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Waldorf Journal Project

The Waldorf Journal Project, sponsored by the Waldorf Curriculum Fund and published by AWSNA Publications, brings to English-speaking audiences translations from essays, magazines, and specialized studies from around the world.

Journals are published twice a year and all articles in issues from 2002 to the present are available on the Online Waldorf Library.

Waldorf Journal Project 3: Nutrition - Modern Food: Is It Really Future-Oriented?

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by Petra Kühne

Genetically engineered food, “nutraceuticals,” and convenience foods are only a few of the names applied to various foods now available in the market. The media is filled with reports about these foods. These products are cause for concern because nutritionists can not yet categorize these foods and they may have negative effects on people’s health. Further, announcements about these new products are not always in the best interest of the consumer.

In 1924 Rudolf Steiner (1862–1925) gave a professional course for farmers in order to bring a new impulse into agriculture. Steiner wished to help farmers to produce real, nutritional food. Speaking of the basic tenet for creating quality nutrition he said: “Forces must be taken from the spiritual realm.” In other words, only through a newly developed understanding of who human beings are, can really nutritious, and not just stomach-filling, food be grown. The degrees of inner flexibility, vitality, and maturing forces are measurements of quality. What modern food should give people is stimulating energy that offers them the possibility of working on their inner selves and being active in the soul-spirit.

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Waldorf Journal Project 3: Food and Nutrition What Nourishes Our Children?

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Download the article: Problems of Nutrition – Too Fat, too Thin
by Petra Kühne

What is Quality Nutrition?
Surveys indicate that children’s best-loved foods are pizza, french fries with catchup, spaghetti, and pudding. Vegetables, fruits, and grains are at the bottom of the list. What kind of a taste for food are our children developing? What do they need and how can we make those foods palatable? Balanced nutrition makes possible the growth of the physical body, its formation, and vitality. It is the foundation of children’s soul-spiritual development, that is, their ability to concentrate, activate their will, and sustain energy. It has also been found to influence social behavior. Proper nutrition influences children’s development far more than is generally recognized.

Read more: Waldorf Journal Project 3: Food and Nutrition What Nourishes Our Children?

Waldorf Journal Project 3: The Feet Reveal the Human Will

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by Norbert Glas

In my article The Hands Reveal the Human Being, I stressed again and again how the arms with the hands belong to the area of the rhythmical man. If we consider of Rudolf Steiner’s indications of man as a threefold being, this is the region which has its center in the organs of the chest cavity. This “middle man” becomes the expression of the sentient soul. The hands visibly reveal it. Their essential area of action lies in the horizontal, even though they are capable of grasping upwards and downwards.

To the legs, the lower segment of space has been assigned. With a standing human being the legs and thighs are directed towards the center of the earth. The feet are needed to give proper support to the long limb bones. The soles establish an intimate connection with the soil. Our wandering on earth, as far as it has to do with the forward movement of the body, depends on the activity of the feet. Every action carried out requires from the soul impetus of the will.

Herewith we come to the significant viewpoint essential for a physiognomy of the feet: They are the most important visible expression of the human will. At the beginning of life, even if marked only from birth, continual growth is the most important occurrence for the infant. For this the lively metabolism in all the organs and tissues is responsible. It happens for the child, though he is completely unaware of it. Slowly light enters into this darkness as soon as the motion of the body is not restricted to the inner formation of the organism, and when the child brings his body outwards into active touch with his surroundings; this clearly begins with the lifting of the head, the grasping with the hands, the kicking with legs and feet.

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Waldorf Journal Project 3: Hearing - Door to the Soul and Spirit around Us, with a Look at Technological Media

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by Heinz Buddemeier

First Image
A man is walking through a small town. The pavement echoes with his footsteps. He hears a child laughing through an open window. In the church the organist is practicing a chorale that the congregation will sing later. A dog barks after him as he walks by the last house.

Second Image
A woman is standing at a bus stop. Countless automobiles drive past.They are so noisy that the birds singing and twittering in the tree next to thebus stop can barely be heard. Inside the bus, people are reading or listening to music with headphones. The bus stop reverberates with a voice that comes from a taped message on a loudspeaker. At home the woman meets her roommates. She has a discussion with a couple of them. Music can be heard in the background. Later they all watch a television program together.

Changes in the Hearing Landscape
It is clear to everyone that the visible environment has fundamentally changed in the last few decades. That a similar transformation has taken place in the realm of perceived sound must be brought to conscious awareness. Until the beginning of the twentieth century, that which came to the ears originated from just a few, easily identifiable sources. There were people speaking and shouting, sometimes laughing or scolding. There were noises emanating from household work, workshops, and farms. There were the sounds of nature: rustling wind, pattering rain, thunder, mooing cows, and purring cats. Sometimes something very special could be heard, music in the form of singing or instruments being played.

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Waldorf Journal Project 3: The Unfolding of Sexuality

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by Mathias Wais

The theme of sexuality has various aspects. First, let us consider the questions: What is normal sexuality from the perspective of child development? What is to be expected from sexuality? Then, we could consider, how do we deal with the so-called “doctor games” of childhood? And, finally, what is appropriate sexuality during the various phases of child development? This essay will cover the developmental span from infancy through adolescence.

The First Years of Life
In trying to understand the significance of sexuality, i.e. interest in sex, within the framework of the childhood developmental phases, we start first with the questions: What is the child’s relationship to the world at various ages? In what developmental situations do questions pertaining to sexuality really play a role? In this regard we can conclude that the small child is intuitive and comes completely from a sense of feeling, connected to his/her immediate world, the people surrounding it, natural conditions, and living conditions within their house. They become almost one with their surroundings. The child stands in the middle of an elemental and trusting co-experiencing of all the goings-on in his world. This contains understanding but it goes deeper than understanding and remains below the threshold of consciousness; one could perhaps describe it as “going with the flow.”

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Waldorf Journal Project 3: Puberty and Its Crisis Educational Help in Overcoming Difficulties

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by Johannes Bockemühl

Foreword
In this article the developmental stages of sexual maturity will be considered in order to awaken the interest and understanding of parents, counselors, and teachers in this decisive period of change. My intention is to challenge them to accompany pre-adolescents in a worthy, helpful, and competent manner. One can always become more aware of the possible crises and significant transition which lead into abnormal processes. This paper will provide methodological assistance to equip us with tools with which to accompany our children actively in times of their crises as they cross the perilous threshold into adolescence and also how to learn, with gratitude, from those crises. With this goal in mind, I will try to present the differing aspects of puberty in boys and girls in order to recognize them as such and, through that, to meet their needs. I write out of many years of experience with educators, school physicians and psychiatrists, and psychologists specializing in adolescence, whose knowledge of developmental psychology and physiology have been enhanced by the anthroposophical study of the human being, medicine, and therapeutic education. This background serves to help us better understand aspects of phenomena relating to the passageway from childhood into adolescence.

Read more: Waldorf Journal Project 3: Puberty and Its Crisis Educational Help in Overcoming Difficulties

Waldorf Journal Project 3: Drug Addiction: The Wake-up Call of Our Times

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by Felicitas Vogt

Life requires of all of us
That we fulfill our task:
Coming from love,
To live with love.
Drug addicts are burning torches;
A warning to a society,
without love.
Do they burn in vain?

ENCOUNTERS

Benjamin
His mother brought him to therapy for drug abuse. He was seventeen and had been using hashish regularly for the past two years. He came willingly. He was interested in what the counselor had to offer. At first Benjamin told of his positive experiences with drugs. Yes, hashish gave him a lot; he felt enriched. He was so intelligent that he could handle the stuff sensibly and creatively. You could keep all the psycho-babble about drugs, he only wanted to know something about the physical effects.

After listening to a long list of possible negative physical effects that could occur later, he politely thanked the counselor. Yeah, all right, he wanted to think about it; he would have to investigate more on his own.

When asked if he planned to give up hashish, he reacted with charming indignation. “No. The stuff gives me too much. I do not want to willingly give it up. Why should I?” The counselor said that Benjamin could come back anytime if he had burning questions or was really in trouble. He said a friendly thank-you. The leave-taking was courteous, non-committal, smooth,nice.

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Waldorf Journal Project 3: Education Seen as a Problem Involving the Training of Teachers

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Lecture given by Rudolf Steiner on August 15, 1919

From our last lectures you will have seen that the problem of education is the most important of all the questions that now occupy our minds. We have already emphasized that the whole social problem contains as its chief factor the problem of education. A week ago I gave you certain indications for the changes which are needed in the whole system of education so that you will easily understand that the most important sub-question in this problem is that of the training of teachers themselves.

If you study the character of the epoch which began in the middle of the fifteenth century, you will gain the impression that throughout that time a wave of materialistic probations swept through the whole evolution of humanity, and in the present time we must realize that it is necessary to work our way out of this materialistic wave and to find our way back to the spirit. The spiritual path was known to humanity in past epochs of culture, but in those olden times men trod this path more or less instinctively and unconsciously, and they lost it in order that they might re-discover it through their own impulse, out of their own freedom. The path leading to the spirit must now be sought consciously, in full consciousness.

Read more: Waldorf Journal Project 3: Education Seen as a Problem Involving the Training of Teachers

Waldorf Journal Project #2: Child Development and Pedagogical Issues

All articles from this issue in one file, click to download

- The Making of a Teacher by Henry Barnes
- Child Development - Conception to Birth: Embryology from an Anthroposophical Perspective by Bruno Callegaro, M.D.
- Early Childhood Today: Wish and Reality by Walter Rietmuller
- The Kindergarten Child by Peter Lang
- Creating a Meadow for Childhood: Education for a New Millenium
- What Do Young Children Need Today? by Sally Schweitzer
- Psychology and Early Years Learning: Affirming the Wisdom of Waldorf by Richard House
- Children's Questions by A.C. Harwood
- Non-Verbal Education: A Necessity on the Developmental Stages by Michaela Glockler, M.D.
- Child Observation and Study by Michaela Glockler, M.D.
- Points for Observation and Description in Child Study by Magda Lissau
- Some Aspects of Child Study Work in Faculty Meetings by Magda Lissau
- Overview of Childhood Characteristics by David Mitchell
- Encountering the Individuality of a Child by Walter Riethmuller
- Tell Me a Story: The Narrative of Active Learning by Martyn Rawson
- Sleep as a Task of Waldorf Education by Peter Loebell
- The Effect of Lunar Nodes on Human Biography: Our Hidden Plan by Susanne Donato
- The Adolescent Years by L. Francis Edmunds

All individual articles from this issue can be found below

Waldorf Journal Project 2: The Making of a Teacher

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by Henry Barnes

Who is a Waldorf teacher? What distinguishes this education? How often have we asked ourselves these questions! Is it teaching in blocks? Organizing the day around a main lesson? Continuing as a class teacher from year to year with the same group of children? Teaching in pictures? Knowing about reincarnation and karma? Teaching woodwork, painting, bookbinding, recorder, eurythmy?

Rudolf Steiner says, “What is of most importance for the teacher is his conception of life and of the world. . . . The inspiration that flows to the teacher from a world conception inwardly and ever newly
experienced is carried over into the soul constitution of the children entrusted to him.”1 In other words, this means that we should learn to “read” the world and the riddle of man’s being in quite new ways. “There must arise in the whole human nature of the teacher an intensive impression of the child, again as one whole being, and what is perceived in the child must awaken joy and vitality. This same spirit-awakening joy and vitality in the teacher must be able to grow and develop, till it becomes immediate inspiration, answering the question, ‘What am I to do with this child or with that?’ . . . We must pass from the reading of human nature in general to the reading of the individual human-being!”2

Read more: Waldorf Journal Project 2: The Making of a Teacher