over the past days, I’ve read about homeopaths and scientologists who are travelling to Haiti to “help” with the aftermath of the earthquake recently. This is perhaps somewhat less disturbing, but it still makes me think something is quite wrong going on: Waldorf-Krisenteam nach Haiti (Waldorf crisis team to Haiti). NNA reports that the Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners plans to send a waldorf pedagogical crisis intervention team, to aid children who are experiencing psychological trauma as a consequence of the earthquake.
Perhaps it isn’t such a bad idea. Perhaps they can really do something good. (Here I have the irresistible urge to say something utterly sarcastic about anthroposophists and their capacities for handling crises. I envision eurythmists who can’t even stop kids from hitting each other during eurythmy lessons. I hope they don’t send any eurythmists. There’s too much crisis on Haiti for that. But the quote below actually suggests eurythmy as a crisis intervention method.)
Die Menschenkunde der Waldorfpädagogik, ihr Verständnis seelischer Prozesse und ihre vielfältigen rhythmischen und künstlerischen Methoden lösen seelische Verkrampfungen und stärken den Menschen von innen. In gestalteten Unterrichts- und Spielphasen, im Freispiel und in Phasen kreativ-künstlerischer Gestaltung sollen durch das Trauma verschüttete personale Ressourcen freigesetzt und aktiviert werden. In der waldorfpädagogischen Notfallpädagogik kommen insbesondere plastisches-therapeutisches Gestalten, die Mal- und Zeichentherapie, Eurythmie sowie weitere waldorfpädagogisch-verwandte Methoden zum Einsatz, die den Betroffen ermöglichen, ihr Erleben non-verbal zu artikulieren.
So — is it likely that Haitian children can or will benefit from waldorf pedagogy’s anthroposophical knowledge of the human being, from its understanding of spiritual processes and so forth? Maybe this knowledge can be comforting to children who have suffered loss of homes and loved ones:
“… in human beings who perish as a result of earthquakes or volcanic eruptions one notices, during their next incarnation, inner qualities which are quite different. They bring from birth great spiritual pre-dispositions because, through their death, they were brought in touch with forces which showed them the true nature of reality and the illusion of material life.” Steiner, lecture June 12, 1906.
Edit: Jan 28, 2010 — NNA news in English: Waldorf crisis intervention team to head for Haiti.
The international Waldorf organisation Friends of Waldorf Education is to send a crisis intervention team to Haiti to help traumatised children there come to terms with their terrible experiences.
“The Friends of Waldorf Education intend to send a crisis intervention team, consisting of educationalists, psychologists, therapists, physicians and translators, into the disaster area in mid-February to stimulate the children’s natural self-healing processes and counter possible delayed reactions,” the group said in a statement.
The concept of the human being underlying Waldorf education, its understanding of psychological processes and its many different rhythmical and artistic methods can release psychological strain and strengthen the human being from within.
Structured phases of teaching and play, free play and phases of creative and artistic activities are intended to release and activate personal resources which have been buried by the trauma. Waldorf education in crisis situations makes use in particular of therapeutic modelling, painting and drawing therapy, eurythmy as well as other Waldorf methods which allow the affected children to articulate their experiences in a non-verbal way.