Hands, Hearts, and Heads: Childhood and Esotericism in American Waldorf Education

Hands, Hearts, and Heads: Childhood and Esotericism in American Waldorf Education

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Waldorf education is a rapidly growing alternative pedagogical system based on anthroposophy, the esoteric teachings of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). This dissertation combines historical and ethnographic methods in a close study of two American Waldorf schools, The Waldorf School of the Finger Lakes (WSOFL) and the Waldorf School of Santa Barbara (WSOSB). The work seeks to fill a gap in scholarly work on Waldorf education and anthroposophy. It demonstrates that esotericism is not limited to the realm of texts but that Western esoteric traditions have had an impact on the physical, the practiced, and the practical. More important, it argues that children matter deeply for the making of religious and cultural worlds. In Waldorf schools, children, adults, and texts cooperate and compete to construct each other and to make worlds of meaning, both those in which they are immersed and those that transcend them.Thus in the first grade Waldorf teachers tell fairy tales. In the second grade the children are taught fables, legends of saints, and local folklore. Bible stories, particularly the Old Testament, are taught in the third grade. Norse sagas are ananbsp;...


Title:Hands, Hearts, and Heads: Childhood and Esotericism in American Waldorf Education
Author:Sarah W. Whedon
Publisher:ProQuest - 2007
ISBN-13:

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