomena: First the
the lecture as it was given.
child is totally a sense being, and second, the
Today we will talk about the development of child is totally a will being. With the will and
the will, and we will see how important it is that through the senses, all the impressions from the
the child has an example to imitate. We all know environment are grasped and taken deeply into
that the child has a great openness and is entirely the body where they leave their marks upon the
a sense organ. All of his sense impressions go organs. The synthesis of these two phenomena
deeply into his body. He cant defend himself is seen in the wonderful forces of imitation,
from the sense impressions which flood into which every child brings with him as a gift
him. from his pre-birth existence. In the pre-earthly
life the human soul is living among cosmic
But a sense organ is only an instrument
beings, is penetrated by them and follows them.
which can be used by someone. The eye itself,
This habit is taken through the gate of birth
for example, does not see. Someone must
into early childhood and is seen in the forces
look through the eye to see. The eye is only an
of imitation. The childs imitation is a double
instrument for seeing. In order to see, the will
process: He receives through the senses, and

15
The Developing Child

grasps and imitates with the will. Rudolf Steiner Everything which the child does is done
describes the development of the will in The without reflection or consideration. He does
Education of the Child (pg. 41) in this way: it out of imitation and habit. The quality of
example will determine how habits develop and
By a right application of the fundamental
in the same way children will experience their
educational principles, during the first seven
limits. If the adult laughs only when a child, for
years of childhood, the foundation is laid
example, dumps spinach from his plate onto
for the development of a strong and healthy
the table, or pulls on the tablecloth or the cord
Will. For a strong and healthy will must have
of the iron, then the child learns bad habits and
its support in the well-developed forms of
develops an unhealthy orientation for his will.
the physical body.
Instead of laughing and running after the child,
We know that all the organs of the young the adult should think ahead. The adult should
child are relatively unshaped. They do not use his imagination or fantasy to divert the child
yet have the physical form which one sees in from those activities which are inappropriate.
the organs of the adult, and the rhythm of The adult should be consequent and follow
each organ is not yet developed. We must ask through to establish limits. This means that the
ourselves, How does the forming of the organs adult has to be a representative of everything for
take place and how will they develop their the child, so that the child has a clear orientation
rhythm and their rhythmical working together? and a sense of reality. It is important that the
A seemingly different, but related, question is, child is always surrounded by meaningful will
How will it happen that the will of the child activities as long as he is unable to guide himself.
becomes purposeful and orderly? Both happen
The first real crisis occurs when the child
primarily through the influences from the world
experiences his own will for the first time. Then
outside the child, especially through all the
he begins to use the word I for himself and
rhythmical events during the day or week which
the word no to others. At the same time he
appear repeatedly at the same time.
experiences a conflict between his growing will
Now let us look at the period of the first and the will of those around him. His own will
three years of life. There we can see that the can show itself only in relation to the will of
child has many possibilities to use and exercise the others in his environment. The child has to
his will forces, though of course this happens slowly learn to bring his will into a harmonious
unconsciously. What a great activity of will relationship with the will of those around him.
is involved when a young child comes slowly Here again we can see how wonderful and
into the upright and acquires the ability to healthy are good habits and rhythms in the
walk! Then he follows his mother through the childs environment, especially during these
house working with her, doing some laundry, years. They help to overcome many difficult
cleaning the floor, packing and unpacking her situations.
grocery basket. The more the mother does her
During this first period of early childhood,
work in good order and without being hectic,
the will of the child is engaged through a strong
the more the childs will is guided into a strong
connection to his mothers activities. Now in
direction. In this way, the child no longer moves
the second period between the third and fifth
chaotically with his hands and feet as he did as a
years of age, the will becomes more and more
newborn.
connected to the awakening imagination and

16
Freya Jaffke The Significance of Imitation

begins to work within the childs fantasy. During We are all familiar with our difficult and
this period, his fantasy needs the inspiration of inharmonious children who are not able to play
the objects in his environment. For example, the but like to disturb the others. We also have those
child sees a piece of bark and a few stones and children who dont do anything, but just stand
takes it to be a boat with people. He sees a doll around looking at the others. They seem to be
and starts to feed it. He sees a little bench and apathetic. These children have to experience, for
uses it as a mailbox. The will within the childs a shorter or longer time, the meaningful work
fantasy is able to transform things, and the child of an adult as well as the strong rhythm and the
no longer needs only actual (realistic) objects warm atmosphere of the kindergarten.
in his play. But the object has to be simple
Around the fifth year, a second crisis is to
enough to allow space for this creative activity.
be seen, mostly in the children who until now
The objects in the childs environment spark the
were always busy and knew just what to do.
fantasy. The child feels great joy and freedom
What is happening now? The fantasy apparently
through creating new things which for him are
disappears; the will seems to be paralyzed.
real. An example of how children transform
Children may say, I dont know what to do
items from their environment into play materials
today, or Im bored. A big inner change is
is the following: The mother has prepared a large
taking place. At this time it is important that
package, and she puts the leftover piece of string
we not appeal to the fantasy forces for they now
over the back of a chair. The child ties a wooden
need a quiet time. We shouldnt say, Yesterday
spoon to one end, pulls at the other end and
you built up such a beautiful landscape, do it
plays crane.
again. Instead, let them do real things, such as
Between three and five we can see that making and sewing a little book for their dolls
the childs fantasy and the childs faculty of with drawings, sewing a little book out of felt for
memory appear at the same time. Only things needles, or sanding a letter opener which you
or events can be remembered which have been have just carved.
seen before. How does a child remember? How
It is important that all these activities have
does fantasy which is the bringing together of a
a strong connection to the adults work. It is
memory picture and an object actually occur?
still the period of imitation, but we can more
And then, how does the child carry this fantasy
and more use words in guiding the child to an
into his creative play? The answer is through his
activity. We can ask them to come and help us
will forces. Without the will forces nothing will
in our work, but not with questions! If we want
happen. If the will forces are chaotic, nothing
them to help in the kitchen with cooking and
meaningful happens in the childs play. Thus
baking we should say, Come, give me a hand,
we see how important it is to care for the right
rather than Will you give me a hand? After a
development of the will.
short time of such working, new impulses will
A healthy and harmonious child always has arise, impulses for the childs play.
new ideas to bring to the same materials or the
At this new stage of development, around
same play. She is always active, always busy with
the fifth year, there arises within the child a
her will. For example, the little bench which
picture or mental image of what she wants to do.
was the mailbox now becomes the manger for
Now the will forces have to join or enter into the
the animals, a bed for the doll, a stove, or many
mental image. That needs much effort. The child
other things.
is still in the kindergarten, and the play materials

17
The Developing Child

have not changed. When plans arise in the people must have a snack. Florian replies, Yes,
mental image such as the hairdressers shop, an and then they will pack everything and go to
ambulance, a fishing boat or restaurant, then the another town. Oh, yes, this could be my circus-
child needs much well-trained fantasy, trained wagon. It always has a round roof, doesnt it?
during the years before. And the child needs
The object he points to has previously been
patience, enthusiasm and staying power. These
a cage and stood beneath the table where I was
are all faculties in which the will works strongly.
working. He builds up his wagon, then looks
Before five the stimulus for play comes from out of his little window at me and says, Oh, I
the outside. A child sees a curved stick and am already close to the border! Now I am going
says, Now I am a chimney sweeper. After five to drive into another country and there will be
the child says, I would like to be a chimney a large amount of snow, and there one needs a
sweeper, and I need a broom with a long snow plow. Then he fixes a little wooden dust
handle. He looks for something similar, sees pan to the front of his wagon as a snow plow. In
feathers, puts them together, attaches a long, the back he builds up something for spreading
curved ribbon and is happy. Before five, the will salt. He uses little benches with small holes on
activity works with all that which stimulates the the top for carrying. He stacks them one on top
fantasy from the outside. After five the will forces of the other and through the holes he throws
have to make an inner effort. The will now joins chestnuts with great joy.
together with the mental image and joins also
On the next day, Florian again builds up a
together with the well-trained fantasy. Thus the
wagon, but this time without snow plow or salt
child creates new objects which appear in his
machine. When he is finished he says, Now it
mental image without an outer stimulus.
is a locomotive. Then he builds up two more
At this point in the childrens development wagons behind. Other children want to play
we may think that they must do strong physical with him but do not really know what to do. I
work such as sawing, nailing and hammering. say, One wagon could be for my luggage, and
They may do such work, but we shouldnt forget some porters could come to get my suitcases,
that the will forces have to be exercised not only for I have to travel. The other wagon can be the
within the muscles, but at this particular period dining room, for I would like to eat something
of life, they also have to grow strong within the during my journey. A great busyness arose
inner being of the child. They are needed within among the children. Some of them carry all
the mental image. my cases (big logs) to the train. Others set up
the tables in the dining car. I am given a menu
Here are two examples of play situations
out of folded cloths and have to choose and to
which show you how we can help children
order. Then they bring wonderful dishes and set
during their play, as of course, children do need
my table. I am totally integrated into the play
help sometimes. Florian, age 6 years, 4 months,
of the children, although I am still sitting at my
plays that he is a circus director. He dresses
work table. They do not mind at all that I am
many children as different animals with various
not sitting with them in the dining car, as I do
cloths. He tells them what to do and where to
sometimes.
stay. All of them are happy and follow his lead
for a period of time. When he has no more ideas I think we are lucky to have some children
and some animals have already left, I tell him, every year who are able to play in such a fulfilled
The circus is now finished and all the circus way. They stimulate the others. Another example

18
Freya Jaffke The Significance of Imitation

is Simon, age 6, who has built a camping place itself into the atmosphere of activity around
underneath a table. After he is finished, nothing him, which is created by the adult. The child is
more happens. Then I say, In a camping place, totally free to choose his own work. They may
there is always a fireplace where people cook be involved in the work of the adults whenever
their meals. Oh yes, may we get some sticks? possible.
I reply, Yes, take three. They attach the sticks
Another prerequisite for the childrens play
together to make three legs. With red and yellow
is that the adult cares not only for a rhythmical
cloths, they make a fire underneath. A little
arrangement of the day, but also for the rhythm
basket is fixed in the middle of the sticks. It is
of the year in regard to his own working
the cooking pot. They ask for two more sticks,
activities. Without being a pedant he can
put them between two chairs, put big cloths over
repeatedly do some specific task at certain times.
them and make tents. Within the tents they have
For example, in my kindergarten, in the autumn
woolen carpets and cushions. These activities
I am mainly making things for the Christmas
last until cleanup time. Then the boys are a little
Bazaar. After Christmas, there is a period when
disappointed because they havent played yet.
I do embroidery, and after Easter I do wood
The question is: What can the adult do to carving. I do these activities nearly every day for
help strengthen the will forces such as they several weeks, and do not do a different activity
appear in these play situations? If indeed, as every day. The one exception is painting day.
Rudolf Steiner says, it is from the outside that
Each day during the free play time, I proceed
the impressions on the organs come about, and
with my work. I have not created projects for
also the well developed forms of the organs
the children to do, but I do make certain that
are the best support for the will, then in the
enough materials (mostly remnants from my
environment there must be order in manifold
own work) are there for the children to use.
ways, rhythm, good habits and love. To come to
All my scraps from cutting fabric or paper,
an appropriate order around the children, the
woodcarving or sawing I put into the childrens
adult has to think ahead. Then her gestures will
baskets. The children may freely take what
become calm and purposeful and well thought
they need from there. They create a variety of
through. She will not run about fetching things,
things. Some attempt to do what I have done,
because she has forgotten this or that. Also, to
others have their own ideas. In November, for
think ahead helps heal the bad manifestations
example, when I glue together the painted and
of the will of the child. For example, if a child
oiled lanterns for the children and then make
slams the door, we shouldnt say, You shouldnt
transparencies for the Christmas Bazaar, for at
do that. Rather, with our full consciousness we
least two weeks every day (except painting day)
should be with the child in the situation in a
the big table is set up with scissors, glue and the
consequent way. Thus, when he is approaching
childrens baskets with colored paper. Gold paper
the door, we follow his actions in our mind.
pieces are also at hand. Some children make
The adult also has to be well engaged in his small lanterns and transparencies, others make
own work before the children arrive. The mother crowns or other small toys for their dolls, which
is already busy when the children awaken in they then take home with them.
the morning. When the children arrive in the
While some children come many days to
kindergarten in the morning, the adults are
work at the glue table, others might not come
already busy there. The will of the child nestles
at all at this time but will come later in the year

19
The Developing Child

when I have a time for sewing aprons for the To guide the children in their play we have
kindergarten or embroidering table covers. Then to always think of the differentiated steps in
in the childrens baskets there are pretty colored their development. Now I would like to talk a
threads for sewing. Fabric scraps which are left little more about the last period between five and
after cutting are also placed in the childrens seven years of age. After age five, a transition
baskets for free use. takes place from what the child wants to do to
what the child should do. This does not mean
When I carve small bowls, spoons, candle
that we give the children orders or commands
holders, etc., there are always small pieces of
which just come into our mind. Rather, out
wood left over with which the children build or
of the strong connection built up with the
which they wax. Carving knives are naturally
adult during the preceding years, the children
not put into the childrens hands, but sometimes
now want to do what they should do. But even
they take pointed sticks and carve with them
though we may use more words and appeal to
outside on rotting stumps.
the mental images of these older kindergarten
In this way the work of the adult is always children, even if we tell them what they can do
purposeful and useful for the life of the and how they can do it, even if we inspire their
kindergarten. The children take part in it in a forces of patience, even then: imitation is still the
variety of ways, or they play around the teacher main thing!
who is at work. They are always aware of the
Until now the children have unconsciously
work and take a warm and loving interest in it.
noticed that the adult has done what was needed
In all of this work, there exist the in the kindergarten, what she had to do in
prerequisites of orderliness, rhythm and good order to finish her daily work, to care for the
habits. They belong to the right physical environment, prepare for the festivals, etc. The
environment in which the children may receive children have noticed that the adult hasnt always
order and strength in their will forces because done what she would like to do but rather what
they are imitative beings. Imitating is will she needs to do. This attitude can also be imitated
activity! You cannot teach imitation. It has to be by the children after age five. How? The children
done with ones own will. Will activity is very observe, for example, that the adult takes a long
individual, and it is united with the ego. time for her work. Either she makes many things
of the same project such as for festivals or for the
We can observe this in the different ways
Bazaar, or she needs a long time to make only
children imitate. Everyone has the same example
one thing such as with carving or embroidery.
in front of them in the kindergarten, but their
Children see the perseverance, the patience and
reactions are quite different. Some immediately
care which the adult brings to her work. They
start to imitate or to play nearby, taking in the
are interested in the process from day to day.
atmosphere of the working activity, while others
They see also that the adult does things which
dont get the impulse at all. Within imitation
are uncomfortable for her to do, but that she
there is great freedom. If we are willing to work
tries to overcome this. For example it may not
on ourselves, then we need to also work on
come naturally to her to sew with a thimble, but
the prerequisites described above. Then every
she always uses the thimble nevertheless.
child will find for his will development what
he himself needs and what he is unconsciously Another aid to getting children to do what
seeking. they should do or how they should do it is to
talk about specific people, how they behave

20
Freya Jaffke The Significance of Imitation

in their profession, what they would do in a they like to do them. For example, they can go
certain situation. Between 5 and 7, they do not as a messenger to another class or get the broom
have to have the physical presence of someone and dustpan, or they may be asked to help dry
working in front of them; they can also build up the dishes. We should never ask for the childs
a picture inwardly by hearing about the person. help by questioning the child. Try to know what
For example, I may talk about the master of the specific child is able to do and what he would
embroidery who taught me to embroider, or like to do, and sometimes what he needs to do! It
about a tailor who would never sew without may happen that a child rejects doing what he is
a thimble, or about the servant called Ludwig asked to do, but some others then come and ask,
whom I got to know when I went to a conference May I do it?
one day (see The Story of Ludwig at the end of
Children of this age are able to understand
this article).
our instructions. They can transform the
During the second half of the school year mental image which arises through words into
before they go into first grade, we may request their own activity. In their earlier years we had
the oldest children to do a specific task. Then to divert children from the things that they
they have the possibility to strengthen their will shouldnt do. Now they need clearly defined
forces by pursuing a certain goal. I always offer limits and clear directions such as We dont
these oldest children the possibility of making shoot, or I dont like this. It must be said in
their own very simple, knotted dolls. Rudolf such a way that the children still feel the love of
Steiner says that a self-made Bajazzo, knotted the adult and feel his conviction as a loving and
out of an old rag and with ink spots for eyes, is loved authority.
able to awaken the genius within the child.
Everything which I have tried to point out
We start by embroidering the dolls blanket here has been said while bearing in mind the
after Christmas. Then we tease the wool by hand words that Rudolf Steiner spoke in a lecture in
to form the dolls head and knot the hands, using Dornach on April 19, 1923. (Lecture 5 of The
a pink flannel cloth for the doll. The children Childs Changing Consciousness and Waldorf
make their own eye spots using a colored Education, pg. 116)
pencil. After that they start sewing the hair and
before the second dentition [the child
some clothes for the doll. Some children have
lived mainly] in the region of the will,
a great many by the end of the year. Some only
which was intimately connected with the
one! From the moment the doll is finished, it
childs imitating its surroundings. But what
is integrated into the childrens play. One often
at that time entered the childs being quite
sees a difference here between boys and girls.
physically also contained moral and spiritual
The girls feed their dolls and play with them in
forces that became firmly established in the
a variety of ways, and sew them many, many
childs organism.
clothes. The boys put them in the cars they build
and take them for rides or use them for patients This means that the will of the child can be
in their ambulances. Over the weekends the developed and become strong through good
children take them home, so that they can be habits, consequences, and limits set by the adult as
cared for during the weekends as well. his example.
Around age 6, the children may also follow When the child enters first grade, the will
instructions. They are asked to do things and has to be trained more and more consciously.

21
The Developing Child

Now children have to follow a task given by the With the most sensitive feeling, we have to guide
teacher for a period of time such as watering the children from the way of imitation to loving
the flowers, dusting the window sill, or cleaning authority. This is a great art!
the blackboard for a week. The child has to
I would be glad if what I have said here
remember every day and has to do it, even if he
helps you to appreciate more fully how great
doesnt want to. He has to overcome himself.
the significance of example is for the childs
During the kindergarten years it is too early to
imitation and for the development of the will.
insist on repeated tasks for particular children.

The Story of Ludwig the Servant


Ludwig was a real servant in the home of an elderly
lady. We stayed in her home during a weekend conference.
At breakfast time when things ran out, Ludwig was there to
bring more food, but he always waited at the threshold of the
room, and the old woman brought it from there to our table.
In the kindergarten I gave a nice verbal description of
Ludwig to the children. After that I asked a six-year-old boy
to bring the cups from the tray to everyones place. He looked
over all the cups, chose one out of the middle and put it at his
own place, very satisfied for he thought that it was the fullest
one. Then he looked at me, by chance, and I said, Ludwig
wouldnt have done that; he always serves the others and
takes the last one himself.
Really? asked the boy.
Really, I answered. Then he took the cup, put it at
another place, served all the others and took the last one
himself.

22
Readiness for Entering the Nursery/Kindergarten
The following two articles speak to a question which troubles many kindergarten teachers:
At what point is a child ready to enter a nursery class or a mixed-age kindergarten?

Kindergarten Readiness
Dr. Elisabeth Jacobi, Stuttgart

The question of whether there is a time other children. This is achieved at about four
of kindergarten readiness has become an years of age. At this age, the remaining speech
urgent question in Europe only in the last few development is often already complete, but not
years. Not long ago, in our experience, a child always. Children who cannot yet pronounce
rarely came into the kindergarten before the gkch sounds have difficulties in their will
end of her fourth year. There was no room. development; while children who have difficulty
With the decline of the birthrate, however, pronouncing sschst are behind in their
an increasing number of kindergarten spaces intellectual development in certain cases.
became available, and younger children entered
When one considers the independence of
to fill them. The kindergartens want to fill their
the children, much depends upon the parents
places, and the mothers are glad to be able to
home Whether a child can dress himself,
bring their children into the kindergarten early.
whether he is clean, whether he can use the
Thus, the age of the children who come into the
toilet independently are, to be sure, essential for
kindergarten is now lowered to such a point
the kindergartner, but these factors alone do not
that it is necessary to become clear about what
determine if the child has reached kindergarten
constitutes kindergarten readiness in a child.
readiness.
We want to disregard external necessities for
One must pay attention to the mental and
bringing children into the kindergarten early
physical stamina of the child. Can a child last
whether it be that the mother must go to work
four hours (the time of the normal kindergarten
or that the atmosphere in the home is such that
in Germany) without actually needing a nap?
one would like to remove the child as soon as
Is the child so susceptible that he would catch
possible. The central question remains before
every sniffle in the kindergarten and become
us: How do I recognize whether a child is really
sick? Is the child already far enough along to
ready for kindergarten?
handle the childhood diseases, or would it mean
In his speech, todays child often says I as a premature exposure in certain cases? The child
early as two years old. In the etheric body, the should already have developed a beginning sense
childs head becomes independent around the of time. She must also have already overcome
age of two and a half, and he begins to think. the first phase of defiance which still belongs
But the I-experience still does not fully happen to the I-discovery. And she must be able to
today until the child is three years old. Only after tolerate other children, in particular, many other
this step has been fully accomplished does the children.
child slowly begin to make verbal contact with

23
The Developing Child

A young child plays by himself, runs to and a plucked, featherless little bird stands
the others, watches, perhaps takes something before us. This can happen even if the child
away and continues to play alone again even visits the kindergarten on an hourly basis, and
when many other children are in the room. the torn covering cannot be repaired simply
The child is very imitative, but the imitation by removing the child from the kindergarten.
appears mostly from hours to days later rather This unveiling of the protective covering occurs
than right away. Only when a child can imitate naturally between three and a half and four years
spontaneously and can play with other children, old. Only then is the child really ready for the
do I consider him ready for the kindergarten. kindergarten. Whenever we cause this process
to advance prematurely, we are doing something
The painting and drawing depend again
similar to the early learning of reading.
very strongly on how the child has been
introduced to them at home. Recognizing Of course, a protected, veiled child brings
kindergarten readiness is little agreed upon in a great deal of heavenly forces and warmth of
this area unless one knows exactly the rules of soul to the kindergarten teachers. This leads to
how the development of a child is mirrored in the latter expressing quite a special affection
the language of drawing. (See the following for the very young ones. But this is an area that
article which refers to Michaela Strauss book, naturally weaves itself between parent and child
Understanding Childrens Drawings.) But it and, in particular, between mother and child.
is important for the kindergarten child to No one else ought to interfere directly with this.
recognize danger. The child needs this ability, It is emphasized here once again that this is
among other things, for the kindergarten spoken from a physicians point of view, and that
walk. Also, a kindergarten child should the social and social-pedagogical duties toward
generally already be able to go for a walk emergencies and families in stress have not been
uninterruptedlywithout stopping at every little addressed.
stone. A child should be able to refrain from
So the question of kindergarten readiness is
fighting with another child as well.
to be examined very earnestly each time. Neither
When one examines the kindergarten child commercial nor emotional points of view ought
as a physician, one experiences a certain inner to play a role here, and, in itself, that the child is
independence or even boldness in the child, being urged into kindergarten should not be a
and one has the impression that, yes, this child decisive factor. This article is meant to sharpen
is in his place. A three-year-old or a younger the perception of the problem from the point
child has almost a protective covering over of view of our study of man. The teacher shares
himself which preserves him in his world. If one especially in the responsibility for the childs
brings such a child into the kindergarten, then health in the first seven years.
this covering rips open in about three weeks

24
Further Considerations about Kindergarten Readiness
Joan Almon

In talking with kindergarten teachers from ability to visualize or conceptualize (the German
all parts of North America, it has become word vorstellen is used, which lacks a good
clear that many schools are wrestling with the English translation) can be directly reached
question of what age children ought to be when through the word. The child is therefore ready to
they enter our nurseries or kindergartens. Some follow directions within the group.
schools have resolved the question by allowing
In the experience of these two physicians,
young threes to enter into a nursery class where
these signs are seen at the earliest around age
they are separate from the fours and fives, while
3. If they do not appear by age 4, then it may
others integrate them into a mixed-age group.
be helpful to speak with the childs pediatrician
In the book Kinder Sprechstunde (Urachhaus, about this.
1984), Drs. Michaela Glckler and Wolfgang
Some years ago, when Margret Meyerkort
Gobel, look at many aspects of the young childs
was offering a course at Acorn Hill, we consulted
development as well as many types of childhood
with her about kindergarten readiness. She
diseases. It is our hope that this most valuable
discussed many of the same considerations
book will be printed in English soon, but in the
offered above by Drs. Jacobi, Glckler and
meantime we summarize here some of their
Gobel, and added a few more. Her list included
thoughts on when a child is ripe for entering
the following:
kindergarten.
1) Today the child often says I at the age
One consideration is that the child should
of 2, but the real experience of I is later. The
literally be prepared to take some steps away
I-consciousness seems to begin early because
from the home and mother. The child is ready
the child is brought into thinking earlier than
to enter kindergarten when he has already
before. We need to discern now between the
walked away from his home once and found his
childs saying I and really meaning it, for only
way back or when he wants to go to a friends
when it is truly there is the child able to reach
home nearby on his own. For most children
others through speech rather than by hitting.
these tendencies are so pronounced that one
day, to the horror of those present, the child has 2) The child needs a certain amount of
disappeared. Then the child returns and tells independence from the parent. He should be
where he has been. As long as the child is still able to do a certain amount of dressing and
attached to the mothers apron strings, this time undressing on his own. He needs to be toilet-
of independence has not yet come. In such cases, trained and independent of the breast.
if the child is over 3 or 4, the mother must
3) The child needs to show a certain amount
examine herself to see if her behavior is holding
of physiological and psychological stamina. The
the child back from achieving this important
child should:
independence.
be able to stay awake for 4 hours without
A second milestone of readiness appears
needing a nap;
when the child can listen to stories from
not be so delicate that he catches every
beginning to end. This shows that the childs
little cold in school;

25
The Developing Child

be sufficiently developed that he can drawing the child now tries very hard to make
manage childhood diseases and does not a circle and close it, join it up . A little girl is
get convulsions with high fevers; sitting up at the table completely engrossed in
be past the first stubborn period of the drawing circles all over the page. It is her third
terrible twos which belongs to the birthday, and in answer to the question: What
period of ego-seeking; is your name? the answer comes pat: I? My
have developed the first feeling for time name is I! This flash of ego-consciousness is
because the ego is there; documented in the childs drawing by the form
be able to take a good walk without of the circle. (page 24)
stopping for every little stone or puddle.
Michaela Strauss also describes the more
4) Until 2 or 3 the child plays by himself. linear form of crayon movement which the
After that he begins to play with others and can one- and two-year-old will also do. By age three
imitate activities at the time they are occurring. this has generally evolved into a clear cross. She
gives an example of David,
5) The child should show the first
who just turned three and
possibilities of recognizing dangers and thus of
preferred drawing with a
not running into the street or pond. He or she
hard pencil, letting a mass
should show the first possibility of defending
of lines of the finest filigree
himself rather than crying. This is an indication
arise on the paper, without, however, achieving
that the ego is there to ward off difficulties.
the cross corresponding to his age. (page 27)
All of the above considerations point to a Then the family take David and his younger
picture of the child who follows an archetypal brother to stay with friends who have five
pattern of developmentspeaking around age children. They are all older than David. David,
2 and thinking around age 3, accompanied by the eldest up till now, the big brother, cannot
a real statement of I, also around age 3. This cope at the outset with his new role of little one.
is preceded by the difficult stage of the terrible So he escapes into illness, has a high temperature
twos when the child is creating a distance and lets himself be spoiled. Three days later he
between himself and the world around him gets up and is well. As though to demonstrate
through the use of no. It is only after this new that he can now master the new situation, he
I-awareness has had time to settle into the child takes a thick, colored crayon and, for the first
that he or she seems ready to reach out to the time, he draws, one after another, on several
broader world of the kindergarten. sheets of paper, a large perpendicular cross that
fills a whole page.
One can see the stages of development
portrayed in the childs drawings. In her book Next the child, after the third year, begins
Understanding Childrens Drawings, Michaela to bring the circle and the cross together and
Strauss shows the circular movements drawn continues to do so in a wide variety of ways
by the child under age 3. It is around age 3 that until the fifth year and beyond. The child will
the circular movement develops into a circle put a point or a cross into the middle
with a clear inside of the circle, describing a new stage
and outside. She of self-development. He uses these
describes the process to show his relation to inner and outer space,
in this way: In his and he puts a point or a cross in the center of

26
Joan Almon Kindergarten Readiness

the inner space to represent himself. In both verses in that language in the kindergarten. In
these symbols he illustrates for the first time his other words, a little bit goes a long way.
experience of the ego and of the world about
With the 2-year-old who is precociously
him. The point and the cross within a circle
saying I, the same may be true. Parents and
represent the I-form. (page 29)
educators may easily be mistaking this as a true
Michaela Strauss gives a picture of the next ego-conscious experience and begin creating an
and perhaps final stage in terms of kindergarten educational experience for the child which is not
readiness: Towards the fourth year a new yet appropriate. Even when the I is more fully
orientation is on its way. The point and the established at age 3, the above indications point
crossing having crystallized as I-symbols, this to the child needing another 612 months in
concentration now gradually begins to loosen. order to be inwardly ready to take steps out into
The paths of movement lead from inside the world.
outwards. To begin with they radiate out from
What then are the possibilities for the
the center as far as the periphery
child before the age of 3 or 4? Many children
of the circle and remain within this
stay at home with their mothers until this age,
boundary; this soon becomes more
with perhaps a morning or two a week when
free, however, and groping feelers
mother and child may visit another family
reach out beyond. (page 30)
or host a family. This puts little strain on
The remarks by Drs. Jacobi, Glckler and the child who, at the same time, has a social
Gobel, as well as Margret Meyerkort and experience with another child of its age. There
Michaela Strauss all seem to point towards are also many families where the mother needs
children not being inwardly ready for nursery to work, or feels she cannot be at home so
or mixed-age kindergarten until between 3 much with her young child, or feels the child
and 4. We are then left with the question of why is especially hungry for social contact. Some
is the trend developing in American education, of the alternatives being explored in Waldorf
including in Waldorf kindergartens, towards settings for younger children are home-based
bringing the young 3s or, in some cases, even play groups or day care centers, ranging in size
2-year-olds into school programs? Perhaps from 3 or 4 children to 6 or 8. We have also
the situation is comparable to why American heard of some play groups where the mothers
education has brought academic studies to are present with the young children, making
children age 5 and younger. On one level the toys while the children play, and learning songs,
children seem ready. The 5-year-old is often verses and stories along with their children. In
asking about how to write, read or do arithmetic. such a program mothers can also receive much
The parent or educator can easily mistake this help with their basic questions about parenting a
as a sign of true readiness for the more labored young child.
instruction that goes on in teaching academics,
As Waldorf educators in North America we
whereas in my experience most 5-year-olds are
are just beginning to explore these questions
content to learn to write and read a few words,
of kindergarten readiness, and we recognize a
just enough to feel grown up. Now they can
certain urgency as more and more mothers of
announce that they can read or write, just as
children under 3 are going back to work or are
they announce to their parents that they can
seeking a nursery program for children.
speak German after they have done one or two

27
28
Etheric Forces and the Young Child

The Birth of the Etheric


The Transformation of Growth Forces into Thinking Forces
Dr. Michaela Glckler, Goetheanum
Dornach, Switzerland Spring Valley, NY, February 1989

In anthroposophical medicine, we have a research towards an understanding of the etheric


situation similar to one that exists in the Waldorf forces in the child. It is possible to prove and
kindergarten. Rudolf Steiner and Ita Wegman work with the special quality of the etheric
gave many indications which are very helpful. forces.
But they have to be worked out again, year
For the moment this can be taken as a
after year, so that a more and more detailed
picture of the etheric forces and how they work:
understanding can arise as to why a particular
substance is correct. It is the same in the Waldorf
kindergarten. One can paint a room pink, hang Realm of thoughts Conscious self
a Sistine Madonna, have a basket of cloths, wood
pieces, etc., learn a few stories and songs and
feel this is a Waldorf kindergarten. However,
one must keep going to understand the why of
what one is doing, to try to differentiate and to Biological life Subconsciousness
develop the work further.
Today our theme is the etheric in the child, The etheric forces are building up the body
and this has much to do with thinking. We can during pregnancy and after birth up to the age
think constructively and this is healthy; we of 21. We are unconscious of their work in our
can think with our healing and regenerative physical body. As they are freed from their work
thoughts, for the life of thought in the older on the physical body, however, they become
child and adult is the same as the growth forces active in the life of thought, and we can become
which we see in the young child. These growth conscious of them. For example, when the life
forces are transformed into thinking forces. processes or etheric forces are at work in the
liver we are unconscious of them, but the way
If someone has knowledge, he can open
we bring thoughts together rests in the upper,
the way for others to higher knowledge. Even
conscious realm. That realm we can look at quite
if youre not an initiate, you will be able to find
well.
which results of spiritual research fit into lifes
reality. Rudolf Steiner said again and again, Do It takes time to build up the nerve and sense
not simply believe somethingprove it! In organs, and this process continues until age 9.
this talk, we will look at the results of spiritual The eye, for example is not ripe until around age

29
Etheric Forces and the Young

8. Perspective is not developed until that time. A the development takes place primarily between
9-year-old can pour accurately into a cup from 7 and 14. In the case of the metabolic system
a pitcher because he can judge how far to hold its development culminates between 14 and 21.
them from his body. A preschooler can not do Therefore in the grades, from ages 714, the
this for she has not yet developed perspective. teacher reaches the children through speech by
means of which their feeling is reached. Speech
If the eye is abused at a young age by
stimulates sympathy and antipathy and this
watching television, which is two-dimensional,
stimulates the ripening of the rhythmic organs,
or through other means, then the organ is
the heart and the lungs.
damaged. Some things can be repaired, but the
basic organ cannot be changed.
Until the 16th year, the heart, circulation
and lungs are developing. Children should
not be trained for athletics until the rhythmic
system is developed around age 16.
Until the 22nd year, the bones are
developing. There is a ripening of the hormonal The above diagram may seem confusing,
and metabolic system. Thus throughout the first because we usually speak of the young child in
18 or 22 years the body develops not as a whole the first seven years as working with the will-
but organ by organ, system by system. metabolic system. This is true, but while we say
that the first seven years are the will period, we
As we look at the development of the three
also say that the young child is a sense organ.
systems of the physical body, the metabolic,
The nervous system develops through physical
the rhythmic, and the nerve-sense systems, we
movement. Ordinary medicine understands
see that all three are affected by the three deeds
this and prescribes gymnastics for stimulating
which the child experiences in the first three
the nervous system of brain-damaged children.
years:
Until age 9, children should move and be active
1) The upright process and the walking as much as possible in order to develop their
which comes at the end of the first year thinking. The 1112-year-old does not want to
stimulates the development of the nerve-sense move so much. The kindergarten teacher relies
system. upon movement in order to teach the young
child, and it is movement which helps the child
2) Speech development at the end of the
to develop the nerve-sense system. Movement is
second year helps the breathing and rhythmic
the best education for stimulating the brain.
system.
At birth the physical body is born, but
3) And the thinking process of the third year
it is only at age 3 that the body is used as an
helps develop the metabolic-limb system. As
instrument for the I. At age 7 the etheric body
children play at this time, their hands and feet
is born, but it takes 2 or 3 years for the etheric
become more skillful and they are learning to
to become an instrument. At age 14 the astral
build and rebuild.
body is born, but only around age 16 or 17 does
From one point of view it is the nervous one have command over ones feelings. Likewise
system which is developing in the first seven at age 21 the ego is born, but only around age
years, and in the case of the rhythmic system,

30
Michaela Glckler The Birth of the Etheric

23 does one begin to take life seriously. It always 40 + In getting older, the spiritual forces
takes a few years after the birth of a body for it to may increase more and more while the
begin functioning with a sense of mastery. physical forces may decline.
Let us look at the development of the
adolescent. From age 14 on, the young person
is developing thoughts which are free of sense
pictures. From 16 on, the teenager can become
very idealistic. He no longer needs teachers Dr. Raymond Moodys books on near-death
to tell him facts and to ask him to believe. He experiences show that when one is near death,
becomes his own master. If the organs of will one experiences tremendous clarity of thought.
have ripened, then this ripening of thought Death is the moment of purest clarity and
processes takes place around age 16. There awareness.
develops an ability to judge and weigh, and this
What about the etheric forces in the life of
ability arises out of the grown-up metabolic
the kindergarten child? Life wisdom is contained
forces.
in the etheric. One should not imagine the
If you look at the ripened thoughts of adults, etheric as a pleasant cloud, all rosy and hazy.
you will see that the adult needs the possibility The etheric is the body of wisdom and truth.
of self guidance in thought life; the adult walks The etheric forces are engaged in building up
in his thinking. He also needs feeling in his the body. Lies destroy the wisdom and life of
thought life. He must consider, for example, the human being and hurt the etheric. All that
whether a thought is a pleasant or unpleasant is untrue harms the young child. Therefore we
one. And he needs pictures in his thought life. must build an environment based on truth and
This can now become pure thinking activity, and integrity for the child.
the adult can find the laws of how things run.
The kindergarten morning should be viewed
All that came before now fits together step by
as an organism, like a body, in which all the
step, and in these ways the different systems, the
organs fit together. One part of the morning
metabolic, the rhythmic, and the nerve-sense
should smoothly fit together with another. This
help each other to develop.
fits with the way the etheric forces work.
When we look at the long term development
Our etheric forces arise from the spiritual
of the human being from birth to age 60, we see
world. They come out of the relations of spiritual
the following patterns. The body is undergoing
beings in that higher world. Imagine two angels
intensive growth in the first 20 years. Then come
with a certain relationship to each other. This is
20 years of relative stability in the body, and
a tremendously active process, and out of this
from 40 to 60, the bodily forces begin to decline
come our etheric forces. Therefore with our
and the body grows weaker and weaker.
thoughts, we can touch all beings of the world.
020 The life of thoughts increases year after We know when someone is thinking negatively
year as the physical forces are freed for of us, for we are etherically touched. Imagine
thinking. if higher beings are thinkingwhat a powerful
force is released. This is all reflected in our
2040 A time of equilibrium during which one
thoughts. We reflect this higher wisdom; we do
does not realize so strongly ones changes
not carry it within us. We reflect it, and this is
and growth.
our first relationship with higher knowledge.

31
Etheric Forces and the Young

The child experiences us as examples, and he who speak too much or at the wrong times. This
experiences that we have etheric relationships. If is the same disturbance, but from two different
the child feels in our gestures that we care for the sides. Such children should be brought into
physical world, she responds to that. We reveal tranquility. They should listen to good spoken
our relationships through our daily activities. verses. We should teach parents to take the child
We create such a morning for the children. We on the lap so they can listen to clear, well-spoken
take all things in earnestwith joy or sorrow. If verses.
we wash the dishes and wish we were outside,
Our own character and will impulses
then the child feels that our actions are untrue
give qualities of a specialized nature to our
and that there is something schizophrenic
movements. Through our will we bring an
happening. If we like our work and feel it is
impulse into our movements; through our soul
useful, then the child feels this and responds to it.
we bring a quality; and through our spirit we
The etheric body must keep regenerating. bring meaning. In this true relationship of all
For example, every day with our bowel things in the world, the child builds up a healthy
movements we lose 200 gm (67 ounces) of cell well-formed organisman organization of
substance which must be replaced. There are wisdom. Then there is an independence for new
many, many cells which die each day, and the steps to be taken in adulthood and an interest
etheric body must keep regenerating new cells in all things that exist in the world. Both are
for us. It cannot refuse to do so. Likewise, we necessary.
cannot say, Today I wont clean up. We repeat
again and again that which is necessary in order The following were questions posed to
to help the etheric body to do its work. Dr. Glcker during the Conference.
Art is a means of regenerating. An artist Answers should not be taken as a rule or
works again and again on his art and always sees recipe. We need to develop courage to learn
ways to do it better. It is an expression of inner from our experiences and not just quote
forces. We need to do our own artistic activity authorities. We need to be open to what can
every day. We cannot simply eat the creativity work through us and not fall in love with our
of others. Through creative fantasy, every own fixed ideas.
human deed can be transformed and made
One of the questions pertained to the
more beautiful. This is a process of self training.
relationship of fantasy to imagination. The
To work with young children we must become
etheric forces work on the physical body. They
small, humorous artists.
gradually become free and become thinking
Our movements should have a creative, forces. On the way they pass the realm of
purposeful quality. They should not just be feelings, of inner soul forces, and take on the
mechanical. As kindergarten teachers we should quality of fantasy. (Rudolf Steiner: Fantasy is
study eurythmy as much as possible, for we growth force projected into the soul realm.)
need more than just the outer form of gesture. As it comes more towards the brain and the
Eurythmy movements are permeated with life thinking forces, the fantasy becomes more
forces. frozen, for then it is a dying process. We look
at a person, and it is an etheric process which
Children whose speech process is disturbed
makes an impression through the eye on our
need exercise. This is also the case with children
etheric body. This is how we remember our

32
Michaela Glckler The Birth of the Etheric

impressions. It is a dying process. The pictures training should be in play form such as through
become fixed and must die so there is room for verses, singing, and speakingnot too fast and
something new. These dying thoughts help us clearly. Most of these children do not need any
to arrange ourselves in the world, but they are additional professional help at the preschool age.
not a help to the inner life. For our spiritual
What about problems of masturbation
possibilities, we need to keep the power of
in young children? This is a problem of the
fantasy alive. Otherwise, ones whole being will
environment. If the child is not interested in its
be affected by the dying process. This is why
surrounding, then the child will take interest
fairy tales are important. In fairy tales, there are
in the physical body. One should do something
fantasy pictures. They are taken as seeds into our
in hopes that it will interest the child. A way of
unconscious life which arise later as thoughts of
healing is to engage the child in becoming active
the inner life.
in the surroundings.
Regarding the development of the childs
Could you speak about the warmth forces
organism, one can look into physiology books
and warm clothing, and in particular about
and learn about the development of each organ,
children who resist wearing warm clothing?
for each has its own growth curve. We then need
We see more and more children with weak
to put this together with the facts of spiritual
constitutions, and we can help them with
development.
clothing. In particular, they need many layers in
The most important fact about the education the trunk area (chest, stomach and back) for that
of the child in the first 9 or 10 years is that is the area of the inner organs, which need the
movement stimulates the nerve-sense system. most warmth. When the trunk is warm enough,
Every skilled movement stimulates the brain, then the hands and feet will also receive enough
because the brain is exercised. It has to notice circulation. The limbs are always cooler than the
all the movements and activities. It is not middle realm (28 C compared to 37C.) Some
the intelligent speech of the adults which children do resist warm clothing. Perhaps the
stimulates the childs brain, but the childs own clothing is made of synthetic fibers. It is very
activity. We should work with parents to help uncomfortable to be warm in synthetic clothing.
them understand this. The intelligence of the Also, in about 70% of the cases, the child may be
body is the basis for the intelligence of the resisting as a form of provocation!
brain.
What about children from single parent
Another question pertained to speech homes? One hears about special concerns
problems in young children. It is important for children, especially boys, who live with a
that we love speech and that our words are mother in a single parent home, but usually
spoken like living beings. They must have sense, such children find their own male figures in life,
but they are not just information carriers. possibly an uncle, grandfather or neighbor. One
can place them with a male teacher, but they
Children who stutter can often overcome
may not accept the male as a special role model.
this problem later in life if they are motivated
to do so. When a three-year-old stutters, the Mixed-age groups can be a help for such
problem in most cases (about 95%) will pass children, as well as all children, for they can
away by itself. Take time and listen, but dont ask function like a family. The younger children look
the child to repeat. Before school age, all speech up to the older ones to see where they are going

33
Etheric Forces and the Young

in their own development, while the older ones of the person. Most of the senses, especially the
look back to see where they have come from. higher ones, are not engaged. Thus television has
The teacher needs to differentiate between the a disintegrative effect on children rather than
different ages and create an artistic flow. The helping to bring about integration.
assistant can be brought into this process as well.
In the area of diet we see the problems of
The group integrated by age is best for the child.
children who consume sugar in significant
Parents should be helped to keep at least five amounts. Sugar is easily digested in the digestive
minutes of awareness each day for each of their tract. It takes no energy to do so. One does not
children. Likewise, in the kindergarten, a teacher even need a stomach to digest sugar, whereas
should have a personal moment with each child if one has to make sugar out of more complex
once or twice a week. foods such as bread, then it takes huge amounts
of energy to digest it. It takes work to create
Many children today need healing work
the sugar. Eating sugar is rather like the drug
with a doctor or a curative eurythmist. In
process. There is one little injection and then
anthroposophy we have the knowledge of how
a whole experience, a whole story begins. It is
to help children, but we do not have enough
done so easily and with so little effort.
personnel. As teachers we must broaden our
knowledge, but we mustnt try to substitute We also see many sleep disorders in people
for another profession. We need to work today. People have trouble digesting their life
together cooperatively. If one does not have an experiences and this leads to sleep problems.
anthroposophic doctor in ones own community, Then they use sleeping drugs. Thus they are half
then it is possible to have a relationship with a asleep in the daytime and half asleep at night.
doctor from another community. That allows
Anthroposophy arose in this century to
one to call him or her and describe a symptom
help us understand every problem of our times.
thats been discovered in a child and seek advice.
Without these problems, we would not be able
In this way we are building up a new social
to find our way to freedom. We would not need
fabric, which is so necessary here.
anthroposophy. These problems are related to
How do we help children meet the many the development of freedom and in this sense
problems which they face in our modern are a gift. And we must remember that pursuing
times? As we build up an awareness of our freedom without some error is not possible.
times, some people paint very dark pictures
We must come to appreciate, even to love the
indeed. Of course there are many problems. We
dark areas of life, for the new possibilities which
can see the problems of modern foods coupled
arise from them. In this way we can develop
with ecological problems and how they are
these Christian and human aspects. We should
resulting in allergies in children. We can see that
not say, Waldorf education forbids television.
children sit far too much and are not engaged in
Rather, it is an effort to understand at what
their will enough. We know that children should
age it is a healthy impulse and at what age it is
see the world at many different distances and
not. After age 16, watching television is not a
that when they sit in front of the television they
problem for the body and soul.
are taking it in from only one distance. We see
many other problems which television brings Regarding vaccinations, know what
to children. For example, children see only the possibilities of development do not take place
outer aspect of the person on TV, not the ego with vaccination. When parents learn about

34
Michaela Glckler The Birth of the Etheric

this, they are often sad and want to find a way to are afraid of the ability of others, and we fear
overcome the limitations of vaccination. Then our own self. We can overcome the obstacle of
the body can be stimulated from the spiritual fear by developing interest in others. From this
side, from the life of thought and the world of interest love arises. Sympathy is not love, though
fairy tales. The etheric works on the body from many think it is, for sympathy changes too easily.
the inside and through the stimulating factors of In the thinking realm, no culture has had so
the outside. much of the lie as ours has. It begins with the
automatic question of How are you? when one
When we look at the most dangerous aspects
has no interest in the answer, and the lie goes
of our time, we see important hindrances arising
on from there into advertising and many other
in our will, in our emotional life and in our
realms of life which are based upon the lie. The
thoughts.
healing for the lie is to love the truth.
In the realm of will, modern human beings
We must aim for the path of activity, of
have become very inactive, and when we are
interest and love, and of truth. This is a path
inactive we begin to mock and even hate those
which leads us toward freedom, and this is
who are active. The healing antidote to this is
the path of Christianity. In a kindergarten
our own activity. In the realm of feeling, we
atmosphere that is permeated with the teachers
hide jealousy and even hate under a banner
striving in these areas, the children can develop
of criticism, and we have become a society of
their individuality and thereby find the strength
critics. All of this arises from a fear impulse. We
to overcome the difficulties of the times.

Will Emotional feelings Thoughts

Activity Fear Lie

Inactivity Love interest Truth

The conditions of our modern life

35
Etheric Forces and the Young

Forces of Growth and Forces of Fantasy


Understanding the Dream Consciousness of the Young Child

The following is a summary of three lectures given not conscious of it. Nobody would say, I am a
by Dr. Michaela Glckler, pediatrician and head living being; I am alive.
of the Medical Section of the Goetheanum. The
It is the same with our thoughts. We do
notes were recorded by Nancy Foster and Joan
not focus on our thoughts, although we are
Almon and have been reviewed by Dr. Glckler.
proud of our intelligence. In Philosophy of
Freedom, Rudolf Steiner describes thinking as
The Metamorphosis of Growth Forces into the unconscious activity in our inner life. In this
Forces of Fantasy and Imagination regard, the quality of life and of our thoughts
This weekend we will look at two aspects is the same. They are of the same unconscious
of the developing ethericthe quality of the nature.
growth forces and the artistic forces. There Last year at this conference we spent a lot
is also a third aspect which focuses on how of time looking at this common nature. (See
these forces and qualities are raised into the The Birth of the Etheric by Dr. Glcker.) Let
consciousness of the child. To be conscious us bring a few points back to consciousness.
of these early growth forces, it is a help to go Regarding life, it is characterized by the fact
back in time to our own childhood and find that all the parts fit together into a whole. One
the mood with which we viewed the world, cannot understand an isolated function of an
its colors, smells, light, etc. What are our most organism or the working of a single isolated
beloved memories? Do they pertain to light and organ. It derives meaning only in relation to
shadow, to the quality of early morning or of the whole. Life is a power of integration. An
evening? Do they pertain to dreams? In dreams animals stomach sitting on a dissecting table is
themselves there is a big difference between not alive and can only reveal the secrets of its
the dreams of children and those of youngsters physical form. It is only when it is functioning
in puberty. If you can remember back to your within the animal that we can fully understand
own childhood, it is a help towards meeting the its living nature. We can say that the whole is
children in the kindergarten. much more than the sum of its many parts.
When we look into the realm of life and the If one part is disturbed, then the whole is
realm of thoughts, we see one aspect of both disturbed.
which is totally similar and the same. It is that It is the same when we look at our thoughts.
mere is a pure selflessness involved with both. There is a weaving together of concepts, words
What is life? We see living organisms such as and descriptions to form a picture. If we look
plants growing, creatures crawling, jumping and at a plant, for instance, we focus on the petals,
leaping. We see human beings, ourselves, alive. the colors, the leaves, etc. The way they all come
If we ask the plant, Who are you? it would together makes the plant. It is the same with our
say, I am a Cornell cherry. If I ask Susan, thoughts. We cannot think one thought alone.
Who are you? she would say, I am Susan. We If we think small, for instance, we must think
experience life, but we do not focus on it. We are of something yet smaller and something bigger.

36
Michaela Glckler Forces of Growth and Forces of Fantasy

Otherwise small has no meaning. We must see In the second part of life, from 20 to 40,
the relationships. In this way thoughts, too, do there is a change towards a selfless attitude in
not live in isolation. They are part of a whole. which we think more of others and encourage
The forces of life and thought are the unobserved others. One sees mothers or teachers or those
selfless forces which are at work within us. in official life who begin around age 40 or 50 to
look outwardly at others. They become more
At last years conference, we had a diagram
objective and make good advisors. Others
of the growth and decline of physical forces.
remain more egotistic, and this can develop
destructively and can even become
Consolidation of activity pathological. They are not growing old
in a natural way, for the older person
Etheric forces retreat: has the possibility of giving away, of
Physical growth
lack of regeneration doing without. This attitude is an inner
in physical body dynamic of how the person thinks. The
older person can forget self and think of
others.
From the etheric point of view, things are
The etheric helps bring a balance between
very different than from the physical. Between
the individual and the society as well as between
40 and 60 years of age, the physical forces are
the parts of the cosmos. For example, there is
more and more on their own, while the etheric
a deep relationship between the plant and the
forces retreat. They are not available for the
sun though they are far away from each other.
vitality and regeneration of the physical body.
The plant is like an organ of the sun and earth
Where do the etheric forces go as they retreat
together. This is like the mystery of life. All
from the physical in the older human being?
the plants and animals and earth together are
They transform themselves into thoughts.
an organism. We, too, are part of this living
whole, and when we breathe in and out, we are
participating in all that is around us.
Spiritual life grows
Our thoughts, too, can connect with things
very far away, like the plant relating to the sun.
Physical decline We can think of how the farthest stars behave.
We can think of the hierarchies and of how they
built up the cosmos. We can think of the laws
of mathematics and of higher sciences. Our
During her early years, the child is thinking
thoughts can penetrate all.
with her growth forces. The whole way the child
thinks is connected with growing up. In this There is a moment, at around age three when
first part of life, the etheric forces serve us by the child says I to himself. Then the life of
building up a healthy body. In this there is a thought comes along. There was a three-year-old
natural egoism, as we put our etheric forces to boy named Simeon who could not yet say I.
use for ourselves. We focus on our own needs, One of his aunts said, Oh, he cant pronounce
and that is natural in this first stage of life which s properly. If he could, he would be able to say
lasts until age 20. I. Simeon heard this and grew angry and said,
Why does she say that? Simeon can say I.

37
Etheric Forces and the Young

After this he did not say I again until three We can see the etheric forces in life totally
weeks later when he painted a fiery picture, and focusing on our constitution. In a good natured
someone asked who had painted it. He replied, sense they are egotistic. The immune system
I did. I, I. After this he again forgot to say I. is the purest expression of the Ego-activity on
Over the next three weeks it came and went. He the etheric level. (It represents our biological
displayed a tender awakening of the I. This is a Individuality.) The etheric forces serve our ego
word which cannot be learned. Even if he says, so the ego can be built up. It fights against the
Simeon can say I, he is not realizing it. He outside world to keep outside substances such
is only repeating it. It requires an awakening, a as wrong blood or allergens from entering. The
tender awakening of listening to the sounds of immune system is fighting off the world to serve
the soul, which lives more and more inside the the ego, to strengthen it.
being. It requires realizing the reality, and then
The lemniscate is the picture of the etheric
one day, the thought is there.
going through the midpoint of transformation
Thoughts stand in relation to others and take and moving towards the outside. It
meaning from others. They are important in goes around again and reenters the
relation to others. There are situations in which a inside. The center or crossing point
piece of chalk is of great worth, worth more than of the lemniscate is the point of
thousands of dollars, because in a particular metamorphosis. The growth forces
context it is so necessary. We can never say go through that point and turn into
that one of us or one of our thoughts is more something totally different, that is,
important than another. Each has importance in they metamorphose into thinking forces. The
relationship to the others. growth forces which turned inward are now
thinking forces which turn outward.
In a child, the physical body is growing, and
nearly all the life forces are directed inward for The life of thoughts makes sense only when
the growth and regeneration of the physical. it is turned outward in understanding the world,
Very little is freed for thinking and that occurs when it is oriented towards the outside. If we
only gradually in the early years. Around age 6 think too much of self, we become ill. There
or 7, more of the life forces are freed and then is a mystery of how to keep the physical body
thinking activity can begin. In the older person healthy, which has to do with the life of thought.
we have the opposite picture. There is very little If during the day, our thoughts go out into
that is directed towards rebuilding the physical the world, then they may return to us at night
and most of the forces are available to be and help us build up our bodies. Normally we
engaged in spiritual activity. regenerate ourselves at night. However, if we
think too much of ourselves during the day,

Etheric forces working in the physical

The etheric is freed for thinking

Child Middle Years Old Age

38
Michaela Glckler Forces of Growth and Forces of Fantasy

directing our thoughts too much in on ourselves, the planet Mars were to come and look at the
then during sleep these thoughts can have a Last Supper, he would intuitively understand
destructive effect on our physical body. the path of human earthly development. Art
can speak of the deepest qualities of inner
We all contain great wisdom within us, the
development, and this painting has particularly
wisdom of Study of Man. We have to bring this
captured this. Although Leonardo was an
to clarity in our thinking life. A conference
engineer and was also well versed in medicine,
such as this with its lectures, discussions and
he wrote a book to introduce painters to the art
workshops, gives us an opportunity to bring our
of painting. There is a passage in it on how the
thoughts from the unconscious realm into the
painter can control himself to become more
conscious realm. Together we can take a step
and more an artist and less and less a beginning
forward.
painter. The difference he points to is that the
Soul Development and Artistic Activity inexperienced painter always reproduces himself
in his paintings; the more experienced painter is
We have just heard such lovely singing, and able to bring the being of the world into art.
it is a reminder that we all have music within
The beginning painter is allowing the soul
us. We each have two octaves in us and singers
to express itself and what the soul is accustomed
have three octaves. This is the music within us,
to is building up the body. In the body, the
but other art forms also live within us. We have
soul is reproducing itself. This is what it is
the possibility of doing form drawing and other
used to doing, and it continues to do so in the
activities which bring into us the forms of the
activity of painting. It is natural, then, that the
mineral world, the plant world and the animal
inexperienced painter gives expression to this
world. They bring into us human forms as well
and, in a sense, reproduces himself on canvas.
as the forms of astronomy and the abstract
In a therapeutic situation, one sees the ill
forms. A whole world of form lives within us.
person reproducing himself in painting. It can
We also have speech with its many facets. be helpful to let him do this a time or two for
What can we express in words? We can use diagnostic purposes. But to allow it to go on is
language to express our feelings. Through unhealthy, for it can reinforce the illness.
listening, we can come to the musical quality of
The experienced artist moves beyond this
language and we can enter into another persons
wish to reproduce himself. He wants to bring
feelings. We can also control the will through
the being of the world, of God, of nature into
language. Teachers know this. They can utter one
art. The experienced artist wants to reach this
word and there is silence in the room.
being and allow it to enter his art. Leonardo
To create in the worlds of music, form and could reach the being of Christ and reveal it,
speech is a most important part of our inner life, its language, its inmost content, through his
our soul activity. Where does it come from and art. That is why a person from another planet
what are its relationships to the physical body? could understand so much about human
How are physical activities and soul activities development on earth by gazing upon the
related? Last Supper. To paint in such a way requires a
sacrifice, a movement away from self expression
Leonardo da Vinci is well known as the
and towards the expression of something higher.
painter of The Last Supper. Rudolf Steiner often
Such painting is a prayer to God to be allowed to
speaks of this painting and says if someone from

39
Etheric Forces and the Young

bring something higher into the world through blood in my body, this would be an illusion.
art. Immediately it begins to deteriorate or break
down. After two hours the whole blood
Which laws live in the arts? If we look
constitution is altered. Yet it is a physical
at the genetic pattern of a fruit fly and see
substance and each piece can be analyzed. All
how the genes are distributed, we see that the
factions of the blood can be separated, and you
genes are scattered about. The eye genes are
can distinguish different substances. Physical
spread throughout the whole chromosome, for
research does this all the time. But the secret of
example. It is like a home in which the mother
life is synthesis. Rudolf Steiner discovered this
has been gone for four weeks. She returns to
great secret of life, that life is integrative and
find things spread all over the house, and she
synthesizing. All parts relate to one another.
has to restore order to it. In building up and
They are working to create a whole.
regenerating the eye, someone needs to say,
These are genes which I do need, and these are Laws of composition are integratively
the genes I do not need. We do not use all of at work within us. The whole body is a
our genes. Some are blocked. Fever or illness composition itself. All of the arts live within
may release some of them. We ask how this us but in slightly different ways. Music does
special order can arise. This cant be answered not live in us in the same way as do painting
just by looking at how the genes are distributed, or modeling. If you model or paint, you do
for it cant be seen. The genetic pattern doesnt not try to leave spaces between the colors or
work just by itself. It needs hormonal activity the forms. But one does leave spaces in music.
to work and enough water in the cell to work. Music lives in discontinuity, in the spaces or
Yet what brings genetic activity into the cells? intervals between the notes. There is something
Water is necessary, and enzymes and hormones. living between the notes. That is an important
You are looking at a circular system, and to ask aspect of music, and, in addition, music lives in
what triggers it is like asking what comes first, time rather than in space. Also, music lives in
the chicken or the egg. The enzymes are needed the tension between two partners. We take the
to stimulate genetic activity, but you need the string of the monochord which is drawn taut
genetic activity to first build up the enzymes. and divide it into intervals. Without the tension
There is an interdependence here, and that is a there could be no musical sound. Music lives in
characteristic of life. harmony and disharmony, tension and release of
tension.
Life began with this whole activity; life
arose from life. There was no hen or egg in the Where do we find something similar in the
beginning. They were all together, for life is human beings constitution? Where do we find
complex. It is a living system and does not arise the spaces and the ability to make proportions
from one little element or part. Physical laws as we do in music? In regard to spaces, consider
deal with physical aspects; physical science pulls the hand with its fingers spread apart. There is
things apart. There are different laws which deal nothing between the fingers, and for this reason
with the integrated whole, the composition. we can be so active with our hands. In the
Rudolf Steiner says integration-activity comes embryo, the hand begins by being filled in with a
out of the artistic realm. weblike substance. Then the fingers emerge and
the webbing retracts. There is a free space and
If I pull some blood out of my veins, for
the music enters. If this does not occur, then
example, and think this is the same as the
we must do surgery to free the fingers.

40
Michaela Glckler Forces of Growth and Forces of Fantasy

When we look for proportion in the human Tomorrow we will see it again. As adults we
body, we can begin with the interval of the fifth. might think, now we know the play, wouldnt it
In the fifth, there is a beautiful proportion of be nice to have it a little different, to see different
2:3. We see this in the physiology of the human variations of it tomorrow. We might counteract
being as well. On the right side of the chest the this tendency by telling ourselves that it is good
lung has three parts, while on the left only two. to repeat things and take this on as an exercise.
There is a breathing mood in the body itself But for a young child this is altogether different.
of 2:3. In music, this is known as the fifth. We The child knows it and knows it not. It knows it
could look at other mathematical relationships in repetition, and this continues until abstract
in the body, for the whole body could be memory is established. Abstract memory begins
expressed in numberstwo eyes, two ears, etc. between the ages of 6 and 8.
The whole nerve-sense system can be described
In each birth, we experience that a force is
in 1:2 relationships.
freed to live in a new world. When the astral
Another mathematical example from the body is born around age 14, the world of feeling
body is the angle of the heart. The middle axis of is born and can function in the astral world.
the heart lies at an angle to the central axis of the Around 21 the ego is born. This is the world of
body. On average, the angle the two make is 23 inner being, and we can now meet as inner being
degrees. This is the same angle as the earth to to inner being. Before this birth we could meet
the sun on the ecliptic. There is no one detail of the astral, etheric or physical being of another.
the body which is not full of sense and order and Now we can know one another at a deeper level.
integrated into the laws of numbers, proportions We can come to the center of the being and
and music. The world of music lies throughout make contact there.
our body.
If we ask ourselves which forces deliver these
Now let us consider the growth of the human birth moments of the soul, then we see that
being in the first 21 years. each body is revealing itself in its own realm.
All gestures of the soul express their intentions
in the body. The body reveals all our feelings,
birth of thoughts and will. They all fit together into the
birth of birth of
astral
ego laws of composition, and these are the same as
etheric
the laws of art. We need years to study the laws
of music, to realize that the laws of music are the
Every seven years during this period we
laws of the astral body and of a very complicated
experience the birth of a body. What does this
emotional life. Likewise we can study the laws
mean? What are these bodies for? The physical
of speech and comprehend the laws of the ego,
birth means the physical body is free to live in
the laws of painting and the laws of the etheric,
the physical world itself. The body moves and
and the laws of modeling and the laws of the
lives independently in the physical world. The
physical.
birth of the etheric means the etheric is free in
the etheric world. We see this moment of birth Let us consider the laws of the ego. If a child
when the child starts to live in abstract memory. is crying and moving around a great deal, and
Before the independent life of the etheric, we cannot find any reason, then we have the
abstract memory is not possible. Last night feeling that the child is moving without ego
we saw the marionette play of Little Twig. forces in a hyperkinetic way. When the child

41
Etheric Forces and the Young

is really present, he acts in a different way. The adolescents growth is discontinuous,


Likewise, if we drink too much alcohol, the ego not harmonious. It begins with the feet and
withdraws and we have too little balance, for moves upward. The poor 11-year-old has such
the ego power is the power of balance. Then we large feet. One has the feeling in looking at an
stumble about. When the ego is present, we can adolescent that every part is growing for itself.
say I am and this can be the dominating force It is as if each part is a separate tone and we
in us. We can send I am and I will into every are unable to see the whole composition. All
thought. Then we do only what we want, what the tones are not yet there. The beard grows
we have directed ourselves to do. We identify in patches, not all at once. The breasts mature
with all that we do. That is typical of this kind of unevenly, often growing one at a time. It is as if
ego power. a conductor of an orchestra is calling forth one
instrument after another. At the end, they are
The art of speech represents this most
all called forth and playing together. The growth
beautifully, for it integrates the musical and
looks funny if we dont see the musical process at
sculptural laws. All of the physical laws are
work.
there, and we see them at work in the way we
model our consonants with tongue, teeth, etc. These phenomena are not typical of the
The laws of the astral are there in the music of preschool years. The first period of growth is
the language. Every language has its own music. a very harmonious one. During the first nine
The vowels live purely in this music, and you years there is a holiness present in the growth.
therefore cannot model vowels. They wont The young childs physical development is
sound forth. Speech brings music and modeling normally harmonious, but their emotional life,
into harmony. In speech, we bring the astral and their thinking and their will still need our care
the physical bodies together. The integrative and attention. These are qualities not yet born
power of the ego is the power of the word. After in the child. Surrounding the child there is an
21, when the ego is there, we can consciously embryonic atmosphere. With which eyes am I
speak and say, Yes, I want this, or No, I dont allowed to behold this? To look at the unborn
want that. Until the time of maturity, we cannot forces of the human being is like looking into
consciously speak in this way. the uterus of the soul. We must represent the
ego forces of the child so that the growth is
Between 14 and 21, between puberty and
harmonious and good. We are part of the caring,
maturity, the body changes considerably. During
ripening activity.
these years the body finds a whole new harmony.
In adolescence around 15 or 16, there is still a Consider our own soul activity in terms of
great deal of disharmony. The teenager looks at music when we meet another person. If it is a
himself and has the feeling, All the adults in the person we like, we experience a major mood
world look harmonious, only I dont. He looks within us. We feel, Oh, good, here comes a
at his thin chest and cant imagine how it will person who makes me happy. If another comes
ever look normal. Then comes the last stretching towards us, we may feel unhealthy, tense and
of the chest, first crosswise and then from drawn in. Why do we feel this dissonance? If I
front to back. In adolescence there are so many bring myself into a new position in relation to
changes, but they do not all happen at once. this person, then a new tone will arise, a tone
They follow one another, giving the adolescent which may bring the dissonance into harmony.
an awkward, unfinished look. Every tone needs two partners who function

42
Michaela Glckler Title Forces of Growth and Forces of Fantasy

like the two fixed ends of the monochord. a pure delight for children. These things exist
Without them there can be no tone. Never put in the life of the young child. All else is still in
the consequences of disharmony on the other development.
person, laying guilt upon him. You are a partner,
The young child experiences events
and the tension exists between the two of you,
differently than we do. As mature adults we
even as it exists between the two ends of the
take things into our soul life. The young child
monochord.
cannot do this yet. If the young child has a
In the marionette play, Little Twig, we had problem or is shocked, he will often wet himself,
a beautiful composition of moving pictures, the experience runs out, whereas we hold the
speech and music. If it is told with the mood of experience in. If the child feels joy, he begins to
drama, then isolated emotions would awaken. jump up and down. The whole body wants to
That is not possible for the young child, for at participate in the joyous experience. We dont
this age, these developments of the inner life are usually display our joy with the whole body,
still unborn. We do not want to awaken them. except at a football game when we jump up and
Young children need harmonious interactions. down. Then we can experience the game like a
child. But usually if something fills us with joy,
The Developing Consciousness we smile or laugh. That is like a small jump.
of the Child
Consider sense perception and how it relates
In the beginning of the conference, we to the soul realm. When we read the biographies
thought back to our infancy and childhood. of great people such as Proust and consider
What were our thoughts and actions? Dr. their experiences of childhood, we can see what
Glckler remembers feeling awake in all parts of intense sense impressions they had as children.
her soul life as a child. She felt sorrow, hurt and A child experiences the atmosphere of a festival
delight. The young child already has an ego and or vacation in a most intensive way. At age 30,
emotions but not in the developed form which Dr. Glckler returned to a beloved vacation spot
was described in yesterdays lecture. Around of her childhood. She tried not to be sad, but her
age 20, the ego is born and can stand freely in experience as an adult was so much paler than
the world. But all the forces already exist in an what she remembered from her childhood. The
unripened stage earlier in life. house was so small, the stall for the animals not
at all special. Even the flowers in the meadow,
When we try to form a picture of what
and the sky and water seemed rather normal
is present and ready to be freely used in the
and not of that glory which the childs memory
young child, then we see that the child is totally
put on it.
there and present in the physical body and is
fully awake in the senses. These can be used In childhood, the life of thoughts and the life
and developed in early childhood. Imitation is of the senses are still a unity. They are not yet
present at a young age and speaks to the senses. divided. Therefore the experience of the senses is
Activity is important in these years because the very intense. It is also why children can imitate
physical body likes to move and be active. It and can understand immediately what is going
likes to be skillful and adapt to the world. The on. They intuitively know when something is
children delight in being active from morning wrong. They can intuitively understand their
to evening. When they are being active, every sense experiences in the moment that they are
hindrance hurts them. To do what they like is occurring. As adults, we need to understand

43
Etheric Forces and the Young

by thinking about the experience afterwards. that the etheric body be born. This does not
Later, when abstract memory awakens, the child happen until age seven, but it takes a few more
will be able to separate sense impressions from years for the freed etheric to be well established.
thinking. This is an important step, for in order After seven, the astral and ego can begin to
to learn something, sense perceptions have to be come to the pure astral realm in sleep. Then the
separate from thinking. thought life can switch off during sleep.
The childs perceptions of the world are The childs consciousness occurs in stages.
very different from those of the adult, for he Around three, a new self-consciousness begins
sees thought life woven around and within as the child experiences herself as an I
his surroundings. He looks at a dark corner, separate from others. At nine, there is a crisis
for example, and sees the shadows move. He in the development as the child senses her I
experiences the inner meaning of darkness. at a deeper level. A self-sensitivity exists, and
Something jumps out of the darkness, and the the child feels I am alone, I am a personality.
child is frightened. He runs to his mother who Before that she felt part of her surroundings,
turns on the light and says there is nothing with a growing self-consciousness but still part
there. The child is often not understood at a of her surroundings. Between eight and ten, she
deeper level, but he is consoled that the mother feels more fully apart. She feels separate from her
is strong enough to bring light into the darkness. mother and father and secretly thinks that this is
The child has both these experiences; he is not her true mother and father. Perhaps she asks,
misunderstood and consoled at the same time. Are you sure I am your child? You didnt mix
me up with another at birth?
We need to realize that every thought is a
living reality for the child. She sees the flower Now the sleep life changes, and the
and experiences the inner reality of the flower; nightmares of the young child stop. The child
she sees the being of the flower. The child begins to sleep more deeply. During these first
experiences not only the outlook but also the nine years, the child awakens at night with fears
inlook, the inner being or I Am of the object and visions because the astral and ego are still
perceived. The child is not awake like the adult so close. The child is half wakeful at night and
is. She cannot separate the inner from the dreams in the elemental world. As adults we
outer and think about the one or the other. She move through this realm quickly, and if we are
is neither fully awake, nor is she asleep. Her tired enough we are not disturbed by it. The
consciousness is in between, like a dream. Yet young child cannot sleep properly, but she also
within that consciousness she is alert to the cant awaken properly. She is in between.
world and takes everything in.
An awakened person can identify what
Let us try to understand waking and sleeping things are good for him out of an awakened
more fully. What happens in sleep in the adult? process of knowing the thing itself. A dreamy
The astral and ego leave the physical and etheric adult can intuit what is good and not good but
bodies behind and live in the realm of the cant explain it. The astral and ego are too closely
Cosmos. The child with her unripened soul life bound to the physical and etheric in such a
does not sleep properly in this way. The astral person. It takes courage to be awake as an adult,
and ego are too involved in the physical and to develop an independent personality. Many
etheric. To sleep in such a way that the astral and people are fearful and dont want an awakened
ego are free of the physical and etheric requires adult consciousness.

44
Michaela Glckler Forces of Growth and Forces of Fantasy

The dream consciousness of the child is


easily misunderstood. A parent may say, my conscious
child is interested in all the world, technology, where the unconscious
nature, etc. He is so awake to the world, he becomes conscious
unconscious
is not at all dreamy. But the young child does
live deeply into the world around him. He lives
through the senses and experiences all the
qualities of the world. He is not awake to think The child lives in the realm of pictures and
abstractly about the world as the adult is, but he wisdom, but he is mixed up totally with sense
is actively taking in the world through the senses perception. In one stick he sees the whole world.
coupled with thinking. In the night time, he is With the stick and a piece of yarn, he can be a
more awake than we are. In the daytime he is fisherman, a priest or so many other things. He
more asleep than we. works with the world of growth forces which are
gradually being freed and reappear in the soul,
How can we help the child during this stage?
first as fantasy forces and later as imagination
Rudolf Steiner says that before age nine the most
and then as thinking forces.
important thing is to help children to properly
sleep. Since the children are more awake than we All living things have a spiritual component.
are in the night, it can be a help to some children The elemental beings are the spiritual
to have a night light on. This gives a certain day fundamentals of things. These are thought
aspect at night so they dont feel too alone in realities. In all living things there are also
sleepy awakeness. destructive forces. The dead is inborn in every
living being; every cell contains within it an
The child is also helped to sleep at night if he
aspect of death. We might consider this to
has been helped to awaken properly in the day.
be a bad being, a destructive being, but we
This occurs through the purposeful activities
need destruction so that new life can be born.
which the adult does in the childs presence
If nothing died, nothing could be born. A
during the day. The child needs to experience
balance occurs between life-giving forces and
clarity and purposeful direction in the day time.
death-giving forces. Only the human being is
Then it experiences proper calm at night.
capable of going out of balance between these
There is a constant process of transforming two polarities. Through our ego we need to live
the unconscious into the conscious. In the in a balanced way, keeping life and death in
unconscious there is much wisdom. An awake harmony.
adult can discriminate the conscious part
When the child learns to walk in the first
of thought life through learning, but cant
year, she finds her first ego balance. In speech in
experience spontaneously the unconscious part
the second year, she finds her social balance. In
of thoughts. The dreamy adult gets an intuition
thought in the third year, she finds her spiritual
and spontaneously realizes something.
balance. In finding her ego or I, she finds this
The child experiences wisdom but not in spiritual balance, this balance in thought.
an awake way. It cant judge, analyze or prove
The whole development of the ego is part of
things. Instead, it has a capacity for fantasy
a huge process of finding balance. If we continue
which is nothing other than experiencing a
to live more and more out of balance as we do
small part of this wisdom which is freed from
today, with no balance between spiritual and
the growth forces and is available as fantasy.

45
Etheric Forces and the Young

physical activity, then it will not be possible for forces. These destructive forces are always
the earth and the human being to endure much there in nature, working in the processes of
longer. There is no god we can make responsible digestion, for example. They appear in the child
for this balance. We must look to ourselves for with as much reality as an outer experience of
this. the senses. They create a specific type of dream
consciousness for the child.
There are many spiritual trainings which try
to reactivate an old stage of dream consciousness In our times, the childs dream consciousness
which we had as children. It is not difficult to is strongly touched by the destructive forces,
move in this direction, for it lives in all of us. It is and fear arises. There is a very strong element
beautiful to be a child, and it is understandable of fear in children today. The child lives in
that many adults prefer this and want to be more the world of technology today, and every
like children and not fully adult-like. As adults technological event is based on destruction.
we can achieve a new stage of awakeness and Electricity, for example, is created out of the
need not turn to methods which reactivate the earths destruction. To remove oil or gas from
dream stage of childhood. Turning to drugs, the earth is always a process of destruction,
alcohol, reliance on a guru or utilizing certain even when we use it to construct something.
spiritual techniques leads us backwards rather We must always look to the balance of energy.
than forwards. If we use windmills, do we have a positive
balance or a negative balance of destruction?
We can give children a beautiful security
Or if we sit in a room lit by a 100-watt light and
of dream consciousness and gently guide them
do nothing, then perhaps it would be better to
towards awakeness. We need not push them out
do nothing in the dark. Of course, we must use
too quickly, but guide them out. If they have not
the forces of technology if it is for constructive
fully experienced the dream consciousness of
purposes. If we use the washing machine, this
early childhood, then as adults they turn back
uses much energy which is destructive, but we
and seek this lost paradise. They seek the dream
can balance this by doing something worthwhile
experience through drugs, for instance. We all
with the freed time. Finding this balance for
had something similar to a drug experience in
the destructive elements of technology is one
childhood when colors, pictures, etc., were so
of the moral problems of our time. When the
vivid and we could fully live within them. Now
imbalance towards destructiveness is too great,
we can find it in new ways as awakened persons.
then fear arises, a fear of the elemental beings of
Rudolf Steiner describes fantasy in this way: destruction. This happens when there is not a
The soul is able to withdraw a certain energy for balance of constructive beings, and children are
other purposes, and this is the power of fantasy: very sensitive to this imbalance. It makes them
the natural power of growth metamorphosed fearful.
into a soul force. (Understanding Young
During the last 20 years, for the first time in
Children, page 75) Dr. Glckler has tried to
mankind, we are experiencing sleep problems
explain this process in this lecture and in the
in children under age seven. There is a coldness
other lectures this weekend. For the child in the
present in the children. Sometimes it is physical
dream consciousness of fantasy, life is like being
and can be corrected, but often it exists in the
in a theater in which good thoughts appear like
awareness of destruction which brings fear to
good elemental beings and bad thoughts appear
the children. Often they want to come into the
as well because of the work of the destructive

46
Michaela Glckler Forces of Growth and Forces of Fantasy

parents bed during the first nine years, and this The real help which the children need
can even be a help to the child. This can be a is for the family to find the correct balance
little cure, but the child should not be exposed between constructive and destructive forces in
to adult sexual activity, for this is too great the home. It is also of help for the religious life
an experience for them and can lead to other to arise in the home which can bring balance
problems. to all processes which seem senseless if not
understood in the light of inner understanding.

Childhood Illnesses
Dr. Christa van Tellingen
Raphael Association, Fair Oaks, California

These are notes of a talk given to northern help create this bridge between the physical-
California kindergarten teachers in fall 1985. The etheric and the soul-spiritual.
notes were sent to us by Sally Smith of Sonoma
The bridge which unites the physical-
Valley, California, and were reviewed and revised
etheric and the soul-spiritual has four
by Dr. Christa.
components:
Dr. Christa opened her talk with the 1. Warmth. It is not only a state of being, it
question, Why do human beings get childhood permeates all other components of the bridge.
diseases and not the animals? She compared Warmth is the vehicle of the ego working into
a chimpanzee baby with a human baby. the physical; it is a tool for the ego. It forms the
Animals develop in keeping with their group warmth organism in our bodies.
soul, whereas humans bring their own unique
2. Air or Gas. It can be used by the astral
development with them. Illnesses in animals
body to work into the physical realm. Air is
lead to death, whereas illnesses occur in humans
outside our body but comes to us through the
so that development can happen. She mentioned
blood system. It penetrates us completely and we
that domestic animals sometimes might take on
breathe it out again. It carries the soul into the
an illness for their master.
body, and forms the air organism.
Kindergarten teachers can benefit from
3. Fluid Organism. There is no life without
studying the subject of incarnationhow man
water. The etheric or life body lives within this
as microcosm comes down and takes hold of
organism.
his body. The body is not always in the right
condition for the soul to take hold of it. We can 4. Crystalline mineral. The physical body
see how the ego battles with the forces of the can find its expression in the crystalline mineral
body to make it its own. In 1922 Rudolf Steiner element, also in the formation of kidney stones,
gave whats called the Bridge lecturesThe deposits in joints, etc. It brings form into our
Bridge between the Universal Spirituality and bodies in the teeth and bones.
the Physical Constitution of Man. These lectures
The macrocosmic man expresses himself
deal with the bridge between the physical-
in the hereditary body through this bridge
etheric and the soul-spiritual. Childhood diseases

47
Etheric Forces and the Young

that unites the supersensible bodies (ego, astral animal kingdom to man. Allergies are also
body, etheric body and physical body) with taking the place of childhood diseases.
the physical material in warmth, air, water and
Kindergarten teachers can help to build the
minerals. Where the bridge does not function
bridge for children who arent benefiting from
right, childhood illnesses help to transform
childhood diseases by recommending warm
the forces of the bridge so that the inherited
clothes, simple diet, daily rhythm in life, outdoor
physical body can be transformed.
activities and enough sleepin short warmth,
Fever is an expression of the ego air, water and mineral in a balance specific for
organization working into the physical body to the child at that moment.
make it its own. Redness of the skin is a physical
expression of the ego. The Health of the Kindergarten Teacher
Whooping cough is a way to help the airy As we work with children whose etheric
organism fit into the body. It is a disease of the bodies are as yet unborn, our own etheric
astral body fitting into the airy organism. forces can become less personal. We are more
open to the cosmos, more connected to the
Mumps is an expression of the watery forces
spiritual world. If we are not conscious of
being transformed. In rubella the lymph nodes
this, our etheric body gets dispersed into
swell up (watery organism). With mumps there
our surroundings and we lose that part of
is a swelling of the salivary glands. With these
our etheric. We have to build our forces into
the ether body modifies its home in the fluid
something we can offer to our surroundings in
organism of our bodies. In measles we see fever
a eurythmic sense, without losing ourselves
and redness with the watery transformation.
in the process of giving. It is important that we
Chickenpox is a disease where the physical
work with our own daily rhythm (rhythm is a
forces become transformed (temporary
property of the etheric body) and that we dress
scarring).
warmly. Warmth allows us to stay in ourselves
We can ask the question, What is a child more easily and to transform etheric forces
gaining when he or she gets a particular through our own activity.
disease? Rudolf Steiner tells us that smallpox,
Grains are important for activating the
for example, is easy to obtain by people who
digestive system and for giving warmth. Dr.
had trouble loving others in their last lifetime.
Christa recommended raw grain as in muesli, as
Disease is a healing process for what was not
well as cooked grains, raw vegetables, and soups.
accomplished previously.
Avoid cold foodscucumbers, beans, peppers,
Dr. Christa noted that it seems that children tomatoes, eggplant.
who are immunized against childhood diseases
Teachers who are constantly giving of
get more ear infections. In this way they develop
themselves all day need to learn to say no. This
the fever they need. In the future more diseases
takes ego.
will come from the plant kingdom and the

48
49
The Young Child and the Spiritual World

How Can We Find a Connection to the World of the Angels?


Dr. Helmut von Kgelgen

In the introduction last night we heard Kennan has the words, too. Does he actually
of the many changes which have taken place believe in angels? Probably not. In the New
in Waldorf education. The wind of change is Testament, the angel appears to the shepherds.
also blowing in Eastern Europe. It is called In doing so he opens the door to a new level
Perestroika, the restructuring. George F. of consciousness. The angel says Do not fear,
Kennan has spoken of Perestroika and its for it is a shock to behold an angel and to have
founder Gorbachev in this way: This is an age this door opened, but it is a good shock. The
of change and Gorbachev has made himself its intent is not to destroy but to open the soul and
angel and its instrument. heart (Imagination), and to enable one to hear
(Inspiration). Now the will of the spiritual world
Gorbachev has brought the greatest changes
can work in your will (Intuition). We know that
imaginable in Russia and in Eastern Europe, but
accidents can come into our lives and shock us
what is meant here by angel? And what is the
in this way.
spirit of this time?
A scientist has recently written that if you
Rudolf Steiner had 23 people before him
take a frog from its pond and put it in a pan of
when he started the lectures known as the
hot water it will jump out. But if you put it in a
Study of Man. These are a preparation for the
pan of cold water and heat it slowly, the frog will
educational work of this age, for this epoch. He
sit there in the water until it has boiled to death.
began with personal remarks which have not
The frogs senses are such that it can distinguish
been included in the English translation of the
large temperature changes but not gradual
lectures. He said that now, at the very beginning
ones. There has been no need in its evolution
of this preparatory work, it behooves us to make
to distinguish small temperature changes.
contact with the spiritual powers, through whose
Today, the scientist continued, the human race
power and at whose mandate each one of us has
is like the frog in the pan. Man is not really
to work. We must ask them to stand behind us as
paying attention to the fact that he is gradually
we seek to work out of Imagination, Inspiration
destroying life on the planet. We are destroying
and Intuition.
the living world in the Amazon region, for
What does it mean to find contact with example, but are not noticing what we are doing.
the spiritual powers? This is the theme of our
Likewise we live in the world of the spiritual
conference. Rudolf Steiner spoke of these
hierarchies, but we are not aware of them. They
powers, of the angels, the archangels and the
live in us, but we are not sensitive enough to
archai, the third hierarchy. True, we have these
perceive them. How can we contact the spiritual
words, we know their names. But George

50
Helmut von Kgelgen Connection to the World of the Angels

powers who are with us in normal life? Rudolf speak of the grandmother having gone home
Steiner has said we have to contact them if we where she can now look down upon us. There is
are to take up this new task of educating for our a feeling of love when we remember the person
times. How can we perceive the connection? and this gives us the Imagination of the beloved
person. We feel we are in the spiritual world;
We can look back and reflect and see that
it is near to us and not far away. It is the home
there is guidance in our life. Where there is
we never lose. Feelings of reverence and awe
guidance, there is a guide. We then get the first
are important when we speak of a person who
feeling of a guardian angel in our life. It doesnt
is dead. Then the children can live with these
just come of itself. We must do something to
feelings as a reality.
discover it.
The other feeling which is most important
With children it is easy to speak of a
in building a bridge to the angels in the spiritual
guardian angel. They still live at another level
world is thankfulness. Rudolf Steiner did not
of consciousness where they can experience
say that we must bring the children to say thank
the hierarchies. Recently he received a letter
you, but rather that as adults we must learn to
from a former kindergarten teacher who is now
feel grateful for life. We must feel thankful to
a mother of three young children. The oldest
live in this world, to have this work, to have our
one was 4 or 5, the second child was 3 and the
destiny, even the difficult parts. Life brings pain
baby, Frieder, was 8 months old. One morning
and things not easy to endure. But when you
the eldest child came into the mothers bed and
love your task of educating children, your work
said that during the night he had seen a most
will be full of thanksgiving. It is necessary that
wonderful angel. Oh, youve seen your angel,
out of this thankfulness we come to love truth
said the mother. No, not my angel. I was in the
and be as true as we can be. This is one of the
arms of my angel. It was your angel I saw. The
most important things for the teacher. Real truth
child was silent, then paused and said, There
is in the spiritual world, and the striving towards
we are all of the same height, you and I and little
truth is a striving towards the spiritual world.
Frieder. The mother dared not answer. Children
have such experiences, but often they cannot There is another way we help children to
find those with ears to listen. This mother could keep their contact with the spiritual world and
listen. that is to bring them rightly into the world of
sleep at night. We draw near to the archangels
When the adult is striving to find spiritual
at night, but it is the content of our speech that
contact, this forms a bridge for children. It
brings us into contact with the archangels. The
helps them to preserve their own contact with
little children cannot do this by themselves.
the spiritual world. The light of God the Father
The verse or prayer that we say with them or
comes through the angel to the child. This
for them at night helps lead the child to the
nearest hierarchy is a bridge that allows us to go
archangels.
deeper and deeper into higher worlds.
As adults we can do a review of the day
Both we and the children have other close
before going to sleep. As we look back over the
ties with beings in the spiritual world, that is
day, or even over longer periods of time, we
with those who have recently died. It may be a
begin to discover the guidance which took place
grandparent or a friend. This is not always sad,
in our lives. Every day we can consider: What
and we must not look melancholic when we
did I do? Could I feel a guiding force?
speak of death. Death can be celebrated. We can

51
The Young Child and the Spiritual World

Rudolf Steiner has said that in these bound to the things which surround him. As
modern times since the beginning of the age maturity comes, thinking changes as does the
of the consciousness soul in the 15th century, sequence of thinking, feeling and doing. As
it is necessary not only to look back with our adults we normally think first, then feel and then
angel but to look forward, to prepare the next do. Sometimes we are like children and act first
stage. For example, if tomorrow we have an and then think, What have I done?
appointment at noon with a mother about a
We are faced with the tasks of this
difficulty with the child, then we look ahead to
generation, for we must be contemporary. We
this appointment on the night before with our
are part of this time period. In this way, as we
angel. We do not then think, What did my
perform deeds, we have contact with the spirit
angel tell me; what ideas did my angel give me?
of our time, the archai. When we speak, we
It is not for this that we think ahead with our
have contact with the spirit of the people of
angel, but to carry this mood into our meeting,
a community, with the archangels who work
the mood of living together with our angel at
with communities of people. When we think,
night. We must still struggle and think on our
we come into contact with our own angel. We
own, but if we live in this mood, we will find
also come into community with the whole of
the right way. We can bring through the night
mankind. We bring thoughts into the whole of
into the day, the mood that always, the angels
language.
are with us. With this picture before us then,
suddenly the frog is aware that there is heat and Thus through thought we make contact with
he must jump. There is a spiritual reality in our our angel.
thoughts, and we can bring this spiritual reality
Through speech we make contact with the
into our deeds.
archangels.
The greatest mysteries of how we interact
Through activity we make contact with the
with the angels, the archangels and the archai,
archai, the spirits of our time.
arise in relationship with how we walk, talk and
think. When we walk we use muscles; we move, Rudolf Steiner once described the task of
we incarnate into the carne, the flesh. Our karma anthroposophy as that of bringing together
enters into our body. The child experiences this communities that they may work to be a chalice
in the first year of life as he begins to move and for the higher beings of the spiritual world. In
to walk. Switzerland, when the first Waldorf school was
three years old, Rudolf Steiner said that people
To speak is to engage in a finer movement.
didnt understand what was meant by the free
This is the beginning of the whole life of art.
spiritual life. Every one thinks it means each
How are the words producedout of love?
rooster stands on his own dung heap and calls
out of anger? In speaking, spiritual content or
cock-a-doodle-do. That is not free spiritual life.
concepts are in our words. The spiritual world,
In a school there are teachers who work together
the world of beings, of concepts, does not come
through the college. Perhaps one teacher
out of our headsthe world which surrounds
has a more pronounced part, another a less
us is the spiritual world as well as the world of
pronounced part. But they are working together
matter.
for the spirit of the school. They work together
When thinking we open ourselves to the to bring this spirit to work in the world through
spiritual world. For the child, thinking is first the deeds of the everyday life of the school.

52
Helmut von Kgelgen Connection to the World of the Angels

To understand a school, a gathering of hierarchies, with our own angel behind us, with
teachers, we should consider the picture of the archangels forming a chalice of courage, and
Pentecost, the gathering of souls so connected with the archai bringing a drop of light into that
to the Christ and His Resurrection. This was a chalice. In this way we too can work individually
community fulfilled in a higher being. That is with the third hierarchy. Every evening before
the task of anthroposophists. doing our own meditation we can think: The
angels, archangels and archai will help me to do
In the beginning of this talk, man was
the work I must do. In the morning after our
likened to the frog, not a very nice image. But
meditation, we can think again, The beings of
we need to see that we are surrounded by the
the third hierarchy will help me. In this way we
spiritual world, not just at the moment when
form the contact with angels, archangels and
the angel speaks and opens the door, but in
archai. That is the answer which Rudolf Steiner
ail the gradual ways in which we experience
gave to the theme of this conference.
the spiritual world. When we think, when we
feel, when we do, then we are experiencing the
DISCUSSION
spiritual world and its beings. In all that we call
self-education, we experience sensitive steps In the discussion time, Dr. von Kgelgen
toward the beings of the third hierarchy. gave us a picture of his own background with
Waldorf education. He started as a Waldorf
In his lecture Awakening to Community
teacher in 1946 and took four classes through as
on December 13, 1923, Rudolf Steiner described
a class teacher. In 1969 the first Waldorf School
the path of anthroposophy. For the adult it
was 50 years old and a new era was beginning in
begins with thinking, with cognition, with what
which the young child was under serious attack
the head can grasp. Then art is called forward
through early academics. Together with 24
to enliven the thoughts and concepts. It ends
kindergartens, he helped found the International
with a religious deepening, with a warmth that
Waldorf Kindergarten Association. In the early
reassures the heart. Thus it begins with what the
1970s, the kindergartens joined together in
head can grasp, takes on all the life and color of
Germany to fight against early academics. In
the artistic experience, and ends in a warmth
1975 he graduated his last class and took up the
that suffuses and reassures the heart so that
task of working on behalf of the young child.
man can feel that the spirit is his true home.
He helped found the kindergarten seminar
The present world rejects this approach and as
in Stuttgart and already in 1971 traveled to
a result anthroposophy has its enemies, Rudolf
the United States. In 1975 he came again to
Steiner said.
support the opening of the kindergarten training
Now we arrive again at the beginning of this program at the Waldorf Institute.
talk and the Study of Man. Rudolf Steiner spoke
When did Rudolf Steiner give the Teachers
of the need for contacts with spiritual powers on
Imagination? What is its background? In 1919
whose behalf and at whose mandate each one
Rudolf Steiner gave the Study of Man course. He
of us works. He gave the Teachers Imagination,
gave thanks to the spirits who gave Emil Molt
the meditation which connects the college of
the idea of founding the first Waldorf School.
teachers with the angels, the archangels, and the
(Molt was the director of the Waldorf Astoria
archai.
cigarette factory when Rudolf Steiner was asked
Rudolf Steiner said to the teachers, do to speak there about the threefold social order.
not forget how we work together with the

53
The Young Child and the Spiritual World

When the workers became interested in Steiners it? Yes, there are evil beings who try to guide
ideas about education, Molt helped finance a mankind. On the one side we have Ahriman, the
school for the children of the workers.) In his cold force of hardening. On the other side we
last words Herbert Hahn, one of the original have Lucifer, full of fire and light, intoxicating
Waldorf teachers who had already given lectures and ecstatic. It is like the cross of Golgotha
to the factory workers, repeated: Dont forget between the other two crosses. We need to learn
that Waldorf education comes from the threefold to make the distinctions between them, for there
social movement. Out of this movement Emil exists the possibility of error and temptation. We
Molt had the idea, we must have a Waldorf must learn in freedom to make distinctions. We
school. Already in 1907 in The Education of the have the burden of freedom and we must learn
Child, Rudolf Steiner planted the seeds for such to distinguish.
an education when he said that when spiritual
Does our nightly meditation as teachers
science is asked, it will be possible to give a full
help the children into the arms of their angels?
school education. He waited to be asked, and
Yes, and even if you think of persons who have
Molt asked him.
died you are helping to build the contact to the
Is the Archangel Michael a spirit of time? spiritual world. We can ask that our love may be
Yes. He has been an archangel and he is now united with the love of Christ; or we may help
ascending to the realm of the archai, the spirits a person who has died to give aid in bringing
of time. His old name was Archangel Michael. a child in sleep into the arms of its angel. On
Now it is better to speak of Michael, for he is no the next day the children may come to you in
longer an archangel. another mood as if you were together in the
night.
How do spiritual beings guide us? They
whisper inwardly. We need to have a receptive Are there children who cannot find their
inner mood and be prepared to hear them. Then angels? Rudolf Steiner said that children are in
we have ideas and inspirations. We see a child the arms of their angels until the child begins
playing in a corner. Suddenly he bounds up and to think in a materialistic way. When the child
goes elsewhere. Where did his new idea come is young, the angel is more active in finding the
from? We experience that we sit and think about child. As we grow older, the angel recedes in
a child with a difficulty. How to help him? An order to leave the person free. If the person does
idea comes. Ideas are not simply the perspiration not try to make contact, the angel withdraws
of our brain, something our brain excretes. more and more. This is the dark side of freedom.
Thoughts are in the world and we have the
What is the spirit of the community? In
mental ability to be aware of them.
the Teachers Imagination we speak of the circle
There are many concepts such as what is of the archangels forming a chalice. This is a
beautiful and what is ugly. We learn by looking verse worked with by colleges of teachers and
at the world, by seeing what lies behind and in a college the members come out of different
within the things of the world. We need to communities; they have different languages or
cultivate fantasy in the young child, for it sheds come from different social communities, yet
light on all. they are striving to work with the spirit of the
school. We can speak of the spirit of a class, or
How do we know who is guiding us? Might
of a school, or of a conference such as this one,
it be a harmful being? How can we recognize
and this spirit comes about as we work together.

54
Helmut von Kgelgen Connection to the World of the Angels

Then we arouse the interest of the spiritual world Why do we suffer so often from physical
and they say, There is good work. Let us go and illnesses in our striving upwards? Consider the
help there. plant. As it grows up towards the light, its upper
leaves are the thinnest and most delicate while
How much can we say to children about
its lower leaves, nearest the earth, are the largest
spiritual beings? This is a question of tact. We
and most solid. Likewise, as we grow upwards
can speak out of our inner conviction and tell,
towards the sun and the spirit, our physical body
for example, a birthday story. But it must be real.
may grow weaker. It is important to have the
We must know about the spiritual world and the
right relationship with the spirit and with our
angels who dwell there. We mustnt talk about it
own karma. Gratitude is an important quality
because were supposed to.
in this relationship to joy and delight. We have
In relationship to the last question, what to develop gratitude because we never merit
about our speaking of elemental beings? They joy and delight; they are always the grace of the
too are real and we must find our relationship to gods. But when pain and suffering come, we will
them. Our thoughts are also little beings which know that this belongs to our karma; we merit
live in the nature processes. This is a very large it. Pain and suffering will help us to progress.
question, however, and cannot be dealt with We must not flow away into the spiritual world
adequately now. in a Luciferic way. We must find the middle way,
standing on the earth while striving upward and
Bronja Zahlingen spoke of finding Marjorie
with thankfulness for the grace of joy and delight.
Spocks book Fairy Worlds and Workers very
useful for those wishing to understand the Johanna-Veronika Picht added to this
elemental beings more fully. that we must also sort out the essential from
the nonessential. We must not get burned
You spoke of looking forward in a
out, especially by doing things which are
meditative sense. How do I do this? One
nonessential. Decide where to spend your
aspect of this question is very practical. We
strength and your thoughts.
get up in the morning, eat our breakfast,
enter our kindergarten and prepare for the What about thinking about children
day. We can also think ahead for the next day before we go to sleep? Freya Jaffke spoke to
by communicating in the evening with the this question and said each person must find
hierarchies and again in the morning. Then it his/her own way with this. The picturing of the
is possible for our angel to add new ideas, so children should not take too long, though one
that we can do the right thing in the moment, can then spend more time on a difficult child.
or do something other than we had prepared if For example, one can review a problematic
necessary. moment with the child, make it present within
one, picturing the gesture of the moment.
What if one is working alone and does not
How did the moment arise? What led up to it?
have colleagues or a college of teachers? You
What happened during the moment and what
are part of the whole kindergarten movement
came afterwards? Also find a good moment
so you are not alone in this work. It is important
that happened with the child. Make this picture
that we all feel we are working together for the
big before your minds eye. Thus two objective
pedagogy of the future. Then we can experience
pictures stand before you without any wishes.
the chalice referred to in the Teachers
Then you can feel a real connection to the child.
Imagination.

55
The Young Child and the Spiritual World

You may do this picturing several nights in a fighting the one aspect. But be careful not to
row. Maybe one picture will increase or decrease; neglect the good children. Look at all of the
or both may merge into equal strength. Then children, and occasionally dwell on one or two
daily work will grow easier, for you are not who do not have difficulties.

Continuing the Work of the Hierarchies


in the Age of the Etheric Christ
Werner Glas

When we look at a medieval book such as In the movie Short Circuit, a robot is struck
Parzival, we should not consider it a linear story, by lightning and is greatly changed. He displays
but rather a circular one with 16 segments. wonder and awe and imitates a butterfly flying
At the end we return to the beginning. Then across a meadow. A scientist decides the robot
perhaps the opening paragraph is quite different has become human. This mistaking machines for
than it seemed when we started. The same humans is symptomatic of our times and began
process is true of this conference. We can go with the robot in Star Wars. It is a sign that our
back to the beginning and start again and it will sense of ego is blunted. We cannot distinguish
seem different than it did five days ago. between that which is truly human and that
which is not. We must learn to find the human
We have seen great variety in our speakers
element so that we can better communicate with
and in their approaches to working with the
the parents, not only about problems, but also
young child. An imp might enter and say,
about their solutions. It is not enough to look for
Oh, see, we can do whatever we want in the
symptoms of materialism, we need to also look
kindergarten. Just see how differently these
for symptoms of hope.
teachers all do it! But their differences have
grown out of their meditative work, their work On March 15, 1906, in Berlin, Rudolf Steiner
with the Study of Man. Such inner work gives offered this distinction between individuality
one the right to be original and different. We and personality:
must sharpen our responsibility to work out
Today one easily exchanges the concept
of the central impulse of anthroposophy. We
of Individuality and Personality. The
need to work with a willingness to serve and
Individuality is the eternal, that which
protect the young child, to further his right
carries through from earth life to earth
to survive as a spiritual being. It is not easy to
life. Personality is that which the human
be born into the present time. Until 1879 we
being within one life brings towards all that
were only experiencing the preparatory stage of
forms him in development. If we wish to
materialism, its embryonic period. Now the real
study the Individuality, we must look to the
period of materialism is beginning and will be
very basis of the human soul; if we wish to
with us for two to three hundred years.
study the Personality, we must see how the
essential kernel of the human being comes

56
Werner Glas Continuing the Work of the Hierarchies

to expression. The kernel of being, the For the angel, the I of the human is what the
essential essence, is born into a people, into a physical body is for the individual. Our walking,
profession. talking and thinking are the lowest members of
the angels being. In the angel, all of the other
That all is decided by the inner beingthat
hierarchies are reflected. Through the angel they
is personalized by the inner being.
all work into our I. We seek ways to work more
When a human being is at a lower stage closely with the angels.
of development, one will notice little of
Werner gave an example of recently going on
his inner work. His mode of expression is
a whale watching expedition. This has become
taken from his folk. Those who are more
a very popular activity in America. During this
evolved will find a way of expression, and
summer 200,000 people went whale watching.
gestures, which come from their inner life.
There are fleets of boats which go out, and the
The more the inner life of the human being
guides know the whales individually. Seeing
can work on the outer, the more the human
these whales awakens a sympathy in one. It
being develops. One could say in this way
rings a bell in the unconscious realm of the
the Individuality comes to expression in the
soul, in a place where memories of Atlantis lie.
Personality.
For some people seeing the whales changed their
The one who has a distinct character through dream life in the following days and affected
gesture, through his physiognomy, even them in positive ways. To get in touch with
the way he works on the environment, is a these realms of ones own soul life can give new
marked Personality. Does this Personality possibilities for working with the angels.
element become lost at the point of death for
Rudolf Steiner spoke of the differences
subsequent development? No, that is not so.
between imagination and fantasy. They are not
Christianity knows quite exactly that this is
the same. At the end of Study of Man, he gives
not the case.
a three line verse which begins Imbue thyself
That which is understood as the resurrection with the power of fantasy. It does not say with
of the body is nothing other than the the power of imagination. The depth of that
maintenance of the Personality in all difference becomes apparent in the following
subsequent incarnations. That which has quotation taken from lecture 8, volume 3 of
been gained by the human being as a person, Anthroposophy as Cosmosophy. In the lecture
that personhood, is embodied in the entitled The Human Being in the World of the
Individuality, and for that reason is carried Hierarchies, given on October 22, 1921, he says:
on into following incarnations.
The human being has a singular, an
If we have made something of our body individual relationship to his Angel. That
which has its own special character, then relationship expresses itself in two ways. It
the forces which work to bring this about expresses itself in inner experience when the
will resurrect. As much as we have worked human being allows himself to go beyond
on ourselves, as much as we have made of himself, to go outside himself from within
ourselves, is not lost for us. [I]n ordinary life, however, as this is an
intimate matter, something Luciferic easily
Where is the unique kernel of our being
mixes into the process. Nevertheless, the
carried? It is carried in the realm of the angels.
human being can go beyond himself as a

57
The Young Child and the Spiritual World

soul experience and, to a certain extent, differentiates between play in the first seven
experience something objective in fantasy. years and between ages 7 and 14. The fruits
In many ways fantasy is very creative, but of the first play only appear in the twenties
individually creative, like language. And, when the ego is born deeply into the human
basically, the activity of fantasy is the basis being. The force that is applied in the childs
of language. play reappears in the 21st or 22nd year in man
as the intellect, now independently collecting
Just as people frequently experience only
its experience in life. (Understanding Young
something abstract in language, just as the
Children, page 70) The early effects of fantasy
genius of language, which is an Archangel,
and play appear again in the 30s when the
can not always spread his wings, so the
consciousness soul becomes active.
Luciferic weaving in fantasy obstructs the
perception and makes fantasy fantastic. In This transformation of play and fantasy
actuality an Angel slips through the life of forces comprise a remarkable set of concepts
the individual while he lives in fantasy. which at first seem very simple, but which in
actuality are not simple at all. We have to work
When an individual lives in fantasy, the
with these ideas. In 1819 Goethe wrote the
angels enter the life of the individual. The same
following in an article entitled Sight from a
force which shapes the brain in the first years
Subjective Point of View:
later enters the human being as fantasy. This is
really the working of the angels in human life. I have the gift that when I shut my eyes and
lower my head and think of a flower in the
When a child observes the world, he
center of my organ of seeing, the image does
becomes the world. This is the same process we
not remain in its first form for a moment;
experience between death and rebirth. In Leaves
rather does the form fall apart. From its
of Grass, Walt Whitman speaks of the child
innermost aspect new flowers develop, also
going forth every day, and everything which the
with green leaves. These are not natural
child beholds becomes part of him.
flowers but fantasy flowerslike the forms
There was a child went forth everyday of rosettes created by a sculptor. It was
And the first object he lookd upon, that impossible to fix the fountain-like creation in
object he became; a static position. The process lasted as long
And that object became part of him for the as I wanted it to last. It did not fade nor did it
day or a certain part of the day, intensify.
Or for many years or stretching cycles of
Christopher Frye offers a similar picture
years.
in The Ladys Not for Burning when he
This is the same process as the merging of refers to seeds and says, I hold in my hand a
spirits in the spiritual world. We do not meet generation of roses. The seed is the involution,
a spiritual being; we become the spiritual being, the future flower the evolution; one is the
we merge with it. We then carry this capacity contraction, the other is the expansion. Here
for merging into our incarnation on earth and we have karmic situation and karmic response.
experience it during early childhood. But not everything in life is the result of karmic
necessity. Rudolf Steiner says, Create out of the
During the Basel course on May 10, 1920,
nothing. This pertains to the power of fantasy,
Rudolf Steiner made reference to play. He
this pertains to the shaping of the future.

58
Werner Glas Continuing the Work of the Hierarchies

The model for our physical body was begun Inasmuch as we stimulate the forces of fantasy
on Ancient Saturn, but it must also be reworked. in the young child, later, when the consciousness
Added to it has been the model of the etheric soul develops, this step becomes possible. Rudolf
body of the Christ. Rudolf Steiner said that Steiner has said that joy in the first seven years is
between the 12th and 15th centuries, the model the basis for the consciousness soul. The forces
of the astral body of Jesus also became available of fantasy can transform one and enable one to
for a number of incarnating human souls such as overcome egotism.
Francis of Assisi.
When Rudolf Steiner gave the Teachers
Now there is a renewal of all that which Imagination, he gave the image of the chalice
carries the I. Christianity has reached the of courage. It is Michael who brings to us
point where it can go from the ordinary I, the the courage which we need to overcome the
walking, talking, thinking I, to the Pauline I, materialism of the age.
where we can say, Not I but the Christ in me.

The Religion of the Young Child


Elisabeth Moore-Haas
From the North American Kindergarten Conference, August 1989

Elisabeth said she asked some American On another occasion a boy brought an apple
early childhood students what earliest memories for his snack, but did not eat it. Instead he was
they had of childhood. One student reported spinning it slowly around staring at it. At last she
having seen a dog lying dead under an outside asked him, Will you eat your apple now? He
staircase. The boy was not supposed to see it, but looked anxiously at her and said, I cant. It has
he went out and saw the dog. Later the dog was vitamins inside it.
gone. The child crept under the staircase, then
In these examples, the first child lived in
lay down and imitated the dog in death. He felt,
the religion of the young child, but not the
Oh, this is good. He was about three years old.
other two. It was the first who lived deeply into
It felt natural to him to experience the gesture of
imitation, into the being of another.
the dog.
When speaking about the incarnating ego of
Another example was also given of children
the child, Rudolf Steiner described the process in
living in imitation. At one time in Switzerland,
this way:
there were many Italian construction workers.
Some of the children in her kindergarten would Out of the spiritual worldson spiritual
imitate them in play. A new child entered wings, as it werethere comes mans ego.
the kindergarten and after a time came to Observing first the child in the early years
Elisabeth in tears: I cant play with them! I dont of his lifehow he develops, how step by
understand what they are saying. They speak step from inner depths the physiognomy
Italian. emergesto the surface of the body, how
the child acquires more and more control

59
The Young Child and the Spiritual World

over his organismwe see in this process chosen or an inner commitment. The moment
essentially the incorporation of the ego. you expect the child to do something for you,
The organizing principle in the physical however, he may rebel and misbehave. From this
body emerges with the change of teeth, we can learn how to meet the childs true needs.
becomes emancipated at this time, and in the There should be no expectations in regard to
main constitutes the intelligence. (Balance in young children. An example: A teacher prepared
Teaching, Sept. 22, 1920, or Understanding a festival and did everything very well, but the
Young Children, page 51) children acted up and did not behave the way
she wanted them to, because they felt pressed
We hear a lot about the dreamy child.
by her expectations. What is needed is a non-
What does this mean? It is not that the
intentional approach towards the child.
child is daydreaming. Rather it is a state of
consciousness such as grown-ups have when This is true for working with our colleagues,
they are dreaming during sleep. The childs too, for example, regarding how they paint with
astral forces and ego are expanded. The ego is their children or whether or not they use plant
observing the child. It is not yet incarnated or dyes. It is best not to have such expectations.
incorporated into the body. In this sense give up on the other. Let them
be. Then one can work freely with the other.
When the very young child draws, he is
We need to be in a state of sympathy with the
sometimes amazed to see lines on the paper.
children or with our colleagues. Then we can
He doesnt connect his movement with what is
create something in the social realm. There is
appearing on the paper. Only gradually does the
never only one way. There are as many ways as
child connect his actions with the outcomes. A
there are kindergarten teachers! We cant copy
very young baby looks at us but looks above us.
one another. We can digest what we see and hear
It does not make eye contact with us at first. The
and then come to our own way, which may turn
infant gives itself up to the atmosphere around
out quite similar, but we have worked it through
it. We experience this, for example, in the lovely
ourselves. Rudolf Steiner visited a school with
special aroma of a young baby. If we dont rush
parallel classes where the two teachers did things
the baby down to earth, then it can live in this
very differently. Thats how it should be, he said.
atmosphere and gradually enter the more earthly
Each one must do it differently.
realm.
To decide what is right, you have to look at
Then comes a stage around age three when
your particular situation. With young children
the child says, No, I dont want to. She has
you cannot try many different ways to do
discovered something new, the possibility for
something. Out of intuition you must choose
antipathy. In general the child until age 7 lives
one that you think will fit this situation. For
in the forces of sympathy and is at one with the
example, there was a kindergarten in Switzerland
world. But at times antipathy enters, though in
where all the children arrived by school bus at
a non-moral way, for it is a standing back, a way
the same time. On the bus were older children,
of looking at the world around onesimilar
and when the kindergarten children entered
to what happens later in life in reflecting or
their kindergarten room they were unable to
thinking.
play or imitate at first. They were too agitated.
True motivation arises out of sympathy. For The teacher therefore decided to begin each day
a grown-up person, it may be a duty we have with a little table play. The children would enter

60
Elisabeth Moore-Haas The Religion of the Young Child

a darkened room, a candle was lit and the little The word religion comes from the Latin
play was performed. This worked for this class. It religio, which means to reconnect. Rudolf
takes a true intuition to find the right solution to Steiner says the religious mood of the young
such a problem. Not just anything will do. child is meant in a bodily, physical way, unlike
the religious experience of an adult. All that
For the child, being able to play requires
lives in the childs environment influences the
being in a state of sympathy. As adults we stand
childs circulation, breathing, etc. The child
back from a beautiful sight and admire it. But
is at one with the world, giving itself over to
the child has to enter right in and touch the
its environment, and that is the religion of
thing. Elisabeth remembers as a third grader
the child. Therefore, we need to prepare the
going to the mountains with her parents. They
environment so that the children are able to
raved about the far-off snowy peaks, but she
give themselves up to it. All that we think or feel
was only interested in seeing the flowers, the
or do affects the child. If all of this is done in a
bees and the stones, the things nearby which
healthy way, then the young child does not need
she could embrace. She didnt even see the
religion per se. The child is already there in
mountains. In adults, however, if this force
religion.
of sympathy becomes too great, it can be a
problem. A best selling book, Women Who Love But, of course, the child becomes more
Too Much, describes one aspect of this problem. distant from the environment, and rhythm
becomes necessary to enable the child to live
Being in sympathy means being able to take
into the environment. Where theres life, there is
in everything that is moving, that has a gesture.
rhythm. Rhythm serves as a bridge between the
This is the realm where imitation lives. It matters
heavenly and the physical. For the child, rhythm
what living images are rendered to the children.
in life can lead him towards the healthy dream
When we do a harvest circle with the children,
consciousness, which expresses itself often in
for example, we try to show the child what the
liveliness (not hyperactivity), in creative play
farmer actually does. Is this really what the child
rather than in a dull brooding.
needs? Is this not a hidden teaching, especially
if you go out and look at the farmers doing it What about the mood of the fifth? It is
and try to duplicate their gestures. This is a different from what is called pentatonic music.
materialistic approach to education. We should Some people mistakenly think it is a spaced
look instead to the inner gesture of the activity. out music. Rudolf Steiner describes it very
What really lives in the process? For example, clearly. It is a type of music which helps a child
in milling there is the archetypal gesture of two to incarnate gently. With such music, as well as
surfaces grinding against each other, which inner gestures, a healthy environment, and a
we can show by the palms moving round and sound rhythm, we create an oasis for children
round each other in a mill-like gesture without where they feel at home and which will help
touching. There is a similarity to the eurythmy them love to incarnate. Such an experience
gesture for M, for that is the inner essence serves as a healthy, homeopathic dose to balance
of the gesture. In this way we do not make the some of the awakening influences of our time.
gestures too physical such as would occur if we Doing curative eurythmy for only three minutes
would show a turning handle of a hand mill. The a day can bring about healing in an adult. Then
child lives in the inner gesture. We dont want to imagine what strengthening and healing can
force the childs ego in. We would like to create occur in a healthy kindergarten day of four
the right conditions for it to incorporate itself. hours.

61
The Young Child and the Spiritual World

Rudolf Steiner also said that children should united with the spiritual world, being at one.
enjoy life and take pleasure in it. This is not the After eating the apple, we humans entered a
time to be ascetic. If as a young child, a person much more materialistic state of consciousness.
has nothing which belongs to him, not even love, We could no longer see the human being veiled
how can he be a giving person in adulthood? in the colors of the astral body. But the child still
There is a natural egotism in childhood which is feels at home with clothes which are a picture of
appropriate. the spiritual, rather than pants or jeans which
point to the physical, namely to the form of the
When we intellectualize and give
skeleton. There are teachers who may wear jeans
explanations, we are cutting off the childs
or pants out on the street and then change to
religion. Then the child is awakened earlier
more appropriate clothes for the early childhood
and perhaps afraid, such as the little boy with
surroundings. We need to dress in such a way
the apple who could not eat it because he was
that the child feels comfortable and at home
thinking of the vitamins it contained (for him
with our clothing.
probably a kind of ghost). The situation of the
little boy who could not play with his classmates We affect the children in so many ways. Our
for he thought they were speaking Italian is morality and our thoughts permeate even the
similar. The child could not dive in. childs sheaths. Rudolf Steiner said that children
could behave like little demons. How to drive
As teachers we must be careful that we
these demons out? By behaving in an appropriate
do not use the children as a substitute for
way in the childs environment. Steiner said
something we are missing, and we should not
that we should make the same impression on
want their love. We should be happiest when the
the child as his own arm makes. We should
children are completely absorbed in their play.
be like an extension of his own body. Then we
Then they are deeply content.
are not imposing ourselves on him or forcing
In imitation, the child takes in the quality of something. Education throughout life is self-
everything we do. She absorbs our ambitions, education. (Rudolf Steiner)
our intentions, our quiet enthusiasm. Rudolf
In a lecture on the self-education of the
Steiner says we should be actively thinking
human being in the light of spiritual science
when we are with childrenthis allows children
given in Berlin on March 14, 1912 (not
to be in a dream consciousness. It is not we who
translated into English), Rudolf Steiner said the
are to be dreaming; we are to be active in our
following:
thinking. The more we as grown-ups achieve
wakeful consciousness, the more the children If we speak of an extended self in each
can have a dream consciousness. of us through which we can enter into
other individualities (in sympathy or in
All of this calls for a certain selflessness
sharing joy, for example), then, with the
on the part of the adult. In addition to an
developing child we can also begin to speak
appropriate atmosphere in the early childhood
of something else which is present beyond
room and in our carrying of ourselves, the
that which we usually consider as educators
religion of the young child can also be
and which develops out of the ordinary
helped by the clothing we wear. The image that
consciousness, namely the presence of a
mankind was once in paradise is equal to the
higher being which is present outside the
religion of the young child. It means being
childs usual self and which is already at work

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Elisabeth Moore-Haas The Religion of the Young Child

on the child. Where can we find that which a more personal principle than the playful
is already actively working on the child as a tapping around with the living, moving
higher self, as a higher entity which belongs element which is not grasped conceptually
to the child but does not enter the childs but is simply observed in its full activity. The
consciousness? It may seem peculiar but it is less thought-through and predetermined
nevertheless correct that the entity is active this, which a game or toy reveals, is, the
in the child during rational well-guided play. better; because it then becomes possible for
something higher, which cannot be forced
We can only create an environment which
into human consciousness, to enter, because
facilitates the play of the child. What is
the child is exploring and is not relating to
actually achieved through play, is essentially
life in a rational, intellectual way. And then
accomplished through the self-initiated
we can see how the child is already being
activity of the child, through everything
educated by something that transcends the
which cannot be regulated by us through
personal.
strict rules. Indeed, this is the essential
aspect, the educational aspect of play, that we The higher self of the child can come in if
cease with our rules, with our pedagogical we can provide the appropriate environment.
artistry and educational techniques, and give This is education towards freedom. Then within
the child over to his own forces. For what the morning we can offer a little ritual in a
does the child do when we give him over homeopathic dose such as a verse of Rudolf
to his own forces? The child then explores, Steiners. These special moments might create
by playing with physical objects, whether an atmosphere into which the hierarchies may
this or that works through his own activity. waken.
He brings his own will into activity, into
movement. And through the manner in QUESTIONS
which these physical objects behave under
the influence of his will, it comes about Could you say more about religion in our time
that the child educates himself through and in the future? Also, is it still appropriate
life itself, even if this takes place playfully to do a shepherds play with the children? Is
in a completely different manner than it right to have the Sistine Madonna in the
through the influence of a personality or a kindergarten?
pedagogical principle.
Sometimes we find ourselves doing things
It is therefore of the greatest importance that in the kindergarten which seem very religious,
we interfere as little as possible in the play and we must realize that we are doing these
of the child. Thus if we give the child a toy things for ourselves, as adults. We are reminding
with which he can, through pulling strings ourselves of the background of the festivals and
or in some other way, receive the illusion of their religious content. At such times we are
the movements of the human beings or of not doing things with the childrens needs in
objects, whether through a movable picture mind. Between the ages of 7 and 14 children live
book or some other toy, we educate the child in the world of feeling and religion is more
better through such play than if we were to appropriate to them. But the first seven years are
give him building blocks. Too much rational a time of doing. Sometimes our kindergartens
activity is intermingled, and this belongs to appear overly Christian in a sectarian way. We

63
The Young Child and the Spiritual World

also must consider what lives in the culture childhood whenever we can, the verse works in a
where the school is located. different realm. We should look cheerfully at the
children while saying the verse. Our eyes should
Rudolf Steiner has said that in the future
not be closed in a mood of inwardness. That
we will be connected to the spiritual world,
is not appropriate with young children. If one
but, unlike the child, we will be connected
finds that the snack verse becomes too routine
consciously. Then we will not feel the need for
for the children, one may occasionally speak a
re-ligio, for reconnecting, for we will already
verse by Rudolf Steiner which is generally more
be connected. We havent reached this stage
appropriate for adults.
yet, however. Young people are sensitive to the
exclusive aspect of religion and wish to open to In preparing for a festival, study a festival
all. Rudolf Steiner has said that each religion is lecture very carefully. When you are carrying
an aspect of the whole. When we study religion the festival inwardly, you do not have to do
more deeply, we can see that true Christianity so much outwardly with the children. For
is not restricted to one place or one people, and example, at Michaelmas time, Elisabeth liked
it is, in its essence, a non-denominational and to do a modest marionette play of St. George
all-inclusive religion. The Christ being is of a and the dragon which included Michael. For
cosmic, universal nature. When we have this in her, Michaelmas was a more inwardly rich
mind we can say that Christianity has a central festival than Christmas. It is our inner work that
place in Waldorf education, but not in a narrow prepares this. If it lives in the teacher, the festival
sectarian sense. may become more elaborate. It wont hurt the
children as long as you dont explain.
We dont yet have true freedom of religion,
though younger people are straining towards
Could you say more about active thinking?
this.
Learn to observe how imitation works, how
Regarding the Sistine Madonna, we must
it lives in the quality of movement. When the
realize that we do not hang this painting in the
teacher acts, the child takes in the quality, the
kindergarten for religious reasons. We should
morality of how the person moves. It does not
study what Rudolf Steiner has said about
necessarily happen that the children do the same
Raphael and about this painting. We need to
thing that the teacher does, but rather that the
understand what it says about incarnation, about
the soul carrying the spirit into incarnation. It quality of the teachers activity is brought by
the children into what they do. The quality of
is important, however, that we treat the painting
our thinking, striving towards the spiritual will
with modesty. It should not give the impression
express itself in the finest ways of our demeanor.
of an altar or a shrine. It does not need to be
draped with cloth. Its presence should not be For the adult, being Michaelic means being
exaggerated, and it should not carry a quality of conscious, being awake. But for the young child,
sentimentality. This would be as inappropriate awakeness is not appropriate. For children to
as saying a verse sentimentally with young grow properly into awakeness, they must first
children. sleep properly. But children benefit from our
awakeness. Rudolf Steiner has said that if we
When we say a verse or a prayer with the
work towards the Knowledge of Higher Worlds,
children, we might not use gestures. As much as
for instance, that is life force for the children.
we otherwise try to include movement in early

64
Elisabeth Moore-Haas The Religion of the Young Child

The childs etheric realm is attacked by the do not need to say, This little dwarf needs to go
media. Since Waldorf education keeps children to bed now at cleanup time. We hand the child
soft, they are more damaged by the media a log to put away, but dont watch to be sure that
than children who are not in Waldorf schools. he does it, for that would be too intentional.
We take on a heavy karma if we dont get our
The word cleanup is taboo. It is so abused
courage up to take a stand about TV. But we
at home that it has a bad connotation for the
must do this not out of dogmatism; we have to
children.
do our homework and study about the effects of
TV on children. There are many books on this
Could you say more about the mood of the
subject by non-anthroposophic authors, which
fifth?
we ought to study in order to include scientific
research and speak the language of our time. There is more music in the mood of the
fifth becoming available. A Swiss woman, Helga
Is discipline too awakening? Oberlnder, has helped to create four seasonal
books of mood of the fifth songs. Young children
It all depends upon how it is done. We
do not need the personal, more inward soul
must act on the childs behalf. When they are
mood of minor or major music. Mood of the
acting up they are not always tuning their
fifth music strives to live in the middle, not
instruments (the physical body) in a healthy
going strongly towards major or minor. It does
way. Children are often already damaged and
not just go up and down the pentatonic scale. It
they need healing. We accomplish this, however,
always dissolves into the fifth.
through deeds rather than through words. We

How Can We Work with the Karma of the Young Child?


Margret Meyerkort
Revised for the second edition by Margret Meyerkort

The title of this mornings lecture is in the 1. To remind ourselves of what karma is.
form of a question. The subject is new to me and
2. To look at the karma of becoming an earthly
so I can only be tentative.
human being.
I understand that it was Steiners innermost
3. To look at the karma of being modern.
intention to awaken contemporary people to a
Western and modern point of view of karma. 4. To look at personal karma.
Therefore it is my intention, indeed my hopein
What is karma? Karma is the realization of
spite of the mood of questioningto further our
my prenatal resolutions made in the presence
own interest in the mystery of karma, or much
and with the help of creator beings. These
more, the majesty of karma. I propose to go in
resolutions shape my outer appearance, my
four steps:
color, my movements, the language which I
speak, the people I meet, my profession, my race,
my country, etc.

65
The Young Child and the Spiritual World

Here is a story from life. Jack had a student After our birth we are formed and
friend Ann. Jack knew Anns older sister Jill. She transformed from two sides. One is that
lived by herself and preferred the company of karmic forces work out of the cosmos into
people who were in their forties. Jack had seen human existence as such and into our uniquely
her once or twice at a students gathering. Then individual incarnation. Equally, we are formed
came a New Years Eve Party and Jack asked Jill by the empathetic effects which parents and
if she would go with him. She was undecided teachers have on us and the empathetic effects
because she had agreed to go out with Peter. the whole physical surroundings have on us.
Then Peter rang and was lukewarm about going
Here is another story: After World War
out at all this evening. Okay, Peter, dont bother
II, a young Hungarian woman escaped to the
to fetch me, said Jill and went out with Jack. The
West. She married and had a little boy. Three
party was boring and together with some friends
years later the young mother died of cancer. The
they went to another party. This one spilled over
father was desperate with grief. Why? How
the large apartment. In the course of the evening
can I go on? What for? John was four years old
Jack passed through a dark corridor and there
when father and son traveled by car through the
on a sofa lay Jill. He sat down by her. Later on
country.
they kissed. After an hour he took Jill to her bus
and he walked home. He wondered what this Look, Daddy, Whats that?
experienced woman had felt, what was in store
Thats a pine tree.
for him next time they met. But she realized
that her life had taken a decisive turn and she Theres another pine tree.
would never like to be without him. A few years No, thats a beech tree.
later they married and Jill became a dependent
partner, who was reluctant to stand on her own Why, Daddy?
two feet. The wind has different names. In one
What do such stories show us? Jack and country the wind is called Maria, in another
Jill took steps independently of each other and Mistral. And so the trees have different names
with entirely different motivations. A number of oak tree, beech tree, pine tree.
other people were involved in the final outcome. Silence. And then John said, And John and
Peter was not keen to go out. The first party was Daddy and all people have one name.
boring. The second party provided the darkened
room. Jill felt tired. None of the participants And what is that?
had the slightest idea that they helped to shape Jesus.
the future of two people, not even the people
involved. Jack and Jill could say that karma What spoke through the child? Was it a
works gently, and yet sometimes there is an cosmic force which is common in all human
unbelievable push. Karma weaves without the beings to live, grow, and develop? Or did the
participants discernment. It is imperceptibly child, through the empathetic interweaving with
active and we have to cope in such a situation. his physical surroundings react in this way to the
I repeatthis is the reality of karmasuddenly fathers sorrow?
I am in an unforeseen situation and now I have My second point is that we all go through a
to cope. karmic process of a human incarnation where

66
Margret Meyerkort The Karma of the Young Child

cosmic and earthly forces interweave. We all, I all mankind is that when we incarnate, each
believe, are sensitive to our physical body. We time we breathe in The Signature of the Gods,
appreciate its beauty and sensitivity, its strength we listen to the Name of Man as it has been
and versatility. But many of us also agree that laid into our structure. The karmic potential is
in our age we experience an assault on this to develop and to make sound forth anew the
instrument of our physical existence. Name of Manthe bearer of freedom.
In his book, An Outline of Occult Science, To the teachers of the first Waldorf School,
Rudolf Steiner describes how during the Steiner said, It is your task to continue the work
incarnation of the Earth called Old Saturn, of the creator beings. With regard to our present
the physical body of the human being was laid consideration this means that it is the task of the
down. It was shaped in such a way that it could human community to see to it that the structural
be the vehicle for perceiving the Earth and system of which we spoke can be a faithful
for bearing the Ego. Later, in a lecture given image of the plan, of the love, and of the work of
in 1908, Steiner calls this structural system the divinities. Then, later on, the personal karma
with its bones, muscles and nerves, and this of the human being can enter this physical
physiological system with breath, blood, glands organization.
and metabolism The Name of Man.
Now, each time the human being incarnates,
Let us look at the Name of Man from the she does so into a time situation of her particular
point of view of the structural system. What was environment, into a specific age. So she finds
it that was laid into it? Functions like the lifting then and there a given situation. What is this
of the head, the lifting of the trunk, crawling, the today? Among many things we have today
upright position, walking. At first it is a struggle are trampolines and skating boards for young
to gain physical equilibrium, to acquire a free children and bouncers for babies. Do these
and freed orientation. Gradually the human gadgets allow the young child to find her
being learns to control his movements and attain equilibrium in space or do they disturb the
a balanced position between heaven and earth. postural system and thereby interfere with the
This struggle for the upright position in space is karma of the child?
at the same time the beginning of an endeavor
If they interfere we may ask ourselves, has
which lasts a lifetime.
the child the opportunity to develop a steady
It is of help to consider first the peculiar walk, a sturdy walk through mud, across brooks
relationship in the human being of his legs and pebbles, through snow, across ice? Do
and feet to that of his arms and hands. The feet we offer our little ones opportunities to refine
continue to serve the movement of the body in bodily movements by climbing, falling, jumping
space, while arms and hands are liberated from over puddles, crouching under fences? Do we
this function and are there to serve the inner life offer opportunities to refine arm movements,
of the human being. They afford the possibility hand movements and finger movements in
for the soul to find its equilibrium. Thus, we may sweeping and shoe polishing, in sewing and
say: What was laid into the upright position of tying a bow? These and many more fine motor
the human being was freedom. skill movements build the physical body for a
balanced position in spaceand in turn build
This is the karmic potential with which we
the foundation for the development of language.
are born. In other words what is common to

67
The Young Child and the Spiritual World

Let us take a brief look at the development child as I try and remove their obstacles. If
of language. Again, the creator beings have laid I make the needs of the parent and child my
a seed into the human beingthe possibility to own, the potential of communicating through
communicate through language, the possibility language gently unfold.
to speak. In this karma we share. More than that,
I have already touched upon one feature
for the actual acquisition of language we all need
of my third point. But the karma of being
the community of human speakers. This means
modern is much greater.
that if language is really to come about on earth,
we each require a social component. In this In as much as a soul incarnates into an age,
need of the child and this response of the adult, she tries to unite herself with the meaning of
human beings the world over share. the age, the spirit of that age, so that she may
live out of the forces of that particular Time
How does this look in our modern age? Do
Spirit. Thereby she may grow, serve, and develop
we encounter attacks in this realm too? What
her fellow human beings and the Earth. To
happens when babies are laid on their tummies
be modern poses then the following question:
and there is no communication between child
How can a soul within the ongoing stream of
and adult? What kind of language is it which
time intuit the intentions of creator beings, and
the child hears by way of technical devices? Is it
how can she, within the ongoing stream of time,
blunted? Is it dead? Surely, it is absolutely and
give shape and form to the intention of creator
totally impersonal.
beings?
How can we realize the potential of language,
The first part of the question is directed to
how can we continue this Signature of Creator
the world of the spirit and the second part of the
Beings? There are many ways. One is that we as
question is directed towards the physical world.
teachers must step up our work with the parents.
Steiner shows us that in 1879 mankind
Here is another story. Recently a therapist
entered a new age. It is the age which proceeds
working with a school told a parent and teacher,
under the guidance of the creator being Michael.
that, Tom should never have been admitted
As students of Steiners we may ask, why might
into this kindergarten because of his speech
a soul choose to incarnate into this century in
difficulties. Maybe! But another consideration
the western world? What might a soul wish
would have been, creator beings interweave
to develop, indeed need to develop in this
gently with our karma, and in as much as we are
Michaelic Age?
co-workers of creator beings does it not behoove
us to develop a sensitive (or respectful) manner Steiner tells us that one of the faculties which
of working? Can we not step up our work so each of us can acquire under the guidance of
that it helps us to recognize bothkarma as a Michael is self-reliance. It is to grow into an
fact and also the manner of karmic activity? In autonomous personality, a person who can take
other words, it is one thing to tell a parent that responsibility for her actions herself.
statistics have shown that the crop of todays
Our forefathers were dependent on what
speech difficulties is no longer hereditary but is
the church said, on the laws which the chieftain
due to human beings themselves who no longer
set, on the code of behavior which the family
speak to their offspring. But it is an entirely
or nation prescribed. In those times the human
different thing to interweave with this particular
being lived without any question within the
parent and to empathize with this particular

68
Margret Meyerkort The Karma of the Young Child

blood community: Uphold the name of the But to be a parent and teacher of the young
family, continue the profession of the father or child, in a Michaelic or Gabrielic or whatever
be an outcast. age, means to set boundaries for the child.
Boundaries give safety, security, assurance,
To some extent this was still so with the
confidenceall of which the young child needs
adults in Steiners time because they had
above all else.
incarnated before 1879, i.e., into a Gabrielic
Age. This meant that these people largely lived Yet, the quality of the boundary which we
by rules of behavior, and this in turn meant that set in this Michaelic Age has to be different from
they gave their own children an authoritarian the quality of the boundary set in a Gabrielic
education. I remember the stories my own Age. Today the setting of boundaries has to
parents, born in 1898 and 1903, i.e., into a come out of the individual consciousness of each
Michaelic Age, told us childrenstories of adult and no longer from tradition, not from the
enormous tensions in their homes, tensions guidelines of a particular group of people.
between themselves as children of a Michaelic
This is difficult. Is it not easier for us
Age and their parents, souls of a Gabrielic Age.
either to give Sam a free rein and let him be
Through these tensions a strengthening of the
his own master, or to sit on him? Instead, to
soul forces occurred. Of course, the opposite
be truly modern adults means that we learn
could also occur, a crushing of the personality,
to discriminate what our priorities are and so
and often it did occur.
decide for the children.
And how is this today? We are in the
Of course this is a challenge, in that I,
situation that the little ones we have in the
the teacher make blunder after blunder. But
kindergarten are the third or fourth generation
firstly I have Steiners insights to help me
of souls who were born in the Age of Michael.
and he repeatedly stresses the importance of a
Their parents and their grandparents already
rhythmical life, a rhythmical educationand
incarnated with this longing to grow self-
secondly, I sooner or later begin to feel that the
reliant. Is this why we adults since the middle
other side of this challenge of self-reliance is
of this century have become increasingly anti-
joythe joy of autonomy, the joy of carrying
authoritarian in our approach to children?
responsibility.
Maybe. What is definite for me is that a society
which is anti-authoritarian has sapped the One more word about the kind of boundary
childrens strength. the young child is looking for in this, his chosen
age of incarnation. It is that he needs boundaries
How is that possible? Ours is a permissive
which gradually widen, boundaries which can be
societyTake out of the icebox what you want,
supportive but not restrictive.
or in answer to Sallys Im not going to bed,
Okay, then.a society in which we adults So, what does it mean for the young child
constantly cave in when the child whimpers, I to live his karma of being modern? What does
want ballet lessons, or Im not going to paint. it mean to be a member of the Michaelic Age
This disallows the child to meet the realities of as a young child? It means in the first place to
existence; it disallows the child to relate to his find and develop courage and confidence in
surroundings. Instead, the child dissipates his himself. It means to find and develop confidence
forces. in people and human existence, to find and
develop courage for the future. Both are born

69
The Young Child and the Spiritual World

out of boundaries consciously set by parents the parents did not shape and form their lives
and teachers. If a child was shaped and formed consciously? The mother says, What, I am
in some such way by parents and teachers, then housebound? I never expected that.
in adulthood she is likely to have the strength
The father says, What, I have to be up in
and skillsphysical, social and moral strength
the night? I never expected that. And is the
and skillsto shape and form life on her own
following another form of immaturity of the
responsibility.
parent, when the child can never do anything
Before I come to the question of the personal right, when the parents always appear to be
karma of the young child, I want to turn to the dissatisfied? There seems to be a conflict, the
parent. Again a story: A young woman was in conflict of what the parents want the child to be
the fifth month of expecting her second child. and what the child in reality is. And what if this
This is a very different pregnancy. It is all fiery. goes further and the parent does not approve of
The other one was watery. And the little one was the childs destiny?
born on Midsummer Day.
A conversation might help, when I, a friend
This and other stories can convey to us of the family, try and lift the parent out of
that there is a relationship between mother experiencing a screaming child. I try and release
and child during pregnancy. Steiner describes the mother from experiencing defiance, and
the following: When the Ego is in the spirit- again defiance. I shall try to interest her in her
world and is face to face with creator beings, early experience: How did you feel when Richard
the Ego also decides who are to be the parents. smiled at you for the first time? Then I might try
Then the parents descend. Later the spirit- to go back to still earlier experiences: How did
child sees the parents and is reminded of the you come to the name of the child? What did
three-way decision and conception takes place. you experience during pregnancy, what thoughts
Steiner describesand modern psychology did you have? Gently, we try to recognize the
and embryology give concrete examples intimacy of the soul to soul in pregnancy. This
how during embryonic life the mother is in re-cognition aims at a kind of listening.
communication with the incarnating soul. She
I have come to the last point: The personal
perceives something of the child, e.g., the name:
karma. Two stories: Marie was four years old
Its going to be Robert. Steiner speaks of a
when she came into the kindergarten. From
spirit bonding which takes place. Still later, but
the first day she showed intense fear of the
before birth, the spirit-child has a preview of
very mention of lighting a candle. The teacher
his life and the mother shares in it. When I read
ascertained from the parents that the child had
the autobiography of Gerald Moore, the pianist
never experienced a fire and that she had always
and accompanist of all the great singers of his
been healthy. She had a noticeably milky-white
time, I wondered why his mother had given him
and velvety skin and showed a remarkable
a certain push into his career. Had there arisen
walk in that she neither dragged her feet upon
and lived in her a broad outline of the childs
the ground nor walked on her toes only. There
destiny?
seemed to be a certain balance between gravity
That the mother intuits the childs karma and levity in posture and movements. She was
can arouse positive or negative feelings in her. loved by children and adults and provided a
What if they are negative? Can it be that during focus in the room wherever she happened to be.
the years preceding the arrival of the child Both parents had not learned a second language

70
Margret Meyerkort The Karma of the Young Child

and not been outside England. But when this I suggest the two statements are compatible
first child was born they said, We want her to because I must not interfere with the will of
have a French name. And so the little one was the child, must not break his will, as so often
named Marie. happened in the last century. It behooves me
to recognize the karmic intentions of the child.
It took teachers with the help of the parents
Once I have recognized them, I can consciously
over four year to transform Maries crying and
work for karma. Then the teacher becomes a
running away at the sight of the smallest flame
person who removes obstacles, and who creates
into weeping, whimpering, turning her head,
opportunities so that the karmic intentions of
and, on into looking at the candle, smiling.
the child can come out to the fullest degree.
Today Marie is an actress. She chose a profession
which asks of the person to enflame other Let me summarize a few guidelines and
personalities, to kindle and enliven other lives. practices. I like to call them the disciplines of
those adults who are intent on helping the child
Rachel was four years old when she came
out of his past and into his future:
into the kindergarten. She was the third child
in her family and came from a sheltered home 1. That we be observant of bodily features
in the country. Her eyes were set wide apart. In
2. That we be observant of developmental
the kindergarten Rachel watched other children
features
play, or she built herself a house out of two play
stands and hung cloths over them, and then 3. That we be observant of psychological
walked away, again to watch other children in peculiarities
their activity. After about two weeks teacher and
4. We do well to study Steiners karma lectures
parent noticed Rachel move her eyes and head
in an unusual way. The family doctor diagnosed 5. We do well to become aware of human
petit mal. We agreed on a pedagogical therapy history, to gauge the state of a soul like
singing and music around and with the child, Maries. I often wondered whether this
and also interesting her in an indirect way in the excessive fear of fire was not a subconscious
house she had built during playtime. memory of her death in a former
incarnation.
By the time Rachel left school at the age of
18, she was an accomplished viola player who And so to conclude: In education parent
got into the Royal College of Music in London. and teacher are encouraged to make themselves
Today she is working as a music therapist. sensitive to karmic differences and to karmic
needs. Thereby we will be able to fulfill two
At this point I want to remind us of another
tasks:
suggestion of Steiners. In fact for me it is an
admonition, and that is: Do not interfere with 1. We open the way for the young child to
the will of the child. Why? Because in his will, become fully capable within the limits
in his unconscious, lies his karma and because in of her/his karma.
karma freedom must reign. 2. We endeavor to educate human beings
Is the formerly mentioned statement of who are capable of fulfilling the plan
Steiners, The teacher continues the work of the of creator beings, capable of answering the
creator beings, compatible with this statement, expectancy of Michael.
Do not interfere with the will of the child?

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The Young Child and the Spiritual World

The following are summaries of three lectures given at the


1991 International Waldorf Kindergarten Teachers conference in Dornach.

Working with the Angels, the Archangels, and the Archai


Dr. Helmut von Kgelgen

Dr. von Kgelgen spoke on the human beings angels, pouring their thoughts into mankind, or
relationship to the hierarchies at a conference in it can be the help of those human souls who are
Dornach. He referred to the study material for now in the spiritual world but wish to help us
the conference, a wonderful lecture about how and work with us.
the archai, archangels and angels interact with
The spiritual world is always there around
human beings through our walking, talking and
us, and we can work more consciously if we
thinking. The lecture is entitled The Waking of
note the transition as we move from the earthly
the Human Soul and the Forming of Destiny, and
world to the spiritual world and vice versa. Thus
was given by Rudolf Steiner in Prague on April
at night we can say as we enter sleep, Now I am
28, 1923.
entering the spiritual world, and in the morning
In the first three years of life, before the as we awaken, we can say, Now I am entering
child is so engrossed in material life, she has the earthly world.
a close relationship with the angels. At night, We can also connect with the angelic world
while asleep, the children meet their angels. during the moment before we walk into our
They dream of them or have other experiences classroom. There can be a moment of absolute
of them. As we grow up, the qualities of our silence before entering into our work. Our
childhood mature and develop in us and can hearts can quicken, and we can say a prayer. For
evolve as imagination, inspiration and intuition. a moment one can think of the angels, or of a
We too, can relate to the angels. It generally friend who is now in the spiritual world. Then
happens in our sleep, for it is such a remarkable one goes with a renewed strength into ones
experience that we might be filled with fear were work.
these contacts to happen in our waking life.
In working with the spiritual world, it is
Hence, in the Bible, when Gabriel visits Mary, he
important to work in a rhythm, and particularly
begins by saying Fear not
the rhythms of seven are a great help. For
In our waking state we can work in such a example, one can work with the rhythm of seven
way that our relationship to the spiritual world days or seven years or even seven minutes.
is strengthened, both to the angels and to the Seven months, however, would not be a true
human souls who have died and are living in rhythm. We are not yet so far along that we
the world of the spirit. This relationship can can observe ourselves over a period of seven
manifest in our daily life in various ways. For lifetimes and work with that rhythm. In rhythms
example, in the German language, when one of seven a new strength appears. We can work
receives a sudden idea one says it is eingefallen, with meditations in seven day rhythms such as
it has fallen in. But what has fallen in and from with the Foundation Stone Meditation. Rudolf
where has it fallen? This can be the work of the Steiner gave the Foundation Stone Meditation

72
Helmut von Kgelgen Working with Angels, Archangels, and Archai

as a whole but then showed how one can work prerequisite for finding our connection to the
with it in seven-day rhythms. In this way one spiritual hierarchies.
connects with it more fully. If one is trying to
Rudolf Steiner went on to say that we mustnt
work with a number of verses or meditations,
overload ourselves with the rational thoughts
such as the Foundation Stone, the Soul Calendar
of the intellectual soul era which is now past.
and a verse for the dead, one can put them into
We need to open up to the thoughts of the
rhythms of seven. Thus, the verse for the dead
consciousness soul, recognizing the living spirit
could be said each Saturday, rather than each
in each of us, recognizing our connection with
day.
the hierarchies of the spiritual world. When
When we work with these rhythms of seven, these thoughts are taken up by us with inner
the angels take notice of us. If, for example, strength, they can help us in our work with the
we have a sudden impulse to act, we can take parents and in helping lead the children rightly
time and wait seven minutes before acting. We into their new lives on earth. In this context we
may then feel that seven minutes is a very long must realize that it is not our task to educate out
time, indeed. But in this quiet pause something of state regulations, nor are we a program or
happens. Waiting these seven minutes gives the simply a method. In the highest sense we work
angels a chance to notice us, to let something in accordance with the angels, the archangels
fall into us. In this way we make time for the and the archai. It is these beings of the third
angels to enter into our lives, and they wait for hierarchy who employ us, who give us our
us to do this. It is not magnificent revelations work. They work with us as individuals, and
from the angels which appear to us in this time, they work with us as a faculty. Their presence is
but that the angels see us in this time. They can acknowledged in the Teachers Imagination used
perceive us only when we are prepared for this by the College of Teachers in a school.
to happen and give it time.
As Waldorf educators we work with these
In 1919 Rudolf Steiner said that our century beings of the third hierarchythe angels, the
is particularly important during the age of archangels and the archaibut all humanity
the consciousness soul. It is a time when our has a new opportunity to work with them.
consciousness can open up to the realms of Since the fifteenth century we have been in
nature and to the higher hierarchies. All of this the age of the consciousness soul. It is an age
can happen in quite a new way. It happens now which will last over 2000 years, but Rudolf
that the angels no longer take an interest in the Steiner indicated that the 20th century was
form of man as they did in the past. How can we an especially important time for humanity to
bring the angel something in which he can take lift up its awareness to the spiritual and begin
an interest? In this time of the consciousness again to work consciously with the beings of
soul, we must consciously work on ourselves the heavenly world. One way to do this is to
so that the angels can take an interest in us include the angels in our planning for the next
again. We need to realize that every child, day. In the evening we can not only review what
every colleague, every parent is more than just has happened during that day, we can preview
a physical being. Every one contains a spiritual what is to come next for us. We can have a
being, as well, which brings something with conversation with our angel. Rudolf Steiner
it from previous earth lives. Recognizing the said the angel would then grow interested in
spiritual nature of other human beings is a what is coming. In the morning we should pay

73
The Young Child and the Spiritual World

attention to what has been said to us during the for they guide the work of whole groups. They
night. It does not matter if we have forgotten guide the development of language, and the
what was said during the night, however, for spirit of a people is reflected in its language.
the angel wont have forgotten it. When we need They also guide the development of language
the insight given, it returns to us at the right in each individual. Thus it is important to
moment. The angel leaves us free, but works pay attention to speech, so that it is true and
to help us, for example, to really understand beautiful. Our speech can be a fine work of art.
one another when in a conversation. Later our In the word lies the archetypal creativity. Rudolf
thoughts may be filled with loving forces which Steiner was always very careful about how he
awoke in this conversation. This, too, is the work spoke, even in his everyday exchanges. It is
of the angel. especially important how we speak with young
children, for they are finding their way into
A good exercise for preparing for this inner
language. We speak to them in whole sentences,
work is to work on control of thinking so that
and in the good, fine way of fairy tale language.
the mind does not jump all around. Rudolf
Speech itself can give courage, for it connects us
Steiner describes this exercise in several of his
with the archangels, the spirits of time.
books. Such self control in the realm of thinking
helps us to receive insights from the angels. We We can work with the beings of the third
may then suddenly experience that the angelic hierarchy in so many different ways. As Waldorf
beings give us the courage to do something teachers we work with the Teachers Imagination
which we would not otherwise have had the which refers to the angels, the archangels and the
strength to do. archai. As individuals we can make space for the
relationship with the third hierarchy to develop.
As teachers it is a help if we study the
At night, for a few seconds before sleep, we can
biographies of individuals. In knowing the life
think: The angels, archangels and archai want
of another, one begins to see how the angels
to help me in my daily work. In the morning
worked into a human beings destiny, often in
we can think of these beings again and remind
most remarkable ways.
ourselves that they want to help us if only we are
When we study the destinies of a nation or a open to receiving their help. In this way we find
people, we can see the working of the archangels, the courage for our work.

Walking and the Incarnation of Destiny


Joan Almon

In this lecture on walking, Joan Almon If we look into the far past of mankinds
began by describing what it is like to watch a development and ask at what point did the
young toddler who is just beginning to walk. human being stand upright and walk, then
Ones heart is warmed at the sight. The legs are Rudolf Steiner points us to ancient Lemuria.
spread wide, the gait rolls a bit as the child seeks Before this, mankind moved in the horizontal
balance. Theres many a bump as the child falls position like the animal kingdom does today. It
down and rises again to its feet. We may also feel required the incarnation of the ego in the earth
a sense of wonder, for there are great mysteries stage of development for human beings to stand
hidden in this seemingly simple deed. upright. This was a great moment in evolution

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Joan Almon Walking and the Incarnation of Destiny

when mankind was ready to stand upright the first year, we see a fascinating pattern of
and walk. Its implications for the destiny of development emerge. Emmi Pikler, a physician
the human being were so great that it drew the who had a baby center in Hungary, did intensive
attention of Ahriman and Lucifer, who wished observation of children learning to walk and
to interfere with this important step in human wrote on this subject. Her books have not been
development. They would have loved to have translated into English yet. She observed that
entered in at this moment, pulling mankind children all follow a basic pattern of movement
so far down into the physical earthly nature, which eventually leads them towards crawling,
that perhaps there would have been no full standing upright, walking, climbing, etc. The
uprightness; or, in Lucifers case, lifting mankind young child should not be rushed or hindered in
above the earth so that our feet would not fully the mastery of these movements.
touch the earth, our being not fully embrace
Another active observer of the young
earthly incarnation. These were the two great
child was Joan Salter, an anthroposophical
dangers which faced mankind as walking began.
nurse in Australia who founded the Gabriel
Rudolf Steiner says in his lecture entitled The
Baby Centre, a type of well-baby clinic. In her
Pre-Earthly Deeds of the Christ that a similar
book, The Incarnating Child, she describes
threat arose from Ahriman and Lucifer when
certain archetypal gestures she has observed
mankind learned to speak in the early days of
in childrens movement in the first year. From
Atlantis and when humanity learned to think in
early on, when the infant is on its back asleep,
the late days of Atlantis. Three great moments
its little arms stretch up on either side of its
in evolution and three great dangers. Steiner
head, looking like the first two little leaves which
goes on to say that each time the Christ Being
spring from the stem of a sprouting plant. If the
came to the aid of humanity. The same Being,
child is ill, the little arms drop to the side like the
who later appeared in the body of Jesus, now
leaves of an ailing plant. One could say this is the
intervened on behalf of mankind but from the
plant stage in human movement.
spiritual heights, holding Ahriman and Lucifer
at bay, so that mankind could walk, could talk A next stage in movement is the fish stage
and could think. when the child lies on its tummy and lifts its
legs. Often the feet are together looking like a
This protection by the Christ Being is
fish tail. In a next stage the child lifts the legs but
reenacted in the life of every individual. In the
also the upper chest and arms, so that it looks
first three years while the child masters walking,
like it is going to fly. This is the bird stage. In the
talking and thinking the spiritual world gathers
reptile stage, the child squirms across the floor
around in protection. Ahriman and Lucifer are
on its belly, and in the four-legged quadruped
held at bay. Thus when we see a young child take
stage, it rises on all fours and begins to crawl. At
her first steps we are right in feeling a sense of
last comes the human stage, when the child pulls
joy and wonder, for there are great mysteries
itself up onto two legs and begins to walk. It has
which stand behind the outwardly simple deed
worked its way through the kingdoms of nature
of walking.
into the human stage. In her book, Joan Salter
Turning our sights away from the spiritual also likens these stages to the great geological
history of mankind to the children before us, periods of the earth.
we can see a series of stages. When we watch
A third picture emerges from Karl Knigs
the child gain mastery of her physical body in
book, The First Three Years, where he speaks

75
The Young Child and the Spiritual World

of certain instincts in the infant for crawling, young age. The week before she had shown no
standing upright and walking. These instincts interest in tying bows at all. When the mother
exist and can be activated by touching the feet in was asked how this had come about, she laughed
certain ways. In this regard the infant resembles and described Ivanas weekend. For two days
the animal kingdom, for the newborn animals she pretended she was going to a birthday party
have strong instincts for standing up and and folded up every bit of paper she could find
walking. Many can do it in the first hours after in the house. From her mothers yarn basket
birth. In the human being, however, a different she cut strings for wrapping up her birthday
process takes place. We do not master walking packages. Again and again and again she tied
out of instinct like the animals. We lose these bows, making a total of perhaps 60 or 70 such
instincts by the time we are several months old packages. It would have been terrible to have
and then go through a process of learning to assigned her such a task, but out of the spirit
walk. We are helped by the spiritual world in of play and the power of her own will forces she
the form of the archai who help us to walk. We took it on for herself, bringing forth a skill which
are helped by human beings through our gift was ready to be born.
of imitating their capacity to walk. And we are
As a next stage of development of the will
helped by the growing strength of the ego within
forces, a picture was given of a six-year-old boy
which wants to get up and walk, leaving the
who built himself a car in the kindergarten and
realm of the animals behind.
now was trying to find a way to steer it. The car
The deed of walking has many aspects, and was made of two stumps which had been turned
each has implications for our whole life. To on their sides with a wide board lying across
begin with, walking requires the activation of them. If he straddled the board and pushed with
our will which is so closely related to our limbs. his feet he could make the car roll a bit, but he
The development of will is of special interest to could not steer it this way. On this particular day
the kindergarten teacher and can be illustrated he wanted to find a way to steer it and spent 45
with a series of examples. A six-month-old minutes trying to tie a rope onto the stumps and
named Gordon was observed over a period onto the board in such a way as to connect the
of a month as he tried to turn from his back two and maneuver it. Again and again he tried
to his stomach. Again and again and again he it, first one way and then another. At last he gave
worked at this until at last he accomplished up, and with a shrug dropped his rope and went
it. He never showed signs of frustration and off to play with a friend. One felt he had learned
seemed undaunted by the hundreds of times he as much from a seeming failure as he would
failed to turn over. He kept trying until at last he have from a success. One day he would realize
succeeded, and then began to work on the next that an axle and a drive shaft are needed for this
type of movement. step, which a simple rope could not accomplish.
In the meantime, he had fully directed his will to
A similar focus of will was seen in a four-
the task and seemed not at all frustrated by his
and-a-half year old girl named Ivana. She came
inability to make it work.
to kindergarten one Monday and announced
that she could tie a bow. She demonstrated it The same boy, not long after this, at a point
with great ease and skill. Her teacher wondered when he was showing strong signs of first grade
how she had come to learn this complicated readiness, had the following conversation with
task which is usually not mastered at such a his teacher: She was churning butter and was

76
Joan Almon Walking and the Incarnation of Destiny

at the point of paddling the butter to separate of directed, focused will in the thinking. Thus,
off the butter milk. He was watching her and in this way, will evolves from the earliest
noted that although the cream had been white movements of infancy through the play of
when it entered the churn, the butter was now childhood and takes its place in adult activity in
yellow. Why? he asked. The teacher told him human thought.
she did not know but had always wondered
Another aspect of walking is the upright
about this change in color. Simply wondering
nature of the human being. We tend to take this
was not enough for him. He seemed to gather
for granted, but it is a very significant step which
up his will forces and direct them towards his
carries us out of the instinctual, animal realm
thinking. One could almost feel the wheels
and into the human sphere. Yet many children
of thought going around. He stood by the
display a strong wish to remain in the animal
teacher for several moments with a look of deep
sphere in their kindergarten play. What should
concentration on his face. He then brightened
one do for such a child? Some teachers forbid
up and announced, I know why. You see, the
all forms of animal play in the kindergarten in
cream came from a cow and the cow ate grass
order to help the children play out human roles.
and the grass was green. Green is made up of
Others allow all forms of animal play but often
blue and yellow, and that is where the yellow
complain of how wild the kindergarten becomes
came from. Having concluded this he went
and of how one feels the mood has sunken in
off to his next activity, leaving his teacher in
an unpleasant way. One way was described in
amazement.
which the children may play animal roles, but
Her amazement grew even deeper some time only domesticated animals, those who live in
later when she repeated this story to a group of relationship to human beings such as cats and
parents and one, who had milked many cows, dogs or farm animals. Wild animals are for
said, Hes absolutely right. In the summer when outside, but outside the children usually forget
the cows eat grass, the butter from their cream about them and do not engage in animal play.
is yellow, while in winter when they eat hay, the When one allows animal play, then one needs
butter turns white. This occurs because the grass to observe the children who are drawn to it in
contains carotene, the same substance which order to decide if it is a healthy stage of play
makes carrots orange. Many old-fashioned or whether a child is stuck in animal play and
farmers wives added natural yellow coloring to needs help to emerge from it into human play.
their winter butter to give it a bright, summery Two examples were given.
look. One finds a description of this process in
In one, a five-year-old was described who
one of Laura Ingalls Wilders books.
had a very strong stubborn streak in her.
When this story was told to a Waldorf She was unusually independent and at times
high school mathematics teacher, he remarked uncooperative. Because of this, it was difficult
that it is this same force of will in the thinking to fully relate to her in the kindergarten. She
which is so necessary for a student to do well in became ill with whooping cough and was home
math. One sees how some students have great for a month. When she returned she seemed
difficulties penetrating a problem with their to have outgrown her extreme stubbornness.
will forces, while others apply their will with She was in a sweeter place, though physically a
great success. Doing well in math is not only a bit weak and vulnerable. Around this time she
question of native ability. It is also a question began to take animal roles in a farm play which

77
The Young Child and the Spiritual World

the children repeated over a period of time. has access to his hands, he leaves the world of
She was usually a sheep or a cow and liked to the creature and joins forces with the world
be near people who would care for her. When of the creator. A whole new element begins
this phase ended she rose to her feet again and to enter the human soul. For some children
began to show much more care towards others. this transition seems difficult. They enter the
The sweet side of her nature began to emerge kindergarten and look as if they do not know
more and more, and her fierce independence what to do with their hands, which seem to
and stubbornness, which had often alienated dangle lifelessly at their sides. Or they use their
other children, was tempered by good will and hands to behave in animal-like ways, pinching
concern for others. In her case, playing animal like a crab, scratching like a cat, hitting like a
seemed to have been a temporary backward step bear. Their hands need to be brought up into
which did her much good. the human realm of creation. All kindergarten
children need to see the healthy work which
In another case, however, a boy who was
human hands can do, but such children may
always nervous and tense tended to play animal
need extra help to interest their hands in
roles nearly all the time. His animals tended not
creative, human activity. It is not only the
to live closely with human beings, but were often
creative work of painting, drawing or modeling
alone and sometimes rather wild. Out of himself
which is necessary for the children, but the daily
he rarely stayed on his feet in a human role for
work of table setting, dish washing, handwork,
the whole of play time. In this case it seemed
etc., which helps children more fully experience
he was caught in the horizontal and needed
the realm of being human.
help to come more fully up into the vertical. The
teacher chose to intervene and would frequently When our hands are freed, when they can
take him by the hand when he wanted to be lifted up high, something of the Divine enters
engage in animal play and bring him to a work into us. An element of God the Creator becomes
activity or help him build a human house for awake in our being. In the Oberufer Christmas
himself. Gradually he spent less and less time plays at the end of the Paradise Play, this is said
as an animal and also became a much more beautifully when the Devils chains fall from
harmonious child. He was the child who, two Adam and Eve, and Adam is free to raise up his
years later, gave the wonderful explanation about arms. Then God speaks and says:
the yellow butter. In his case, helping him move
See now, this Adam such wealth has won
away from animal play towards human play
Like to a God he is become,
seemed to have been a helpful and necessary
Knowledge he has of evil and good,
step.
He can lift up his hand on high,
Another aspect of walking is the freeing of Whereby he liveth eternally.
the hands. Once the child stands erect, he no
This beautiful passage also points to another
longer needs his hands for movement. What
aspect of human uprightness and walking, that
does this signify for the human being? We speak
of knowing good and evil. We can call this
of animals or other lowly beings as creatures,
the area of human morality and can consider
something less than human. Someone using
what is meant when we say a person is upright.
the full capacities of being human is a creator.
The children look to us for guidance in the
Similar sounding words but with such different
human, moral realm as well as in the other
meanings. When the child stands upright and
realms discussed, and each teacher must think

78
Joan Almon Walking and the Incarnation of Destiny

through how to bring this realm to life in the poet Byron. Byron, too, was born with a club
kindergarten. We do not preach or moralize with foot. In a previous incarnation these two men
young children, but yet a moral tone needs to be had known each other and had set out on a
established so that the children can live together great spiritual mission together. They were not
in peace. successful in this mission, and although Rudolf
Steiner does not spell out the picture in detail,
Another aspect of walking pertains to
one gets the feeling that the cut-off mission of
the destiny of the individual. In the lecture
the past mirrors itself in the physical condition
studied for this conference, The Waking of the
of the next incarnation.
Human Soul and the Forming of Destiny, Rudolf
Steiner says, The primary measure of destiny Can such pictures speak to us as
is expressed in the learning to walk. (page 11) kindergarten teachers who are trying to help
How are we to understand this? It might first the children meet their own karmic situations?
seem to us that all children walk the same in the Most of us do not have these insights into their
beginning, but on closer observation of children past lives, but we do have opportunities to help
one sees significant differences in the early steps the children with meeting their destiny in the
of a child. As kindergarten teachers we do not present. Often one gets the feeling that a childs
have many opportunities to observe this phase of way is blocked, that something stands in the way
development, but those who work with children of his moving forward to meet his destiny. One
in the first three years may note these differences wants to help, but how? The young child in the
and develop a sense of their significance. first seven years lives so strongly in the realm
of movement that often it is through movement
In his lectures on Karmic Relationships,
that the blockage can be removed or at least
Rudolf Steiner gives another picture of the
minimized. When the child shows a greater
importance of walking to karma. Often he traces
difficulty, curative eurythmy can be a great help
a persons past life by noting how they walk in
in removing hindrances from a childs path. In
this lifetime. In this regard he speaks of his own
simpler cases, the activities which arise in the
geometry teacher, a man who had a profound
kindergarten can clear the way. A few examples
impact on Rudolf Steiner when he was a student.
were given.
He describes the man as he knew him in this
lifetime, a man who was a great geometrician A little girl, age 5, was described as being
but whose thinking did not go beyond the very sweet and very good, but perhaps too good.
bounds of geometry into mathematics as a Of such children Rudolf Steiner said, be careful,
whole. Even within geometry, he was not open for the spirit does not flow strongly enough
to the many changes which were then taking in them. She participated in the kindergarten
place in that field. One gets the impression that but not with the enthusiasm and joy that one
his thinking was narrowly circumscribed, but expects from a healthy child. At times she would
within those limits his thinking was profound. sit alone and look quite sad and heavy-hearted.
Then Rudolf Steiner speaks of how this man was Towards the end of winter there was a large
incarnated with a club foot. He often thought of snowstorm, and when the schools parking lot
his teacher and of the significance of his physical was plowed a large mound of snow was pushed
condition and then began to understand a to the end of the lot. When all the snow from
past life which his teacher had shared with the the playground had melted, the children were
individuality who later became the English allowed to play on this mound. She wanted to

79
The Young Child and the Spiritual World

play there with the other children, but had great ancient past mankind lived very closely with
difficulty walking on the snow which was very the gods. In Atlantis, the realm of the gods was
uneven. She was encouraged to persist, however, the reality for mankind, even as today mankind
and every day for a week she struggled across is at home with the plants and animals. At that
the snow, backwards and forwards, until at time the physical world was hazy and unclear to
last she could walk across it with ease. She had mankind, but the spiritual world was very clear.
found a new form of balance in her walking Gradually, mankinds consciousness descended
and in herself as well, for after this she was away from the heavenly and towards the earthly.
a much more enthusiastic participant in the At the time of Egypt, for example, the thrust
kindergarten. of spiritual life was to bring consciousness
down to earth. One feels this in the Egyptian
In another case some boys between six and
temples where one enters first into an open air
seven years old were growing disenchanted with
courtyard, then an enclosed courtyard, then into
the kindergarten. They were at a difficult stage
one room after another, each growing smaller
of first grade readiness and seemed blocked in
in size. One has the sense of penetrating inward
finding a new relationship to the kindergarten.
to the center and being brought down. What a
On a rainy day the teacher set up a circus
difference this is in contrast to entering a Gothic
for them with a high-wire act, consisting of an
cathedral. The whole thrust of the cathedral is
8"-wide board suspended between two tables.
upward and the human spirit rises with it. In the
She suggested they walk across it, thinking that
Egyptian temple, mankinds spirit was still in the
as they were first grade ready they should have
process of incarnating, whereas after the time of
sufficient balance for such a task. They were
the Christ, the direction of the human spirit is
afraid, however, and did not trust themselves
upwards again.
to do it, but she offered her hand, which they
held onto with all their might. After a few Now we are on the journey up, and Rudolf
crossings they began to realize they could do Steiner says much progress will be made in
it and held her hand much more loosely. Then this age of the consciousness soul, a 2000-year
they crossed without holding on. They began to period which began in the 15th century. In
grow very confident and started to hop across, particular, he says that this, the 20th century,
to walk with their eyes closed, to walk across will be a critical time for mankinds journey. At
backwards, etc. After this day of play, it was as if this time we begin to separate ourselves from
an inner blockage had been removed from them, the dense consciousness of the physical and turn
and they showed fresh enthusiasm for all the our attention upwards. The etheric body of the
kindergarten had to offer them. modern human begins to loosen itself from the
dense physical and with it the consciousness
A final aspect of walking which was included
begins to loosen. This is not an easy process
in the lecture pertained to the question of the
for all human beings. Some are so attached to
future destiny of mankind. In which direction
the physical that they cling too hard and are
is mankind walking? Who will guide our steps
fearful of moving towards the spiritual. One
along the path of the future? Reference was
result of this is the growth of pathological fears
made to a lecture by Rudolf Steiner entitled
suffered by so many modern human beings. It
Easter: The Mystery of the Future (April 13,
is important that modern human beings find
1908). In this lecture Rudolf Steiner describes
their way along this new path towards the spirit.
the spiritual path of mankind in this way: In the
If he [mankind] has lost consciousness of the

80
Joan Almon Walking and the Incarnation of Destiny

spiritual world, has come to believe that life in Fortunately we have not been abandoned
the physical body and things to be seen in the on this journey. Just as the Christ Being came to
physical world are the only realities, then for all mankinds aid when he first learned to walk and
ages of time he must dangle, as it were, in mid- was threatened by the presence of Ahriman and
air. He will have lost his bearings in the spiritual Lucifer, just as His presence on the earth marked
world and will have no ground under his feet. a new direction for mankind, just as His working
He will be threatened, in this condition, with with the hierarchies aids every child as he learns
what is known as the spiritual death That is to walk anew, so too He is prepared to help us
the death in the spiritual world. It is the doom walk along this new path towards the spirit. Of
which threatens men if, before passing again the Christs new task Rudolf Steiner says, He will
into the spiritual worlds, they fail to bring with not only be Comforter, but the One Who goes
them any consciousness of those worlds. (The before us. In the future His Being will permeate
Festivals and Their Meaning, pages 210211) all knowledge, all art, all life. His presence lights
our path into the future.

The Wonder of Acquiring Speech


Dr. Michaela Glckler

What do walking, talking and thinking have speech center through imitation, but this child
in common? They are not laid into us in a fixed was no longer sensitive to the development of
manner as some things which are genetically the center through imitation. Instead, language
determined. Rather, they arise from within the developed in another part of the brain, on the
child through the process of imitation. They can right side, and it could not fully develop there.
develop only if certain activities happen which She developed language in the way that a very
involve the child. young child develops iteverything is nice or
not nice, yes or no. This 13-year-old spoke in
An example was given of a 13 year old girl
this same way, beginning a sentence with yes
who, out of criminal neglect, never learned to
or no and then giving a simple identification of
speak. She was kept in an imprisoned state and
what she liked or didnt like.
grew up mute. Then she was discovered at age
13, and her overall intelligence was less than Different aspects of speech develop in
that of a two year old. In the next two years she different parts of the brain. For example, the
learned a great deal. She developed speech, but first language, the mother tongue, develops in
it was an unusual form of speech. If she wanted one part of the brain, but subsequent languages
to say, I dont like the color on the walls, she develop in another part. An example was given
would express it by saying, Nowall color. Her of a woman who had learned a German dialect
speech developed in two-word sentences. She as her mother tongue. Later she learned to speak
was right handed, but her speech center was on high German. After an accident which affected
the right side, rather than the left. This is quite the brain, she lost her use of the high German,
unusual, for in 97% of people, the speech center, but her use of dialect remained, for that part of
known as the Broca center, is on the left side of the brain had not been injured. In other cases
the brain. Normally the child learns to use this of brain injury, one might be able to understand
language, but not be able to speak it.

81
The Young Child and the Spiritual World

The title of this lecture is the wonder of Beginning with the second year of life, the
speech, and it is a good word, for there is a child experiences a continual development of
strong element of wonder which arises when we speech. All parts of the mouth contribute to
consider speech and its development. Acquiring the development of speech, and if one part is
speech is not an inherited process but a process adversely affected it can affect the form of the
of learning. What are the preconditions for a speech to a greater or lesser extent. Dr. Glckler
child to learn speech? This is a complicated used herself as an example and said that a crown
question, for there are many fundamental which was put on one of her teeth affects the
elements of speech, all of which need to develop. way she forms the sound s. Speech develops in
Consonants and vowels, for instance, have the child while the mouth itself is developing.
different qualities. The vowel element expresses Approximately one fourth of kindergarten-aged
how we feel, while the consonants are more children have speech difficulties, but most will
directly related to the outer sense world. Every outgrow them by themselves. By adolescence
syllable contains both elements, so that each only 12% of them will still have problems. In
syllable builds a bridge from self to the world. most children, the problems disappear by age 5
or 6. Others will stop having problems with the
Rudolf Steiner said that the astral body is
change in teeth, so that by age 8 or 9 most will
the carrier of the feeling for speech. But also
no longer have difficulty in speech.
to speak and understand speech we need the
capacity for thought and the functioning of the Wolfgang Schad gives a picture of language
ego. It is not a simple matter. Physical parts of differences on the African continent in contrast
the body are also necessary for the formation to China. In Africa, from Tunisia to Capetown,
of speech. The timbre or quality of the speech one finds about 700 different languages in use.
is related to the air flowing through the larynx, This does not count dialects which are also
which is a very complicated organ in its own abundant. In contrast, in the whole huge land
right. It contains a great many small muscles, of China there is only one language present.
as many muscles as one finds in the rest of Also, China has had a written language from its
the body. The larynx is like a little person, earliest times, whereas Africa did not initially
a miniature of the whole human being in develop a written language. In Africa, the spoken
movement. At the physical level one also needs word has great importance. It is full of magic.
to take into account the form of the mouth
In China the written language is of great
with its palate, teeth and tongue. Books were
importance, and the written language is the
recommended to help understand this picture,
same throughout the country. About 4000
and one is by Wolfgang Schad and is entitled
characters are used in the written language of
Erziehung ist Kunst. It has not yet been translated
Chinese newspapers. More characters exist,
into English. When we look at the shape of the
but at the newspaper level 4000 suffice for
mouth, we realize how closely related it is to the
expression. People all over China can read the
capacity for speech. The ape cannot speak, for
same newspaper and understand it. Even though
instance, for its mouth is not formed for speech.
they may pronounce the characters differently,
The apes mouth juts forward as it develops,
they read them and understand them in the
whereas the human mouth grows backwards as
same way. The Chinese language is based on
the second teeth and molars come in. The front
pictures, and the characters have remained much
of the mouth of a young child and of an adult are
the same over time. There has been diversity
more or less the same in form.

82
Michaela Glckler The Wonder of Acquiring Speech

and change in the language, but there is enough again in language. We must work to find sense
continuity that texts which are thousands of in language in order to help the students. It is
years old can still be easily read. In the German important for the children to meet an adult
language, in contrast, texts written in the old who speaks with an Ego consciousness. There
German of the Middle Ages can no longer be are ways to work on language which help raise
read except by scholars. Each continent has its human speech to cosmic speech. For example,
own qualities of soul life and these are reflected we can work on our relationship with the
in its language development. In China, we see a everyday words of the language and learn to love
land unified by language in which the old forms them, to set them free. The poor words which
can continue to live into the present. Thinking are used every day are no longer shining. We can
and speaking are closely aligned in China, love them and give them color. Then they laugh
whereas in Africa speaking and movement are again.
more closely aligned. On the African continent
Speech is our friend. If we feel depressed we
with its 700 languages, social relations are of
can take a poem, even a very simple one, and
great importance. The basic quality of love has
work it through word for word. We can speak
developed strongly there, as well as the social
the words in different ways, with strength or
feeling for others. All of this flows out of the
gentleness, for instance. We can hear how funny
astral body very strongly in Africa. It is part
they sound when they are spoken with a quality
of the picture of Africa, whereas China has a
not true to the word. It is difficult to capture and
contrasting picture.
express inner qualities in words.
In the development of the child, we see
Speech lives very deeply within us and
language unfolding in different ways during the
is related to our own I or Ego. In Paradise,
various stages of the childs growth. Between 7
Adam was asked to name all the creatures. The
and 14, children love to play with language. They
memory of paradise lives on in our speech.
make jokes and play with words. This is a time
Finding the self within is related to this process
when language is extremely important. Rudolf
of giving names. Part of the mystery of the I is
Steiner gave many indications about language to
that it comes to birth and incarnation through
the class teachers. Dr. Glckler feels that about
a series of identifications. In early childhood we
70% of discipline problems in the elementary
identify with an activity such as dish washing
grades can be met through more awareness of
and take it into ourselves through imitation. In
language. In contrast about 70% of kindergarten
the elementary grades we identify with the world
discipline problems can be met through greater
in the soul realm through love. In adolescence
awareness of movement. It is so important that
we identify at the thought level through interest.
we speak well to the children. We should clean
Through these three realms of interest, the I
our speech organ like we clean our teeth each
comes into incarnation. Working through these
morning so that we can speak rightly to the
realms the I goes beyond physical nature and
children of different ages.
comes to discover its spiritual nature.
The teenager experiences a different aspect
In the word there is tremendous creative
of language. They are looking for meaning,
power which can be alive in us. The whole of
and sometimes feel meaning has gone. This
world creation is in us and can be awakened
can be a crisis for the individual. Eurythmy
more fully in us when we work on the word.
is of great help to them in finding meaning
The word became darkened through the fall

83
The Young Child and the Spiritual World

of mankind, but we can bring new thinking own Ego. If we reactivate the archetypal Adam
and will to the realm of speech. It is our task as within us, he who had the power to name things,
teachers to bring new qualities to speech so that then this newfound power of speech works
a new consciousness can shine through. This is creatively on the children. Loving language
a great help to children as they seek to find their should be todays motto.

Verse for the Beginning of Teaching the


Ancient Languages

To him who understands the sense of speech


The world ensheathes itself in a picture.
To him who hears the speech of soul
The world reveals itself as a being.

He who experiences the speech of the spirit


Receives the world with the strength of wisdom.
He who is able to love speech
Is given its own power.

So I will turn my heart and senses


To the spirit and soul of the world.
And in love, I will find myself
For the first time through it.

Rudolf Steiner

84
The Sistine Madonna

The Sistine Madonna by Raphael: Is It Appropriate


in the Kindergarten?
Ren Querido

This article is a revised version of the content For the past 250 years or so it has had as its
presented in a talk to Waldorf kindergarten home the National Gallery in Dresden, now in
teachers during the Western Regional Teachers East Germany, a once beautiful city struck by a
Conference in February 1989, held at Rudolf tragic destiny at the end of World War II when
Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California. thousands upon thousands of its inhabitants
were killed in a senseless bombing raid. The
Of the countless masterpieces of Renaissance painting survived the many vicissitudes of wars,
painting perhaps none occupies such a revolutions and insurrections from the 18th
remarkable position as the Sistine Madonna by century onwards and counts among its admirers
Raphael. It embodies in a superb manner great such various and distinguished personalities as
contrasts: the painting is both magnificent and Goethe, Novalis and Dostoyevsky.
intimate in character, heavenly and earthly
in mood, sacred and secular in portraying Today one approaches the original canvas,
the mysteries of motherhood and the eternal measuring some eight or nine feet in height
feminine. (for the figures are life size), from the end of
a long gallery. The experience as one slowly
Raphael (14831520), who was born on moves toward the Madonna is indeed truly
one Good Friday and died on another at the overwhelming, for as one draws near, one
early age of 37, is said to have painted the senses that the central figure carrying the
Sistine Madonna a few years before his death. child gently strides towards the beholder like
It therefore belongs to the artists later period. some supersensible revelation. With the green
Although it served as an altarpiece for a number curtains on either side drawn, we seem to cross
of years, the original intention for it may have a threshold into a heavenly realm where, against
been a very different one. Executed on canvas a background of numberless angelic faces, and
rather than on a wooden panel as was the supported by billowing clouds, the mystery
custom, it may have been painted expressly to of motherhood and of Mary with the child is
be carried in processions through the crowded revealed. The central female figure combines a
streets of Rome at high festivals of the Virgin serene, divine countenance with great earthly
Mary. This would also suggest that it was meant, beauty. Raphael may well have been inspired
in spite of its magnificence and considerable size, by one of his many beautiful models, but here
to be a work of art for the people at large and not he transformed the experience into a heavenly
simply for the clergy or nobility. countenance. The child is remarkably awake

85
The Sistine Madonna

and knowing for one so young, as if aware of the conflict to bring about peace. He did so
thorny road that he is destined to tread on the by renouncing power. Widely admired for
earth. his magnanimity and benevolence, he was
canonized shortly after his death and was
Too little attention has been given to the two
regarded with special veneration, together with
saints that flank the central figure. They form
Saint Laurentius, by many generations right up
an intrinsic part of the composition as indeed
to the Renaissance.
do the two winged cherubic beings at the foot
of the painting who peek at the events above These two biographical vignettes will help
with a quiet, somewhat mischievous, childlike us to understand Raphaels wise choice in
curiosity. portraying just these particular saints on either
side of Mary and the Child. They represent
Saint Sixtus II, a magnificent old man clad
archetypes: Sixtus of power transformed into
in golden papal robes, is seen on our left looking
peace, Barbara of the sacrifice of beauty into
up in deep reverence and conscious recognition
spiritual loveboth inspired by the eternal
at the mother and child. His right arm and hand
feminine that had borne the child. Indeed, if
point outward to the beholder while his left
then we view the central figure also as a divine
hand rests with a warm, sympathetic gesture on
archetype made manifest on earth in all her
his heart.
glory, beauty and inner serene strength, this
In strong contrast we have on our right a masterpiece is lifted out of any one-sided,
portrayal of the young, beautiful Saint Barbara dogmatic interpretation. It is not merely a
whose head is turned with lowered gaze towards Christian painting in the narrow sense of the
us, her hands folded in devotion across her word. It can appeal strongly and intimately to
breast. men and women of any religious persuasion
Christians, Hebrews, Buddhists alikeif it
The historical background of these two
is seen as representing an ideal of conscious
figures will give further meaning to the total
yet eternal motherhood carrying the child,
composition. Both Saint Barbara (235313) and
awakening from innocence to strong deeds of
Sixtus II (Pope: 257258) lived in Italy during
love. Such representations are also found in
the third century A.D. when the original Christ
other cultures: in Isis and the child Horus, in
impulse in its fullness had not yet been impeded
Kwan Yiu or the Canon of the Orient.
by church dogma and state approval.
Let us now deal with the question: Should a
Barbara, renowned for her beauty, was
reproduction of the Sistine Madonna necessarily
locked up in a tower by her father who feared
be displayed in our kindergartens, and if so,
that she had become a Christian. She maintained
why?
her faith and suffered horrible torture which as
a consequence left her disfigured for life. Her In 1911 Rudolf Steiner gave indications to
father ordered her killed, but legend tells us that Dr. Peipers in Munich that a healing influence
as the execution was to be accomplished he was proceeds from contemplating again and
struck by lightning. Saint Barbara lived into her again a series of Madonnas in reproduction
late seventies and was known for her loving, arranged in the form of a pentagram. The
caring deeds for the poor and ailing. series of 15 pictures, mostly Madonnas by
Raphael (there is one by Donatello and one by
Sixtus II, who occupied the papal chair
Michelangelo), opens with the Sistine Madonna,
for only one year, was able at a time of terrible

86
Ren Querido The Sistine Madonna

whose composition itself is clearly based on pointed out that only under these conditions
the pentagram, and culminates in Raphaels could certain supersensible beings participate
Transfiguration, his last and unfinished painting. in the earthly happening. He also indicated that
from now onwards, occult teachings should
Astonishingly powerful healing can be
never again be severed from the artistic impulse.
accomplished even by meditating upon these
pictures in black and white reproductions, as Later, in 191314, in the whole complex
was the case in Steiners time when he gave construction of the first Goetheanum and its
the indication to Dr. Peipers for his patients. arrangements of inner and outer spaces, pillars
(Today the series is readily available in colored with carved capitals, engraved colored windows,
postcards.) and painted cupolas, the same theme appears in
a more comprehensive and powerful way. Space,
How are we to understand this process?
color, and form can exert a direct, beneficent
In our circles we are familiar with the soul
healing influence and are able to awaken, under
strengthening that can be received by meditating
certain circumstances, dominant spiritual
regularly on a verse or mantra. Such wordsand
powers in the beholder.
Rudolf Steiner has provided us with hundreds of
verses for particular occasionscontain through In the light of the above, we need to tread a
their content, sound, cadence and composition balanced path between over-sentimentality and
a seed power that seeks to awaken new faculties cold abstraction in determining the role of the
in the soul. For the teacher this is of special Sistine Madonna in the kindergarten. To exclude
significance, for such inner activity regularly this masterpiece altogether seems foolish.
practiced in the stillness of the soul makes us If parents object to its presence on religious
more able to cope with our task of caring for and grounds, we should attempt to educate them to a
educating children. wider viewpoint. By the way, I am not suggesting
that some of the above considerations should
What is perhaps less familiar is the use of
be thrown at the heads of inquiring parents.
the Yantra, as it is know in the East: a picture,
Each kindergarten teacher has to use her (his)
a scroll of calligraphy (as particularly practiced
tact and discretion in what to say or not say.
by the Japanese), or a statue, which through its
What matters is that one has come to an inner
mere presence in a hall, a place of worship, or a
conviction oneself over a period of time and
private room endows the space with an uplifting
speaks to the hearts and minds of the parents
mood.
out of a depth of personal experience.
Without using this terminology, Rudolf
Equally, it is inappropriate to build an altar
Steiner practiced the use of signs and symbols
draped with colored veils around the Sistine
in a similar manner for the first time at the
Madonna. A shrine-like display with candles
Munich Conference of 1907. There he indicated
will justifiably create uneasiness in many
that the walls of the Hall where the Rosicrucian
parents, even among those who are genuinely
Conference was to take place were to be draped
interested in the new mysteries revealed through
from top to floor with curtains of bright
anthroposophy. Our task therefore is a difficult
vermilion. It was also on this occasion that the
one: to learn to appreciate that this superb
occult signs and seals, together with models of
masterpiece combines a serene, sober mood
the pillars of Joachim and Boaz from the Temple
with divine revelation and is utterly devoid of
of Solomon, were first displayed. Rudolf Steiner
sentimentality. Can we therefore accord the

87
The Sistine Madonna

Sistine Madonna a special place in the room in full reproduction in a large print (considering
a simple, straightforward manner, bearing in the size of the original) rather than making do
mind that the childrens attention need not be with a detail of the painting. This is especially
drawn to it? It acts in a healing, peaceful manner so because the flanking figures express through
through its very presence. gesture and mood the qualities of peace and
love. The cherubic figures at the foot of the
A final word: It may be helpful to consider
painting contribute a delightful quality of
whether it would not be preferable to display the
childlike innocence.

The Sistine Madonna


A Symbol of the Eternal Spirituality in People

Why did Rudolf Steiner give mothers-to- and surrounded by clouds which, as if of their
be the advice to look often upon Raphaels own accord, become similar to human forms.
painting of the Sistine Madonna? In many One of the clouds, as if solidified, resembles the
contexts, he mentions this painting which is child of the Madonna. As she appears there,
also found in many Waldorf kindergartens. she brings forth in us quite special feelings
Some of these comments help one to about which we might well say that, when these
understand this advice. feelings pass through our soul, we could forget
all the legendary ideas out of which the picture
If one were to try, while contemplating
of the Madonna has grown, and we could forget
this painting, to describe and express in
all Christian traditions which tell us about
words what he is seeing, observing, feeling
the Madonna. I would like to put forward this
and understanding, he will surely find the
opinion about what we can experience in the
answer. With this in mind, the following
presence of this Madonnanot to characterize
quotations are meant to deepen and make
it in a dry manner but rather to characterize
conscious that experience.
it in the most heartfelt way possible. Whoever
Dr. Helmut von Kgelen considers the development of humankind from
the point of view of spiritual science, comes to
the conclusion that the human being existed
Let us now allow one of Raphaels paintings
before the beings of the animal, plant, and
to make an impression upon us. It is the Sistine
even mineral realms existed. The painting of
Madonna, which is located nearby in Dresden
the Madonna with the child is the symbol of
and which probably each one of us knows from
the eternal spirituality in people which comes
the numerous copies which have been spread
certainly to the earth from beyond. Yet, this
throughout the whole world. It stands before us
painting, through parted clouds, has everything
as one of the most splendid, most noble artworks
that can only arise or proceed from the earthly.
of human development. The mother appears to
(Rudolf Steiner, 1-30-1913)
us with the child, floating on the air, down from
the clouds which surround the earth, floating
out of the undefinedone might even say out of And Raphael has, in a wonderfully
the spiritual, super-sensible world. She is clothed delicate and pure way, revealed this mystery by

88
Rudolf Steiner Quotations The Sistine Madonna

showing how, out of the spiritual heads of the are not for us alone but rather through which
little angels, the Madonna, the human being, we are working together on the entire structure
takes shape and brings forth anew the blossom of the world. Through our feelings, we serve
of Jesus of Nazareth who is to receive the Christ- the higher beings who are shaping the world.
seed. The entire evolution of humankind is And if we believe, while viewing the Sistine
wonderfully contained in this painting of the Madonna, that we are gratifying the feeling
Madonna! (Rudolf Steiner, 12-22-1908) which arises in us, it is a fact that a real process,
a real event is taking place. If such feelings were
not present, those beings who are supposed to
One can see in the Sistine Madonna that a be working on the structure of future conditions
great cosmic mystery is being impressed upon and incarnations on earth would not have the
human hearts, and one will be able to build upon strength that they need for their work. Our
this in the future. When humanity will have feelings are as necessary for the structure of the
come to the type of non-denominational, broad houses which the gods are building in the world
and encompassing Christianity which Spiritual as are bricks for the construction of a persons
Science already represents today, one will be able house. And what we know about our feelings is
to continue building up this wonderful mystery once again only a part. We know what a joy it is
that has influenced human minds just as the for us to stand before the Sistine Madonna. But
Sistine Madonna has done. Often it has been what happens there is a part of the whole world,
proven to me that when a person looks into the and it is quite immaterial how we consciously
eyes of children, he can know that something approach it. (Rudolf Steiner, 7-6-1915)
looks out from the childrens eyes which did not
enter their being during birth, something which
shines out of the depths of human souls. If one And if you look at the wonderful painting
looks at the children in Raphaels Madonna called the Mater Gloriosa who is receiving Fausts
painting, one sees the same elements of that soul, there you have the counterpart to that
which is divine, secret and beyond the human in to which Raphael alludes in his most famous
their eyes as are still in the eyes of a child shortly painting, the Sistine Madonna, where the Virgin
after birth. One can observe this in all Raphaels Mother is bringing the soul down here; at the
paintings of children with one single exception. end of Faust, we see how the Virgin Mother
One of the children in his paintings cannot be bears the soul upwardit is the souls birth upon
interpreted in this way, and it is the Baby Jesus of death. (Rudolf Steiner, 1-17-1915)
the Sistine Madonna. Upon looking into the eyes
of this child, one realizes that there is already
more to him than is possible in a human being. Thus I had always gazed in amazement
Raphael has made this difference that in this upon the holy Sistine Madonna by Raphael,
single child of the Sistine Madonna something which I already knew earlier from copper
is living which from the outset is experienced as engravings and copies, due to the world-
purely spiritual and Christ-like. encompassing look of the child and the
deeply felt virginal countenance and being of
Since we are people with feelings, we are the mother of this divine child. You see here
also creatures, beings of the Hierarchies, and we represented with the worlds greatest masterly
also operate where the Hierarchies operate. We strokes Child and God and Mother and Virgin
work in this weaving, we perform deeds which all at the same time in divine radiance. This

89
The Sistine Madonna

painting alone is a world, a very full artistic its creator immortal even if he had painted
world, and it alone would have sufficed to make nothing else. (Dresden, 8-16-1813)

90
The Education of the Teacher

Working with an Assistant Who Is Striving to Become a Teacher


Freya Jaffke

From notes taken by Margret Meyerkort at the There is a twofold need: first, to apply
Hannover Kindergarten Conference, Spring 1986. that which one received during the training,
and second, to enter into and adapt to a new
In Germany the kindergarten trainee spends situation. The new will fully hit the young
one year as an assistant, then two years in a teacher when in the second year she has her own
kindergarten seminar, and a final year again as groupshe will have to let go of that which she
an assistant. This final year is a concentrated year learned from her master teacher. And so, she
of practical learning and training. It could be attends conferences and has conversations to test
considered an apprenticeship. As kindergarten and grope her way forward. She realizes: That
teachers we have to be responsible for giving which I have learned so far is not enough for me.
guidance and direction, as well as meeting the Where can I find what I need? During this first
demands, challenges and expectations of the year after the training course, the new teacher is
assistant. In other words, we are still offering at sea. This is particularly so with regard to the
them a training during this fourth year. This festivals.
means, in the first place, that we are able to
offer them insights and information which we The first encounter and conversation
learn each and every day from our studies of the between assistant and kindergarten teacher
anthroposophical picture of the human being. marks the first efforts to work together. During
The assistant has a right to expect that the one the coming year, all the subsequent preparations
who trains him or her is able to look at her/his for festivals, snack time, etc., continue this
own shortcomings and review her/his own life. important process of working together. During
this first conversation between teacher and
To take on a group of children the year after assistant, one discusses and exchanges dates
a training seminar is for many students too great anthroposophical conferences, conferences
a burden. Instead, the student wants, and needs, on Waldorf education, parents workshops,
to learn to apply the course work, to integrate teachers meetings, study groups, and artistic
methods for a group of children, to meet and and handwork courses.
involve herself in the work with the parents, to
continue her own studies. This is the need from We may discuss with her the dress
her own point of view. From the point of view and demeanor of the teacherbecause as
of the children, of parents and colleagues, and pedagogues of the 07-year-old child we aim at
of anthroposophy, she must grow more aware of being in the first place a mother, e.g., to wear a
her intentions and grow accountable for them. skirt rather than pants, to wear a hat outdoors,
to wear an apron indoors, and in the garden

91
The Education of the Teacher

a different apron, to place a mat under a vase to eventually take responsibility for a group
to protect the table, to change from outdoor of children herself and many are the steps on
shoes into indoor shoes, etc. All of this is done the way. Furthermore, we all know that the life
not to be finicky but so that the young child is in the kindergarten is so rich and manifold
received and taken into the world with care and that one can easily forget something. It has
protection. To carry this out, the assistant needs proven helpful to make notes of the procedure
to know where all the different objects of the of painting, for example, or of circle time,
kindergarten live and how the routines of the of daily or weekly cleaning or of the larger
kindergarten are carried out. spring cleaning, of festivals, songs and poems,
content and procedure of a parent meeting, of
In the beginning, the assistant may have to
workshops. Such practices give security and
be corrected in order to protect the children,
enable the assistant to grow more and more
e.g., when the assistant does not clear the table
confident in her own ability. Naturally, one
properly, she knows that the teacher corrects her,
may have an assistant who writes a couple of
not out of fancy or whim, but because the young
sentences, or even nothing at all, but more often
child is used to order, sameness, repetition, and
than not they write pages.
security in each and every little way of the daily
life. If the assistant puts three plates here, three The next step is that the assistant carries out
plates there, the young child feels pulled out one or another activity in its required stages
of his dream consciousness, of being naturally together with a small group of children. Because
at one with the environment. While the one there are different ages in the kindergarten,
or the other child, without any word from the she will experience different ways of behavior
teacher, may join the assistant in the washing among the 4-year-olds, the 5s and the 6s, and it
up, the other children may get ready for the is helpful to differentiate and clarify such matters
garden. The procedure at the sink is always the in conversations. Even though she may not ask
same, and each item is always put in the same questions at the time, she may wake up to such
place. The children all want to do the same questions when she herself is a kindergarten
thing at the same time and want to do it again mother.
and again. This is how the young child wants to
What matters most is that the teacher learns
work, act and live. While learning the routines
to be mother, the heartbeat of the kindergarten.
of the kindergarten, the assistant has a right not
The teacher does that which a mother does: She
to have anything suddenly thrown at her, and
cares for everything, e.g., she cleans and polishes
at the same time a right to be corrected and to
and mends the toys, furniture, etc. She makes
carry on an activity in the right way. Now it may
new equipment. Her attitude and starting point
happen that the assistant is unable to carry out
is: How do I carry out my work in such a way
the sequence of events straightaway and a word
that the children have room in it, can develop
of correction is necessary. This is important,
in it, are held by it, rather than: Tomorrow is
because she has to, and wants to, learn.
kindergarten, what shall I do with them? or,
What is it that eventually makes the children Well, I am a mother who has help in the house,
accept and respect an adult? They have a basic so I can sit with my children at the table and
need for security and in as much as the assistant do some cutting out and gluing and drawing.
radiates certainty and security, the children But Rudolf Steiner advised us to have ordinary,
will look up to her. The aim of the assistant is daily-life situations in the kindergarten.

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Freya Jaffke Working with an Assistant

Obviously not all children do what the mother, Q. Do you wait for a question from the
the teacher, does at one time such as baking or assistant, such as, May I do that?
painting. Nor will all children be around her
A. Yes, and no. What is of the greatest
during other activities. But the work, the activity,
importance, what comes first, is that the assistant
is faithfully carried through each day and each
learns the preparation of the snack, the cooking
week and each season, and each child in the
of the snack, which is an activity so basic to the
room experiences it and learns something from
life of the kindergarten. Also, from a practical
it. Into this situation the assistant has to grow.
point of view, should the teacher be sick and the
This is what she has to learn.
assistant have to take over, this is the one activity
which must take place.
Q. How do you help the assistant learn how to
do the activities such as prepare and cook the Then there are methods. During the first
snack? Do you show her in the course of the term we focus on puppet shows, during the
morning when the children are in the room second term, rhythmical circle activities and
or during your meeting with her after school? third term, telling of fairy tales. Also, we meet
The latter is difficult because she cannot every day for review and preview, to discuss
actually see and experience the process. which of us will work so that life proceeds
more smoothly, who does the cloakroom, the
A. Some people see, hear and are straight- bathroom, etc. Also, during the assistants first
away able to carry out an activity. They see term, because she has to learn continuously
immediately, for example, how the children how to do new things with the children, such
should change from indoor shoes into outdoor as helping them at the cubbies, she experiences
shoes. If the child has put the shoes on the firstly her own boundaries and limitations, and
wrong feet, they see how to simply act (not secondly the childrens limits so that they do not
necessarily talking to the child) and change become chaotic. Both experiences can lead to
the shoes over. This asks of the adult a good questions.
measure of consciousness, precision, and width
of perception. If an assistant has difficulties with
Q. If the assistant does not come with
this, it is better to stagger her into the different
questions?
activities, because the first concern is for the
child and how to secure and protect him. For A. Some things have to be corrected straight-
example, with painting, the assistant may take away so that there is no danger to the children,
down a few notes and make herself an outline and some corrections can come later. But if
during our preview. During the morning, the children are not dressed properly for an
she tries to be as conscious as possible while activity such as going outside to the garden,
the children participate in the preparations this can be a problem. For example, the young
semiconsciously, from out of their dream child needs to be protected from certain sun
consciousness. Halfway through the year the rays, also from the width of a summer sky,
assistant should be able to carry the process right and so they all have sun hats which they wear
through. outdoors in the garden. Or, for example, if the
process of washing up is not in a good sequence,
then correct straightaway in a clear but gentle
manner.

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The Education of the Teacher

Q. How can one correct the superficial, trivial Q. Regarding clothing, some assistants say
tone and speedy behavior the assistant may that since mothers wear trousers today, why
show to the child? shouldnt the assistants or teachers wear them?
A. This is very difficult because it is a A. What does the history of human
question of changing the personality. Children clothing show? The essence of clothing is that
are looking for the I, not the astrality of it is a wrapping up, a protection from the
laughter, laughter, laughter. There are some surroundings, from nature. Which differentiated
assistants who are amused about the childs aspects of existence do I teach the young
pranks, who are unable to create a certain child when I wear clothing which encloses in
distance. This inability can be one of a lack of a wholeness or when I wear trousers which
Ego presence. differentiates the parts of the body and makes
them more physical? Also, is there a difference
Q. Is it too much to take a student teacher, in my attitude to myself, to life, in my behavior
or assistant during the first year after ones vis--vis my environment, when I wear jeans
training? or trousers for a sport or during an outing, or
when I wear a skirt? Often the clothing, the
A. In most cases, it is too much. The young
physical gestures, the gait and outer behavior
or newly fledged teacher feels more certain of
of a person are the reflection of aspects of the
herself, more secure with the children when she
life of soul. Furthermore, with my dress I put
can work one year by herself. She wants to apply
myself into a social context. There is a certain
what she has learned, and try out what she saw
air, dynamic, or attitude which emanates from
during her practice teaching, and this is right
me. This varies from one social situation to
and good.
another, and through clothing I can say: These
are my intentions and priorities, that which I
Q. How many students, or assistants can one wish to foster. (Of course, if the assistant is truly
have at any one time? unhappy with the stance of a teacher, she is free
A. Once we were five adults in the room. to find herself a kindergarten which better suits
This was too many. But it did work out with her.)
four: assistant, myself, student teacher, and
for a few days a visitor. They were all able to Q. Do you wear trousers when working in the
report and to discuss with each other what garden?
they experienced in each of their different
A. Occasionally. The garden work which
kindergarten experiences.
requires trousers I do in the afternoons after
When I have a student teacher at the same the children have gone home. Of course, the
time as an assistant, it may sometimes be adults wear trousers when we go tobogganing,
possible for the assistant to guide and instruct and we wear a skirt at parents meetings
a student under my more distant care and and on home visits. Many adults no longer
supervision. They may discuss matters together, experience a difference between clothing for
the assistant showing the student around the indoor life and the outdoor life but rather
and together they may enjoy this trust and It is all one, everything is the same, and so the
responsibility. children are not used to different clothing for
different occasions. To foster this is part of the
kindergarten teachers task.

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Freya Jaffke Working with an Assistant

Q. How do the teacher and assistant divide up noon, when the children have gone home the
the daily work of the kindergarten? student will first look around in the room to
take hold of where things are and review what
A. With division of labor. My point of view
has happened in the course of the morning. She
is that the work in the kindergarten has to be
will then, for about a quarter of an hour write
done just as it has to be done in the home. All
down some notes. During this time, I often sort
activities are the same in the face of need,
out my desk and finish some letters. A couple
e.g., today I may do the washing up, tomorrow
of children may play and wait to be picked up
she may do it. We share out the work which
or fold and seal my letters. When the assistant
has to be accomplished in this or that way;
has finished her writing, she will either ask if
all the activities are of equal value. It can be
anything else has to be done and go if there is
rhythmically divided up on a weekly basis rather
not, or wait until all children have gone before
than daily so that teacher and assistant can
she asks any questions.
take turns cleaning up the kitchen area, taking
children to the bathroom, etc.
Q. Do you review her work with the student or
In this way the children may live as if half assistant every afternoon?
asleep, submerged in a homey atmosphere in
A. Yes, for the first two weeks. After that I
which all activities, all events, all procedures,
leave her free unless there is a special situation to
are natural, obvious, usual and customary.
discuss such as in creative play, or a special event
Therefore, the children join in whatever goes on,
such as the preparation of a festival.
firstly as a matter of course and secondly because
quite simply, things have to be done, they are life The student or assistant may occasionally
itself. It will then not be necessary to divide the have her own child in the kindergarten. It is
group of children into subgroups for different pedagogically easier when her child is in another
activities, nor to give them tasks, nor to praise group. While the student and I have the morning
the children. Together, as children and adults, we verse, the child must wait in the lobby or hall.
find each other within a particular life situation,
and together we learn how to live. Life has to go Q. Can you say more about the teachers
on, to be developed, work has to be done and clothing?
the children have the opportunity to integrate
themselves into the physical experience. A. For the male kindergarten teacher a
tunic is best, rather like a short Eurythmy
dress. He too wears an apron when he works,
Q. How frequently do you meet with the
with two large pockets. It is helpful for the
assistant?
further development of the child and adult
A. At teachers meetings the student is when the child during these early years does
present because she has to learn. But when the not experience the details and differentiation
kindergarten group leaders meet, the student of everything physical, but as yet that which is
or assistant is not present. She understands fundamentally protective and enveloping. For
that these meetings take place. We always that reason I never wear a sleeveless dress or
communicate with one another. sleeveless blouse in the kindergarten.
Every morning, when we meet for the We adults in the kindergarten wear aprons
verse we have time to exchange a few words. At throughout the morning, and when we work in

95
The Education of the Teacher

the garden we wear a garden apron. This gives a to his own resources. He needs help to overcome
picture of protection, of being surrounded and this, and it is very important that we offer the
enveloped. child something at such a time. It is not only
a question of successfully diverting the childs
Q. How do you help the assistant work on the attention but of giving him new possibilities, in
relationship between child and adult? other words, creatively guiding and educating
the child.
A. Let us look at some examples: (1) I have
to settle a quarrel or (2) I have a brief word with Visitors and students may not interfere in the
a child as I pass him or (3) two children come to play of the children by saying, Why dont you
me and complain, the one about the other, and do so and so? or If you do this, then . But
so I say Was it you? No. Was it you? No. when the children draw the adult into their play,
Arent we lucky nobody did it! and the two e.g., ask him to move a puppet, to tell the story
children leave with a smile, and we are friends. for the puppet show, or offer the adult a cup of
Such things as these examples the assistant has tea in their playhouse, then this is different.
to hear. She also has to learn to divert a childs The young child learns through wonder, and
attention or to beckon a child to her because a so I use a large saw, or a bow saw, for sawing
minute later there will be a quarrel. firewood or wood for whittling. The children
She has to learn to transform a situation see it and then may imitate me with small saws
such as playing engines. With the playing of or they take what they observed into their play
engines there can be first a certain rigidity of and imaginatively transform it. In other words,
limbs, muscles, and larynx that may be harmful, they play with two pieces of wood of which one
and secondly this play can be unproductive, is a saw. It is the same with cooking and many
even harmful for the soul of the child when the other domestic and maintenance activities I
child becomes stuck. For example, he builds carry out in the kindergarten. Sometimes a child
with tables and planks and chairs, sits on it and might say, Mummy lets me have a knife. The
begins, Rrrrrrrrr. But the adult needs to have teacher may reply, And in the kindergarten
ideas as to how this situation can be transformed we do it this way. I try not to separate the
into a human, social process, such as a taxi, an child from life. As he identifies himself with
ambulanceto perhaps offer small pieces of watching, wondering, the child lives with me,
bark for the tickets on the train. is integrated into life.
Now a golden rule: Whenever the adult
Q. Some assistants praise the children for their
takes something from a child, he needs
good deeds. Could you comment on this?
to give something to the child in return.
When an adult thinks he needs to say stop A. The child in the first seven years does
it, or dont do that, then he is prohibiting, not yet need praise from the adult. It does,
suppressing or disallowing a movement of however, need help to experience gratitude. This
action and will. It may be quite necessary to help can be given in an indirect way when the
stop the activity, but the adult needs to realize adult serves as an example. For instance, every
he or she is intercepting a process of relating Saturday one of my kindergarten mothers takes
and connecting. As a result, the young child the dirty laundry home. My inner experience
experiences a sudden disconnection, a type of of gratitude, (more than feeling) my words
loneliness and is pushed back upon himself, on of gratitude, work upon the child. When I

96
Freya Jaffke Working with an Assistant

directly praise and bring gratitude into the beyond the animal stage, for there is now
childs consciousness, the child can experience verticality, language, and the I. Therefore, the
a separation and can also experience evaluation question to be asked is: Has the child become
which is in part discrimination and judgment. caught in wanting to be an animal? Some
For the young child, continuous transformation children want to play animals day after day. Then
and creativity are the natural mode of behavior we look to see if the pussy is alone or if it wishes
and awareness. When the child is well on to be caressed, warmed, and held. Then let us
the way with the change of teeth, i.e., from find a human being to shelter it from harm. Or
grade one onwards, he is led more and more has the dog been abandoned and wants a guide,
towards comparison and conceptualization, and a master? The animal is transformed through its
therefore the teacher will now put the childs relationship with the human master. Sometimes
drawings and paintings on the wall and his the child is playing an animal part but as if in
beeswax models on the table, and together the a singing game or as if acting out a fairy tale.
child and teacher will look at the results. But in The child has slipped into the movement and
the kindergarten, teacher and child are happy behavior of an animal but will in a minute slip
together when they have finished a job, when out of it, again. But if the child is stuck in the
everything is beautiful, when, for example, the animal form, how can we get the donkeys skin
piece of cheesecloth which is always white and off again through transformation? Circus play,
has only one function, to cover the buttered too, allows itself to be transformed. The seal may
bread for snack, is returned to its proper place have a ball on its nose, the same child may be
where it lives. This joy, which radiates out the dog which jumps over a stick or the circus
from a deed accomplished, the children take performer who holds the stick. Then there is
with them into their play corner and into transformation.
their activities. Of course, when a child brings
something to school, the teacher will say thank Q. How can the assistant learn to have the
you, but there is no need to praise the deed. whole room in her consciousness?
When a child wants something at snack A. She works on this step by step, and
time, I often say please for him but do not week by week. She may begin by observing a
have the child especially repeat it. The main few children and accurately observe only that
thing is that please and thank you have small group. She does so during her work and
been pronounced. By the time the child is 5, sees what does Jack need, what does Jill need.
he should say the words of his own accord. She perceives and takes hold of a particular
If he does not, and appears to be sloppy and group of children. In addition she wants to
unformed, then this can be due to lack of form allow something to stream from her so that the
and support from the adults in his surroundings children are playing happily, that the children
and can lead to insecurity. The child will find it feel her warmth, enthusiasm and interest when
difficult to stand straight and strong in the world she cleans up, for instance, so that they join
and vis--vis his environment. in with equal interest and enthusiasm. Some
assistants do not have this joy naturally and will
Q. What do we do when the children want to need to be helped without pulling the children
play animals? out of their dream consciousness.
A. There are different aspects of animal The teacher of the young child wants to be a
play. After the age of three, the child has grown second in advance of the child at each and every

97
The Education of the Teacher

moment. She has to see and hear in advance, to Q. How do you help the assistant learn stories,
think in advance, e.g., I know there are puddles songs and verses?
in the garden and therefore today boots will be
A. The student needs to learn songs, rhymes,
worn. I see that cows have crossed and dirtied
and stories by heart regularly so that she has a
our path and therefore I lead the children down
good amount of material at her disposal at the
another path.
end of the year. Just as a Waldorf kindergarten
The assistant needs to learn how to bring teacher does not stand in front of the children
children together as a group, how to conduct, with a piece of paper in her hand on which is
nourish and develop a group. How does she written the nativity play, neither does she have
prepare herself? She prepares herself for her the fairy tale open in front of her. If she would
work by learning to love everything during read the stories, her relationship to the children
her year as an assistant, every gesture, all our would be dulled and weakened. She could not
ways, all our objects such as our knot dolls, connect herself to them so instinctively or
described by Rudolf Steiner in The Education of watch them so well. The parent is not always
the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy. It is up able to learn stories by heart and therefore
to the kindergarten teacher and the assistant to my priority, my advice for parents, is that the
develop a love for these dollslet the children parents should read a story to the child with the
make them in the mornings, wrap them up, care same words every day, rather than that the child
for them. They may hold the dolls on their laps does not have any fairy tales at home at all. The
during the telling of the fairy tale, put them to kindergarten children have a story or puppet
bed and eventually, of course, give them a bath play every week (six schooldays in Germany),
after undoing the knots. Later, after ironing the about 15 in a year. It is good when a student or
piece of cloth they may help to re-knot the doll assistant sees and hears how I struggle to learn
and make the eyes with a blue pencil. Some a fairy tale. Students may also tell a fairy tale.
Steiner kindergarten teachers have the children, Rudolf Steiner is quite clearyoung children
sometimes each child every morning, knot a need true fairy tales rather than little stories,
doll, their doll. I can very well see the value of though occasional nature stories may certainly
that. My children often wrap their dolls up and be told.
put them in a corner, under a pillow and expect
to find them there the following day. I have nine Q. Could you speak on any other aspects of the
or ten such dolls and a child may, of course, assistants work and behavior?
make himself more.
A. At the interview I discuss with the student
or assistant when and where she may take notes
Q. How is it best to prepare the children for a
for the Training Course. In the second week
student or visitor?
of the second term, she may prepare and carry
A. Only we, the adults, need to know the through everything pertaining to the snack.
day before or in the morning. The children do Some people are able to do that already at the
not need to know that a student is coming, nor end of the first term. Once the children have
is there any formal introduction of the visitor to gone home, I discuss with the assistant the
the children. Rudolf Steiner said, The child has way she has carried out her activities. It is my
to and is able to adapt. A prerequisite is that the intention to help the student or assistant to learn
work has been prepared the previous day so that to see and to act, to help the children slowly
one is ready for the visitor. grow more independent, for example, by saying,

98
Freya Jaffke Working with an Assistant

Slip your arm into the sleeve, instead of using early time in the practical work of the training,
words which for the young child are meaningless there is no point in reviewing the manner of her
such as, You are a big boy now, you can do work. The teacher cannot expect that the student
that for yourself. Furthermore, the student has will already have acquired a method of working.
to learn to fit and order herself into situations, But it is important that the student remembers
to be tidy. This is necessary because order has each day to carry out her given tasks, that she
to do with gesture and the young child as a does them with care, that she grows aware of
creature of will responds to and learns through a certain logic in working, that she becomes
gesture. Thus the chest of drawers is tidy, and the conscious of her own movements and gestures,
basket is in the same place. An ordered world, e.g., where she puts down an object.
an ordering of existence, protects the child and
At the end of the year a goodbye present for
gives him security. Once, after cleaning the
the studenta small book or puppetcould be
shelves an assistant had put one shelf with its
given and then we perhaps have a conversation,
contents a little lower. A four-year-old boy came
Do you think you have learned something
to me and said, We dont have any headbands
during this year?
today!
Yes, I realize that I have to be more caring,
To begin with, in the first week or two of
more tidy, that the process of my work has to
the practicum, the student needs, quite simply,
be consistent, to be logical, that I have to clear
to learn and live together with the children and
away before I go on to the next activity. In
teacher. She may do some practical activities
other words, it has proved helpful to raise into
such as dusting while I water the plants. At this
consciousness that which has taken place.

Supervising a Student Teacher


Nancy Foster, Acorn Hill Childrens Center

Recognizing the great need for trained We would, in turn, be glad to hear from other
kindergarten teachers, ideally with some schools in this regard.
classroom experience, the faculty of Acorn Hill
In one way, of course, it is a sacrifice to
has been grateful for the work of the Waldorf
accept a student teacher. Our ideal is to provide
Institute in Spring Valley as well as the other
an intimate, secure, and consistent environment
Waldorf teacher training programs around the
for the children, a place in which they can be
country. Since we wish to support their efforts to
allowed to experience the dream consciousness
fill this need, and would like to help by providing
of healthy early childhood. Introducing a
some experience in a classroom for the students,
student teacher into the classroom is clearly
we have accepted several student teachers over
an awakening experience for the children. In
the past years. We thought it might be helpful to
addition, supervising a practicum inevitably
other schools, some of which might in the future
requires extra time and energy on the part of
have the opportunity to accept a student teacher,
the kindergarten teacher. Are these sacrifices
if we shared some of our thoughts about student
justified? We feel that they are. We have found
teachingboth the idea and the practicality.

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The Education of the Teacher

that if the practicum is handled carefully, the Week IV: The student takes on the
children soon adjust to the new adult in the responsibility for circle time and story time. At
classroom and, with the teachers support, are circle time, the usual morning song and verse
able to continue their work and play as before. (candle time) have been learned by the student
The teacher experiences perhaps unexpected and remain as before; the student teacher
benefits through the necessity of becoming introduces new songs, finger plays, or singing
conscious of many things which need to be games. For story time the student learns and
discussed with the student teacher. This can be presents a fairy tale, which is told six to eight
a healthy form of awakening! Above all, we feel times during the two weeks, and a little story
that the benefits to the Waldorf kindergarten which is told a few times during this period.
movement outweigh the extra effort involved in
Week V: Continuing to carry out circle and
working with a student teacher.
story time, the student also takes responsibility
The kindergarten practicum is usually five for each days rhythm, and takes the teachers
weeks long. The following is an outline of how role in most circumstances, although the teacher
these five weeks might be structured for the is always present in the classroom. The teacher
student teacher: takes the role of assistant, in effect.
Week I: The student observes in the class. The Waldorf Institute requires that the
As with other observers, we ask that the student supervising teacher have at least three years of
be busy with some kind of handwork (sewing, teaching experience, or that such a teacher must
knitting, etc.), both because it is good for the be the one to sign the required evaluations.
children to see adults productively active, and There are several evaluation forms which must
because it makes the observation less obtrusive. be filled out, discussed with the student, and
During the first week the student may also returned to the Institute at specified times.
observe in other kindergarten classes in the
A few notes of explanation of our procedures
school, but most of the time should be spent in
might be worthwhile:
the class where the practicum will take place.
The supervising teacher meets with the
Week II: The student begins to take part in
student at least once each week to discuss plans,
the class, joining in at circle time and helping the
discuss particular children or incidents in the
teacher at appropriate times. More interaction
class, and evaluate the students experiences.
with the children begins to take place in an
informal, low-key way. No announcement is The supervising teacher helps the student
made to the children concerning the student in planning, and discusses with him/her what
teachers role; the children simply experience activities, songs, stories, etc., are suitable for the
him or her as a new presence in the room and particular class and age group. The supervising
become used to this person in a natural way. teacher may help the student in gathering
materials needed for projects and advises him/
Week III: The student takes on responsibility
her about practical details.
for preparing and carrying out a craft project
with the children. This project may last for If there is an assistant teacher in the class,
several days and may carry over to the next his/her role remains as it usually is during the
week(s) depending on its complexity and the age first weeks of the practicum. We have found
level of the class. that the extra pair of hands in the room can be

100
Nancy Foster Supervising a Student Teacher

a great help! During the later weeks, however, as may last for the first year or more of teaching.
the student teacher takes on more responsibility, Gradually the growing teacher begins to develop
it may be a good opportunity for the assistant to a feel for what seems right about the work in
visit and observe other classes in the school. the classroom. During this stage there begins a
groping toward a personal teaching style.
Recognizing that the childrens need for
security and continuity must be kept foremost, If serious study of Waldorf pedagogy and
the supervising teacher never leaves the children anthroposophy have continued beyond the
without her presence and support. While details teacher training period, as they should, the
must be worked out between the particular student teacher will then enter the stage in
teacher and student, it is made clear that which an active thinking life can unite with
ultimate responsibility for the children remains experience to light up within the willing and
with the teacher. While this does not provide the feeling of the teacher. Now that the joys and
student teacher with the experience of having struggles of teaching are being experienced, the
his/her own class, neither would this experience fruits of study ripen in the realm of action. The
be provided if the teacher were to leave the room student teacher begins to have a basis for making
and turn the class over to the student as a sort of pedagogical decisions.
substitute teacher. This would be unfair to both
The teacher must seek the balance, the
children and student teacher. There is, in fact, no
interweaving, of thinking, feeling and willing. It
way for a practicum to provide the experience
is a privilege to participate in a student teachers
of beginning the year with a group of children,
beginning on the path toward this goal. And,
creating ones own atmosphere and rhythm, and
after all, is this not a goal of every inwardly
building the relationship between children and
striving human being? Rudolf Steiners verse,
teacher.
Ecce Homo, provides a beautiful inspiration:
Nevertheless, the practicum is an important
step on the way to becoming a kindergarten
teacher. The student needs to experience a In the Heart the loom of Feeling;
kindergarten class, taking part in its rhythm, In the Head the light of Thinking;
its activities, its turmoil and peace, and,
In the Limbs the strength of Will
equally important, the student needs a model
to imitate. That is perhaps the primary role Weaving of radiant Light,
of the supervising teacherto provide such
Strength of the Weaving,
a model. Through imitating this model in
conscious ways and sometimes not-so-conscious Light of the surging Strength:
ways, the student forms a basis in the will life
Lo, this is Man!
for beginning to be a teacher. The stage of
imitationthe early childhood of teaching!

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Acknowledgements
We would like to thank all the contributors work; Nicola Main for illustrations; and Bob
to this publication, whose names are included Roberson and Clopper Almon for technical
with their articles and the publishers who assistance on the computer.
allowed us to translate and publish the following
We acknowledge with gratitude the
articles:
indications of Rudolf Steiner which are the
Von der Wurde des Kindes and Erziehungs- basis of Waldorf educations philosophy and
kunst for the following: pedagogy. Since 1919, when the first Waldorf
school was created, Steiners insights into
Stages of Development in Early Childhood
childhood and education have been taken up
Kindergarten Readiness and further developed by Waldorf schools which
now number about 600 in over 30 countries. The
Sistine Madonna: A Symbol of the Eternal
Anthroposophical Society, founded by Rudolf
Spiritual in People
Steiner to cultivate the free spiritual life of the
We thank Paula Lane-DeLorme, who human being, strives to deepen the work of
translated the articles listed above; Carol Petrash Waldorf education and other activities through
for her editorial work; Lydia Roberson for its ongoing research and study. The center of
editorial work and compilation of this volume; the Society is in Dornach, Switzerland, at the
Bella Schauman and Jerilyn Ray-Shelley for Goetheanum which is pictured below.
work on past Newsletters; Leslie Bailey for art

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