BY MARIE STEINER (1923)
* * *
education is based on the principles laid down by Rudolf Steiner in no
sense claim to be institutions representative of any particular philosophy
or conception of the world. Their aim is to enable the child to develop
and unfold in freedom. The child should live in an element of soul
and spirit that is at once a support and help, instead of being
allowed to sink into a spiritual void, finally emerging from school
life wearied in soul and body. Those who teach must possess a
conception of the world that enables them in renewed freshness to
grapple with the problems of education and fills them with reverence
and devotion so that they may help the child to overcome any
hereditary failings and unfold the divine seed within him. A body of
teachers borne onwards by these impulses can readjust individual
shortcomings and correct the faults which are inevitably part of all
* * *
This art of
education is concerned with the possibilities latent in the whole being
of man and reckons, at the same time, with the tendencies of modern life.
At the central point stands the human being — no longer the boy or
the man alone, no longer creed or class, but the human being. Our present
age needs and is waiting for principles of education arising from the
necessities of the times, free from all distinctions of class, sex
and creed, conscious only of the demands which modern life imposes on
us. Our social life needs a new impulse, but this can only arise as the
fruit of past civilizations, as blossom from plant, and not from the
forces of decay. Isolated reforms no longer avail in a cultural life
that is self-destructive in its nature. A new orientation is necessary.
* * *
deepening of the whole being is one of the essential tasks of education.
Moral and religious qualities inhere in the child's life of feeling when
he realizes that the bodily nature is everywhere a manifestation of the
spiritual and that the spiritual is ever seeking to enter creatively
into the body.
sympathies and antipathies for good and evil, delight in goodness,
abhorrence of evil — these qualities, not precepts or injunctions,
make the child a truly moral being. With the development of his sense
of freedom and individual power of discrimination at the age of fifteen
or sixteen, such feelings will then arise of themselves. He will be
immune to outside influence and able to form his own free judgments.
Conventional rules and regulations are of no avail. We must work, at
the right age, on the child's life of feeling and perception —
but not by way of dogma and mental concepts. Then no fetters will
limit the individual power of judgment that emerges later. If the
child has been educated in a wholly human sense, he will learn to
feel and know his full manhood. His own free religious and moral
sense will have been awakened.
Our highest endeavour must be to
develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart
purpose and direction to their lives.