Connecting With Young Children: Educating the Will–Week Four

Our last post regarding Chapter One of this book can be found here.  One of the major premises in Waldorf Education for the Early Years is that the child is working on the growth of his or her own physical body and that this work continues for a longer period than we might otherwise think.  For example, respiration and pulse rates do not establish consistent rhythms until the child is six or seven years old.  Eye muscles for tracking take at least eight years to develop according to this chapter (and many of the optometrists who specialize in visual therapy will tell you this is still developing up until age fourteen), the frontal lobes of the cortex are still developing throughout the teenaged years, etc.  Therefore a fundamental truth of Waldorf Education is that:

To allow the child’s forces of growth and formation to do their task without hindrance allows him to build a solid foundation for physical health throughout life.  These are the same forces that power the intellect, and as they are gradually released from their body forming activities, the intellect develops.  However, the intellect can be forced into early functioning at the expense of the developing physical body. 

The child is seen as a gradually awakening being who is born with a “dream consciousness” and children are seen as attaining and coming to self-consciousness at their own pace. 

The NEEDS of the newborn are seen not just as the need for food, warmth, dryness, being kept clean but the “soul needs” of attention, affection and nourishing touch, the need for acceptance and welcome and appreciation.  This is the basis for the child in growth to develop a basic trust in the world and in other people.

I would love to hear your thoughts on any of the topics in this book up to page 27.

Hope you are reading along,


1 thought on “Connecting With Young Children: Educating the Will–Week Four

  1. This section of the book feels very validating to me as an “attachment parenting” mom, who breastfed on demand, wore my baby often in a sling, and was basically inseparable from her when she was an infant. I have questioned this way of raising my daughter often over the last three years since she was born, but it always felt right. Hopefully it is giving her a firm foundation for connecting and relating to others later in life. I really love the birthday story told on pages 23-24…would love to tell this to my daughter! And this quote: “Human life on earth is in fact the school for spiritual beings to develop to their highest potential (pg. 24).” That’s what really draws me to Waldorf education, this acknowledgment and inclusion of the spiritual facet of life.

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