The Importance of Rudolf Steiner’s Spiritual Science
The philosophy of Steiner Education is based on Rudolf Steiner’s Spiritual Science, also known as Anthroposophy, which literally means “the wisdom of man” (Anthropos: man, Sophia: wisdom).
The Basis of Steiner Education lies in a deepened exploration of human development, with a particular focus on the formative years. The processes of development in the child – physical, soul and spiritual – reflect and indicate the processes and content of worldly instruction appropriate to the child’s inner needs.
In the first seven years of life, the incarnating forces stream from the head into the body and limbs and there meet the resistance of gravity. The whole basis of our Under Seven care program is based on providing the child with activities – such as finger-knitting, sewing, hammering, felting and imaginative Eurythmy play – which help the child to bring greater consciousness into his fingers, hands and feet.
We would deem it inappropriate at that stage, and damaging to the child, to introduce then intellectual or abstract concepts, such as reading, since these activities would interfere with the important incarnating processes at work in the child.
The second dentition (usually in the years 7 to 13) signals a change in the child’s development, which allows true education and instruction to commence. During this 7-year cycle (the Primary School years), the arts and artistic activities best reflect the developmental needs of the children. Music, poetry, movement, modelling and carving, painting and craft are rhythmic activities which act as intermediaries in the education of the child’s rhythmic circulation, movement and metabolism. Stability, form, punctuality and regularity add to a recipe for healthy development that will hold good for the children throughout their lives.
With the advent of puberty and osteo-muscular development, comes the capacity to think abstractly, logically and rationally. It is then, in Middle School that the more traditional academic subjects such as Euclidean geometry physics (mechanics, light theory, heat) chemistry, earth sciences, philosophy and serious gymnastics and sport can be healthily pursued.
Finally, in High School, the students are gradually prepared to meet the demands of the outside world and to find their place within it.