In a publication [pdf] by the pedagogical section at the Goetheanum, there’s an article by Christof Wiechert on ‘An Education for our Time’. In it I read:
‘It is pointed out [by Rudolf Steiner] that the religions tend to focus on the after-life as the time where everyone’s future lies while forgetting about the time before birth. It is the teacher’s task to explore the life before birth: ‘Our form of educating can have the correct attitude only when we are aware that our work with young people is a continuation of what higher beings have done before birth’.2
‘How can this be achieved in practice? Think of a child study: the first step is the forming of a picture of the pupil as he or she appears in space and time. In order to understand this picture we have to go a step further. How did the pupil come to develop in this way? It is easy to find out as long as one avoids the temptation of applying superficial psychology (which never leads to any insight or knowledge). We come to an understanding of the inner essence of a pupil if we ask how ether body and physical body, for instance, relate to one another; or how the soul (astral) works on the ‘learning body’ (ether body).’ [The footnote (2), refers to: Rudolf Steiner, The Foundations of Human Experience (CW 293), Lecture 1, 21 August 1919.]
Wiechert then goes on to talk about meditating on students and to say that a teacher’s inspiritation ‘arises out of the interest in the pre-earthly aspects that reveal themselves in the different parts of the human organisation.’ It’s a highly interesting article, for many reasons. Read!