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Children's Questions

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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?

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The Perfection of the Human Hand Lies in its Imperfection

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Published in Education as an Art, Vol. 22, #4, Autumn, 1962
(translated by Clara von Woedtke and Gladys Hahn)

The way a class teacher asks questions reveals the quality of his teaching methods. He may, for instance, put many questions only in order to get the children to repeat their lesson. How boring for them if this happens every day! Then he can experience how a wall of enmity goes up between them and himself. Or perhaps he avoids questions and simply delivers the subject matter, even by reading it from a textbook. Then a sort of No-man's-land stretches out between him and the children, and he can hardly take in what is going on the other side. No, to get a real working spirit together, one has to bring about an exchange of ideas. One can do this through questions that arouse the children, that start them searching. A good question can set loose a whirlwind of liveliness; it can also produce a reflective musing; it is sure to bring into a child's consciousness something that up to now was merely a dream within him, something he could hardly have expressed in words.

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Children's Quarrels

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By Elisabeth Klein
Published in Education as an Art, Vol. 22, #1, Autumn, 1961
(Translated by Ruth Pusch)

It is often said that children reveal a great deal of their inner nature through their drawings and paintings. Some time ago, a boy in my class Wolfgang - provided a picture of himself in one of his drawings that was more convincing than any photograph could have been. It was drawn at the beginning of our study of Man and Animal in the Fourth Grade, when the children were between nine and ten.

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The Question of Temperaments

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

When hearing of temperaments for the first time it is natural to question whether or not they, actually do exist. Everyone is familiar with temper, and also with those things which mood, character, or behavior. But we hesitate to accept the idea that there is more than one temperament, or that they may be classified into four groups, each one entirely different from the others. We have become accustomed to calling temperament "temper", and speak of it usually when we "lose our temper" or male an effort not to do so.

The Greek philosophers did not speak loosely about temperaments. In studying their works we clearly see that they realized the significance of them and were the first to use this knowledge in their teaching.

The evidence of temperaments can be seen in nature as well as in human beings. Think of the wind, for instance. We may speak. of the different types of wind coming from' the four points of the compass. These four winds are the most significant manifestation of the year's seasons-spring, summer, fall and winter. We may think of the year as having four ages like man-a childhood, youth, manhood and old age-for in them both we see many characteristics which are comparable.

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First Approach to Mineralogy

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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.

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When Shall Grammar be Taught?

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Published in Education as an Art, Vol.1, #1, 1940

In an effort to make education a less stereotyped and more living experience for the child, there is a marked tendency to defer the study of grammar to a much later age than formerly. But this raises two questions.
1) Is the child of today at a disadvantage in not possessing a working knowledge of his mother-tongue?
2) Can this knowledge be brought to him in a manner suited to his stage of development?

Rudolf Steiner, whose art of education closely follows the child's natural development, contends that the child of nine or ten not only is ready for the study of grammar but actually needs it. For a knowledge of the structure and laws of his mother.tongue gives him a feeling of confidence in using it, Be-fore the age of nine or ten, children speak or write largely from their unconscious instinct of imitation, but from then on it is important for them to become more conscious in forming their sentences, in choosing their words. At this age a child becomes really aware of himself as an individual and the study of grammar helps him to strengthen this awareness.

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