Living Education

a journal for Steiner Waldorf Schools
Issue 1- November 2006

Did Rudolf Steiner Want a Seven-Grade Elementary School Configuration? by Mark Riccio Montessori and Steiner: A Pattern of Reverse Symmetries by Dee Joy Coulter. Some Background information on Montessori and Steiner by Jill Taplin The Building Bridges conference: a report by Michael Stott Editorial by Christopher Clouder The Developing Child In Relation To The Architecture Of The Primary School by Johannes Schuster page 1 page page page page 5 6 8 9

page 10

do we educate and teach in the 2 One need not be a mathematician to ask the question: . for instance. and in sixth through eight-grade elementary Steiner outlines the unfolding of the eighth grades with a greater focus physical. only as it is possible today. the teacher and students build a profound heart-to-heart relationship over the course of eight years. Seven-year Cycles as the Basis of Waldorf Education The basis of Waldorf education was spiritual growth of the child. Some Waldorf teachers felt inadequate in the face of these challenges because they did not have the necessary background. on style. The advantages of such a deep and meaningful growing together become apparent to anyone who has experienced it. fourth. educational lectures. but I hope to prompt further discussion regarding what is in the best interest of Waldorf students and their teachers. all schools were required to have an eight-grade elementary school sequence. school movement. Each changed. Steiner year cycles. perhaps because Rudolf Steiner stated that compromises needed to be made: “If one has an eye on human health and human development. and astral bodies. After leaving school. this fact we do not want to deny. completely built on compromises. I make this point only to make the reader aware The 2 1/3 year sub-cycles define the changes in things were not so simple in the beginning of the teaching methods in the Waldorf school. In this essay. In Waldorf education. skill.g. then this makes possible correct classroom and educational practice…. some students became apprentices. The Education question: How does a seven.Did Rudolf Steiner Want a Seven-Grade Elementary School Configuration? Mark Riccio This article examines the question: Was the original eight-grade sequence in the Waldorf elementary schools the result of a necessary compromise Rudolf Steiner made? This question grows in importance because some Waldorf educators have been reconsidering the effectiveness of having a class teacher for eight years. It has always been fascinating to me to hear veteran Waldorf teachers speak about how they had to meet the challenges of learning so many subjects and growing with their class. etheric. While the methods may have been astral developing between the ages of 14 and 21. the etheric body school law required children to enter school at age six developing between the ages of 7 and 14. School Law in 1919 In most Central European schools. and some went to Gymnasium for a classical education in preparation for university entrance. The Waldorf school is. which are mentioned in Steiner’s later not adapted for six-year old (premature) first graders. Waldorf schools have considered changing to a seven-year sequence because of the difficulties teachers have had growing with their class. I believe that the curriculum suggestions for of these seven-year cycles consists of the sub-cycle of the first grade are what Steiner originally intended.third. in many aspects. and fifth grades more of the Child in Light of through the element of grammar year cycle fit into a Anthroposophy. or Volksschule. later second grades through imitation. One need not be a given in several lectures by Rudolf languages are taught in first and Steiner in 1906-1907. or support to grow with a class except for a limited number of grades. elementary school. lasted for seven years with other types of training. others went to technical or vocational schools. however. and the new Waldorf school was no exception. with the physical body altered the methods a bit in the first grade because developing between age 0 and 7. in mathematician to ask the published as an essay.. In Switzerland. 2 1/3 years. Even today some schools do not Approximately every two grades the teachers alter use the second dentition as prerequisite for entrance their pedagogical approach to match the psychointo the first grade. configuration? This process takes place in sevenIn the first Waldorf school. How does a seven-year cycle fit into a eight-grade elementary configuration? This question has never been posed. or its opposite for that matter. In Stuttgart Baden-W•rttemberg in 1919. e. and writing. and the instead of seven. Should Waldorf class teachers teach the entire span of elementary grades? Was that span intended to be seven rather than eight years? In this article I do not attempt to arrive at final answers to these questions.

and what was taught in first grade would be repeated in the seventh grade. more attention would be given in your teaching.” (GA 294 p. and people would the Waldorf school had to make to comply see that if this were put into practice. It seems to me. Steiner said: “It is natural that today these things can only be seen as an ideal for the future…. many other compromises that strengthening of the memory. that he grows not only into the methods. which would then stand alone by itself. with an eight grade sequence. 3 . which perfectly matches the seven-year cycle. my translation) This configuration would achieve an excellent There are. Steiner worked out course selections for the first eight grades using certain organic forms based on the intervals and qualities of the four-fold human being.” (GA 303. You could work in a tremendously beneficial manner. This middle grade corresponds to the ego level in the seven-fold Because he compared the ideal with the one being put human being or to the flower in Goethe’s description into practice. p. 171. then you could work. I have rendered this quote in a poetic form due to its length. Steiner outlines the polarities between pairs of grades in a school with a seven-grade sequence. and according to the same principle what was taught in second grade would be repeated in sixth grade. For such a sequence. When there is a loop hole as in the case of the W•rttemberger school law. I of the archetypal plant. my translation) Steiner’s use of the term “a true knowledge of the human being” could perhaps indicate the fact that each human being goes through sevenyear cycles and therefore not an eight-year cycle. therefore. Seven-Year Cycles and The ‘Ideal School’ Steiner rarely discussed the ideal school or the ideal curriculum. I have beneficial an effect these things would have – focused just on this particular one since it is so simply because they have their origin in the laws of little discussed. we have to question what he meant. for example.1 think a hint was given in a lecture not completely related to education: The fact that Steiner so rarely mentioned the ideal “And if. This concept is especially important in cases where a class teacher has to leave a class in the middle of an eight-year cycle. and third and fifth grades. however. however.sense of a true knowledge of the human being. to such things. and then I will proceed to compare this ideal curriculum with the curricula which will play a role in your classes because we are in fact surrounded on all sides from the outer world and its constructs. The Polarities in the Eight-Grade Sequence In the quote from GA 115. for example. my translation) real life”. of course. (GA 115. Steiner describes how the teacher should conceptualize the eight-grade sequence as an organic whole. but that he grows with the form of the school. how with the State’s requirements. if you would divide the consecutive school grades into a seven-grade school. The principle of polarities can also by applied. one can establish something with compromises. Here Steiner draws polarities between the first and seventh grades. p. p. that he has grown into the configuration of the first eight grades. with the fourth grade standing by itself.88. 153. he said: “This much I must tell you before I will construct for you the ideal curriculum. 203. in a tremendously beneficial manner. however in a changed form. my translation) In this quote Steiner outlines a configuration of seven grades. In Practical Advice to Teachers. In The Renewal of Education.2 In the following quote. so that you create so-to-say a middle grade. second and sixth grades. curriculum and that his reference to the seven-year sequence is obscure may make people question their validity. however that the ideal school configuration would be one in which every grade corresponded to a year in the seven-year cycle. That is why such importance is placed on the fact that the pedagogue is master in the school and not just that any school norms dominate which one must adapt himself to.” (GA 301. and that which was learned in the third grade would be repeated in fifth grade. I believe that Rudolf Steiner desired a seven-grade sequence but he had to make certain necessary compromises for the founding of the first Waldorf school. but that the teacher is himself master in the school. The new teacher needs to be able to teach with a sense for the organic whole of the curriculum.

For example. should one not accept that and instead work with the principle of specialization? The eight-grade sequence is not a natural one. See also. Seven-year Rhythm ? Whether or not Rudolf Steiner wanted the elementary school sequence to be based on the seven-year rhythm I will leave up to the reader. The sixth grade in the Waldorf curriculum. topic of Romans. p. between the third and law. the great individuals of Ancient Here we have it: the first and eighth The principle of polarity is History stand as a polarity to the grades form a polarity From there we detectable in all subjects Norse Myths. astral. because both he did in his statements about the ideal seven-grade describe the nature of human archetype thus sequence. 1 See Florin Lowndes’s The Enlivening of the Chakra of the Heart . form. His forthcoming book. my translation) Hebrews (the law) in third. both are connected to the life of people/ in eighth grade. the Waldorf curriculum. teaches the first or the eighth grade. could work with the higher elementary school grades? Waldorf education is not only about educating but about “awakening” the children. I believe that it has been a necessary arrangement that may no longer be in the interest of the teacher. I do not think instituting such a sequence today would have a significant impact on the day-to-day activities of schools. A teacher who masters such The principle of polarity is detectable in all subjects in interrelationships has mastered the content. Anthroposophical Press. and is curriculum. This teaching process could have been animals or to the etheric in general. These subjects deal respectively with the physical. In the fifth grade. Other questions that might be raised are: Should some Waldorf teachers become specialists? Should they focus on first through fourth grades.81. and thus not in the interest of the students. for a more detailed account of Steiner’s use of the seven-fold human being as a model for meditation or writing. representing the physical body level of the curriculum. animal fables in second. If a teacher does not possess the powers of awakening a certain age group. etheric. and Norse Myths in the fourth grade. class 5 and class 8 at Elmfield 4 . that in this way of teaching (of the first grade) the way is also given in which the pedagogue must teach in the eighth grade. He got his Doctorate at Teachers College at Columbia University and gives lectures on Steiner’s organic-living thinking as well as on the Waldorf school as a heart-thinking school. Paintings from class 1. Mark Riccio currently works at Northeastern Illinois University. What is more pertinent is whether Waldorf teachers are conscious of the particular form of the sequence of the curriculum and whether they are teaching out of this type of organic understanding. and between the fourth and the fifth because law shapes the astral. in the history and organic wholeness of the entire curriculum. in one year. This is what Steiner meant when he said the of Age of Discovery is polar to the topic of animal way is given in first grade for teaching the right way fables. is polar to the Hebrew Law the sixth grades. because they both deal can conclude there must also be with the human ego. The eighth grade made even clearer if Steiner had said “What is taught topic of cultural history is polar to the archetypes in first grade should be repeated in eighth grade” as found in Fairy tales of the first grade. (GA 301. while others who enjoy teaching the older children. stories of the subjects are interconnected and taught for a purpose. Mercury Press June 2001. The seventh grade topic grades. the first four years calls for: Fairy Tales in thereby able to give the children the sense that all the first grade. 2 See Theosophy or An Outline of Esoteric Science for a full description .The four upper grades deal with the same aspects of the human being in reverse order. especially Roman polarities between the second and the seventh grades. that he teaches in such a way in the first grade. whether he. An Outline for a Renewal of Waldorf Education is published by Mercury Press. and ego aspects of the human being. Mark Riccio’s An Outline for a Renewal of Waldorf Education .

that led to the answers. Maria Montessori’s happened hardened children. offering disenfranchised children the the connections he had made as head of the German masculine service of enculturation.D . asked Steiner to devise an education that could serve both the children of the workers and the management. in contrast. therefore. a male in a masculine country at the end of a very masculine act of war. Montessori and Steiner Waldorf: I have cherished both movements for years. Steiner would ask his teachers to introduce geographical spaces and their spatial relationships the wonder of sacred number principles. as well. agreeing to overlook the fact that I was befriending the other in my spare time. Whereas Steiner’s affiliation with theosophy Steiner worked to rekindle the imaginations of overly occurred early in his life. of the Theosophical Society. While later. while hostilities also played a vital role in drawing forth Steiner’s vision (although in his case the impact was of the First World War). and to publish them through Adyar Press. would start with the local environment and 5 . that brought about Steiner’s initial invitation to participate in the formalization of an educational philosophy. the early. Then one day I was attending a lecture on education at Naropa University – a Buddhist-inspired college in Boulder that is my third dear friend and where I most love to teach – when Dr Jeremy Hayward commented that the Buddhists regard wisdom (basic goodness) and skillful means (right action) as the two wings of the dove. Montessori education invites the child to revere the answers first. It was her war experience that encouraged Montessori to press for peace education above all else. one that also – balance. Montessori worked to diminish the late in hers. but straddling the fence with these two dear friends has been a delicate business. for example. There are other reverse symmetries. and the spiritual interconnectedness. for six years and forced to slow her busy life to practical activities and their imaginations into proper the tempo of an Indian city. and work toward reuniting a culture torn apart by hostilities and class differences. children in the early grades to raise money to preserve Waldorf education reintroduces the questions so that Brazilian rain forests. is asked to instill the feminine principle of honoring the basic goodness and inner wisdom of the child by reintroducing the arts and Rudolf Steiner began his spiritual activities with the reawakening the heart forces. In that state of mind I thought again about my paradox. on the the child can personally generate the spiritual quests other hand. The parallels that run threadlike through Eastern philosophy tumbled through my mind then: femininity and masculinity. But the arts. Montessori. returning home to Italy. Theosophical Society. the international publishing house of the Theosophical Society. which he called anthroposophy. the wonders of human Montessori would first introduce the manifested forms cultural deeds. but as wholes in themselves? Suddenly I saw these two inspired leaders and their educational movements as a pattern of reverse symmetries. while in Montessori it instigated a deeper spiritualization of work that she had already begun with children in the Italian ghettoes. and to bring their India. the way each contains the other in seed form. apprising them of Theosophical Society gave him the publishing opportunities and building up skillful means in them so foundation upon which to further his own teachings that they could take their place in society. Pythagorean geometric forms – and later introduce the biographies and the ideas behind Montessori would have the children discover the forms. It was war. yin and yang. Steiner. considering the paradox of how they could both be so ‘right’ and yet be so different. Emil Molt. It is not uncommon for Montessori quests of their day before introducing the forms. She was on a visit to India when the excessive imaginative life of children who used that outbreak of the Second World War prevented her from realm as an escape from a reality they couldn’t grasp. For a long time I held each movement in separate compartments in my heart and in my head.Montessori and Steiner: A Pattern of Reverse Symmetries Dee Joy Coulter. eventually breaking away to form is a female in a feminine country already infused with his own movement. coincidentally – housed the international headquarters Symmetries in Curriculum Many curricular elements of the two approaches have the same reasonable oppositions. Steiner. Platonic solids. She strove to ‘normalize’ them. as well. and then to progress to the seed of the greatest mathematicians to the children – elements of the finest of our manifested works. It then shows them what the culture has developed. Montessori was inspired to write her most overtly spiritual books during those years. Could it be that Montessori and Steiner Waldorf made sense not as mere halves of what might be a good system (if only put together). She was interned in Adyar. to see how geography reveals our cultural biographies of the mathematicians. Each has kindly granted me an exemption. owner of the Waldorf Astoria cigarette factory. Ed.

nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.great-ideas. where her supporters included Alexander Graham Bell. chaotic conditions of the world. 1950 and 1951 . conflict. 1947 . Lower School with fairy tales. Steiner. 1904 . Steiner sought teachers who of Greece. 1906 . was published. current events by the time he or she Those teachers would do well to study entered the Upper School.Began a series of teacher training courses in London. she began studies in education. words are used to describe our formed world. a sense of context in the world would be a good to describe our inner life and the artistic nuances of tonic. 1929 . 1949. nor accept.Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) founded in Amsterdam. for example. 1934 . 1938 . 1896 .Born in Italy. when children are at their most sensitive about children ways to be in the world. and newly able to become a democratic society do well to step out into the world more often to see themselves. Conversely. and beauty. She was interned as an 'enemy alien' but allowed to continue teaching. We can no longer afford. building. The first of her trips to the United States. 1936 . feeling elements.Founded the London Montessori training centre. settings are like. Her time is spent training teachers. and practicality. 1939 .Montessori Educational Association founded in Washington DC. These support their spiritual insights. calling for inner transformations. legends. I witness the world as it is. After working with children with psychiatric disturbances. 1922 .Graduated in Rome as the first female medical doctor in Italy. Thomas Edison and Helen Keller. 1909 . each holds the other at its core.Running teacher training courses in India.Started her first school for 60 poor Roman children aged 3 to 6 years old. The Golden Age important. structure.1870 . a gender-based constraint on This article was first published in the Summer 1991 issue of Holistic Education Review (now Encounter: Education for Meaning and Social Justice) on the web at www. to model for Class 5. full of compassion. this has Institute in Longmont.Professor of anthropology in Rome. Those teachers would fairness.Worked in Barcelona.gradually work outward in spiral to reach astronomy by Class 12. been largely a masculine activity. One ultimate hope that children so nourished will then go thing is clear: the children need them both. imagination. Some Background information on Maria Montessori and Rudolf Steiner Dr Maria Montessori.).Her first book. specificity.Opened a Montessori training centre in Holland. then work on through spiritual embryo of the child and the Biblical and ancient recorded history to spiritual preparation of the teacher. 1913 . would start with the local environment and gradually work outward in spiral to reach astronomy by grade 12 Both of these paths are brilliant. rhythm. Both of these paths are at their best when But he would reverse the spiral for their practitioners strive to explore the history. would be addressed during had rich practical life experiences. play exercise. later re-titled 'The Discovery of the Child'. We must work to bring ourselves into balance in life. Steiner would pace this her later works and include within the clear forms a bit historical journey to match the unfolding more of the mystery that Maria Montessori also says is consciousness of the developing child. When I am with Montessori teachers. a sense of Montessori offers the acculturating gesture with the inner spiritual renewal would be equally reviving. Steiner proposed his inner approach with the ultimate hope that the children so nourished would then go Dr Dee Joy Coulter is a nationally recognized forth in freedom to contribute to the further neuroscience educator and director of Kindling Touch development of the culture. This is a a high level of love and caring. their feeling of isolation and inner exhaustion.Appointed as a government inspector of schools in Italy. essence. our ways of service.Forced to leave Italy by the rise of fascism. Each has the same obligation that faces every individual in these times. childhood that is vitally needed by children today. and how today’s outer science could and would writing and lecturing. The child would begin the seed qualities within their movement. where a training centre .Rescued from Barcelona in the Spanish civil war.kindlingtouch. had been set up for her. and honoring of the child. When I am with Waldorf teachers I witness processes. 1919 . each movement is more their feeling of overwhelmed compassion for the than a polarity. For context. and to These actions would be nourishing for the teachers construct our world. Colorado (www. aspects. order. 6 1917 . com. In recent history. Each brings forth able to bring about peace in the world. However. on the other hand. These words are used them. psychology and anthropology. and a path through very feminine goal. Waldorf teachers speak of delicate themselves. what other schools are doing. what children in other Montessori teachers speak more of materials. how faculties elsewhere work with environment. For them. Montessori spoke eloquently of the and myths.

1919 .arson. Foundation stone laid of the first Goetheanum in Dornach. Unlike Steiner or Waldorf. 1922.000 lectures. by Jill Taplin. Consequently any school or nursery can call itself Montessori. over 50 Early Childhood centres. banking and the arts. for example tying bows on special boards. There is little whole class teaching and much focus on each child as a person.Final break with the theosophists. and many thousands worldwide.1952 . or any Montessori teaching equipment is used. such as geometrical shapes. a sure sign of the continued appeal of this form of education. (This is in line with Rudolf Steiner's cycle of ego incarnation.General Secretary of the German Branch of the Theosophical Society. 1913 . 1923 . Lectures. the youngest of whom was a hydrophyliac. kindergarten teacher at the South Devon Rudolf Steiner School www. 1992 . scented bottles and boxes that sound different when shaken.Died in Holland. Kindergarten play Some Principles of Montessori Education. within sessions of up to three hours. Although the educational tasks are designed to be worked on alone. and nine to twelve. or pouring with jugs of rice.montessori. and published books on the many areas in which anthroposophy is still active. 1902 . sandpaper covered letters. Rudolf Steiner gave over 6. and 6 teachers training courses. Skills are practised.birth to three. learning from the examples of care and orderliness given by the adults Skills for literacy and numeracy can be easily absorbed through the senses by the young child. The teacher will only intervene if the child has difficulties and then only give the help that is needed for him to proceed for himself.Establishment of the Montessori International Foundation. 1899 .) Each class has a three year age span and children remain in the same class for two or three years.Beginning of the building of the second Goetheanum. artistic and esoteric aspects of anthroposophy. The teacher (or directress) is a supporter for the individual children.Born in Austria (now Croatia). Dr Rudolf Steiner. 1923 and 1924 .First Waldorf school opened in 7 . politeness and mutual appreciation are important to the child's security. There is a natural sequence of progression that carries the child through the work. There are over 700 hundred nurseries and schools in Britain and Ireland with Montessori in the name. 1921 . 1884 . 1883 . agriculture.Studying in Vienna and invited to edit Goethe's scientific writings.Foundation of the Anthroposophical Society. From an early age.Moved to study and work in Weimar. 1890 . for the children of the workers and directors of the Waldorf Astoria cigarette factory. This information is gathered from the following websites. children are strongly encouraged to help each other. children are encouraged to find out about other parts of the world both culturally and geographically.Tutor to a Viennese family of four children. Each child will be freely drawn to what he needs to do among the equipment laid out and will stay with it for as long as he needs. and the death of Rudolf Steiner. The child's activities with this equipment is designed to stimulate and refine the ten sensory areas. Montessori is not a registered name. There will be real but child-sized equipment to use for cleaning and tidying activities. books and plays. 1925 . Almost all of these are for children between the ages of three and six years old. Montessori education has no religious affiliation but many moral.1861 .Moved to Berlin and connected with theosophy.1890 . spiritual and humanitarian themes. three to six. and there are many specially designed pieces of Montessori equipment to support this. continued to develop both practical. including education.Publication of 'Philosophy of Freedom'.uk and www. whether or not the teachers have any training.Lectures on education and other topics in Oxford.First Goetheanum burnt down . World-wide there are more than 900 schools. medicine. 1897 . Dr Montessori saw child development divided into three year phases . Patience. six to nine. Ilkley and Torquay. Today there are more than 30 schools in Britain and Ireland. There is equipment for simple scientific experiments and emphasis on naming and classifying whatever the child discovers. 1894 . General Anthroposophical Society formed. some are also primary schools and there are a few secondary schools claiming Montessori principles. The classroom is the 'Children's House' and they are taught to take care of it and of themselves.Teacher and lecturer at the Workers Educational Institute.montesssori-uk.

It was the importance of believing in what you are teaching.W. there was an Ofsted obviously saw himself as a representative of it.” Its spokesmen and women have become aware that many of their treasured values are also those of Waldorf education. “record keeping and assessment” etc. Of the 50. but it is largely superseded by the imperative of delivery and incessant surveillance of crude accountability. “accessing funds for research”.F in the 1990’s – almost. These are what stimulated enthusiasm.W. The initiative and funding for this conference came from the U. to speak more openly to audiences in England. The tone of the conference surprised me. watch out! This was not precisely the phrase used by Professor Fielding. tradition of openness and experiment came to an end whether from the state or Waldorf sectors. Director of the Centre for Educational Innovation at the University of Sussex.W. In my discussion group an ex-head master. Could one find a better pair of bridges to link Waldorf schooling with state schooling? Well. but the state sector has merely coopted this as a foot soldier in the war on standards. Only one practising state they were well attended and appreciated by prominent teacher was present – a head-mistress from a school figures in education.S.E as a first step towards implementing the proposed dialogue. making each school a reflection of its environment. He steering group attended in full. two phrases used recently by the official establishment were mentioned: 1) we must educate “the whole child”. The S. In his lectures on education Ruskin’s plea sound contemporary: “The education befitting such and such a ‘station in life’ – this is the phrase.). At the beginning of November a conference was held at the U. This The main body of participants were “teacher trainers”. This is what he actually said: “Whole child – yes. Most of those from the mood in the room I would say he was not alone. “Summary of Outcomes” The official “Summary of Outcomes” diplomatically avoids being in any way provocative. For example. but it implied “in for a penny. (Sesame and Lilies. from the floor or in the organized discussion groups seemed to look upon Waldorf teachers as allies of what one guest speaker referred to several times as the “radical tradition in British education”. and above all the idea of teachers running their school as a team which seemed to inspire many people present. They never seek. 5 were Steiner gave lectures on education in the early 1920’s practising Waldorf teachers. In conclusion it can be said that the opportunity to discuss education freely and purely in terms of education would be greatly appreciated by teachers within state schools – if they were indeed represented 8 . establishing relations with pupils. an education About 50 people attended – many more would have good in itself”. competition …. as far as I can make out. 1882). Professor Michael Fielding assured us that it was still managing to exist.E education faculty. whether it be from the podium. and inspector and three people from the DfES. 2) teachers need to practise “self-reflection”. The report was drawn up by a team from the Education Faculty of the University of the West of England (U. He also said “why would you do that?” The official summary of the conference lists a number of areas where Waldorf Schools might learn something from the state sector: “support systems”. When Rudolf come but space was limited.The Building Bridges conference held on 8th November 2005 at the Faculty of Education of the University of the West of England a report by Michael Stott who spoke. I do not recall his precise cryptic comment. expressed surprise when a “Waldorf” person suggested a compromise adoption of some particular state requirement. always. A few months ago the government published a report on Waldorf education in which it was suggested that Waldorf schools and state schools could benefit from sharing experiences.” I was left with the impression that we were being warned by people with many years of bitter experience behind them not to rush towards the present state education machine. I would imagine that this tradition goes back at least as far as John Ruskin. now educational advisor to the South Gloucestershire council. in for a pound”. What it does not emphasize is that support for the state sector in its present form was noticeably absent. The real hero of the day was “the radical tradition” which has “no truck with setting. Indeed he seems to have felt able near Bath. Selfreflection – yes. The notes accompanying some of the talks reflect where the real interest lay.E.W. the object. Although no one mentioned his name.

needs and future competencies are taken into account responsibly and sensitively? The dangers are clear. self-fulfilment. accepting our differences and embracing our vocation with enthusiasm the struggle is far from lost. Steiner saw the potential for education to bring healing. Alongside the acknowledgment that mass educational systems set up so many decades ago no longer suffice there is the increased advocacy of children’s rights and the search for better. we have set up a global network that does not respect the labour of millions…. Living education is a necessity of our times. Instead of ending hunger in the world. Little Yarra Steiner School: view of class 3 side of the primary school building see article on next page 9 . Christopher Clouder. management doctrines and political expediency are contemporary challenges. Wynstones will be writing to the University of the West of England to offer its premises for such a conference. deeper and more responsive ways to assist learning. Industrialized thinking allied with academic traditions led these policies well into the 20th century. Every putative solution has an impact on schools and the educational environment as an enclosed garden is no more. Michael Stott has been a class teacher and language teacher at Wynstones and in Hastings NZ for many years. to a meeting of practising teachers from both Waldorf and state education. That circle is expanding rapidly in many new directions and as the international debate on education and childhood increases in volume and intensity Living Education is there to serve all those who wish to participate in developing a spiritually based approach to education that tries to meet the inner needs of the growing child. In this transition there are dangers as well as opportunities. A stark warning of the questions that confront us in ecological awareness and global ethics. September 2006). He is cofounder of the Alliance for Childhood and was a teacher at Kings Langley Steiner School and Michael House for many years. As parent and /or teacher educators these questions are ours also. The tendency towards homogenisation created by increasingly imposed testing regimes and the demotivation of the teaching profession through bureaucratisation. “We have created a production system that no longer seeks to make a good product. as a next step in the process. panculturalism and economic pressures. As expressed by the Slow Food movement’s warning about modern agricultural practices. This journal is primarily aimed at Waldorf teachers. In Europe at the end of the 19th century there was a firm consensus that the education of children should be directed towards nation building. In this century we face the demands of a renewed globalisation enhanced by technological inventiveness. only a product that is easily sold. My hope is that the expressed desire for dialogue will lead. polluted the air and increased transportation that further pollutes. understanding and tolerance into a fractured world. It was repeatedly pointed out that any particular practice has evolved organically out of a whole and cannot be considered in those present – but that neither party would benefit from selecting this or that practice from the other sector and trying to implement it. The intention is that it also becomes a vehicle of debate as well as being informative and inspiring. We have eroded food’s ability to stimulate the senses. but this time at the invitation of a Waldorf School. capacities.” (Carlo Petrini. However there is also the widespread concern about the quality of childhood and the Education for All progamme to ensure that every child in the world receives their entitlement to at least primary education by 2015. solidarity. He is now retired and living in Gloucestershire. health. Readers should note that there was very different perspective on this event written by John Burnett to be found in the SWSF Newsletter 21 Spring 2006 (Ed) Editorial: Living Education would like to welcome our new readers and we hope you will find this a worthy successor to Child and Man and Steiner Education. A way of life seems threatened and reactions can vary from resorting to past certainties to neo-liberal recipes. This quest is our inheritance and challenge and by sharing inner and outer experiences. parents and all those involved in Steiner Education. This was the foundation on which national systems of compulsory schooling were built. Pressures on educational practice are similar. being supportive of creative endeavours. Change cannot be avoided but how do we ensure that children’s well-being. we have encouraged waste. Christopher Clouder is chair of the SWSF steering group and of the European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education. deadened the soil. we have diminished variety and biodiversity. Living Education welcomes debate and differing views. Le Monde diplomatique.

Class one children often draw houses and figures still floating in the air. dark room compared to an open airy. regardless of whether we are aware of it or not. In other words. There is more headroom and a little more space to dream. are woven through with an imaginative quality. A voice came from within and asked: "Where do you come from and where do you want to go?" "I have lost my way to my Father's kingdom and I shall never get home again. First the Library/ changes take place in children from year to year. particularly once we are used to it. The kinds of things children do and learn. something happens akin to the well-proportioned body of an acoustic instrument. The roof curves over From 'The Iron Stove'. All the activities. a room with low ceilings compared to another with high and vaulted ceilings? How would it be to stand in a round space with no corners to move into or a space where the walls were not straight but leaning in or out? Each time our feelings would be very different.The Developing Child In Relation To The Architecture Of The Primary School Johannes Schuster The physical spaces in which we work and live can have a profound effect on our senses and feelings and can support or detract from the activities that take place inside them. The buildings and landscape in which the children work and play are an important part of the educational environment. Children spend a lot of quality time at school and the totality of the education environment in which they are immersed has a profound effect on their healthy growth in body. CLASS 1 At last a King's daughter came into the woods. In Administration building. The space however continues to affect us. If the children’s consciousness and the teaching contents and activities that change from year to year can find an echo in the architecture of the classroom. then Steiner Schools every year the curriculum. subjects etc. Big rooms. There is no solid ground as yet. The floor plan encourages this relationship between teacher and class: the walls create a near circle to gather the children around the teacher. it can be a wonderful support to teacher and children. the Class 1 and 2 building in 1993. soul and spirit. Most of the time the effect a room has on us is not conscious. discipline. from painting and skipping to counting and speaking the sounds of the letters etc. the physical space housing Class 1 should 10 support this feeling of wonder and beauty and give a . if the shape and feeling of a room can respond to the atmosphere and nature of the activities going on inside the room. What would it feel like to be in a narrow. Children spend a lot of time in the classroom and many activities take place there. sense of warmth and protection. The child still has a dream like consciousness which is not yet directed to the world outside but lives in the archetypal images of Fairy Tales. she had lost her way and could not find her father's kingdom again. The world for the child is a beautiful world and there is cause for wonder wherever we look. followed by drawings. which amplifies the tone and makes it sing. which were completed in 1998.. change to Classrooms 3 – 6. games. stories. the We have been very fortunate at eyes through which they look the Little Yarra Steiner School towards their teacher or look out View of Class 2 building to be able to have purpose built into the world are not static. She had been wandering round and round for nine days and she came at last to the iron stove. quality and intent. Ideally. In between there is an endless number of more subtle variations. The ceiling is slightly higher than that of Class 2 and has a steeper curve. which was built in 1991. In Class 1 the teacher stands before the children like the shepherd gathering his little flock." she answered. Each embrace the child's consciousness at a given age and building was designed and formed with a very different to support him or her in the business of “growing up" . light filled room. These are the extremes.. Grimm's Fairy Tales the space with a nurturing and protective gesture and lifts up just a little over the windows to let in the light. The 7 year old's perception of the world is completely different from the 12 year old's.

at the sides the walls have receded to make room for uninterrupted rows of windows which bring in lots of light and encourage the two way flow between the world outside and the class within. The journey throughout the primary years is one of gradual awakening from dream consciousness to full 2Oth Century day consciousness in Class 8. Between tales of journeys and was no splendid palace there. I come unto thee in a thick whenever the Israelites (or the Class 3 child for that cloud. are high on the list of priorities. On the third day timeless and archetypal images of the Grimm's Fairy they reached the inner-most heart of it. Class 2 children tend to roam and find a tap somewhere to The Class 2 room still allows the teacher to gather his little flock in a circle. Moses and the The Class 3 room does not gather up the children in a circle any more. After the mound. and said: "All the children's journey through Class 3. earthen cavern. 'Serious' cubby building and digging etc." From 'The High Deeds of Finn MacCool' Rosemary Sutcliffe Class two children still love to dream but they have moved closer to the earth. In Class 1 the atmosphere is still very inward. To their mortal tales in Class 1. Fights and disputes occur easily but there is also a fascination with physical work. Both. 11 . there different quality now. that the people may hear when I speak with thee. The Class 3 Building Project is a key feature of the year. images of elements. The difference is one of focus. Verse 8 . The Class 2 child seeks to meet the world through an experience of the 4 "For three days and three nights they dug into the fairy elements. the Celtic Myths and stories of Class 2 eyes. Prophets represent strong leaders and individuals who lead the Israelites through the desert and into the promised land. I am separate from Mum and Dad or my family". through the floor plan and through the rise and fall in the roof. matter) do the wrong thing. but the circle is stretched out now. The Class 3 stories are often drawn from the Old Testament. 'Death' is a theme that often comes up for children at this time. no banquet hall brilliant with rich hangings and landscape and a connection with nature forces and vessels of gold and silver. no fore-court of prancing adventure there weaves an awareness of the horses. At the front of the room the light streams from above. trees and people begin to stand on solid ground. and believe in thee forever. The Class 3 child loves testing out the rules and is greatly reassured when the consequences are predictable and consistent. And the a strong sense of what is 'right' and what is 'wrong' and Lord said unto Moses: "Lo. the room is at its highest point. the consequences are not far off. The room is more elongated and divided into a wider front section where the teacher stands and a longer section for the Class.9 At some point in Class 3 the 9 year old child goes through a significant threshold experience. In some ways this is like the picture of And all the people answered together. tunnelling deeper and deeper. on the other hand there is a strong interest to go out and meet the world hands on. only a dark. This is a scary feeling and is often accompanied by a great deal of anxiety. the journey has begun. houses. In their drawings too." CLASS 3 Exodus Chapter 19. Fire and Earth. The gesture of the roof is similar to that of Class 1 but the windows have become taller and the eave line lifts up further on three sides to allow more of the world into the room. What is the consequence of this experience? On the one hand the stronger sense of 'I' wants to test the water by challenging authority. or playing in the sandpit. There is always that the Lord hath spoken we will do. At the crossover. their senses protected from the fairy glamour by are still in the realm of the fairy tale but there is a the cold iron of the daggers with which they dug. the teacher and the class are placed opposite each other. the realisation of "I am my own person. By Class 2 the focus has started to shift outward. the space wherein the teacher and class meet. Class 2 activities are very similar to Class 1 in that there is everywhere an imaginative element of wonder and beauty. the flock is more 'jumpy' and a little harder to contain. CLASS 2 held up by rough slabs of stone." And Moses returned the words of the people unto the dams and water courses. The teacher will give the children descriptive pictures of how things are made and of the various trades. In this turbulent time the Class 3 child is best supported if the teacher can become a firm authority who sets the rules and determines the consequences of breaking them. If Class 1 children will quietly be occupied with a cubby made of cloths or twigs. Wind and Water.

important context for much of the class 5 curriculum. The class 4 floor plan. a terrible monster who had laid waste the country. CLASS 5 When Perseus was grown up. there is an atmosphere of impermanence. The floor plans of classes 1 . The children move with a keen sense of rhythm. Class 4 is often a very social year. and the further extension of Animal study and Geography. She had once been a beautiful maiden whose hair was her chief glory. As a result of this "front" and "back". Odysseus. Looking back. "left" and "right" become less clearly defined which adds to the number of possibilities to position the class and creates a sense of movement and sociability in the space within. looking out into the 4 directions of the earth. in the Norse myths there are many gods. The class 4 theme is Norse Mythology.just like the class 4 child also looks out to a widening landscape and a world that is getting increasingly bigger. the ability to form abstract concepts of the The class 5 room too seeks to reflect a new enquiring . All the ancient heroes from Gilgamesh to Thor relied on strength and courage to From 'Perseus and Medusa'. Barbara L. leads us to ancient Greece. But as she dared to vie in beauty with Minerva.CLASS 4 And Loki thought to himself how it might soften the wrath of the other gods if he took back to Asgard with him. The faculty that bestows such powers is the beginning of a new way of thinking. and he smiled and said: 'Then fashion for me a ship that shall be the best of all ships and worthy of the gods. Unlike class 3 where throughout the Old Testament stories there was one god. world begins to emerge. There is a sense of flow both socially and physically. Grammar etc. the Greek philosophers. Although the class 5 child's thinking is still playful and picture-filled. Pythagoras. and a spear that will always find its mark and will not disgrace even such a warrior as Odin. conceptual thought makes its first appearance. however. Botany. This opens up many new possibilities which the curriculum takes up in the study of Geometry. Odysseus. it is the "twilight of the gods" who know that the old world will pass away in the end and a new one will arise. not only new hair for Sit. Throughout the myths however. Thomas Finch fight their battles. We now have more than one authority and the gods amongst themselves have the most varied interactions and often step down to earth for all kinds of battles and Among all the primary class rooms the Class 4 room has the strongest sense of flow and rhythm. with a great heaping of fuel on their furnace and a great blowing with their bellows and much hammering of metal. the class 4 room also has windows high up in the roof and under the eves. History. sent him to attempt the conquest of Medusa. The gesture of these windows is one of looking out into the distance from a higher vantage point . From 'The Six Gifts'. orators and chroniclers all employ this new faculty. the hero in Homer's epic is a wonderful example of this. whose idea of the wooden horse brought about the sack of Troy. Euclidean Geometry. Polydectes. She became a cruel monster of so frightful an aspect that no living thing could behold her without turning into stone. but a gift for the Allfather and a gift for Freya as well. What matters is not so much the numerous adventures.the joyful discovery of a new power of the mind which now The class 5 child can readily identify with the enquiring mind and the eye for beauty and grace of the ancient can be put to good use disagreeing with or playing Greek and the theme of ancient Greece becomes an tricks on the adults around. the goddess deprived her of her charms and changed her ringlets into hissing serpents. the point in time when abstract.' said Ivaldi's sons. 12 Historically. Looking ahead to classes 5 & 6. In addition to the lower windows. the threshold experience of class 3 with its accompanying feelings of anxiety and insecurity has been worked through. This is not unlike the class 4 child who experiences the bloom of childhood which. Only after positioning the lower windows and blackboard do we know where the teacher will stand. The curriculum at this point introduces local geography and animal study from the point of view of the child looking out to a world that is still familiar and near at hand.3 have a more rounded "organic" shape which pre determines the respective position of class and teacher. cannot last forever and will also pass away for a new phase of life to begin.' 'We shall do those things. the colours they use in their drawings are strong and full of contrasts and their form drawings flow in knotting and weaving patterns. King of Seriphus. relies on cunning Every class 5 teacher soon finds out that class 5 and the powers of the mind to aid him through his children love to argue. tests of strength. new forces connected with the emergence of abstract thinking and pre-pubescence will mark the beginning of the end of childhood and the start of a new phase. as a regular geometric form does not suggest where teacher and class are to be. The children now have a strong desire to move about and venture further a-field. object of the argument but the very process itself . The roof weaves rhythmically up and down and particularly lifts over each comer. Picard The class 4 child has reached a special time which could be described as the golden age of childhood. and they set to work at once.

The curriculum at this point brings increased physical activity and introduces Geology and Mineralogy (the "bones" of the earth). The reason for this is the sudden spurt of growth that has occurred in the limbs. The trunk is the subjects offered in the curriculum in a new way. Class 5 children can still Rome. form and understanding as against movement and flow which outlook into the world. The greater degree of formality is connected with the intrinsic nature of conceptual thought. The corners have not yet crystallised into right angles but geometrically arise out of two overlapping pentagons. By class 6 the child begins to experience the physical weight and solidity of his and her own body. balance with grace and confidence across a balancing beam when a year later in class 6 half of them will loose balance and fall off. including with the changing line of the roof. Climatology and Physics. which in the trunk. Overall the room has much less of the organic flow evident in the earlier rooms. In the early primary years we observe a remarkable change in the child's face. interest and banking) become important. The development we have observed is one from inward focus to outward interest.and worthy thee. The changing design of the classrooms reflects this development. balance is about to tilt in the following years. from dreaming to wakefulness. In the class 5 child there is still a arising out of the undulating flow of the class 4 roof has perfect balance between movement and form. These are imperial arts . in mathematics practical applications (e. The physical growth occurring in the skeleton is paralleled with the In the middle primary years the strongest growth occurs child's increasing faculty of conceptual thought. formalised gable window in class 5. the upper lip no longer protrudes above the lower lip. In Physics (Warmth. Puberty as such is proceeded by a rapid growth in the bones. Class 6 for boys and often earlier for girls marks the beginning of pubescence. with awful sway. which rose and fell appears in the proportions of living organisms. And soften into flesh a marble face. Similarly. the mouth grows thinner and the nose is more pronounced. the face of an 8 or 9 year old has individualised. This process of individualisation leads to the experience of self and of separateness typical for class 3. the eyes have become smaller. reminiscent of the angles and proportions found in * The golden section or ratio is the proportion of ancient Greek architecture. The forehead becomes less prominent. in favour of greater formality and weight. Scientists 13 . We have described how the development of consciousness is paralleled physically in the growth from the head to the trunk and down into to the limbs. seat of our rhythmic organs and it is interesting that children's ability to physically move with rhythm and The cultural yearly theme in class 6 is that of Ancient grace peaks at this time. The floor plan the human body and face. With every consecutive year the child is able to embrace new and further aspects of the world. the children suddenly grow thin and tall and can outgrow their clothes in a matter of months. Physical growth in the child does not occur on an even or uniform rate. What was a small roof window arise from the heart.618 which Euclid. CLASS 6 ROME Let others better mould the running mass Of metals and inform the breathing brass. It was widely used greater "silence" or "stillness" compared to the "busy" in Greek architecture and by artists of all ages and also windows in the earlier classrooms. the long rows of 1:1. which brings structure. which grows in length as well as breadth as seeks structure and form and is able to take hold of the the figure matures and becomes fuller.g.encompasses a rectangle in the proportion of the " golden section" * which is also the proportion of the windows and a number of other relationships in the room. but this become a wide. But Rome! 'Tis thine alone. the fettered slave to free. And when the stars descend and when they rise. Plead better at the bar. Electricity & Magnetism) the emphasis is placed on accurate observation. If the ancient Greeks were Artists. Acoustics. To rule mankind and make the world obey: Disposing peace and war thy own majestic way. Optics. Virgil The consciousness of the child from class 1 to class 6 undergoes enormous change. describe the skies. To tame the proud. Compared to the rounded and less formed features of the preschool child. from picture thinking to the beginning of abstract thinking. However. the father of modern geometry lower windows take in and look out into the world with discovered about the year 300 BC. It is a descent from 'heaven to earth'. the changing consciousness of the child is also paralleled by physical changes.

 Photos in this magazine were taken by parents and staff of Elmfield School. 205 Little Yarra Rd.and Philosophers. Four right angles form a square. like the pendulum found in many parts of Europe and Roman law forms the basis of modern law in most European countries. Yarra Junction 3797. 295104) info@swsf. Johannes Schuster is a Teacher/ Administrator/ Architectural Concept and Designer at Little Yarra Steiner School. The right angle is neither pointy nor open. or in its three dimensional aspect the cube is the form that gives expression to the weight. E. which have a wide and open quality.steinerwaldorf. which with the help of room over a golden rectangle and is above all the hexagonal layout of the ceiling lining assumes a characterised by the qualities of the right angle. Sussex RH18 5JA UK Tel. surrounding heavens. Forest Row. the 4 seasons etc. it resembles movement that has come to rest in the static balance between two Produced by the SWSF  The Living Education welcomes contributions please send them to SWSF (as below)  Living Education is produced three times a year: Next Issue January 2007  The views expressed in these articles are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the JohannesSchuster@yahoo. The number four has always been associated with Earth (as in the 4 elements.  The Editor’s choice of article and editing is final. the square of the floor plan is balanced by compared to class Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship Ltd. Law makers and Empire builders. the circle or sphere. the gables of class 5 have become arches in class 6 reminding us of the ancient Romans who first invented the technique to construct arches and domes in their buildings.  All correspondence and requests to subscribe should be sent to the same address. which feel thin and pointy and obtuse angles. Lying exactly in-between. Australia. What has been described above The class 6 room is the tallest of the group of rooms as the “descent from heaven to earth “could also be and although it has the same size (80 m2) as all the expressed geometrically as the journey from the circle other rooms. The equilibrium of body and soul which we still find in class 5 will be lost for some years and begin to return in years 11 & 12. Similarly. the 4 directions.  The Editor is Christopher Clouder: the editorial team is: Lara Cousins. it feels bigger. The floor plan is that of a square the rounded quality of the roof. +44 (0)1342 822115 Fax. The class 6 child stands at the first beginning of adolescence. (SWSF) Kidbrooke Park. The dome like character. by class 12 they will have inter penetrated each other. Jill Taplin and Ian Young Knitted Gnomes made by Class 2 at Elmfield R S School. can remind us of the thus provides a very apt generative impulse for much circling dance of the planets and stars and the of the class 6 curriculum. when the emerging young adult awakens to a selfhood that can consciously and freely choose its directions in In class 6. The square. Geometrically we could say in class 1 we have a sphere. G Kaye and J Schuster of Little Yarra  The layout of this magazine has been designed and produced by Gabriel Kaye (gkaye@talktalk. It's The history and cultural "atmosphere" of ancient Rome opposite. The focus of the ancient Romans was very much directed to earth and they created the physical and organisational structures necessary to expand to the four corners of the known world.). The coming years will be characterised by the physical and emotional changes that come with puberty. www. solidity and immovability of matter. in class 6 the sphere begins to hover above the square. the Romans were proportions of the windows have also slightly increased however. +44 (0)1342 826004 (Charity No. With the extra height the to the square or from the sphere to the cube. The Primary School buildings at Little Yarra Steiner School * Ancient Roman roads and aqueducts can still be right angle is the point that lies exactly between acute angles.* which comes to rest in the perpendicular and is held in this position by its own .

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