Fragments from The Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy (2 of 3)

There are two magic words which indicate how the child enters into relation with his environment. They are: Imitation, and Example. The Greek philosopher Aristotle called man the most imitative of creatures. For no age in life is this more true than for the first stage of childhood, before the change of teeth. What goes on in his physical environment, this the child imitates, and in the process of imitation his physical organs are cast into the forms which then become permanent. ‘Physical environment’ must, however, be taken in the widest imaginable sense. It includes not only what goes on around the child in the material sense, but everything that takes place in the child’s environment — everything that can be perceived by his senses, that can work from the surrounding physical space upon the inner powers of the child. This includes all the moral or immoral actions, all the wise or foolish actions, that the child sees.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 34 – The Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy

Translated by George and Mary Adams


Previously posted on April 10, 2018


Fragments from The Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy (1 of 3)

With physical birth the physical human body is exposed to the physical environment of the external world. Before birth it was surrounded by the protecting envelope of the mother’s body. What the forces and fluids of the enveloping mother-body have done for it hitherto, must from now onward be done for it by the forces and elements of the external physical world. Now before the change of teeth in the seventh year, the human body has a task to perform upon itself which is essentially different from the tasks of all the other periods of life. In this period the physical organs must mould themselves into definite shapes. Their whole structural nature must receive certain tendencies and directions. In the later periods also, growth takes place; but throughout the whole succeeding life, growth is based on the forms which were developed in this first life-period. If true forms were developed, true forms will grow; if misshapen forms were developed, misshapen forms will grow. We can never repair what we have neglected as educators in the first seven years. Just as Nature brings about the right environment for the physical human body before birth, so after birth the educator must provide for the right physical environment. It is the right physical environment alone, which works upon the child in such a way that the physical organs shape themselves aright.

To be continued

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 34 – The Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy

Translated by George and Mary Adams


Previously posted on April 9, 2018

Imponderable things of life

It is no exaggeration to say: If a man most inwardly endeavours to be a good man in the presence of a child before the age of seven; if he endeavours to be sound in every way, if he conscientiously resolves to make no allowances for himself even in his inner life, in thoughts and feelings that he does not outwardly express — then, through the intangible, imponderable things of life, he works most powerfully upon the child.  

In this connection there are many things still to be observed, things which, if I may so express myself, “lie between the lines.” We have become enmeshed in a more materialistic way of life, especially as regards life’s more intimate and finer aspects. And so we have grown accustomed to pay little attention to these things. Yet it is only when they are rightly observed and estimated once again, that a certain impulse will enter into our educational thought and practice — an impulse that is very badly needed, especially in an age which claims to be a social age, an age of social thought.

There are certain experiences in life, which we cannot rightly estimate unless we take into account these real observations of the soul- and spiritual-life within the human being.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 297 – Spiritual Science and the Art of Education – November 27, 1919   

Translated by George Kaufmann from a Shorthand Manuscript of an Address to School Teachers


Musical education

A child who is denied the blessing of having his musical sense cultivated during these years (about 7 till 14), will be the poorer for it the whole of his later life. If this sense were entirely lacking in him, whole aspects of the world’s existence would of necessity remain hidden from him.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 34 – The Education of the Child in the Light of Anthroposophy

Previously posted on June 20, 2016


Giovanni Santi / Raphael / John the Baptist

The more we work with spiritual science, the more we notice that the dead also work back upon the living. For example, in educating children who have lost their fathers at a very early age, we must take this into account. Often one can feel the father sending an influence from the spiritual world. I once had to tutor children whose father had died early. I tried to train them in my own way, but it would not work, simply would not work. But when it occurred to me to allow for the influence of the father from the spiritual world, then it went very well …

If you work out something about incarnations in a clever theoretical way, it will usually be wrong. It must seem strange that Raphael was the same person as a thorny character like John the Baptist.

How could it happen that this thorny man, who had to pave the way for the Mystery of Golgotha in such a violent way, reappeared as the gentle, pliable, charming Raphael? But look at this. Raphael’s father, Giovanni Santi, died when Raphael was eleven. He was a painter. He was not a great painter so far as external achievements go, but he had great ideas in his head, although he could not put them on canvas because he had no technical skill. He was also a poet. There was a great deal of fantasy in him, but the physical capacities simply were not there. He went early through the portal of death, and then his forces worked into his son. In Raphael’s hands and imagination worked all that his father could send into the physical world. One can say that the old Giovanni Santi was a painter without hands in the supersensible world, for in a wonderful karmic relationship he supplied, in combination with the Christ-filled individuality of the Baptist, what came to expression in Raphael. The supersensible world had to work with the physical world to achieve this result. It shows how the so-called dead are able to influence those who have been left behind…

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA number unknown – On the Relationship with the Dead – From a Branch Lecture in Essen on 23 April 1913

Previously posted on March 31, 2020


Giovanni Santi