On play during childhood and its effects in later life

When one understands how the child plays in the first years of its life, approximately up to the age of five and wants to develop the child’s individuality and character, one will provide the opportunity to enjoy play. Play prepares something that will find expression much later in the child’s life, for one must learn to understand human life in its totality. The botanist studies the plant in its entirety. What passes for ‘psychology’ nowadays only looks at the moment. 

At the age of twenty-five, twenty-seven, or a little earlier, a human being has to deal with life’s experiences, must be able to handle life and become a purposeful individual. Thus, observing a person in their twenties, one can recognise how a child’s ability to play approximately between birth and the fifth year culminates in becoming a practical person in his twenties who can handle life purposefully. 

We develop the root of what will later emerge as a flower at an early age. This understanding comes from the inner knowledge provided by Anthroposophy that penetrates authentic human nature. Therefore, we need to learn to observe the whole human being. In a sense, if we want to be teachers or educators, we must feel that we have to carry responsibility for the entire human being.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 297 – ANTHROPOSOPHIE UND PÄDAGOGISCHE KUNST – Ölten, December 29, 1920 (page 261-262)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger