“Our new generation of children will need an education that not only addresses their intellects but also cultivates their artistic abilities and develops their practical skills. Above all they will need an education that can nurture the capacities that will allow them to adapt to a rapidly changing world. Emil Molt knew the man who developed a form of education that meets those needs; that man was Rudolf Steiner” (Roberto Trostli).
Waldorf education—an established and growing independent school movement—continues to be shaped and inspired by Rudolf Steiner’s numerous writings and lectures on education and child development.
In Rhythms of Learning, key lectures on children and education have been thoughtfully chosen from the vast amount of material by Steiner and presented in a context that makes them reader-friendly and accessible. In his many discussions and lectures, Steiner shared his vision of education that considers the spirit, soul, and physiology in children as they grow.
Roberto Trostli, a seasoned Waldorf teacher, has selected the works that best illustrate the fundamentals of this unique approach. In each chapter, Trostli explains Steiner’s concepts and describes how they work in the contemporary Waldorf classroom. We learn how the teacher–child relationship and the Waldorf school curriculum changes as the students progress from kindergarten through high school.
Rhythms of Learning is an excellent resource for parents who want to understand how their child is learning. Parents will also be more prepared to discuss their child’s education with teachers, and teachers will find it to be a valuable reference source and communication tool.
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Preface to the Revised Edition
Introduction: A Seed for the Future
1. The Foundations of Waldorf Education
The Education of the Child in the Light of Spiritual Science
2. Teacher and Child
The Four Temperaments
Understanding Children’s Temperaments
Gratitude, Love, and Duty
3. The Waldorf Kindergarten
The World of the Young Child
Walking, Speaking, Thinking
4. The First School Years
From Whole to Part
Children from the Seventh to Tenth Years
Teaching Children to Write
5. The Middle Elementary School Years
Self and World
Zoology and Botany in the Elementary School
Nature Study in the Elementary School
6. The Upper Elementary School Years
Cause and Consequence
The Child at Twelve
Teaching in the Upper Grades
7. The High School Years
Adolescence—the Quest for Self
Working with Adolescents
8. The Arts in Waldorf Education
The Jewels in the Crown
Education through Art
An Introduction to Eurythmy
Roberto Trostli has been active in Waldorf education since 1981 as a class teacher, high school teacher, adult educator, author, and lecturer. He received his BA from Columbia University and his MA from the University of Cambridge, England. After working as a violinmaker, Roberto taught for ten years at the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City, the school he also attended as a child. Later, he moved to Hadley, Massachusetts, where he worked for eighteen years, first as a class teacher of graded 1 to 8, and then as the founder and director of the Hartsbrook High School. In 2009, Roberto moved to Richmond, Virginia, where he resumed class teaching at Richmond Waldorf School. Roberto also worked as a pedagogical consultant and lectured and offered workshops internationally. He was co-director of the part-time teacher training in Sunbridge College in New York, and served as Director of the Waldorf Research Institute. Roberto was a member of the Pedagogical Section Council for ten years and helped restructure the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA). Roberto's written works include numerous articles and plays. In addition to this volume, he edited Teaching Language Arts in the Waldorf School (2004) and Creating a Circle of Collaborative Spiritual Leadership (2014), and has written a book about the college of teachers in Waldorf schools. Early in his career, Roberto became interested in teaching science and wrote Physics is Fun!—revised and reissued as Physics the Waldorf Way (2016).
Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up (see right). As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.
Robert McDermott, Ph.D., is president emeritus and chair of the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). His publications include Radhakrishnan (1970); The Essential Aurobindo (1974, 1987); The Essential Steiner (1984); (with Rudolf Steiner) The Bhagavad Gita and the West (2009); and The New Essential Steiner (2009). He has also published on William James, Josiah Royce, M. K. Gandhi, the evolution of consciousness, and American thought. His administrative service includes president of the New York Center for Anthroposophy; president of the Rudolf Steiner [summer] Institute; chair of the board of Sunbridge College (New York) and of Rudolf Steiner College (California). He was a member of the council of the Anthroposophical Society in America (1996–2004). He is the founding chair of the board of the Sophia Project, an anthroposophic home in Oakland, California, for mothers and children at risk of homelessness. He is a Lindisfarne fellow, a Fetzer mentor, and a member of the Esalen Corportion.