Articles in the Online Waldorf Library come from many sources. Quite a number are from the archives of journals and publications published over the past 50+ years. When possible we have noted the specific source although this is not always possible.
Included in the "article" search database are all articles in currently in print journals: Gateways, the Research Bulletin and the Waldorf Journal Project.
The Online Waldorf Library includes:
Education as an Art, the first widely circulated journal about Waldorf education in the United States. It began in 1940 as the Bulletin of the Rudolf Steiner School Association. The purpose of the journal was to inform Americans about Rudolf Steiner's pedagogy. In 1969 the journal became known as Education as an Art: A Journal for the Waldorf Schools of North America.
To search for articles specifically from Education as an Art, please enter the journal name into the search box "with the exact phrase".
Lectures from the 2002 AWSNA National Teacher's Conference, to search for the 8 lectures presented, please enter AWSNA lecture in the search box and click "exact phrase"
Download the article: Discovering a Genius: Rudolf Steiner at 150
by Frederick Amrine
Willi Brandt (who won the Nobel Peace Prize, and knew whereof he spoke) credits Rudolf Steiner with having made the greatest contribution to world peace of the twentieth century. The long-time editor of The Nation, Victor Navasky, described him in his memoir of 2005 as “light-years ahead of the curve,” and others such as Joseph Beuys have found in Steiner’s deep insights into human nature the possibility of a thoroughgoing renewal of culture. Owen Barfield argued that Steiner is perhaps the key thinker of modern times, and abandons his usual British reserve to assert: “By comparison, not only with his contemporaries but with the general history of the Western mind, his stature is almost too excessive to be borne.” Those of us fortunate enough to have discovered Rudolf Steiner understand that our seemingly hyperbolic assessments will elicit skepticism. If Rudolf Steiner was really such a towering genius, how can he remain widely unknown nearly a century after his death?
It has happened before. Aristotle was lost to the West for a millennium. The Catholic Church placed Thomas Aquinas on its Index of proscribed writings for half a century after his death. By the early nineteenth century, J. S. Bach’s greatness needed to be rediscovered and reasserted by Mendelssohn. Van Gogh sold one painting during his lifetime. In retrospect, we shake our heads and wonder how such neglect can have happened. Yet it did. And in the same way, future generations will shake their heads and wonder at us.
Download the article: Doing Goethean Science
by Craig Holdrege
The Nature Institute
Practicing the Goethean approach to science involves heightened methodological awareness and sensitivity to the way we engage in the phenomenal world. We need to overcome our habit of viewing the world in terms of objects and leave behind the scientific propensity to explain via reification and reductive models. I describe science as a conversation with nature and how this perspective can inform a new scientific frame of mind. I then present the Goethean approach via a practical example (a study of a plant, skunk cabbage) and discuss some of the essential features of Goethean methodology and insight: the riddle; into the phenomenon; exact picture building; and seeing the whole. (27 pages)
Keywords: botany, environment, observation, science, phenomenology
Download the article: Drama and the Education of Youth
AWSNA Waldorf High School Research Project
by Eric G. Müller
Role of the Director
Choice of Play
Drama as a Support to the Curriculum Drama Club 9th, 10th, 11th,12th Grade
A deepening and broadening of dramatic work with adolescents is essential in our time, because experience and investigation shows that the positive transformative effects on high school students through drama is tremendous, and that without the implementation of a well rounded drama program they will have missed out on an integral part of their education – an education that purports to lay down firm foundations for life. This study covers and examines the most essential aspects that will help facilitate such deepening.
Download the article: Drawing with Hand, Head and Heart:Beyond the Right Side of the Brain
by Van James
Please download the full article to see the illustrations.
The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book ‘Drawing with Hand, Head and Heart: A Natural Approach to Learning the Art of Drawing’ by Van James. Available September 2013.
The laborer works with his hands, the craftsman works with his hands and his head, the artist works with his hands, his head and his heart. —Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)
Over the past few decades, the theory that postulates dual operations of the brain has become a popular and practical model for understanding the contrasting cognitive functions of the brain and resulting human behavior. The widespread acceptance of this theory has in no small way occurred with the help of mainstream work such as Betty Edwards’ book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.*1 This workbook approach helped to popularize the idea of lateral brain function because it demonstrated the theory by means of observable, practical applications in drawing. If one recognizes right brain activity (artistic, holistic, imagistic, intuitive, simultaneous, present-future oriented) and left brain functions (logical, analytical, verbal, literal, sequential, present-past oriented), one can begin to utilize the appropriate brain operations for specific tasks at hand—in this case, the right brain activity for the purpose of visual thinking to improve one’s drawing. According to this theory, various exercises, such as drawing from a picture that is placed upside-down, can shift the brain (that is one’s perception) into a more artistic, imagistic way of seeing, thus making drawing easier. This theory makes the great mysteries of consciousness, cognition, perception and creativity a bit more accessible and understandable. It is helpful as a starting point for understanding aspects of brain activity and the rich nature of our learning process.
However, twofold, lateral brain functions occur within the wider context of the trifold brain – the so-called reptilian hindbrain (Rhombencephalon—made up of brainstem and cerebellum that deals with involuntary actions and survival mechanisms), limbic midbrain (Mesencephalon—thalamus, hypothalamus, and other brain centers which control emotion, sexuality and memory), and neocortex forebrain or cerebral cortex (Prosencephalon—neomammalian brain involved with muscle function, sense perception, and thought processes).
According to contemporary neurology, up to age three, children learn by way of imitation with the engagement of the reptilian and limbic brains. After age three, there is a growth spurt activating the right hemisphere of the neocortex. The right hemisphere brings intuitive, imaginative, non-linear thinking into action as well as an integrated functioning between the three brain regions. This integrative functioning is responsible for what Joseph Chilton Pearce calls the “magical” relationship a child has to her world, expressed in simple play and untutored creativity.*2 Around eight years of age, children develop foveal focus; the ability to visually scan two-dimensional space. About the age of nine, the left hemisphere of the neocortex begins to function more actively. This hemisphere of the brain gives us abilities for abstraction, objectivity, and linear thought. These latter two events allow a momentous leap in learning as they open the possibility for reading and writing to organically take place, not to mention, continued creative activity.
Read more: Drawing with Hand, Head and Heart: Beyond the Right Side of the Brain