A Lecture for Prospective Parents of the Waldorf SchoolStuttgart, August 31, 1919
Robert F. Lathe and Nancy Parsons Whittaker
This lecture is reprinted here by permission of the publisher and is contained in the volume The Spirit of the Waldorf School, Volume V of the series Foundations of Waldorf Education copyright 1995, Anthroposophic Press.
When Mr. Molt first set out to found a school for the children of his employees,
clearly his intention was to serve humanity in these difficult times.
He chose a means which we must employ above all others
when working to heal our social conditions.
It is written in all your souls that we must create something
new out of the conditions that we experience -
the conditions that have developed over the past three or
four centuries in the so-called civilized world.
It must also have been deeply written in your souls that
what we need above all to achieve other conditions is a different way
of preparing humanity for a place in the world, through upbringing and education.
What we need is a way untainted by the traditions of the past three or four centuries
that are now reaching their zenith.
For the future, we expect a social structure much different from the one of the present. We have a right to expect that. We look lovingly at our children, at the next generation, and we, particularly those who are parents, often have misgivings in our hearts. How will our loved ones fit into a society that must be so different from that of the present? Will they be equal to the new social challenge coming to humanity? Will they be capable of contributing to the formation of society, so that those who come after us will have it other than we have had, will have, in a much different sense, a more humane existence than we have had?
Everyone feels that the question of upbringing and education is, in a profound sense, a question of the highest order. This is particularly true in times like ours, times of sudden change and transformation of society. We look back at the terrible times humanity has recently lived through in Europe, we look upon the rivers of blood that have flowed, and we see the great army of unhappy people, their bodies broken and souls shattered, which necessarily resulted from the unnatural conditions of recent times. When we look upon all this, the desire wells up in us to ask, "In the broadest sense, how must we bring up people so that this will be impossible in the future?" Out of this privation and misery, an understanding must awaken for the role of education in restructuring human social relations.
In principle, we hear this expressed from many sides. Yet, we must ask ourselves, when people say this here and there, if they always mean it in the correct sense. Today, people say pleasant words about many things. These pleasant words do not always arise from inner strength, nor above all else, from inner truths that can put into practice the content of these words. Today those people who are called upon to school and educate our children come forth, offer their opinions and notions, and say, "We know how children should be brought up and educated. We should simply do it just as we have always wanted, but have not been allowed to do - then the right thing will occur." Behind those who so speak, we hear those who feel themselves called to teach the teachers. They assure us, "We have the right views about what teachers should become. Just follow us. We will send the right teachers into the world, so everything goes well in education." Yet, when we look deeply into what has become of our social conditions, we want to shout to both these teachers and these teachers of teachers, "You may mean well, but you do not really know what you are talking about!" For nothing can help modern education, nothing can raise modern education to a better state, unless the teachers admit, "We come from the traditions formed during the past three or four centuries. We were trained in the way that leads humanity into such misfortune." In their turn, those who trained the teachers must admit, "We have not understood anything except how to give teachers the results of industrialism, statism, capitalism. Of course, we have delivered the present teachers, who fit into this present social configuration, this configuration that simply must change."
This means that, just as we demand a change, a transformation of the full spectrum of the present social structure for the future, we must also demand another art of education, and a different basis for this art!
In many respects, the question of education today is a question of teachers. Today, when we speak with those who want to become teachers and educators, we frequently sense the deep antisocial feeling lying within humanity. We speak with them about what education should become in the future. They say, "Yes, I have been saying that all along. We should raise children to be competent modern-day people. We should educate them to be useful people. We should not pay so much attention to vocational training, but more to the training of the whole person." They talk about such things and go away with the impression that they think just the same as we think. They think just the opposite!
Today, our antisocial life has come so far that people express opposites with the same words. This is what makes it so difficult to understand one another. Someone who truly thinks socially, thinks very differently from modern people satisfied with the old traditions. In the same way, we must think fundamentally differently about teaching and education when we attempt to solve the educational social question in a particular instance. We must think differently from those who believe we can base this change on their traditional educational methods. Truly, today we must think and perceive more thoroughly than many believe. In addition, we must be clear that we cannot create something new out of the old educational and scientific methods; education and science must themselves change.
This is adequate justification for us to begin this work of starting the Waldorf School with a course for the faculty. We have attempted to select for the faculty people who, at the least, are rooted in the old educational system to a greater or lesser degree - for one it is more, for another less. But, we were also intent on finding people who have the heart and soul for the reconstruction of our society and culture. We sought people who have the heart and soul for what it means to raise the children of today to be the people of tomorrow.
Our new teachers also must carry another conviction in their souls, namely, that from the time children enter school we may teach them only what the essence of humanity dictates. In this sense we want to found a unified school in the truest sense of the word. All we want to know in the growing child is the developing human. We want to learn from the nature of the developing child how children want to develop themselves as human beings, that is, how their nature, their essence should develop to become truly human.
"That is just what we also want," the old teachers and educators of teachers tell us. "We have always striven to teach humans, to consider, for example, the distinct personalities of the children."
Yes, we must reply, you have striven to train children to be what you perceived humans to be, the kind of people you thought were necessary for the old political and economic life. We cannot do anything with this idea of "human beings"; and the future of humanity will not know what to do with it nor want to know. We need a fundamental renewal.
The first thing needed for the educational system of the future is a new understanding of humanity. The understanding of humanity that has swollen up out of the morass of materialism in the last centuries and has been dressed up in our higher schools of learning as the basis of human nature cannot be the basis of the art of education in the future. What we require is a new perception of human nature. We can derive this only from a new science. The science taught today, and also represented by those who teach, is only the reflection of older times. Just as a new epoch should come, so too should come a new science, a new way to train teachers, a new pedagogy built upon a new understanding of human beings. For just that reason, we pay particular attention to a real understanding of humanity in the course to prepare the faculty for the Waldorf School. We cherish the hope that the future teachers in the Waldorf School will come to know the developing human. We hope that they will give this embryonic human the capacities that the future will require of people who work in the socially formed human society. We sense that much of what the old way of teaching has said about humanity is just words. Today we study the true essence of human thought, so we can train the child in the right kind of thinking. We study the true basis of real human feeling, so that in the genuinely social community people bring forth justice based upon true human feeling. We study the essence of human will, so that this human will can embrace and permeate the newly formed economic life of the future. We do not study people in a materialistic, one-sided way; we study the body, soul and spirit of the human being, so that our teachers can train the body, soul and spirit of human beings. We do not speak of body, soul and spirit merely as words. We attempt to discover how the various ages of the human being result from one another. We look carefully at how the children are when they enter the school, and the faculty takes over from the parents.
How superficially the so-called educational sciences have observed this period of human growth! There is an important turning point in the life of a child; it lies around the age of seven, just about that year in which the child enters elementary school. It is just at that year when the teacher should take over the child from the parents for a portion of the further education. The external expression of this important period of life is the change of teeth; however, the new teeth are only an outward sign of the important change occurring within.
Certainly, you have already heard much about what we need to understand to properly comprehend social reforms, and so forth. However, many of you were probably still of the opinion, received from a study by the leading experts, that everything has already been taken care of for humanity in an admirable way. The most important things have not been done! Modern people find it quite strange, when we say, that at the age when the child enters school, an inner revolution occurs in the human soul, in the whole being, which is only outwardly expressed in the cutting of teeth. Until that time children are imitating beings, beings that bring through birth the urge to do everything as it is done around them. In these first years it is simply a part of human nature to allow ourselves to be trained by what we see in our surroundings. Just at the time of the cutting of teeth, something quite different begins to appear in human nature. The urge arises to learn from authority, to learn from those who already can do something. This urge lasts until the time of sexual maturity, until about fourteen or fifteen years of age. Thus, this natural drive fills the time in elementary school. We can properly teach in elementary school only if we have a thorough pedagogical understanding of this revolution within the child of seven. Here I have given you only a single example of what, compared to the old way, the new pedagogy must thoroughly observe and understand.
On the other hand, we need to know that around the age of nine new inner physical and spiritual strengths begin to come forth. If we were to teach prematurely what the curriculum foresees for the age after nine, the instruction, instead of helping, would damage the child for life.
We need a comprehensive understanding of human life if we want to practice a comprehensive, a true, pedagogy serving humanity. We must know how to teach before and after the children reach the age of nine. We may not, as old, gray-haired administrators from the school board do, set up the curriculum to take into account just any external consideration: this for the first grade; this for the second grade; this for the third grade, and so forth. Nothing that could really prepare the child for life will result. Human nature itself must teach us what we need to accomplish through education in each year of the child's life.
Consider for a moment, that as adults, you are still learning from life. Life is our great teacher. However, the ability to learn from life comes at the earliest at fifteen, sixteen or seventeen years of age. Then, we first stand face to face with the world in a way such that we can learn directly from the world. Until then, the teacher who faces us in the classroom is the world. It is the teacher we want to understand; it is the teacher we want to love; it is from the teacher we want to learn; the teacher should bring to us what is out there in the world. From the age of seven to fifteen years, there is an abyss between ourselves and the world. The teacher should bridge that gulf for us.
Can teachers who are not gripped by all that life has to give, who, embittered and soured by all that has been funneled into them, "teach grammar so, natural history so, and other subjects so," who do not concern themselves with what so agitates humanity in our time - can such teachers rightly depict and reveal to children all that life brings over the seven or eight years of elementary school? A new study of humanity, a new understanding of humanity is necessary. The faculty must develop a new enthusiasm out of this new understanding of humanity.
This shows you some of what we keep in mind in preparing for the children in our teaching seminars: to thoroughly understand humanity so that we can teach from human nature itself and send the child into life.
The second thing that we must develop as we work toward a more humane form of society, is a social attitude of the teachers toward the children already in the school. This is a new love of humanity - an awareness of the interplay of forces between the teacher and pupil. Those forces cannot exist if the teacher does not enter into the art of teaching in a lively way.
Everyone agrees that the painter must learn to paint, that the musician must have command over a musical instrument and much more, that the architect must learn architecture. We set certain requirements so these people may become artists. We also must set these kinds of requirements for teachers who would become true human artists. We must set them seriously. To do so, we must understand that no present day pedagogy and no present day educational method gives the teacher what must first be found through a thorough study of humanity. We must find it so that a new love of humanity may come into the relationship between teacher and pupil. Our goal must be that teachers become true artists in their field.
Many things play a role. One teacher enters the classroom, and the children feel an aversion that lasts throughout the year; they would much rather be outside because what that teacher does with them is so unpleasant. Another teacher need only enter the classroom and, simply by being present, creates a bridge to each pupil. What makes such a difference? The teacher who makes such an adverse impression on the children goes into the school only to, as the saying goes, earn a living - in order to live. That teacher has acquired the superficial ability to drill the children, but goes just as unwillingly to school as the children and is just as happy when school ends. That teacher does the job mechanically.
I am not surprised that the majority of today's teachers view their work mechanically. Their understanding of humanity comes from the dead science that has arisen out of the industrial, statist and capitalist life of the past three or four centuries. That science has resulted in a dead art of education, at best a wistful form of education. We are striving for the understanding of humanity that we need to create the art of teaching in the Waldorf School. This vision of humanity, this understanding of humanity, so penetrates the human being that of itself it generates enthusiasm, inspiration, love. Our aim is that the understanding of humanity that enters our heads, should saturate our actions and feelings as well. Real science is not just the dead knowledge so often taught today, but a knowledge that fills a person with love for the subject of that knowledge.
Thus, this understanding of humanity is brought to the teachers, in the seminar they are now taking to prepare themselves to educate your children. This understanding of humanity, this understanding of the growing child, should so saturate the teachers that a love of humanity enters the teaching. As recompense for the love that the teachers provide the children, a power will come forth, will well up from the children that gives them the ability to take in more easily the material to be learned. The right kind of love, not ape-like love, but the real love that flows through what we do in the classroom or other teaching activities, determines whether the child will learn with ease or difficulty, whether the child's education is good or bad.
The third thing that we want to bring to the child and for which we prepare our teachers so that they understand the proper way to present it to the children, is willpower. We want to cultivate this willpower by allowing the child to do something artistic at a relatively early stage of childhood. Most people do not know the secret connection between the will and working in the proper way in childhood with drawing, painting, music and the other arts. We do so much good when the child has this opportunity.
Our children will learn to read and write from life itself. This is our intention. We will not pedantically force them to write letters that for every child at first seem all the same. They need not learn it as an abstract thing, as letters were for the North American Indians when the Europeans came. It is true, isn't it? The European destroyed the North American Indians down to the root. One of the last chiefs of the North American Indian tribes destroyed by the Europeans tells that the white man, the paleface, came to put the dark man and all he stood for under the earth. "The dark man had certain advantages over the palefaces," the chief then continued, "he did not have the little devils on paper." We want to say that everything teachers pedantically and narrow-mindedly draw on the blackboard for the pupils to copy, is seen as little devils by today's children. We can draw all such things from life. If we succeed in what we are attempting, the children will learn to read and write more quickly. When we derive everything from life, when writing comes from drawing and not from arbitrariness, children will learn more quickly. At the same time, we can raise strong-willed people who later in life will be up to the task.
We will not simply superficially say, "We want to educate people." In a profound manner, we first ask ourselves, modestly and honestly, "What is the Being of Humanity, and how does it appear in the developing Human Being?" We do not first go and ask political and industrial leaders, "How should we teach and educate people so that they can take their place in society?" We also do not ask, "What does this or that governmental body compel us to teach so that people can fulfill what the state demands of them?" No, we turn our questions to the uniform nature of humanity and its requirements. Yes, you see, in this respect the old social conditions are in conflict with what is necessary for a more socially oriented human future.
Today the state takes over the developing person, the child, at a particular age. The state would take over the child earlier, but the child is not clean enough for it. For a while, it leaves the rearing of and caring for the child to the parents. When the child has grown enough that it is no longer so dirty, the state takes over and dictates what we are to funnel into the child. Of course, the state allows us to funnel into the child only what is necessary for the workplace, thereby enabling itself to do with people as it will. Even when they are adults, people are often quite satisfied. The state tells them, "You will be assured of a lifelong job, and when you are no longer able to work, you will have a pension." Retirement is a notion that some circles of leading people treat as an ideal. They expect it from the state education. These people also expect that the state, through the religion teachers, will take their souls in hand so that these souls need not work, since the churches will do the work for them. They expect that the churches will, so to speak, provide a "soul retirement" after death. Today everyone wants to have everything done for them. This is the result of a totally false education.
A real education takes care that body, soul and spirit will be intrinsically free and independent. A real education takes care to put people into life. Do you believe that if we really ask people how we should bring them up, that is, if we inquire into the nature and being of humanity, that we would create impractical people? No, just the opposite! We are educating people who can, in truth, put themselves powerfully into life. In grammar school we are educating humans who, in later life, will know more of what is necessary for the outward, practical life. These people will have learned to think; these people will have learned to correctly feel; and these people will have learned to properly use their will. We want to introduce all of this, so that truth and strength can rule, not so that in pedagogy the phrase holds, "We should bring up children correctly." We should instead make the child a true person!
Much must happen in the outside world to create better social conditions. Much must happen in just the area where the Waldorf School wants to set a foundation stone for this great building. It would be something beautiful for you to say with heartfelt meaning, "We want to be pioneers for a future educational system. We want to be pioneers in the sense that we want to be the first to entrust our children to such an educational system of the future, one working for a new social life. We want to be pioneers in the sense that we do not believe that a few external changes will lead to a better social condition, but that a change must occur at the heart of science, art and education to bring about the desired condition of humanity."
How do people today often imagine what should actually happen? Socialization should occur, but most people, even those who quite honestly speak of socialization, think, "Sure, somewhere there are the universities, and they have already done everything right. It may be that we need to change the outward position of the university professors a little, but science itself, we may not change that in any way." Middle school, high school, trade school - people just do not think that outward life has come from these schools. But the people educated in these schools have created the outer life. At most, we think we should organize the lower level of education somewhat differently than it is now. This results in self-deception, in that we say, "We must provide education without cost." I would like to know how we can, in fact, do this. We just deceive ourselves, since we must pay for education. It cannot be free of cost - that is only "possible" through the deception of taxes or such things. We make up such phrases, which do not have any basis in reality.
People think that we should change this or that in the organization a little. We must subject everything to fundamental change, from top to bottom. We need another teacher training, another spirit in the school, even another love, different from that which modern sophisticated faculties bring into the schools. Unfortunately, all too few people think about that. You will perform a great service to humanity if you are pioneers in this respect, if you think we must renew the educational system for the betterment of humanity, and if you take part in this renewal of the educational system with heartfelt interest and heartfelt sense. The more you think of taking part, of interesting yourselves in what is to happen in the Waldorf School, the better the faculty will succeed in working in unity with you for the betterment and blessing of your children, and thus for the whole of future humanity - at least within the boundaries we can envision now.
People can work out ideals alone and write them down. The ideals can be beautiful and can please this or that person. Yes, people can think abstract ideals alone. But, with ideals that we should put into practice, such as the ideal of our new educational system, we are dependent upon finding understanding in the world. We want especially the parents of the children to be entrusted to the Waldorf School to be understanding of its ideal.
Mr. Molt has spoken of his responsibility, and he is right. This responsibility, though, is something that goes much further. We are all conscious of this responsibility as we prepare for the Waldorf School, and we will always remain conscious of it. Such a responsibility is always before us, when we work toward an ideal as radical as that of the Waldorf School. By taking up this ideal, we are forced to break with prejudices in the broadest sense. Truly, today it is not easy to find out everything we must do to educate children properly, particularly in grammar school. The empty phrase has caused such great havoc.
"We should teach the children through play." This is particularly the ideal of middle class mothers who, through a certain love - we might call it ape-like love - are devoted to their children. From one side we may emphasize, with a certain right, that education should not become drudgery for the child. We could take the position that we should "playfully" carry out education. We are all quite clear that in education we must bring play as well as work together in the proper relationship to prepare for life. However, we are also conscious that play which trains the child like an animal, is play no longer. This play, often found in our schools today trains the children like animals, just as before we pedantically drilled them. Play can only occur in freedom. However, play must alternate with another kind of activity so that children learn the seriousness of work, so that they are up to the seriousness of work in life. We will not work with empty phrases. We will have a time for work and a time for play. We will judge everything by the manifestations of the nature of the developing person, of the child.
Just as we should familiarize ourselves with the true understanding of humanity, so must we gradually bring the school to the point that the children happily go to it, that they are glad to go to this school. We will not seek to attain anything unnatural. It would be unnatural to believe that children, who should have vacation, should go to school and not play during vacation. We will also not be so foolish as to believe that children, after they have played for weeks, should sit well-behaved in the classroom upon just returning to school. We will understand our children. However, after a while, through the way that we relate to the children, they will do their work during school time just as happily as they play during vacation. An ideal of the Waldorf School is that the children do what they should do, out of an inner force. We do not see our goal as simply to command the children. Rather, our goal is to relate to the children so that from our attitude the children feel, "I am glad to do this, I am happy to go through this with my teacher."
When your children come home from school, we hope that you enjoy it when they talk about the things they enjoyed at school. We hope that you enjoy the joyous faces of the children when they come home after school. We do not hope this because we want to make life into some sort of entertainment, but because we know how many of today's terrible social conditions result from something that could be different. We know that worse will come to humanity if we do not work for new social circumstances through conscientious new beginnings in education. We do everything possible to form education and upbringing as I have described it to you, not to do the child a favor, but because we know the power that joy gives to the child.
We want to create this new school as an example - this school for which so many people hunger, but do not have the courage to look in the eye. We will have to believe, we will have to understand, that the so-called social question also rests upon the problem of education as I characterized it here, and that we can accomplish social change only in the way that we are attempting in the Waldorf School. It would be a great tragedy if the social impulse that is the foundation of the Waldorf School were ignored. May it first be recognized by those who entrust their children to the Waldorf School. We are all conscious of the responsibility of placing something in the world to which you should entrust the development and future of your children, come what may. We have not taken on the responsibility of what should happen here out of some sort of whim, but out of the recognition that such tasks are necessary in our time and that it is now particularly necessary to come to the developing human being, the child, with the best that humanity can understand.
I do not know, honorable guests, if you know exactly the feeling of having gone through the world during these terrible war years, the last four or five years, and having seen how the children, the six- to nine-year-olds or still younger, have grown up. At times, you could feel quite a deep pain if you did not live unconsciously and thoughtlessly in the world, but lived, rather, with a consciousness of what lies ahead if we do not conceive some help for what has brought humanity to such a terrible state. You get a heavy heart, seeing the growing children lately. You can not see them without having a deep heartache, if you do not decide at the same time, as far as you are able, to effect another way of bringing up children - a way that is different from the way people of today had to go, the way that has caused so much of the present unhappiness and misery. In the foremost sense, we create a piece of human future with education. We must be clear that we must relearn, must rethink, many things. Today, we experience many curious things from teachers in the upper and lower grades.
I recently spoke in a neighboring city that has a university. I said that, among other things, the social question also involves the fact that people, although depressed by questions about the organization of life, do not consider themselves to be in an inhumane condition. I expanded upon that further. Afterwards - it is hard to believe that today such people still exist - a university professor came up and said he could not understand why an inhumane existence of the modern blue-collar worker was connected with the wage scale. He saw their situation as no different from that of, for instance, Caruso, who sings, and receives a payment of thirty to forty thousand marks for the evening. That would be just the same as when a blue-collar worker received his wages and as when he, as a professor, received his salary. He could see no difference. There would only be a difference in the size of the payment but no essential difference. Therefore he could not see wages as being a degradation of human existence. Wages are wages.
That is the response we receive today from a highly educated teacher. We receive such responses also from teachers at lower schools. This only emphasizes the necessity for a renewal of our training and educational system. We can say, "Truly, today, when we hear what people around many higher schools say about a reformation of our social conditions, and about the necessity to reform the schools, that is the most vivid proof that we must reform these schools. These people can only say what they say because these schools have a form that we must change."
Now, two things could happen. Mr. Molt has had the ideal to found the school which today and over the next eight days shall be ceremoniously opened. Due to the peculiar circumstances of our time, people could misunderstand his intention. Resistance could arise so that we could not put this ideal into practice, and it would disintegrate after a short time. Then we would say, "Yes, Mr. Molt wanted something quite ideal, but it was utopian. No one can put something like that into practice so easily." Why is it utopian? It is utopian because it is not understood, or because it is resisted!
A second thing could happen. Understanding could arise for what is born out of true social understanding, understanding for the real practicality of this wish. Then what is desired will become customary. It will become so familiar, that at first you, and later others, will say, "There was someone who saw more practically than others who thought they knew all about practical life." People will not say, "This was utopian." People will say, "Something really practical was put into the world!"
May the second of these two possibilities come to pass! Those who have the heart and soul for the social development of humanity now and in the future see this as a necessity. We will be able to look with utmost satisfaction upon what will occur when you, the first to send your children to the Waldorf School, stand by the side of the teachers with understanding, with interest. That will be the beginning of what should thrive with this school, what can really prosper.
May it prosper! May it thrive, so that those who see this blossoming decide to do the same in many different places. Of course, only when, and may it be as soon as possible, the same takes place out of the same spirit in many places, only then can what should come out of the Waldorf School come out of it. Then soon many more will follow. The free spirit will rule and a free social training and educational system will spread over the civilized earth.
This spirit and this feeling will be instilled into the civilized earth and will be an important power for all that will help us to come to a better, more humane existence in social organization.
May we grasp that the social question is a manifold one, and that one of its most important aspects is the question of education. May understanding and vision arise in the hearts of many people and powers for thinking, feeling and willing arise in the children. Thus, these children, when they are grown, can look back thankfully to their parents, who stood and first saw the social question, but still suffered deprivation because they themselves could not be brought up within the new socially oriented education. To these parents who understand the idea of such an education, the children will look back thankfully. Those children will be carried into a new time, along with many others, by the power that has become theirs through a truly humane upbringing and a humane education.
People want to make children useful for life in many ways. The old teachers also said that. Through the new educational system and pedagogy, we want to put people more humanely into life. Through these children, raised in this way, life itself will be so formed that its humanness appeals to the decency of understanding people.
May this spirit rule in the founding of this work that Mr. Molt, through the Waldorf School, wants to give to a part of humanity.
Question Session Following the Lecture
Question: How will religious instruction be given in the Waldorf School? Also, how will the feelings of the children coming from other schools be taken into account?
Dr. Steiner: It must first be emphasized that, in the strictest sense, the Waldorf School does not teach a particular philosophy. We are not going to bring dogmatically to the children what we derive from a philosophy that has been stated here for years. We will use it only because we can use it to improve, to reform the instructional methods, the way of handling the instruction.
On the other hand, we must, because our modern time needs it, present the content of the child's religion. A Catholic teacher will instruct the Catholic children in the Catholic tradition; a Catholic teacher will lead them in their religious exercises. The same is true for Protestant children. We do not seek to achieve the goals of the Waldorf School through the inculcation of any particular philosophy. What we want is that a new method of instructing and handling instruction, a new method of teaching and handling teaching arises out of what we do.
What happens to the children coming from other schools is a very important question, particularly for the older children. We will not begin with the first grade and then build upon that. Rather, we will begin with a complete elementary school. Thus, we will have children of all ages. Of course, through the methods we are now discussing in our seminar, we will later be able to do many things differently, when we have only children whom we taught beginning in the first grade. However, we will now take into account everything that the children have already learned. In each grade, we will begin with what the children have already learned and continue in the way appropriate to our methods. We will seek out only what is advantageous for the children without needing to repeat what they have already learned. In instructing, we can work very economically. Lay people have no idea of what we can accomplish. When we work so economically, we can teach in a quarter of an hour what normally takes two hours. This is a question of method; however, people must know the method. This is a very important thing, that we can teach in a quarter of an hour something that takes two hours to teach through incorrect methods. In that we use the right method, that is, a method that is in accord with human nature, we can teach more economically and accomplish much that other schools cannot accomplish, and still meet the criteria of the public school system. In this way, so long as we still have the present school system, when children graduate from our school, they can enter other schools without any loss of time. We will keep such things in mind.
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