"Viking Mom, if only Viking Monkey Boy would focus."
"Viking Mom, I am going to suggest that Viking Monkey Boy start with Title I Corrective Reading because he struggles with fluency and attention."
"Viking Mom, could you please have your seven year old son evaluated for attention deficient."
Raise your hand if you have heard this before with your own child? Or heard other parents complain of the same conversation. Why do teachers immediately jump on the "Lack of Attention Bandwagon?" We all know they are alluding to the dreaded "ADD or ADHD" road.
Viking Dad and I have made the difficult decision to take the Viking Children out of Public School and send them to a Waldorf School. We did not make this decision lightly.
On May 10th I wrote about the Common Core Curriculum which you can read about it here.
On May 29th I started this series to explain why we decided to leave Public School. I wrote about the need for children to breath and sleep. You can read it here.
One of the most important elements in Waldorf Education is the teacher's understanding of the students individual temperaments. Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf Education, wanted the first Waldorf teachers to understand the temperaments and how to apply this understanding for the benefits of their students. In his lecture that can be found his book Discussions with Teachers Steiner wanted the teachers to really understand this concept and lectured extensively on the subject.
The idea behind understanding the temperaments is not new to Waldorf Education or to Rudolf Steiner. References to the temperaments can be dates as far back to the Greek physician Hippocrates. Hippocrates wrote about the Four Humors which were yellow bile, black bile, blood and phlegm which now are connected to the four temperaments.
In the Waldorf classroom the teacher discovers through intuition, perception and teacher observations a child's temperament and then uses this information to work with this child. Instead of forcing the child to conform to some social norm it is the teacher who recognizes and teaches to the individuality and soul of the child. WOW!! They recognize that the child is a spiritual being and not an automaton.
In a Waldorf School, the role of the temperaments applies most appropriately to the grade school child. High school teachers have a different paradigm for understanding their students, as do the preschool teachers. But in the second phase of childhood, from grade one until the end of middle school, a student’s temperament becomes apparent and important. Steiner hoped that the temperaments would help teachers better understand their students by providing a window into the hidden inner world of the child.
So, what are the Four Temperaments?
CHOLERIC: (colors: black, reds). Cholerics are associated with fire, summer and a predominance of “I” for an adult… (in a child, the astral body is said to predominate in this temperament). They are strong people who “DO” – the leaders of our times. Choleric do not lack confidence and are often fearless and ready to lead. They are great supporters of fairness, yet they can be hard on things—particularly shoes and clothing—and yes, on people. They tend to walk with a heavy foot and seem to take up more personal space than some of the other children, which can quickly make a room feel small. The cholerics have an intensity similar to the color red and they can burn with the heat of high summer. Some Waldorf teachers feel less of these cholerics are coming to us as we see less leaders and people wanting to step forth and lead during our times, as opposed to times such as World War II.
“I tell thee, Kate…
I expressly am forbid to touch it;
For it engenders choler, planteth anger,
And ‘twere better that both of us did fast,
Since of ourselves, ourselves are choleric.”— The Taming of the Shrew
The melancholic children are as a rule tall and slender"