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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"

Children's Questions

Download the article: Children's Questions

by A. C. Harwood
Published in Education as an Art Vol. 22, No.2, Winter, 1962

From about the age of three children begin to be full of questions, and it is sometimes a matter of great difficulty for their parents to find the right answers to them. Every question demands its own individual answer, but it can be of great value, in deciding what answer to give, to have a clear idea of the kind of answer which is required. For it is altogether wrong to imagine that a little child should be given the same kind of answer as would be suitable for a child of eleven or twelve, but in a simpler form.

The range of questions which even young children will ask is truly astonishing. Indeed, in many respects the youngest children will often ask the most fundamental and far-reaching questions - on life and death, and life after death, and many subjects on which their parents have often resigned all hope of definite knowledge. A child of four (to quote an actual example) has asked these questions in the space of a few minutes:

Do men die? Will you die? Shall I die? What do the angels say to you? Are angels shy? Who made God? Do you like God? When you die do you come alive again?

Read more: Children's Questions

Choosing Fairy Tales for Different Ages

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by Joan Almon

Deciding which fairy tales are appropriate for which age group is a problem which faces every  kindergarten teacher as well as every parent who wants to offer fairy tales to children. Over the years, with the  experience of actually telling the tales to children, one develops a "sense" for this, but in the beginning some  guidelines may be of help.

Among the fairy tales, there are stories of varying degrees of complexity. At the simplest level there is the "Porridge Pot", while a considerably more complicated story is the beautiful French tale of "Perronik", the simpleton in quest of the grail who must overcome seven difficult obstacles. The latter is a tale for the elementary school child, perhaps just as he is leaving the world of fairy tales around age 9, while the former little tale is a delight to three year olds as their first fairy tale. They enjoy hearing of the little pot, so full of abundance, which overflows for lack of the right word. At this age the children themselves have a sense of life's eternal abundance which one child expressed to her mother in this way when her mother said she did not have enough time to take the child out to play: "But Mother, I have lots of time. I’ll give you some."

In almost every fairy tale there is either a problem which must be solved, such as how to get the porridge pot to stop cooking, or a confrontation with evil, which can take many forms, such as the Queen in Snow-White or the various monsters which Perronik encounters. The milder the problem, the more appropriate the tale for younger children and conversely, the greater the evil, the more appropriate the tale is for older children.

Read more: Choosing Fairy Tales for Different Ages

Choral Recitation

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Published in Education as an Art Vol. 31, No. 2 – Spring/Summer 1973
by Christy Barnes

"Why is there so much choral recitation in the Rudolf Steiner School?" parents often ask. "Isn't it rather monotonous? Is it good to sacrifice the individual nuances of a single voice in this way? What do the children gain from it? Isn't it a waste of valuable time in which they should be learning?"

The children should and do, of course, recite individually in the classroom. They all sharpen their tongues on tongue-twisters and fill out their voices and lungs on exercises that have sonorous, rolling vowels. But they need more than this. The ten-year-old boy who still speaks in the high tones of a six-year-old, who does not yet place his heel firmly on the ground and whose thoughts wander off into space, like his voice, needs some individual work. The teacher encourages him to speak with the decisiveness and strength of a king or a general. She tries to get his voice to follow the imperious, downward gesture of command or she may have him stamp his foot as he speaks, for speech tends to follow the line and direction of a physical gesture. She may give him alliterations based on the strong, gutteral sounds G and K to recite. As the boy works in this way over a period of time, you may gradually notice a new firmness and confidence begin to take hold of his whole nature. The girl who has a tendency to stutter needs harmonious, rhythmical verse to speak, for the rhythmical quality of her breathing is impaired. She needs, too, the kind of exercises that will help her to breathe out fully before she gasps too quickly for the next breath. The boy with the strident voice and the all-too-ready fists can be led to speak with a more relaxed fullness, to become sensitive to the modulations of his voice and the subtleties of the consonants spoken exactly and clearly in the foremost part of the mouth. Thus, through individual speech work the teacher becomes aware of the way in which each child is related to his speech organism, and the child's speech may be one avenue, and a very important one, for understanding, diagnosing his difficulties and helping his development. By guiding his speech, she is provided with one means of leading him to become more daring or gentler, less heavy and insensitive or more down-to-earth, as the case may be. She can help him to breathe more deeply and freely and to become more harmonious in himself and in relation to the world.

Read more: Choral Recitation

Christmas Plays in South Africa

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by Graham Scannell

In Cape Town the Christmas plays have been performed in the Waldorf schools since the 1960's when the first schools were founded. This has become a virtually unbroken tradition, with the Shepherds' Play emerging as the favourite to be performed by the teachers for the children.

Read more: Christmas Plays in South Africa