School Readiness Today
A Report from the Pedagogical Section of the Goetheanum
Geseke Lundgren, Claudia McKeen, MD, Barbara Ostheimer, Rainer Patzlaff, PhD, Claus-Peter Röh, Martina Schmidt, MD, Edmond Schoorel, MD, Michael S Urschitz, MD
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The authors, each expert in various aspects of early childhood development and pedagogy, approach their subject from a variety of perspectives, ranging from physical development to social development, cognitive development and studies demonstrating the impact of early academic education and more. This little book is a powerhouse of information and insight, and comes with a multitude of illustrations in color and duotone that chronicle the changes in human beings from birth through the early grades. Especially interesting are the full color reproductions of children's artwork that follow the development of different children over time. Being able to "see" these children develop is a fascinating journey as well as being concrete evidence of the changes taking place within each human being.
This research was originally presented at a colloquium at the Goetheanum in February 2013.
The Journey of the 'I' into Life
A Final Destination or a Path Toward Freedom?
Edited by Nancy Blanning
Lectures from the 2012 International Waldorf Early Childhood Conference at the Goetheanum
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The Journey of the "I" into Life presents us with the notes and transcripts of gleaned from five lectures given in 2012 by medical doctors, early childhood educators and a consulting Waldorf class teacher. It is a rare combination of crystal clear thought and facts presented through hearts filled with warmth and love. I have seldom been as moved as I was to read these lectures, and felt my understanding of human development was not just enhanced, but very much deepened as well. It is hard to convey in just this bit of writing, but there was something so poignant and wonderful about being able, for instance, to see the photographs of the progression of development of human synapses from 0 to 3 years. Combined with the thoughts being expressed by the lecturer (in this case, Dr. Michaela Glöckler), I found myself in the presence of a process that is in and of itself miraculous: it is a miracle that such development is possible, and a wonder that with it's indescribable fragility and mutability it most often leads to the emergence of fully capable adult human beings.
This little book in its entirety is filled to the brim with moments and revelations like this one. I would wish that everyone be allowed to encounter what it contains.
The Creative Word
The Young Child's Experience of Language and Stories
Daniel Udo de Haes
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In this small book, we embark on a fascinating journey into the consciousness of the very young child. Toddlers need our understanding and support as they make the great transition from wordless communion with the world to encountering people and things through human language. Out of his wisdom and experience, Dutch educator Daniel Udo de Haes brings guidance in how to gently and sensitively help children through this transition.
From Kindergarten into the Grades
Insights from Rudolf Steiner
Selected and edited by Ruth Ker
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In going through this outstanding collection of Rudolf Steiner's thoughts and observations of 6-7 year old children, I was struck at almost every page with how extremely practical his suggestions are, and how very clearly insightful he was.
This gathering of Steiner's thoughts about children at this age can serve parents, teachers, and caregivers in so very many ways: as a quick resource of useful suggestions as to how to help children through "bumpy times;" as an enriching account of the lives of children during this transition period; as food for thought as we find our own way with the very unique children in our care; as a bellweather indicator of how much and how little has changed in the 100 or so years since Steiner penned and spoke these words.
Ruth Ker is to be highly commended for her wisdom and discernment in the excerpts she has chosen to present. Her compilation is masterful, its potential to help the world's children beyond reckoning.
Recommended without reservation!
The Genius of Natural Childhood
Secrets of Thriving Children
Sally Goddard Blythe
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Young children love creative play, stories, nursery rhymes and games. These are not only good fun, but are also good for the brain.
Sally Goddard Blythe analyses why early movement matters, and how games develop children's skills at different stages of development. She offers a handy starter kit of stories, action games, songs and rhymes, and explains:
- Why movement is an essential ingredient for healthy brain development
- Why music, song, lullabies and nursery rhymes prepare the brain for language
- How fairy tales can help children face their fears in in safety
- How rough and tumble play develops the neural circuits for creativity and self-regulation
- The links between learning problems and sedentary lifestyles and overexposure to electronic media
- What to look out for if your child does not seem to be "ready" for school.
By special invitation, Jane Williams of Toddler Kindy GymbaROO offers her favorite baby massage rhymes, with action songs, finger play and more rhymes to inspire families.
Childhood Falls Silent
The loss of speech and how we need to foster speaking and communication in the electronic age
Translated by J. Collis
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I believe this is one of the most significant articles on what is becoming the true crisis of our time, namely that as each generation comes forth, more and more cultural skills are being lost. Cultural skills are the things we all take for granted in our dealings with other people, things like reading, writing, basic cultural literacy in terms of shared education and background. That is, we used to take them for granted. Now, it seems that each person presents a new puzzle as to which cultural skills they bring with them and which they do not. And what skills they may have that are no longer honored or used in modern contexts.
What has become clear to anyone who has been watching the trend lines in education in the Western world is that these basic skills are slipping away - reading and writing are at much lower levels than they were even 20 years ago, and compared to 150 years ago, well, it's just sad how very much we've lost in the way of vocabulary, grammar, and ability to write.
As if that weren't enough, there is now serious evidence that the most fundamental means of communication is also slipping down the cultural slope: speaking and the ability to communicate to others with speech is showing signs of alarming deterioration with each class of children that enters school. A large part of the reason for this devolution, though not the only factor I would hasten to say, is the increasing exposure of very young children to electronic media, recorded voices, electronically amplified voices, etc. Rainer Patzlaff has addressed this issue beautifully, citing not only sound documentation and studies, but offering both by example and by inference a solid picture of why each part of the Waldorf curriculum stands athwart this terrible trend and gives our children what they need to move forward in our culture.
The 18 pages of Childhood Falls Silent are some of the most important reading you may ever do. I hope that everyone who buys a copy shares it with every friend they have. It is not a given by any means that cultural skills, once lost, can be easily restored. Quite the opposite, historically. And yet, there is a solution and it is elucidated in this little booklet: human speech spoken clearly by adults, stories that are complex and spoken, movement training that mimics the movements of voice and music, art training that allows things heard to take imaginative form, drama. In short, those things that are housed within the world of Waldorf education, whether in the classroom or at home.
Under the Sky
Playing, Working and Enjoying Adventures in the Open Air
A Handbook for Parents, Carers and Teachers
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Sally Schweizer presents a fresh world of possibilities for children in both urban and rural areas, opening doors to expanded experiences of life in the open air. Packed with anecdotes, games and practical activities, Under the Sky is a vibrant resource for parents, teachers and carers.
What can children do outside? How about singing, whittling, chatting, climbing, digging, and making dens? They can build, run, watch small creatures, count tree rings, listen to stories, perform puppet plays, learn woodworking, and investigate the many forms of bark. Outside, children can enjoy quiet conversations or make a big noise, be alone or be with others. And that's just the beginning ...
Under the Sky is an invaluable guide for everyone who wants to help children cultivate play and imagination. It features ideas for planning expeditions and adventures, toys and equipment, and activities for the four seasons and the four elements! It includes plans, tips and advice on child-friendly outdoor design, materials, surfaces, seating, gardening, pets, wildlife—even campfires, picnics and train journeys. Under the Sky also includes a chapter on how educators can work toward formal “early years” government goals.
Adventures in Parenting
a support guide for parents
Rachel C Ross
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Adventures in Parenting is such a lovely book. It is like having a wise grandmother at hand, one who answers so many of the perplexing questions that young parents find themselves puzzling over as they raise their children.
Rachel Ross beautifully discusses the joys and concerns almost all new parents experience and goes on to discuss everything from parenting styles and the patterning we carry from our own parents to discipline and boundaries, developmental issues, and how to create a home that fully nurtures your children while it also nurtures you.
I want to add that her section on developmental issues is brilliant (Rachel is an remedial movement/eurythmy teacher). Her list of difficulties and solutions is unlike anything I've ever seen in print - I think if this were the only thing in the book, it would still be a treasure of priceless worth and will be comforting and liberating to parents everywhere.
Why Children Don't Listen
A Guide for Parents and Teachers
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What can you do when a child just won't listen? How we speak to one another is at the very heart of human relationships. Children are frequently much better than adults at reading between the lines and deciphering the messages we send out through body language and our tone of voice.
Here is an invaluable handbook for parents and teachers on how to communicate better with children. It covers all aspects of talking and listening to children, including speaking to children of different ages, the effect your voice has, and understanding the wider situation in which the conversation is taking place.
The author translates the theory into practical, everyday solutions. She argues that it's not what we say, but how we say it —and more important, how well we listen to the answers — that matters.
Challenges on the Path of Child Development
Waldorf Journal Project #3
Compiled and edited by David Mitchell
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A collection of essays and excerpts by master teachers, physicians, researchers and Rudolf Steiner. This volume is exceptional in the breadth and depth of its approach to the subject of child development and education readiness and support.
- Life’s Anxieties—Life’s Opportunities: Anxiety and Its Importance to Inner Development
Two Essays by Pietro Archiati and Felicitas Vogt
- Sleep Disturbances and Healthy Sleep
by Christa-Johanna Bub-Jachens
- Nutrition: Modern Food: Is It Really Future-Oriented?
by Petra Kühne
- Food and Nutrition: What Nourishes Our Children?
by Petra Kühne
- The Feet Reveal the Human Will
by Norbert Glas
- Hearing: Door to the Soul and Spirit around Us, with a Look at Technological Media
by Heinz Buddemeier
- The Unfolding of Sexuality
by Mathias Wais
- Puberty and Its Crisis: Educational Help in Overcoming Difficulties
by Dr. Johannes Bockemühl
- Drug Addiction: The Wake-up Call of Our Times
by Felicitas Vogt
- Education Seen as a Problem Involving the Training of Teachers
by Rudolf Steiner.
Core Values and Practices in Waldorf Education for Children Ages 3-9
Rainer Patzlaff, Wolfgang Sassmannshausen, et al.
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Developmental Signatures is the result of studies commissioned by the the German Association of Waldorf Schools (Bund) and carried out by a team of teachers, doctors, parents, and scholars. You'll find the developmental stages of Waldorf education as related to State educational requirements in Germany, and which can be applied in kind if not specifically to Waldorf education as it is practiced in schools and homes throughout the world. These first two parts of a three-part study are concerned with children from three to nine years old and the conditions required for successful schooling. The results of this study offer an opportunity for teachers and parents to reflect and renew their understanding and practice of Steiner's pedagogy.
The First Seven Years: Physiology of Childhood
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Bob and I have always believed that Steiner delivered the seminar, known in English as Foundations of Human Experience or Study of Man, as information and insights to be used. It is, therefore, deeply exciting to come upon a book such as Schoorel's The First Seven Years, written as it is from someone who has been doing precisely that: using and applying and developing a living understanding for the material Steiner shared with the teachers of the original Waldorf School.
Schoorel's approach is wonderful - he takes a particular topic, describes it thoroughly then moves on to relate it to physiology and environment. So, for instance, when he discusses "the birth of the etheric body", he not only offers a clear and meaningful picture of what that means for the developing human being, but then discusses what physiological changes mark this process as well as how environment affects it.
For anyone interested in or working with young children, this book is a treasure to be turned to again and again. It fosters understanding as it also gives much food for the sort of thought that deepens and enlightens. The First Seven Years is a gift to teachers, parents and most especially to our children.
Human Pre-existence and the Journey toward Birth
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Originally $15.00 -
Not only do we pass through the gate of death as immortal beings, we also enter through the gate of birth as unborn beings. We need the term unbornness, as well as the term immortality, to encompass the whole human being. (Rudolf Steiner)
As anyone who has had a child knows, newborns enter the earthly world as beings different from their parents. They arrive with their own individuality, being, and history. From the beginning, they manifest an essential dignity and a unique “I,” which they clearly brought with them from the spiritual world.
This unborn life of a person’s higher individuality guides the whole process of incarnation. It frames our lives, but we fail to recognize this because of a single-minded focus on immortality, or life-after-death, which makes us forget the reality of our “unbornness.” This unbornness extends not only from conception to birth, but also includes the whole existence and history of one’s “I” in its long journey from the spiritual world to Earth. Unbornness—the other side of eternity—allows us to experience the fact that birth is just as great a mystery as is death. In a new and striking way, unbornness poses the mystery of our human task on Earth.
It was one of Rudolf Steiner’s great gifts that he returned the concept of unbornness to human consciousness and language. In this brief, stunning, and moving, almost poetic work, Peter Selg gathers the key elements and images needed to begin an understanding of—and wonder at—the vast scope of our unbornness. Drawing on and expanding on Steiner’s work, as well as Raphael’s Sistine Madonna and the poems of Nelly Sachs and Rainer Maria Rilke, Selg unveils this deepest mystery of human existence. After reading it, one will never look at a child or another human being in the same way again.
Life after death
life before birth;
only by knowing both
do we know eternity.
I Am Different from You
How Children Experience Themselves in the World in the Middle of Childhood
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In many of his lectures to teachers on education, Rudolf Steiner called attention to a significant but often overlooked change in the way children experience themselves and the world that occurs in the middle of childhood, in the ninth or tenth year. “There comes a time when children show, not in what they say but in their whole behavior, that they are struggling with a question or a number of questions that indicates a crisis in their soul life. It is a very subtle experience for the child that requires an equally subtle response.”
In this deep and concise book, Peter Selg illuminates this momentous phenomenon in child development, this “dramatic change” in the child’s consciousness. Though it is “hardly noticeable” to the observer, Steiner reveals that children during this time in life experience a sudden inner instability, a loss of the foundation they felt had been naturally supporting and carrying them. It is a crisis that pediatric psychologists and psychiatrists know well, as many fears and weaknesses that rise to the surface later, in adolescence, can be traced back to this subtle event. Parents and educators need to know what to say and how to act, because their response at this time will be crucial for the child’s entire life. Through Rudolf Steiner’s profound wisdom of children's inner essence, adults can learn to give them the experience of being carried by a strong and sure relationship:
When children cross the Rubicon between the ninth and tenth year without that feeling, something will be lacking in their later life, and they will have to struggle to attain what they should have received naturally at that moment in childhood.
I Am Different from You is a vital book for all parents and teachers to read—well before the crisis in the middle of childhood—to recognize what is necessary to support children during this decisive event in the right way.
At the Source
The Incarnation of the Child and the Development of a Modern Pedagogy
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Harlan Gilbert has written a highly readable, interesting and thorough book that will guide parents and teachers toward a deeper and more practical understanding of children, their developmental stages and how to create a pedagogy meets children where they are.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of At the Source (to me at any rate) is the author's grade-by-grade descriptions that include sections on how the child of a given age sees the world, the educational methodology that best meets the child's understanding, and what curricula are appropriate, even necessary, at the given stage. These are short and sweet descriptions that nonetheless manage to go straight to the heart of the question and succeed in increasing the reader's understanding by leaps and bounds. The passages are so rich with deep understanding and so simply and straightforwardly conveyed, that reading them becomes a window to a much wider understanding that the surface of the subject matter would imply. Really great stuff!
Children and Their Temperaments
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One of the best and most accessible resources on the subject of the four temperaments and children. Anschütz gives us a guide to children's different temperaments and their role in child character, health and personality development. She illustrates her ideas with examples from home and school, using the context of the Waldorf/Steiner school classroom, and discusses how to use these insights in managing and relating to groups and individuals. This is an fascinating journey that will be enlightening and invigorating to both parents and teachers.
The Temperaments in Education
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The Developing Child
Sense and Nonsense in Education
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Originally $19.95 -
In this simple gem of a book, Willi Aeppli takes us to the very core of the task of education. His is not a picture of senseless cramming and memorization, but of service to each child and to humanity. All who seek an education make the greatest sacrifice, that of the self, all their gifts, and their future. They have the full right to expect that this self will be returned as a stronger and truer self. Aeppli describes a curriculum that can make this possible. This book develops not from theory, but from years of practical experience.
Willi Aeppli (1894-1972) was a master Waldorf teacher in the Rudolf Steiner School in BAsel, Switzerland. He is remembered as an excellent teacher who used his observations and daily experience to enrich his classroom teaching.
Childhood: A Study of the Growing Child
Caroline von Heydebrand
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Caroline von Heydebrand was one of the most beloved teachers at the original Waldorf School in Stuttgart, someone Rudolf Steiner looked to as a guiding light for the children. Childhood is the fruit of her twenty years experience teaching children and studying anthroposophy, and the book is filled with stories, examples, anecdotes - all couched in her deep love of nature and people. Some of the topics she addresses are: child development, the four temperaments, the growth of consciousness, and the development of moral, imaginative and other capacities. Highly recommended.
Difficult Children: There Is No Such Thing
An appeal for the transformation of educational thinking
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Köhler's unceasingly heart-filled account appears at a time when, on the one hand, we face rising numbers of children whose classroom behavior classifies them as "educationally difficult," and on the other hand seem to find ourselves painted into a corner with fewer and fewer means to address this crisis. Köhler eloquent protest is founded in his long and deep experience in working with special needs children, and the success of his approach is beyond dismissal. He challenges these accepted patterns of thought and outlines a spiritually deepened concept of education and upbringing that is truly refreshing. Every parent and teacher will benefit from this book. In fact, I'd go so far as to say every adult human being will benefit from learning to see others through eyes taught to look as Köhler looks. Difficult Children has our highest recommendation!
A Healing Education
How Can Waldorf Education Meet the Needs of Children?
Michaela Glöckler, MD
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These lectures on health in education, given in 1998 at the Waldorf Teachers Conference at Rudolf Steiner College, are a potent support for the work of the Waldorf teacher. As a physician, Dr. Glöckler brings to the fore the physiological foundation of Waldorf Education, moving from clearly observable physical phenomena to the soul-spiritual forces working in them. This physiological approach supports the teachers' striving for sensitive observation of each child and gives new perspectives for their gasp of the complicated nature of the human being. She demonstrates teh difference between human and animal and shows how, in the animal, wisdom and intelligence have formed the physical body and express themselves through instinct.
These lectures appear as increasing numbers of children are being identified as learning disabled and, more subtly, as daily life provides less and less a foundation for health. Dr. Glöckler points out that the understanding that whatever the manifestations are, underlying them are physiological problems and that this understanding is fundamental to Waldorf Education.
The key task of the educator, therefore, is to insure for the child a healthy physical development, for this is the basis for a healthy soul-spiritual development.
Physiognomy in the Light of Spiritual Science
A Study of Man for Teachers and Parents
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Originally $18.95 -
A knowledge of physiognomy is essential for the understanding and education of the child.
- Rudolf Steiner
Thus opens Alan Whitehead's fascinating exploration of realms of the human soul that are revealed in our faces. His intent is to increase adult understanding of who the children before us are - and with that understanding, to enable us to teach and raise them in the best way possible.
The author takes the reader on a journey through traditional and anthroposophical interpretations of face structure - a journey that will linger in the mind long after the last page is read. There is much to ponder here and no small amound of insight to be gleaned.
Reading the Face
Understanding a Person's Character through Physiognomy
Norbert Glas, MD
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Originally $30.00 -
As a boy traveling to school by streetcar, Norbert Glas often passed the time by studying the faces of his fellow passengers, pondering the significance of the shapes and contours of their noses, eyes, and mouths. Later in life, after becoming a medical doctor and a student of Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual science, Glas gained greater insight into the mysteries of human physiognomy.
In Reading the Face, the first translation into English of his seminal work, Glas begins by defining the three parts of the human face and explaining the importance of their relative proportions. A face that is more pronounced in any of these areas tends to indicate certain personality traits and specific physiological characteristics. People with a strong mouth and chin, for example, tend to have a strong will and an active, driven, and assertive nature. With the help of many photos and drawings, Glas presents the physiognomy of three basic types and analyzes the specifics of the head, forehead, ears, eyes, mouth, and nose.
Reading the Face will be valuable to doctors, teachers, and anyone who wants to better understand, accept, and love others.
Bringing Out the Best in Boys
Communication Strategies for Teachers
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Although it is true that some of the material in this book is directed especially toward classroom teachers (the parts, for instance, about constructive ways to handle parent meetings), the better portion of the book contains gems that will be valuable to all teachers (whether at home or in the classroom) and parents.
Neall offers time-tested communication strategies that help get the best out of boys. The tips for tackling difficult behavior wil result in more cooperation and learning to the benefit of everyone.
The author works with teachers and schools to identify what helps boys learn. The result is this handbook, packed full of techniques, examples, and tips. Topics include:
- Affirming and channelling boys' energy, so you can get them on your side
- Improving boys' emotional literacy, so they gain in confidence and self-awareness
- Using boundaries and appropriate discipline to calm classes
- How to encourage boys so that they can be at their best
- Getting boys to cooperate without nagging and shouting
- Engaging boys with hmor and playfulness.
I feel strongly that this approach is something almost everyone involved with educating or rearing boys in this world of ours has been longing for - it is clear, practical, warm and, best of all, effective. Very highly recommended!
Discussions between doctors and teachers
edited by David S. Mitchell
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A wonderful compilation of articles and reports coming out of the First International Conference for Doctors and Teachers, held in Stuttgart, Germany, and sponsored by the Medical Section of the Goetheanum.
Topics covered include
- the role of the school physician
- constitutional types in school-age children
- dental health and development
- therapeutic principles in the curriculum of the arts and crafts lessons
- therapeutic aspects of form drawing
- reading and writing difficulties
- math difficulties
- working with difficult children
- changes with maturity
- opportunities and risks in the third seven-year period
- therapeutic approaches in the high school lessons
- youth and occultism
- prevention of mental illness at school age
- special needs education
- aspects of left-handedness