Waldorf Teacher Training: Exploring the 12-Senses in Waldorf Education

801-1-koi-pondAt the wildlife center I volunteer at we had some bobcat kittens last spring. Since I had my Ipad with me I thought it would be fun to see if they liked the App on the Ipad that was a moving pond with fish in it. My theory was that the moving fish and colors would entertain them and I was curious to see what they would do.

They did nothing.

They completely ignored the Ipad. No matter what I did, how loud the music was, or how quickly the fish moved or how bright and active the pictures became they completely ignored the electronic device.

Why?

Because kittens need more that just a pretty visual and sound to capture their attention. And although my children look nothing like bobcat kittens, the same can be said for them. As parents, we have been trained by television, years of magazines, hundreds of billboards, filtering information and more, to pay attention to bright colors and sounds. However, a child is still emerging in a world where all 12 senses are developing and craving stimulation.

Rudolf Steiner identified 12 senses – seven more than the standard five most people recognize – which he placed into three groups:  Touch, Life, Self-Movement, Balance, Smell, Taste, Sight, Temperature/Warmth, Hearing, Language, Concept, Ego.

Senses of Knowledge – ego, thought, word, hearing
Senses of Feeling – warmth, sight, taste, smell
Senses of Ego – Balance, movement, life, touch

For a child to completely embrace something they need to have all their senses stimulated – not just one or two.

So how does this mesh with Waldorf Earthschooling?

In the Waldorf classroom students play with natural toys. These natural toys have qualities of texture, smell, temperature, and visual stimulation that a computer could never mimic. As a grade school student, children learn through storytelling, painting and sculpting – all which provide numerous and complex sense experiences above and beyond what computer or television education can provide.

To find out more about natural toys in the Waldorf classroom you can link HERE.

To find out more about Steiner’s 12-Senses you can link HERE.

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