child study

From The Significance of the Child Study, a document found published on the Irish Steiner Kindergarten Association’s website.

Original intentions have to do with the essence of the will in each individual child and the resolve to incarnate and integrate the heavenly into the earthly with the help of higher powers.

The teacher should ‘listen’ to the child, without jumping to conclusions (but let’s get back to that later…)

The hearing is as if one is trying to listen to what the angel of the child could be revealing to us at this initial, profound moment.

Why not listen to the child instead of some angel? What kind of information is an angel able to give about children that the children themselves are incapable of conveying directly? And how do you verify to which child a particular angel belongs?

When working with others we can create meditative conversations that may lead to a healing response. A complete physical description of the child is a helpful place to begin. Often, when observing a child in this way there are details that are noticed that serve in understanding the child. Rudolf Steiner states, ”Through intensive study of the physical configuration of the body, characteristics of soul are revealed.”

So much for taking an unprejudiced approach to the child. What is this, if not saying that the physical reveals something about the child’s mental characteristics? Is this not going to affect the way the teacher treats the child, perhaps in a manner negative for the child’s well-being and development?

Further down in the document we learn that

if we can bring our thoughts of the child into sleep with us into the spiritual world, asking for inspiration from the child’s angel on behalf of the child, we again are striving towards another kind of hearing. To create a ‘hallowed’ space in ourselves, a kind of inner manger, where the birth of the child’s being can find it’s way to us is a kind of reversal form that takes place in the inner life of the teacher.

The whole document can be downloaded here (pdf). The organization has an articles section.

A previous post.

13 thoughts on “child study

  1. every time I come across this stuff I’m astonished, it’s self-indulgent and anti-therapeutic. And: IT”S RELIGIOUS. If looks like a duck & quacks like a duck…

  2. … it could just happen to be a duck. Or a cat with something stuck in its throat. They’re devious, cats.

    But it is true. It is, again, not about the child at all. It’s about the teacher and the teacher’s ‘spiritual path’ and/or emotional fulfillment. It’s satisfying to imagine one is doing something meaningful for someone else, when it really is mostly about one’s own need for ‘profound’ experiences of angels and stuff.

  3. Yes, a waldorf/steiner school is about spiritual fulfilment (or whatever term may be used for it). The purpose of waldorf/steiner education does not and will not conform to the purpose of state maintained education (how ever organized). The purpose of state maintained education is promoting a society as a whole. The proper solution to the problems within the waldorf/steiner school movement is thus: shutting down altogether.

  4. PS:
    by “state maintained education” I mean: education which the state runs on eveyone’s behalf. (In the next step, the running may be outsourced; I regard community comprehensives as state maintained education outsourced to communities within the state. Free schools are a different kind of state education being outsourced).

  5. When documents like this slip through the net, it certainly suspends credulity. How many people realise teachers are using angels and physical descriptions to “understand” children. It’s unethical and damaging. I find it extremely disturbing.

  6. Yes, this (what alfa-omega wrote) ought to be the goal of education, essentially this ought to be the goal whether education it’s operated privately or publically. And it should be about giving the child the opportunities to function in society later on. Fulfillment or satisfaction for spiritual seekers is not really part of this plan. In any case, waldorf is way off. I don’t want to say that teachers should not have intellectual or emotional or even spiritual benefit from their profession, but first and foremost it is a profession and needs to be treated like one. It’s not another Sunday in church.

    Indeed, Cathy. There’s a risk for damage, obviously; quite big damage in individual cases, I would suspect. But perhaps even more importantly it takes the teachers’ efforts away from stuff that matters. Instead they’re doing all sorts of things which don’t really work and that don’t really help the children or the teaching.

  7. I have been reading report from Skolverket (roughly: Ofsted) and the like for several hours today, taking a break with @Zooey up and then. Want to share a link I have found. It may not fit best in this thread, but anyway:
    http://taruna.ac.nz/docs/karma_and_reincarnation_for_teachers.pdf
    I must have been perceived as Ahriman at the waldorf school I have been a part of for a while (see p5) “He thrives on accuracy and exactness”.
    (I summarize the waldorf/steiner education to three words only: shut down all!)

  8. You are a brave person. Reading reports from Skolverket, I mean. They’re so sober and dry and lacking in all kinds of adventure. Compared to the ‘Karma and reincarnation for teachers’ document. It’s like science-fiction, but obviously lacks all grounding in reality. I think it has been discussed before, but I’m not sure if it was just on Twitter or if it’s been on my blog as well. I don’t think so, but it’s one of these documents that are suited for a post of its own…

  9. And this:
    ‘A complete physical description of the child is a helpful place to begin. Often, when observing a child in this way there are details that are noticed that serve in understanding the child. Rudolf Steiner states, ”Through intensive study of the physical configuration of the body, characteristics of soul are revealed.”’

    … is a direct parallel to Steiner’s race doctrines.

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