Waldorf in Depth

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Rudolf Steiner's Curricuum for Waldorf Schools

An attempt to summarise his indications ~ A collection of quotations for the benefit of the different Waldorf Schools

E. A. Karl Stockmeyer

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Taken as a living document, Karl Stockmeyer's collection of various things Rudolf Steiner said about the curriculum for Waldorf education, particularly because they are juxtaposed by his commentaries and reports of things that were done at the Stuttgart school, is a thought-provoking source of inspiration to anyone teaching the grades and high school.  Karl Stockmeyer served as a teacher and administrator at the original Waldorf School in Stuttgart during Steiner's time and continued on after Steiner's death in 1925.  His compilation of Steiner's thoughts on the curriculum is perhaps the richest and broadest source of both inspiration and direction available on the subject.

Although the English translation is fairly stiffly rendered, at least to an American English speaker's ear, the liveliness of the thoughts and descriptions that are conveyed transcends that minor difficulty, making this exciting reading for anyone with an interest in further the aims of Waldorf education.  It is small wonder that it has been at the side of so many teachers throughout the years.

The Curriculum of the First Waldorf School

Assembled by Caroline von Heydebrand

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Caroline von Heydebrand was greatly admired by Steiner for her teaching in the original Waldorf School of Stuttgart.  Her gifts with children were matched by her understanding of the intentions of the curriculum and its contents, as well as by her personal creativity.

This little booklet detailing the curriculum as it was taught in those very early years is a beautiful compilation of which things were to be taught, why they needed to be taught, and what the long range benefits to the students would be for each year's subjects.

Although in many ways The Curriculum of the First Waldorf School could be characterized as a collecti0n of notes, there is an inspiring power in the simplicity of their presentation and the fact that they so often contain remarks and asides that shed great light on the whys and wherefores of Waldorf education.

It is a joy to be able to offer this book to all of you who are interested in the foundations of Steiner's pedagogy.

Foundations of Human Experience

Rudolf Steiner

(earlier English translation titled Study of Man)

Foreword by Henry Barnes

Introduction by Nancy Whittaker (Parsons)

Translated by Robert F. Lathe and Nancy Whittaker (Parsons)

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This course on education contains some of the most remarkable and significant lectures ever given by Rudolf Steiner.

Because these lectures were given to teachers, however, they have suffered the misconception that they are useful only to teachers. Any teacher who wants to teach in a way that encompasses the whole child certainly needs a functional understanding of what Steiner presents here, but these lectures will also greatly benefit parents, psychologists, counselors, or anyone else involved with developing children.

Steiner gives his most concise and detailed account of human nature in these lectures, which are absolutely essential for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of Steiner's spiritual science. Those who are willing to work through this work will discover here a new, powerful, convincing, and profoundly phenomenological “anthropology” of human spiritual psychology.

In these lectures, Steiner laid out for the first time the principles that form the basis for renewing the art of teaching. The Foundations of Human Experience is the most important text for studying and understanding the human developmental and psychological basis for Waldorf education

Foundations is Rudolf Steiner's crowning articulation of the threefold human being, a portrait of spiritual/physical relationships and interworkings and is essential knowledge for anyone wishing to truly understand the heart of Anthroposphy. The self-knowledge that can result from an understanding of this book is also essential for anyone seeking to undertake spiritual development or to work in service of the development of others.

Although we can physically see children only after their birth, we need to be aware that birth is also a continuation. We do not want to look only at what the human being experiences after death, that is, at the spiritual continuation of the physical. We want to be aware that physical existence is a continuation of what higher beings have done without our assistance. 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.

—Rudolf Steiner

Note: As we translated these fourteen lectures, we strove to render each thought clearly and completely in language accessible to anyone wanting to learn. To understand Lecture 2, you will need a working understanding of the terms and definitions of the nine-fold human being as presented in Chapter 1 of Theosophy. Beyond that, we believe that no other technical information is necessary to fully comprehend this book.

Practical Advice to Teachers

Rudolf Steiner

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This was the afternoon seminar presented along with Foundations of Human Experience in the morning and Discussions with Teachers in the early evening - all intended to prepare the new teachers to educate children in the original Waldorf School in Stuttgart, Germany. This particular series is an immensely practical presentation of the "hows" of teaching. In it, Steiner gives one example after another of how to bring the intent of the Waldorf School to life in children's minds and hearts. Whether you are a teacher or not, this presentation opens door after door of understanding of the way children receive the world - and offers unlimited inspiration of ways to bring this understanding to life for the children in your care.

Discussions with Teachers

Rudolf Steiner

Translated by Helen Fox, Maisie Jones, and Catherine Creeger

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For two weeks prior to the opening of the first Waldorf school, Rudolf Steiner gave an intensive seminar to prepare the teachers to educate children in harmony with the development of their body, soul, and spirit. Discussions with Teachers records the discussion sessions that were held in the late afternoon every day. The tone is spontaneous and relaxed. Steiner does not prescribe specific methods, but introduces topics and situations, giving guidelines and practical assignments that are discussed in the next session. This edition also includes (for the first time in English) three very important lectures on the curriculum given the day before the Waldorf School opened.

Faculty Meetings with Rudolf Steiner Vols. 1 and 2

Rudolf Steiner

Translated by Robert F. Lathe and Nancy K. Parsons

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We keep these volumes on permanent discount because we believe they hold the greatest potential for the health of the Waldorf school movement of anything available. Complete, unexpurgated, clearly translated into American English, there is no other source that gives such a thorough and accurate presentation of the realities and intent of the first Waldorf School. Myths are exposed and fondest hopes supported. Rudolf Steiner is allowed to live as a human being among other human beings. We believe that these transcripts are nothing less than extraordinary evidence that, in fact, the truth shall make us free.

Republican Academies

Rudolf Steiner on self-management, experiential study and self-education in the life of a college of teachers

Francis Gladstone

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Republican Academies is a collection of Rudolf Steiner's insights for Waldorf schools on self-management, experiential study, self-education, and cooperative working. The book includes extensive excerpts from Steiner's speeches and writings and explores his views on college life (the full faculty of teachers in a school), outlining some of the history and development of the Waldorf philosophy throughout the beginning of the twentieth century.

Steiner's practical experiment in “republican self-management” at the Stuttgart Waldorf School now has its legacy in more than a thousand Waldorf-inspired schools around the world.

Human Values in Education

Rudolf Steiner

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The underlying thesis of these lectures, volume XX in the “Foundations of Waldorf Education” series, is that true education must be based on knowledge of the whole human being and that such knowledge cannot be attained without love. On this basis, Steiner presents his understanding of every aspect of child development — bodily, psychological, and spiritual. At the same time, he shows that, to prove worthy of their calling, teachers must begin a process of inner development. In Steiner’s view, it is human beings who give value and meaning to the world. Modern education, however, is gradually undermining this meaning. These lectures demonstrate that education can heal that lack of meaning and restore the meaning of humankind for the world.

Steiner also discusses the practical, day-to-day operation of the school. He talks about styles of teaching, teacher conferences, parent-teacher meetings, and how Waldorf education is related to the anthroposophic movement.

This book, while serving as a good introduction to Steiner’s ideas on education, also represents the fruits of four years experience in the Waldorf school.

Contents:

  • Introduction by Christopher Bamford
  • The Need for Understanding the Human Being
  • Incarnation of the Human Being in a Physical Body
  • Walking, Speaking, Thinking
  • The Three Stages of Childhood
  • Teachers’ Conferences in the Waldorf School
  • Parent-Teacher Meetings
  • The Temperaments and the Human Organism
  • Diet and the Four Temperaments
  • Styles of Education
  • Education and the Anthroposophic Movement

German source: Der pädagogisch Wert der Menschenerkenntnis und der Kulturwert der Pädagogik (GA 310).

Towards Religious Education

Rudolf Steiner on Religious Teaching and the School Services

Rudolf Steiner

Translated by Johanna Collis

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This book is a comprehensive collection of Rudolf Steiner's thoughts and ideas on teaching religion in Waldorf schools. The carefully compiled collection documents the beginning and development of "Free Christian Religion Lessons" and "Services" as they were originally conceived and will be of great value for all teachers of religion.

Balance in Teaching

Rudolf Steiner

Four lectures given on Stuttgart, September 15, 16, 21 and 22, 1920 (GA 302)

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Balance. Again and again Rudolf Steiner emphasizes its importance in education: The balance between eye and ear; between perception, comprehension, and memory. Balance in Teaching offers a wonderful teacher's tool for understanding the psycho-physiology of education, for recognizing problems, and for knowing what to do about them.

The Spiritual Ground of Education

Rudolf Steiner

Introduction by Christopher Bamford

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These lectures are exceptional among Rudolf Steiner's many lectures on Waldorf education for their breadth, depth, daring and accessibility. They were given at Mansfield College, Oxford, England, to an audience that was one of the most prestigious Steiner ever addressed.

In this setting Steiner begins by stating that Waldorf education is based entirely upon spiritual scientific knowledge of the human being. He speaks openly and directly about the spirit as "the reality of hidden depths," and he gives numerous examples of this reality and how to become aware of it. he examines the nature of the human being as a threefold organism: the question of education as an "art" and teachers as artists in education; as well as the actual organization of a Waldorf school. He ends by showing, with anecdotes and examples, the importance of teachers, the core of any pedagogy, as exemplars of a way of life: "A heart that is open to changes in life - its unexpected and continuous freshness - must be a Waldorf teacher's basic nature and mood."

Soul Economy

Body, Soul, and Spirit in Waldorf Education

Rudolf Steiner

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Steiner begins this important series of lectures by placing Anthroposophy as the foundation for understanding the principles behind Waldorf education. In the talks that follow, he describes an education based on the human being as a continually developing being of body, soul, and spirit. Out of this perspective, Waldorf Education depends on the teacher's ability to observe and respond to each stage of a child's development.

Steiner shows how Waldorf education emphasizes the efficient use of children’s inner energies, a method he calls “soul economy,” based on knowledge of the whole human being in body, soul and spirit. He shows us how we can nurture children through their natural stages of development, giving them just what they need at the right time. These detailed and accessible lectures give parents and teachers the keys to a much-needed renewal of education, for our children and their future.

Topics include: health and illness, children from before the seventh year through adolescence, physical education, esthetic education, and religious and moral education.

Knowledge, Teaching and the Death of the Mysteries

Dennis Klocek

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Dennis Klocek is one of the finest teachers and most deeply insightful people I know. This book, transcripts of 6 lectures given in 2000, is everything I've come to expect from Dennis, including deeply inspiring.

Beginning with an overview of many of the trends in mainstream educational approaches - all of which attempt to "solve" the mysterious aspects of nature by offering information that explains them. This tends ot make awe and wonder diminish in the soul of the student. In contrast, Waldorf methodology is designed to help students penetrate the mysteries of life while still keeping the experience of the mysterious intact. From here, he goes on to articulate how it is that Waldorf approach accomplishes the dual goals imparting knowledge while preserving and fostering a sense of awe and wonder.

He identifies five different learning periods, illustrated through physiology and psychology to form pictures of the teaching/learning tasks and concerns appropriate for each age group. Topics include:

  • the life of the senses and the arising of instinctual patterns as the basis of temperament
  • the birth of the free etheric forces and the capacity to form voluntary inner pictures
  • sentient body/sentient soul and the developmental challenges of adolescence
  • awakening in the dream - the challenge of adult education

Seeing Hearing Learning

The Interplay of Eye and Ear in Waldorf Education

Eugene Schwartz

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A fascinating in-depth look at the physiology of eye and ear as it relates to child development, learning and human awareness of the surrounding world. With that as a foundation, Schwartz then goes on to discuss the relationship of their development to the methods of Waldorf education.

The Renewal of Education

Lectures to Public School Teachers in Basil, Switzerland April 20 - May 16, 1920

Rudolf Steiner

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Following a lecture requested by the department of education in Basel, Switzerland (published in Spirit of the Waldorf School), sixty members of the audience invited Rudolf Steiner to return and deliver a complete lecture course on his approach to education. This work is the result. Like other lectures by Steiner to public audiences, these are accessible and practical, and they provide a real overview to his ideas for renewing modern education.

This lecture course is newly translated for this series. It covers a broad range of subjects: from the threefold nature of the human being to the teachers' responsibility toward their students' future; from arts such as music and eurythmy to the problems involved in training teachers; and from zoology and botany to language, geography, and history.

This is one of my favorite of Steiner's education courses - all the more so as it was delivered to public school teachers.

Education, Teaching, and Practical Life

Rudolf Steiner

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These lectures by Steiner in 1921 and 1922 are newly available in English and constitute some of his most enthusiastic and detailed discussions of the goals of his pedagogy (Waldorf Education). In them he describes a way of educating and teaching children and youth by educating the entire person: body, soul, and spirit. Such an education can be carried out only if the educator is aware of the evolutionary metamorphosis that proceeds from spirit to soul and from soul into the physical. Steiner makes it quite clear that to deliver this education one must understand this as well as the developmental stages of human beings.

These lectures are filled with gems of wisdom and insight.

Education as a Force for Social Change

Rudolf Steiner

Translated by Robert F. Lathe and Nancy Parsons Whittake

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These impassioned, radical lectures were given by Rudolf Steiner one month before the opening of the first Waldorf School - following two years of intense preoccupation with the social situation in Germany as World War I ended and society sought to rebuild itself. Steiner recognized that any solution to the life-gripping problems of the day must address not only economic and legal questions, but also that of a free spiritual life. For Steiner, only a proper nurturing of the virtues of imitation, reverence and love at the appropriate period in a child's development can create mature adults who are inwardly prepared to fulfill the demands of a truly healthy social life. Only this nurturing can develop out of children adults who are capable of assuming the responsibilities of cultural"freedom," social "equality," and economic "brotherhood."

Also included are three lectures on the social basis of education as well as a lecture to the workers of the Waldorf Astoria Cigarette Factory (following which they asked him to form a school) and a lecture to public school teachers.

The Essentials of Education

Rudolf Steiner

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Karl Stockmeyer, a founding teacher of the first Waldorf School, wrote of these April 1924 lectures: "Seventeen hundred people listened to him, and the prolonged, generous applause from this great crowd at the end of every lecture was deeply moving; while at the end of the last lecture the applause became an ovation that seemed as if it would never end."

The Essentials of Education, together with its companion The Roots of Education (given 3 days later), present a remarkable synthesis of Waldorf Education for teachers, parents, and anyone interested in education. This is one of my favorite books about Waldorf Education.

The Roots of Education

Rudolf Steiner

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When he gave these lectures, Rudolf Steiner had only eleven months left to live. The first Waldorf School had been founded five years before, and the intervening period had seen Steiner active in every aspect of school life. Now, in a sense, it was time to bring the ripe fruit of this work before the public. Together, The Roots of Education and its companion lectures, The Essentials of Education provide a stimulating synthesis of the Waldorf approach. These lectures still take my breath away.

Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy (vol. 1)

Public Lectures 1921-1922

Rudolf Steiner

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This book and its companion volume 2 are anthologies of Rudolf Steiner's many public lectures on education, many of them never before published in English. Because his presentation is so clear and straightforward, without oversimplifying, we feel that both these volumes can be valuable to those just beginning to learn about Waldorf education as well as offering new insights to those with more experience.

Waldorf Education and Anthroposophy (vol. 2)

Public Lectures 1922-1924

Rudolf Steiner

Translated by Roland Everett and Robert F. Lathe and Nancy Parsons Whittaker

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This book and its companion volume 1 are anthologies of Rudolf Steiner's many public lectures on education, many of them never before published in English. Because his presentation is so clear and straightforward, without oversimplifying, we feel that both these volumes can be valuable to those just beginning to learn about Waldorf education as well as offering new insights to those with more experience.

The Child's Changing Consciousness

As the Basis of Pedagogical Practice

Rudolf Steiner

Translated by Roland Everett

We regret this book has gone out of print.

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In 1923, Dr. Steiner gave these lectures to Swiss public school teachers, most of whom were unfamiliar with Anthroposophy. Because he assumes no previous knowledge, these are ideal lectures for someone approaching Waldorf pedagogy for the first time. Steiner goes into the basis of his educational philosophy, giving many examples and anecdotes to convey his meaning. The curriculum thus emerges as the commonsense conclusion of practical experience.

Understanding Young Children

Excerpts from Lectures by Rudolf Steiner

Compiled for the Use of Kindergarten Teachers

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At last in a modern translation, this has long been one of the best resource books available for contemplating the needs of young children. Originally compiled for use by Waldorf Kindergarten teachers and available only through teaching organizations, this re translation is now available to anyone who cares for or about young children and wants to learn more.

Observations on Adolescence

The Third Phase of Human Development

Rudolf Steiner

Edited by David Mitchell and Christopher Clouder

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This book is a collection of comments and writings that Rudolf Steiner made about adolescence. Here in one volume is practically every significant comment or observation of Rudolf Steiner about adolescence ever recorded. Especially valuable now that Education for Adolescence seems to be destined to remain out of print indefinitely.

Education for Adolescents

Rudolf Steiner

Translated by Carl Hoffman

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Dr. Steiner's insights into the world of the teenager can inspire an enthusiasm for working with adolescents that develops into a quite new, powerful love for them. This love is the precondition for the positive relationship between adults and adolescents necessary if the teenager is to find his or her way to a healthy, responsive adulthood.

The Genius of Language

Observations for Teachers

Rudolf Steiner

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When the teachers of the original Waldorf School pleaded with Dr. Steiner to give a course on language, he agreed and produced these lectures on very short notice indeed. Steiner demonstrates how history and psychology combine to form different languages and how ideas, images, and vocabulary travel through time in different cultural streams. He speaks of how our language-forming power has dwindled, but says that the inmost kernel of language - the penetration of sense into sound - is still available today. He also speaks of the differentiation of language according to geographical conditions, as well as folk culture, and of the possibility of wordless thinking. Anyone who loves words will love these lectures.

The Light Course

First Course in Natural Science: Light, Color, Sound - Mass, Electricity, Magnetism

Rudolf Steiner

Translated by Raoul Cansino

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Rudolf Steiner's course on light, which includes explorations of color, sound, mass, electricity, and magnetism, presages the dawn of a new worldview in the natural sciences that will stand your notion of the physical world on its head.

This "first course" in natural science, given to the teachers of the new Stuttgart Waldorf School as an inspiration for developing the physics curriculum, is based on Goethe's approach to the study of nature.

Acknowledging that modern physicists had come to regard Goethe's ideas on physics as a kind of "nonsense," Steiner contrasts the traditional scientific approach, which treats phenomena as evidence of natural laws, with Goethean science, which rejects the idea of an abstract law behind natural phenomena and instead seeks to be a rational description of nature.

Steiner also refutes the mechanistic reductionism practiced by scientific positivists. He emphasizes the validity of human experience, pointing toward the revolution in scientific paradigms going on today that reclaims ground for the subject - the human being - in the study of nature.