Donate books to help fund our work. Learn more→

The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

The Spirit of the Waldorf School
GA 297

II. The Spirit of the Waldorf School

31 August 1919, Stuttgart

Last week, I attempted to explain various aspects of the basis of the Waldorf School. I have already pointed out that this school did not appear out of the blue, that we must consider it in the context of modern education. However, we may put into the current stream of education only what conforms with our goals and our perceptions. I have suggested the difficulties that await a true art of education in our time. Today I will point out—of course, I can do this only in a general way—some things that will enable you to see the spirit from which an art of education may now develop. Quite possibly, due to people’s diverse backgrounds, a vague feeling, or even an almost conscious idea, already exists that our educational system is in need of change. The truly correct reformation of the social future of humanity depends upon the creation of a genuine art of education equal to the cultural tasks of the present and near future.

The primary concern is to have a suitable faculty, particularly for the younger age groups. What the teachers bring to the children, the impulse out of which they practice their art, is a very essential quality. Contemplating this more closely, we find much in the present time that resists the proper understanding of this quality. Of course, it is natural that the teachers, the educators, first attend the institutions of learning that have developed out of the more or less scientific consciousness of the present. However, this modern scientific consciousness is such that it does not provide any means of truly understanding the developing human. We find just in this point the first task necessary for founding the Waldorf School. I said in my last lecture here that we have already gathered the faculty of the Waldorf School, and that this future faculty is pursuing a pedagogical-didactic preparation. Our primary task is first to enable the teachers to find the proper attitude for understanding developing human nature and how it appears in childhood. Secondly, we want to bring them to the point where they can practice the art of education out of this insight. In the present time it is necessary to carve out a quite new—new for society at large—understanding and knowledge of humanity.

We, with our scientific mentality, are proud of our methods of experimentation and observation. These methods have led to great triumphs in the fields of natural science. However, many of our contemporaries who are close to the educational system feel that these same experimental and observational methods are incapable of finding an approach to education. Many people with a certain level of perception have asked, “What can we do to rightly use the developmental capacities that arise in the successive stages of the child’s life?” I need only point out a few things to show that some educators already have the desire to really understand the development of the child, but that due to the current scientific mentality they stand helplessly before such questions. Already in 1887, for example, the educator Sallwiirk drew attention to the discovery of a certain natural law that holds true during the development of an organism. According to this Recapitulation Theory, as it was named by the recently deceased Ernst Haeckel, the embryonic development of each individual human follows the history of development of the animal kingdom. During the first weeks of embryonic development, the human is similar to the lower animals, and then rises until it develops into a human. The individual development is a shortened repetition of a long development in the world at large. Educators have now asked themselves, “Can something similar also hold true for the mental development of the individual child? Also, can education find any help in a rule patterned after the Recapitulation Theory?”

You see, an effort already exists, not simply to begin teaching, but to gain insight into the development of the growing human. It was, for instance, obvious to say that all of humanity has gone through the time of the prehistoric cultures; then followed cultures such as those handed down to us through the writings of the ancient oriental cultures; then came the Greek and Roman cultures, followed by the developments of the Middle Ages, and so forth, right up to the present time.

Can we say that each human as a child repeats the stages of human cultural development during childhood? Can we, by observing the course of history, obtain an insight into the development of the individual child? Sallwiirk emphatically argued in his 1887 book Gesinnungsunterricht und Kulturgeschichte [The training of character and cultural history] that educators could not gain any help from such ideas. Even before that, the pedagogue Theodor Vogt, a follower of the Herbart school of thought, suggested that at present we are powerless to answer such pedagogical questions. In 1884 he said that if there were a science of comparative history in the sense of comparative linguistics, it could perhaps give us insight into child rearing comparable to the insight into the historical development of animals found in the Recapitulation Theory. However, he admitted that such a historical science did not exist. The pedagogue Rein echoed his words in 1887, and so things still lie in superficial pedagogy and the superficial art of education today.

Regarding such efforts and the discussions about such efforts, you can rightly say, “Yes, concerning what is necessary for the development of the growing child, shouldn't we, as educators, begin from the standpoint of a healthy human intuition, instead of allowing abstract science to dictate to us?” You would be right in raising such an objection. This objection also arises, if we consider the matter a bit more thoroughly, because the abstractions of that science based upon the methods of the present understanding of nature can tell us nothing concerning the development of the human spirit and the human soul. We work in vain if we attempt to use this. No one can become a true artist in education simply out of undeveloped human intellect and intuition. We need something that gives us insight. Just here we see that a new understanding of humans is needed as the foundation for a real future art of education. Normal science does not provide even the basis for such an understanding of humans. It must be gained by recognizing the human spirit and by recognizing the development of the human spirit within human history. We must have a much broader point of view than that of modern mechanistically oriented natural science.

If we observe the growing child, we first find—I have often remarked on this—that a relatively long developmental period lies between birth and the change of teeth, around seven years of age. If we compare what works during this time in the soul of the child with what develops in the time between the change of teeth and sexual maturity, a major difference is apparent. The child’s orientation until the change of teeth is to imitate what it sees, hears and perceives in its surroundings. In this period, the child is an imitator. From the age of seven until fifteen, from the change of teeth until sexual maturity, the child’s orientation is affected by the authority in its surroundings. For the most part, the child does not simply imitate, but wants to hear from adults what is right, what is good. He or she wants to believe in the judgment of adults; instinctively, the child wants authority. The child can develop only if he or she can develop this belief.

If we look further, however, we can see that shifts emerge during these major stages of life. We see, for example, that a clear shift occurs around three years of age, in the period between birth and the change of teeth, when children develop, for the first time, a clear feeling of their own selves. In later life, that event marks the earliest point they can remember; earlier experiences recede into the sleep of childhood. Much else appears around the same time in the development of the child, so we can say that, although the child is essentially an imitator in the first seven years of life, there is a turning point around the middle of this period that must be considered in early child rearing.

Two important phases lie in the period between the change of teeth and sexual maturity, that is, during that time in the child’s life when elementary education takes place. When the child approaches approximately nine years of age, those who are able will observe a great change in the child’s development. In the first seven years of life, the child is an imitator. Children tend toward a feeling for authority after the change of teeth, but some earlier desires to imitate remain. Thus, until the age of nine, the need to imitate their surroundings continues, but now it is mixed with the need to allow authority to take effect. If we observe which capacities in the child’s life arise out of the depths of human nature, then we find (as I said, I can merely touch upon these things today) through further consideration and observation, that the capacities that appear in this period between seven and nine years of age must be used to teach the child what naturally occurs as the beginnings of reading and writing. We should use these beginnings in the instruction of reading and writing so that only what is in harmony with the need to imitate and the need for authority is called upon. If we are artists in educating and can work, on the one hand, with the subject material and, on the other hand, with the emerging need for authority and the receding need to imitate, so that all of it harmonizes, then we create something in the child that has lasting power throughout life until death. We develop something that cannot be made up later, because each stage of life develops its own capacities. Certainly, you can say that many teachers have instinctively oriented themselves according to such laws. That is true, but it will not suffice in the future, for in the future, such things must be raised to consciousness.

Around the age of nine, everything that enables the child to go beyond people into an understanding of nature begins to develop. Before this time, the child is not very well suited to understand nature as such. We could say that until the age of nine, the child is well suited to observe the world in a moralizing manner. The teacher must meet this moralizing need of the child without becoming pedantic. Certainly, many teachers already act instinctively in this area.

If you examine the didactic instructions of the present, which should tend to relate the subject matter to human nature, then you could be driven to despair. A certain correct instinct is there, but these instructions are so narrow-minded and banal that they dreadfully harm the developing child. We would do well at this stage if we consider, for instance, animals or plants in a way such that a certain moralizing appears. For example, you can bring fables to children in a way that helps them to understand the animal world. You should be careful not to bring such “pablum” during the main lesson, as is so often done. Above all, you should take care not to tell a story to the children and then to follow it with all kinds of explanations. You destroy everything you want to achieve through telling the story by following it with interpretations. Children want to take stories in through feeling. Without outwardly showing it, they are dreadfully affected in their innermost being if they must listen afterwards to the often quite boring explanations.

What should we do in this situation, if we do not want to go into the real details of the art of storytelling? We might say, “Leave out the explanation and simply tell the children the story.” Fine. Then the children will not understand the story and will surely not enjoy it if they do not understand it. If we want to speak Chinese to people, we must first teach them Chinese; otherwise they cannot have the right relationship to what we tell them in Chinese. Thus, we gain nothing by saying, “Leave out the explanations.”

You must try to provide an explanation first. When you want to tell the children a story such as “The Wolf and the Lamb,” simply speak with the children about the wolf’s and the lamb’s characteristics. (We could also apply this to plant life.) As much as possible, speak of these characteristics in relationship to people. Gather everything that you feel will help the children form pictures and feelings that will then resonate when you read the story. If, in an exciting preliminary talk, you offer what you would give afterward as an explanation, then you do not kill the sensations as you would in giving that explanation afterward. On the contrary, you enliven them. If the children have first heard what the teacher has to say about the wolf and the lamb, then their sensations will be all the more lively, and they will have all the more delight in the story. Everything that is necessary for understanding should happen beforehand. The children should not hear the story first. When they hear the story, you must bring them to the heights of their souls for them to understand it. This process must conclude in reading the story, telling the tale, doing nothing more than allowing the children’s sensations, already evoked, to take their course. You must allow the children to take their feelings home.

Until the age of nine, it is necessary to form the instruction in this way, to relate everything to people. If we have the sensitivity to observe the transition that occurs around nine years of age, we will know that then the child is first capable of going out into the world of nature. However, the child still relates nature to people. If we describe nature without any relationship to people, it is not yet comprehensible to the nine-year-old child. We only deceive ourselves if we believe that the children understand the conventional descriptions offered as instruction in natural science. We must, of course, take up the study of nature when the child reaches nine years of age, but we must always relate it to people. Particularly in the study of nature, we should not begin with the idea of nature as something external to humans, but always begin with humanity itself; we should always put people in the center.

Let us assume that we want a child older than nine to understand the difference between lower animals, higher animals and people—then we begin with people. We compare the lower animals with the human; we compare the higher animals with the human. If we have described the human in terms of form, in terms of daily tasks, then we can apply what we know about humans to the lower and higher animals. The child understands that.

We should not worry too much that we are speaking above the child’s level of understanding. (Today we sometimes speak above the level of adult understanding.) We do not speak above the child’s level of understanding if, for example, we say—of course, with enthusiasm and with a real understanding of the subject—“Look at the lower animals!” Let’s say that we give the child the chance to see a squid. Then, always using the appropriate terms, we go on to show with which parts of the ideal human the squid is most closely related. The child can quickly understand that the squid is most closely related to the human head. It is in reality so; the lower animals have only simple forms, but the human head repeats the forms that find their simplest expression in the lower animals. The human head is only endowed in a more complicated way than the lower animals. What we find in the higher animals, for example, mammals, can only be compared with what we find in the human torso. We should not compare the higher animals with the human head, but with the torso. If we go on to the human limbs, then we must say, “Look at the human limbs; in their form they are uniquely human. The way the arms and hands are formed—as appendages to the body in which the soul-spirit in us can move freely—such a pair of limbs is not found anywhere in the entire animal kingdom!” If we speak of the monkey’s four hands, this is really an improper manner of speaking since their nature is to serve in holding, in moving the body along. In the human we see a remarkable differentiation of the hands and feet, the arms and legs. What makes a human really a human? Certainly not the head; it is only a more perfect form of what we find already in the lower animals. What we find in the lower animals is further developed in the human head. What makes a human, human, what puts the human far above the animal world, are the limbs.

Of course, you cannot bring what I have just shown you to children in the same form. You translate it so that the child by and by learns to feel such things out of experience. Then, through your teaching you can clear away endless amounts of what, for quite mysterious reasons, currently spoils our moral culture. Our present moral culture is so often spoiled because people are so proud and arrogant concerning the head. Whereas, people could be proud of their limbs—though they would not be if the limbs were better developed, and this can be proven—that serve to work, that serve to put them in the world of social order.

Natural scientific instruction concerning the animal world can, in an unconscious way, bring the correct feelings about the relationship of people to themselves and about social order into human nature. This shows that the pedagogical question has a much deeper meaning than we generally believe today, that it concerns the great, all-encompassing cultural questions. It also provides information about how to teach science to children after the age of nine. You can relate everything to humanity, but in such a way that nature appears everywhere alongside humans and humans appear as a great condensation of nature. Teachers can give the child much if they maintain this point of view until about the age of twelve.

Around twelve years of age, an important change begins in the development of the child. At the age of twelve, thirteen, fourteen—it is different in each child—that which sexual maturity expresses comes into play, namely, the ability to judge, judgment. Judgment comes into play and must work together with the reduction in the need for authority. The teacher must harmoniously handle the need for authority and judgmental powers during this age. We must treat the subject material in this way.

This is the time when we may begin to bring in those natural scientific and, in particular, physical facts that are completely independent of humans, for instance, the refraction of light and such. It is at this age that the understanding of how to use nature in relationship to humans begins. Until the twelfth year, the child, through inner necessity, wants to understand nature from the standpoint of a human, no longer moralizing, but in the way I just described to you. After the twelfth year, the child tends to observe what is independent of people, but to relate it back to people. You develop something that the child does not forget again when you, let us say, explain the refraction of light through a lens, and then continue on to its application to people, the refraction of light in the eye, the whole inner structure of the eye. You can teach this to a child of this age.

You see, the true curriculum results from an understanding of the stages of human life. The children themselves tell us, if we can really observe them, what they want to learn in a particular stage of life. However, we cannot derive these results from modern natural science. Using natural scientific facts, you simply do not come to the point of view that shows the immeasurable importance of that Rubicon in life that lies around the ninth year, or the other Rubicon in life that lies around the twelfth year. We must bring these things forth out of the entirety of human nature. This entirety of human nature includes body, soul and spirit; modern science, although it believes itself capable of saying something about soul and spirit, actually limits itself to the body. The way such things are often discussed today—whether to emphasize academics or morality in teaching, whether to teach people more according to their abilities, or to see that they learn more about science because it will be needed later for a job, or so that they can take their place in society—these questions appear childish when we get to know the deeper basis from which education must emanate. How the individual relates to all of human development is not understood by natural science. However a spiritual comprehension of human developmental history does understand it.

Let us consider the following law, which is just as much a law as the laws of natural science, but which the methods of modern science do not comprehend. If we go back—you will find these things fully developed in my writings—to the ancient times of humanity, we find that people remained capable of development into very old age, capable of development in the way that we are now capable only during our early childhood. If we go back to these ancient times, we find that people said to themselves, “When I am thirty-five years old,” or in still earlier times, “When I am forty-two years old, I will with certainty go through changes connected with the development of my body that will make me into another person.” Just as at the change of teeth we go through something connected with the development of the body which makes us into another person, just as at sexual maturity we go through something connected with the development of the body which makes us into another person, so in ancient times did people go through such things into very old age. In the course of time, human development has lost this. Today, in childhood we cannot look at an older person and say, to the same extent as was possible in ancient times, “I will be happy to be so old some day, because this person has experienced something that, due to my present stage of bodily development, is not yet possible for me.” The progress of human development is such that we bring a bodily development to ever fewer older stages of life.

Those able to observe such things know that, for example, in Greek times still, people in their thirties clearly perceived, as we today in our youth perceive, things not connected with the physical body. Today such perceptions are at most possible for people before the age of twenty-seven. In the future, this age will be even younger. This is the direction of human development, that the natural, the basic, development of the individual continues only to an ever-younger age. That is a fundamental law. Our cultural development is directly connected with this fundamental law, in that reading and writing appear at a particular age, whereas, in ancient times, they were not there. This is connected with humanity’s dependency upon ever-younger stages of natural development.

Those who can then look further for such clues concerning human development, which we can gain only from an inclusive knowledge, will know how the longings of a Theodor Vogt, a Rein, a Sallwiirk can be satisfied. The current mechanistic orientation of science does not have even the possibility of knowing something like this human life, in which natural development is condensed into ever younger stages of life. It does not have even the possibility of creating a truly comparative historical science that could give clues about how to recognize people’s relationship to cultural development. However, those who look further know that people, as they are born, have, of course, characteristics appropriate to their epoch, that they are part of a comprehensive human development. If we develop the aptitudes people already have, then, simply because these people are a part of human development, what we should develop is, in a formal sense, developed. If we recognize reality, then much of what causes such a furor today—whether to do things this way or that—becomes only an abstract rambling. This attitude of confrontation resolves itself in a true, a real, attitude of compromise.

This, you see, is what we would like to develop in the Waldorf School faculty, to create in at least one place something for the future. We hope that the teachers will correctly recognize people and the relationship of people to modern culture, and that they will be inspired by this knowledge, by this feeling, to a will to work together with the child. Then true educational artists will emerge. Upbringing is never a science, it is an art. Teachers must be absorbed in it. They can only use what they know as a starting point for the art of education.

We should not ramble on too much about the needs of teachers to have quite specific capabilities. These capabilities are more widespread than we think—only at present they are not very well developed. We need only the perseverance to develop them in the teachers in the right way, through a strong spiritual science. Then, we will find that what we call teaching ability is more widespread than we think.

You see, this is connected with something else again. Today, in theory, we are often warned against too much abstraction in instruction; but we still instinctively make these abstractions. It will concern those who see through these things that the plans and ideas for reform presently so common will make instruction more abstract than it is now. It will become worse in spite of all the beautiful ideas contained in these reform plans. If we study the stages of human development correctly—first, the long stages up to the change of teeth and to sexual maturity, and then the shorter stages up to the development of a feeling of self and the sense of people separate from nature—if we study these epochs correctly, so that we do not tritely define them, but obtain an artistic, intuitive picture of them, then we can first understand how greatly the developing child is damaged when intellectual education is steered in the wrong direction. We should always emphasize the need to educate people as whole beings. But we can only bring up people as whole beings if we know their separate parts, including the soul and spirit, and understand how to put them together. We can never educate people as whole beings if in education we allow thinking, feeling and willing to interact chaotically. We can educate people as whole beings only if we intuitively know what the characteristics of thinking, of feeling, of willing are. Then, we can allow these powers of the human being to interact correctly in the soul and the spirit.

When people today discuss such things, they tend to fall into extremes. When people realize that intellect is too prominent, that our intellects are too strongly developed, they become enthusiastic about eradicating this imbalance, and say, “Everything depends upon the development of will and feeling.” No, everything depends upon developing all three elements! We must develop people’s intellect, feeling and will in the right way, so that they can understand how to let those three elements of life interact correctly. If we are to develop the intellectual element correctly, then during the elementary school period we must give children something that can grow with them, that can develop as a whole. Understand me correctly, particularly on this point, for it is an important point. Think about it. You develop in children until the age of fourteen those ideas that you have carefully defined so the children know how they are to think them. But, just through the good definitions you have given them, you have often given them ideas that are quite stiff, that cannot grow with the person. People must grow from the age of fourteen to twenty, from the age of twenty to twenty-five, and so forth, and at the same time, their ideas must grow along with them. The ideas must be able to grow in parallel. If your definitions are too well formed, people grow, but their ideas do not grow with them. You guide intellectual development in the wrong direction. Then in cultural life, people will be unable to do anything except remember the ideas that you so carefully gave them. That would be wrong. Children’s ideas should grow in parallel with their own development. Their ideas should grow so that what they learned at the age of twelve is, at the age of thirty-five, as different from what it was when they first learned it, as people in their physical bodies at the age of thirty-five are different from what they were at the age of twelve. That is to say, in intellectual development, we must not bring something well-formed and dead, but teach something living, something that has life in it and can change. Thus, we will define as little as possible. If we want to bring ideas to a child, we will depict them from as many points of view as possible. We will not say, “What is a lion? A lion is such and such.” Rather, we will depict a lion from many different points of view—we will instill living, moving ideas that will then live with the child. In this regard, modern education does much damage.

People must live through their earthly existence, and often the ideas that we instill in them die and remain as soul corpses; they cannot live. We cannot get to the root of these things with the crude concepts developed by modern pedagogy. A very different spiritual impulse must imbue this pedagogy. That is something we strive for in the Waldorf School. We try to give pedagogy a new basis from which to consider such things psychologically. We are completely convinced that an understanding of human beings cannot arise out of the old principles, and that, therefore, these cannot be the principles of a pedagogy based upon psychology. We cannot form this psychology of the developing human with the methods that are so common today.

You see, when we can really, correctly, observe such things, then we throw light on many secondary concepts that we hold to be very important today. We can easily understand them once we understand the main concepts. There is today, for instance, so much nonsense concerning the importance of play in the education of children. In considering the importance of play, we often forget the most important thing, namely that if play is strongly regulated and children are made to direct their play toward a particular goal, then it is no longer play. The essence of play is that it is free. If, however, you make play really play, as is necessary for instruction, then you will not fall prey to the foolish expression, “Instruction should be just a game.” Then you will look more for the essential in the rhythm that comes into the life of the child when you allow play and work to alternate.

In training the mind and training feeling, we must give particular attention to the individual characteristics of the child. As teachers, we must be capable of forming the instruction so that the child does not simply receive something intellectual in the instruction, but enjoys the instruction in an aesthetic way. We cannot achieve this if the ideas appeal only to the intellect. We can do this if we, as teachers, relate to the children’s feelings in such varied ways that we actually elicit the children’s expectations of the subject, which we then fulfill. We can do this if we arouse hopes that, both large and small, we fulfill—if we develop every positive attribute of the children that can play a role in an aesthetic understanding of their surroundings. You can meet the child’s aesthetic needs if you bring yourself into a correct relationship to the child’s feelings, if you dont tritely “sell” nature studies, as is done nowadays: “Look, there is a mouse. The mouse runs. Was there ever a mouse at home? Have you ever seen a mousehole?” Of course, today instruction in nature study is not given in such extreme tastelessness, but similarly. People have no idea how much good taste, that is, the aesthetic experiencing of children, is damaged through what people nowadays call nature studies. We will develop taste only by steering the child’s interest to large, inclusive views. For the proper unfolding of the mind, of feeling, taste must rule in instruction and in the schools. Thus, we can develop a certain instinct for the essentials in education.

The intellect is at first the highest mental aspect in each of us; but if we develop it one-sidedly, without a concurrent development of feeling and will, then we also develop a tendency toward materialistic thinking. Although the intellect is our highest mental aspect during physical earthly life, intellect is directed toward materialism. Specifically, we should not believe that when we develop the intellect, we also develop people spiritually. As paradoxical as that sounds, it is nevertheless true that we develop people’s capacity to understand material things when we develop the intellect. By first tastefully, in an aesthetic way, developing the sensitivity, the feelings, we can direct the human intellect toward the soul aspects. We can give children a foundation for directing the intellect toward the spirit only insofar as we practice a development of will, even if we develop it only as physical dexterity. That so few people today tend to direct the intellect toward the spirit can only be a consequence of the fact that the will was so incorrectly trained during childhood.

How do we as teachers learn to develop will in the proper way? I recently pointed out that we learn to do it by allowing children to be artistically active. As early as possible, we should not only allow children to hear music, to see drawings and paintings, but also allow them to participate. Besides mere instruction in reading and writing—yes, we must develop instruction in reading and writing from artistic activities, writing from drawing, and so forth—besides all this, basic artistic activities must take place early in the education wherever possible. Otherwise, we will have weak-willed people. Directing youths toward what their later work will be comes in addition to this.

You see just how necessary it is in modern times that we come to a new understanding of humanity. This understanding can be the basis for a new way of educating, as much as this is possible within all the constraints that exist today. Because modern science does not comprehend these things, we must create something that leads in this direction through the Waldorf School.

It is urgently necessary that we do not allow ourselves to be deceived by much of what is said today. A week ago, I tried to explain the significance of the empty phrase for modern spiritual life. Empty phrases come into play particularly in educational reform plans. People feel good—and they believe that they are “very pedagogical’—when they repeatedly admonish others to raise people, not robots. But those who say this must first know what a real human is; otherwise this sentence becomes just an empty phrase. This is particularly so when the often-asked question, “To what end should we educate children?” is answered by, “To be happy and useful people.” Those who say this mean people who are useful in the way the speakers find useful and happy in the way the speakers mean happy.

It is especially important that we form a foundation that allows us to understand what human beings really are. However, this cannot be done with the old prejudices of our world view. It can only come from a new understanding of the world. A new form of education will not develop if we do not have the courage to come to a new scientific orientation. What we see most often today are people who want everything conceivable, but not what is necessary to arrive at a new orientation in understanding the world. We have been searching for this new orientation for years by means of spiritual science. If many people have distanced themselves from it, that is because they find it too uncomfortable, or because they do not have the courage. But what we need for a real art of education can emerge only from a properly founded spiritual world view.

Think about the importance of what the teacher represents to the growing child. Basically, we people here on earth, if we are not to become petrified in one of the stages in our life, must continually learn from life. But, first we must learn to learn from life. Children must learn to learn from life in school so that, in later life, their dead ideas do not keep them from learning from life; so that, as adults, they are not petrified. What keeps eating at people today is that school gave them too little. Those who see through our deplorable social conditions know that they are largely connected with what I have just described. People do not have that inner hold on life that can come only when the right material is taught at the right time in school. Life remains closed if school does not give us the strength to open it. This is only possible if, in the early school years the teacher is the representation of life itself. The peculiarity of youth is that the gulf still exists between people and life. We must bridge this gulf. The young senses, the young intellect, the young mind, the young will are not yet so formed that life can touch them in the right way. Children meet life through the teacher. The teacher stands before the child as, later, life stands there. Life must be concentrated in the teacher. Thus, an intensive interest in life must imbue the teachers. Teachers must carry the life of the age in themselves. They must be conscious of this. Out of this consciousness can radiate what lively instruction and conduct must communicate to the pupils. To begin such a thing, teachers must no longer be miserably confined to the realm of the school; they must feel themselves supported by the whole breadth of modern society and how this interacts with the future, a future in which precisely teachers have the greatest interest. Under the present conditions and despite the present obstacles, we should try to do this in the school, as well as it can be done by people who bring the necessary prerequisites from their present lives. We should not work out of any one-sided interest, out of a preference for this or that, but rather work out of what speaks loudly and clearly to us as necessary for the development of present and future humanity. What in human developmental progress we see as necessary for our time should enter and strengthen instruction through the founding of the Waldorf School.