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Articles

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"

First Approach to Mineralogy

Download the article: First Approach to Mineralogy

by Frederick Hiebel
Published in Education as an Art, Vol.2, #1, Spring 1941

In one of his lectures, at the opening of his Waldorf School, Rudolf Steiner told his teachers that the age of twelve is an important turning point in a child's development. We have all noticed that just before and at about the age of puberty, children gradually lose their grace of movement. They become clumsy and crude in the use of their limbs, their manners and even their facial expressions. Their long arms hang awkwardly in sleeves which are always too short. In fact, at this phase of life, we can say a child is actually under the domination of his bony structure, his skeleton. Parallel with this physical phenomenon there awakens within the child a more in-dependent attitude toward his environment and his judgment of parents and teachers becomes more critical.

Read more: First Approach to Mineralogy

First Experience of Science

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by Roland Everett
Published in Child and Man (UK), date unknown

The Art of Introducing the Essence

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began,
So is it now I am a man,
So be it when I shall grow old
Or let me die!
The Child is father o fthe Man:
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

W. Wordsworth

Does your heart still miss a beat, when you see a rainbow in the sky? Or, as the years are slipping by, has it become dulled by habitual sense perceptions? How easy it is to take the phenomena of nature for granted. And yet, each phenomenon is a kind of question, silently waiting to be answered or, as with Goethe, 'an open secret' whose discovery can renew the links with the powers of creation, with the divine world itself. Wonder at the wisdom and beauty of the world sets the mood in the first science lessons, given to twelve year olds.

Read more: First Experience of Science

For Life and for Now - On the Question of Commitment and Learning

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by Lothar Steinmann
translated by Ingrid Schutz

Published in the Rundbrief, the journal of the Pedagogical Section in Dornach. Volume 22, Easter 2005

Children want to learn
We do learn for life but also for this very moment. School should be a place full of immediate sense. For children the immediate moment is crucial, not a vague future. Children learn for their teachers. At first they are interested in people not in things. This interest should be protected. School and lessons are necessary be­cause children cannot be left alone with learning. The encounter of the develop­ing child with the world has to be mitigated, guided and sometimes actually arranged. Children, especially younger children enjoy being able to do some­thing. They want to show what they are able to do. A little girl is protesting vi­olently because the hurried mother buttons up the jacket, though she knows herself how to do that! And an even younger boy cries because he is not allowed to crawl into the car by himself. There are similar examples in great numbers.
You want to show what you are able to do. It seems as if children enjoy being in the process of being tested. And if there is anything they are -not able to do it is a reason for extra efforts. Fortunately there is no awareness of failing with achievements of this kind.

Read more: For Life and for Now - On the Question of Commitment and Learning

Foreign Language Teaching and the Art of Educating

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by Christof Wiechert

This article was first published in the Journal of the Pedagogical Section at the Goetheanum, Nr 46, Christmas, 2012 and republished with permission by The Journal for Waldorf Steiner Education, New Zealand, March 2013, Volume 15.1. Translated by Margot Saar

“Each language penetrates us differently and reveals human nature in a different way, which is why we must complement the effect of the mother tongue with other languages”3

“Naturally this does introduce into the lessons something that makes teaching somewhat strenuous.”4


Interesting developments have occurred in the almost hundred years since the inception of Waldorf education. One of these developments is that, over the decades, the institution of the class teacher has gained prominence at the expense of the subject teachers. This is particularly true in the case of foreign language teachers who are sometimes treated as if they were an inferior kind of species.

There is no point in trying to work out why this is so.

We will instead look at the great importance that Rudolf Steiner attached to the foreign languages in his concept of Waldorf education. Just before the first school was founded he even identified the new school with the early learning of foreign languages which he saw as one of its particular strengths.

Let us try and trace how Rudolf Steiner envisaged the teaching of foreign languages. He certainly wanted it to be different (in the case of modern languages) from any conventional approach. (We will not consider the classical languages which, from today’s point of view, took up too much of the curriculum in the early years). We assume that there is general awareness in the Waldorf movement of the fact that Steiner proposed to teach modern foreign languages from an early age to make use of the abating powers of imitation that enabled the children to learn their mother tongue. (This is the reason why Steiner suggested that under certain conditions a second mother tongue could be started in kindergarten).

Read more: Foreign Language Teaching and the Art of Educating

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