The Education of the Child (eBook)

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The Education of the Child: And Early Lectures on Education (CW 293 & 66)

“Spiritual science, by its inherent character and tendency, has the task of providing a practical concept of the world-one that comprehends the nature and essence of human life…. For spiritual science is not intended as a theory that is remote from life, one that merely caters to human curiosity or the thirst for knowledge. Nor is it intended as an instrument for a few people who for selfish reasons would like to attain a higher development for themselves. No, it can join and work at the most important tasks of modern people and further their development for the welfare of humankind.” —Rudolf Steiner

As early as 1884, while tutoring a boy with special needs, Steiner began a lifelong interest in applying spiritual knowledge to the practical aspects of life. Steiner originally published the essay at the core of this book in 1907. It represents his earliest ideas on education, in which he lays out the soul spiritual processes of human development, describing the need to understand how the being of a child develops through successive “births,” beginning with the physical body’s entry into earthly life, and culminating in the emergence of the “I”-being with adulthood.

Also included are several early lectures on education, ranging from 1906 to 1911, well before the birth of the Waldorf movement in 1919.


“The Education of the Child in the Light of Spiritual Science,” translated by George and Mary Adams, appeared originally in German in the journal Lucifer–Gnosis (nr. 33), 1907, under the title “Die Erzieuhung des Kindes vom Geschictspunkte der Geisteswissenschaft.” It is included in vol. 34 of the Collected Works of Rudolf Steiner, published by Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach, Switzerland, 1987.

“Teaching from a Foundation of Spiritual Insight,” translated by Robert Lathe and Nancy Whittaker, is included in Ursprungsimpulse der Geisteswissenschaft, vol. 96, as “Erziehungspraxis auf der Grundlage spiritueller Erkenntnis”; the lecture “Education in the Light of Spiritual Science,” translated by Rita Stebbing, appeared as “Die Erziehung des Kindes vom Standpunkt der Geisteswissenschaft”.

“Education and Spiritual Science,” translated by Rita Stebbing, appeared as “Schulfragen vom Standpunkt der Geisteswissen-schaft” in Die Erkenntnis des Ubersinnlichen in unserer Zeit, vol. 55.

“Interests, Talent, and Education,” translated by Robert Lathe and Nancy Whittaker, is included in Antworten der eisteswissenschaft auf die grossen Fragen des Daseins, vol. 60, as “Anlage, Begabung und Erziehung des Menschen,” all of which are in the Collected Works of Rudolf Steiner, published by Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach, Switzerland, 1987.

“Interests, Talents, and Educating Children,” translated by Robert Lathe and Nancy Whittaker, appeared originally in the magazine Die Menschenschule, vol. 31 (nr. 6),1957 and vol. 48 (nr.1), 1974.

C O N T E N T S:

Introduction by Christopher Bamford


The Education of the Child in the Light of Spiritual Science


Teaching from a Foundation of Spiritual Insight (Berlin, May 14, 1906)

Education in the Light of Spiritual Science (Cologne, Dec. 1, 1906)

Education and Spiritual Science (Berlin, Jan. 24, 1907)

Interests, Talents, and Educating Children (Nuremberg, Nov. 14, 1910)

Interests, Talent, and Education (Berlin, Jan. 12, 1911)

About the Author

Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) was born in the small village of Kraljevec, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now in Croatia), where he grew up. As a young man, he lived in Weimar and Berlin, where he became a well-published scientific, literary, and philosophical scholar, known especially for his work with Goethe’s scientific writings. At the beginning of the twentieth century, he began to develop his early philosophical principles into an approach to systematic research into psychological and spiritual phenomena. Formally beginning his spiritual teaching career under the auspices of the Theosophical Society, Steiner came to use the term Anthroposophy (and spiritual science) for his philosophy, spiritual research, and findings. The influence of Steiner’s multifaceted genius has led to innovative and holistic approaches in medicine, various therapies, philosophy, religious renewal, Waldorf education, education for special needs, threefold economics, biodynamic agriculture, Goethean science, architecture, and the arts of drama, speech, and eurythmy. In 1924, Rudolf Steiner founded the General Anthroposophical Society, which today has branches throughout the world. He died in Dornach, Switzerland.

Additional information



Mary Adams, Nancy Parsons Whittaker, Rita Stebbing, Robert F. Lathe


Christopher Bamford




May 1996






CW 66, CW 293


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