Connecting With Young Children: Educating the Will–Week Two

We are back looking at the introduction to this wonderful  book by Stephen Spitalny.  This is a book about waking up our own will in choosing how we will relate to small children, and in understanding that small children are driven by their own will forces.   I urge you to read along!

This book is based upon the way Rudolf Steiner perceived young children. Steiner felt that children came to Earth with an “essential core, the true individuality of the human being [being] spirit” and that this spirit is contained in a physical body.  The gifts and destiny of this human being is our journey on Earth.  The physical body has needs and instincts and sense experiences; the “I” (the essential spiritual core) has a destiny to unfold and the soul is the intermediary between these two things.  The soul of a human being is the housing of our desires, the things we like and dislike, our passions.  Lastly, besides the “I”, the physical body, and the soul , there is an “etheric body” which is the life forces of the body.  Perhaps we know this better in our modern times from the Chinese medical system as chi.  The etheric body, the chi, in Steiner’s view had the ability to help form the physical body and to maintain the physical body.  The etheric body is the “realm of the immune system” and of movement.

This four-fold system is our basis for looking at all human beings, but in the small child of ages birth through seven,  we are especially concerned with these life-forces (the etheric) and how small children develop and use their will forces in a healthy way.

Part of this  occurs through US as adults – how do we relate to and connect with the small child under the age of 7?  Relating to others  is a realm of give and take, it is a process of connecting to that which is within ourselves. 

“For a parent or teacher or caregiver, the core principle is the meeting of the other, and to truly meet an other one must first know thyself.  This is a core principle of Waldorf education.”

A spiritual path allows us to experience connection with the spirit within us, and to experience the spirit in the world around us so we can overcome the separation created by thinking and the intellect. 

Lots of food for thought and more to come,

Carrie

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2 thoughts on “Connecting With Young Children: Educating the Will–Week Two

  1. I just ordered the book and look forward to following along with your blog posts. I am a homeschooling mother to three boys. They are 10, 7, and 1. They are very similarly spaced in age to your children. I find your posts about planning for the grades extremely helpful. Thank you!

  2. It is great to be learning more about Steiner’s ideas through this book…although I’m attracted to Waldorf philosophy in relation to the early childhood years, I haven’t read any direct Steiner material. Very interesting so far! I love what you write about a spiritual path helping us overcome the separation created by thinking and the intellect. Regarding waking up our own will, Spitalny writes that “The adult, in utilizing her will in thinking, can create situations that wake up the child’s will forces that have been put to sleep or damaged.” I’m looking forward to learning more about this, about developing my own will and how that can help my 3-year-old daughter’s development.

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