Imponderables: insubstantial matters; incalculable influences   

Up to around the seventh year the child is a mimicking being. I do not say this because of some mystical inclination on my part concerning the number seven, but because the change of teeth is effectively an important juncture in the whole life development of the child. – The child learns his specific movements through imitation, even his speech is acquired through imitation; the way it develops its thought forms happens by way of imitation as well. Because the relationship between the environment of the child and the child itself is not only dependant on external factors, but deeply hidden immeasurable influences (German: Imponderabilien) also play a role, parents and educators must be aware that the child adjusts to what the adults in its environment do. Not only outwardly observable actions are taken in – not just what they say – but what they experience, what they feel, what they think as well. In our materialistic times it is generally not believed that it makes a difference whether we have noble or ignoble thoughts in the environment of the developing child because we only consider the material entities as valid and not those which are inwardly connected to things which cannot be weighed nor measured.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 297a – Erziehung zum Leben – Amsterdam, 28 February 1921 (p. 53-54)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on August 15, 2014

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Enjoyment in school

From the change of teeth up to the time of adolescence the child really lives continually in the present, and is interested in what is going on in the world around him. When educating we must constantly keep in mind that children of primary school age want always to live in the present. How does one live in the present? One lives in the present when one enjoys the world around one, not in an animal way, but in a human way. And indeed the child of this age wants also to enjoy the world in the lessons he receives. Therefore from the outset we must make our teaching a thing of enjoyment for the children — not animal enjoyment, but enjoyment of a higher, human kind — not something that calls forth in them antipathy and repulsion.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 293 – The Study of Man: Lecture IX – Stuttgart, 30 August 1919

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