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Waldorf Journal Project 2: Overview of Childhood Characteristics

Download the article: Overview of Childhood Characteristics
by David Mitchell

Three Physical Types
Four Temperaments
Six Constitutional Types
Seven Soul Types

Endomorph: Soft and spherical; Large stomach and liver—large digestive viscera; Loves food, and is glutton for affection; Sociable, loves people Floats easily in water—excess fat; Behavior—exhibits extreme love of relaxation and comfort
Mesomorph: Upright; Firm skin, Big bones—well developed heart and circulatory system; Relatively strong; Loves exercise, activity. Tries to dominate

Ectomorph:
Flat chest, pipe-stem arms and legs
Thin, fragile, Linear Restrained. Can be over-sensitive. Desires concealment. Withdraws from ordinary social occasions

Temperaments:
Sanguine:
Build: slender, elegant, well-balanced; Walk: on toes (dances like a butterfly) Eyes: lively, dancing Relationships: fickle; Food: nibbles; Memory: like a sieve; Interest: the present, here and now; Clothing: new and colorful
To stimulate: ask a personal favor; Parent and teacher attitude: show friendly interest, but be firm

Phlegmatic:

Build: big, fleshy, rotund Walk: plodding, ambling (has a steamroller-like quality) Eyes: sleepy, often half-closed Relationships: friendly, impassive, reserved Food: eats most everything and is always interested in food
Memory: good concerning the world
Interest: the present, without getting involved Clothing: conservative
To stimulate: speak directly to the point, use shock tactics Parent and teacher attitude: show calm strength

Melancholic:

Build: tall, bowed-head, bony Walk: slow with a drooping, sliding gait Eyes: tragic, mournful Relationships: poor, has sympathy only with fellow melancholics. Food: finicky, especially likes sweets; Memory: good concerning; self Interest: self and the past; Clothing: dark, drab, solid colors—is difficult to please
To stimulate: explain how others will suffer if he/she is not compliant; Parent and teacher attitude: show sympathy and empathize with suffering

Choleric:

Build: bullnecked, upright, short legs, husky Walk: firm, heels dig into the ground with each step Eyes: energetic, active Relationships: friendly as long as he/she is in command Food: spicy
Memory: poor
Interest: the world, self, and future Clothing: individual and outstanding
To stimulate: issue a challenge Parent and teacher attitude: recall events and deeds (the next day), be firm, strong, and to the point

Six Constitutional Types of Children

Large-headed child:
Large head in relation to body; Large forehead, big occiput; Rosy cheeks; Introverted; Good concentration; Dreamy and imaginative; Artistic
To moderate: Rudolf Steiner indicates washing the head and neck with cold water in the morning, and a diet rich in root vegetables since these have a high content of salty substances. However, great care must be taken in the use of salt.

Small-headed child:

Small cranium (often flat) Thin and pale; Face is defined; Poor concentration, easily distracted; Analytical; Can be physically agile
To moderate: warm towels on abdomen in the evening; a diet rich in leafy vegetables, teas, with lots of sweet nutrients such as figs, honey, dates, and so forth.

Cosmic child:

Full, round head that is well-formed physically and functionally “All that is soul and spirit leaves its mark on our head.” —Steiner The rest of the body appears to lack full penetration of the formative forces Dreamy Not well-coordinated physically Does not like physical activities Good perception
Poor in executing and/or concluding a thought process
To moderate: needs to feel the form in geometry rather than the beauty; practice walking on balancing beams; need to awaken compassion for others.

Earthly child:
Forces of heredity work strongly; Loves the earth and usually has dirty hands; Loves material things like cars, trucks, electronics, and so forth. Loves motion; Quite practical but lacks fine motor skills
To moderate: needs special, individual attention; must be compelled to draw beautiful and accurate geometric forms; should be encouraged to play rhythm instruments.

Fantasy-rich child:

Good memory, in fact, too good; cannot forget; Pictures come up involuntarily; Ego cannot bring thoughts under control; Fantastic imaging and picture-building capacities; Powerful imaginations
To moderate: can become a prisoner of his/her own ideas and methods—keep him/her fluid; attention on handwriting and painting or any activity that brings him/her into movement.

Fantasy-poor child:

Weak imaginative forces
Dry
Easily forgets
To moderate: must be encouraged to be more observant; consonants must be stressed in speech exercises; the “I” needs to be activated; in eurythmy, lots of movements with the arms while standing still.

The Seven Soul Types

The classification of children by temperaments works well up to puberty. It can be dangerous, after this point, to try to categorize the students too rigidly, as most people at this age are a mixture of three or four, with one or two being more dominant. As adulthood dawns, the effect of the ego becomes more apparent and things become more complicated. In fact, instead of pure temperament (which does not exist anyway), we have a much more complex entity. Max Stibbe, in The Seven Soul Types, describes seven predominant dispositions that come forward. Below is a summary.

Saturn: Active introvert Ego conscious; serious relationship to life Needs time to work things through Makes a silent impression Memory and conscience of a group Guardian of original resolutions Keeps view of original aims Can miss the moment
Jupiter: Active balanced Can see solutions to arguments Decisive Can be seen as emotionally cool Jovial at times
Mars: Active extrovert Aggressive, dynamic, wants to tackle everything. Brings life and movement
Takes initiative. Can work through the spoken word. Does not always respect the freedom of others. Unsettled by Jupiter Put in place by Venus
Sun: Very rare. Can be successful;  Accompanied by luck; Needs artistic education or withers; Can deal with other people; charming, naive, spontaneous, balanced.
Little personal ambition, hence overestimated. Takes a central position without ruling
Venus: Passive. Balanced but more extrovert than introvert; Aesthetic type; Strong in sympathy and antipathy; Can be outspoken, judgmental. Can also judge moral beauty, ugliness. Can act as group conscience. More princess than queen. Strong sense of inner hygiene.
Mercury: Passive extrovert Mobile, agile Can effectively combine ideas, people, facts-in-chaos Good relationship with Jupiter Diplomatic, mediator Economical with the truth
Moon: Passive introvert Dreamy; agreeably social; good unoriginal taste; Wide interests; nearly photographic memory, but not an exact memory; Can be superficial;Reflects current trends