Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Seven Arts in the Waldorf Schools

Yes, there are seven arts that students receive instruction in while attending school. The arts are an integral part of the curriculum. This is a stark contrast to the Public Schools and traditional schools where art is separate, in one classroom and for one hour a day or even one hour a month. When a student graduates from a Waldorf school they have had experiences in these seven arts. 

To Rudolf Steiner, who was an artists and scientist himself, the arts were important to him. He lectured extensively on how important it was to develop the Twelve Senses to view and create art. He quietly influenced the art world with his philosophies. 

Note: The Social Sculpture concept is not an original Rudolf Steiner lecture. It was developed after his death

The Seven Arts he influenced are:

1. Architecture

2. Sculpting
3. Painting
4. Music
5. Poetry
6. Dance
7. Social Sculpture

Through the arts we can become closer to the Spiritual World and gain a fuller understanding of who we are as a human being. The arts can convey a truth that can not be proven scientifically. 


While children do not create architecture, they do experience that they are directly affected by the rooms they move and live in. The living-space children grow up in makes a difference. Good architectural design has a positive effect on their souls and therefore contributes to their healthy development.

Student Main Lesson book
Study of Greek Columns and Roman Architecture

The famous Goetheaum


In sculpture, moldable material such as stone, wood, clay or plaster is transformed by the scupltor in a creative process into a three-dimensional- the human or animal form. 

Varied materials place different demands on the artist with respect to working-styles and procedure. Stone is the hardest material with the highest resistance. Wood, in contrast, seems young and soft. Clay and modelling-wax are especially malleable and therefore an ideal sculpturing material for even young children.

For children of all ages, sculpturing is an important activity. It develops their fine motor abilities, improves their sense of touch and demands patience and fantasy. Sculpturing from a model trains their observational capacity and strengthens their sense of reality. In modelling, interaction occurs between material, form, imagination and feeling, which has a direct effect on body and soul.

wax model

Rudolf Steiner's personal project
Sculpture is of wood


Cultural development has been accompanied by pictures since the very beginning. Painting has a spiritual aspect. Theme and composition, light and darkness, use of color and craftsmanship confront both the artist and viewer with personal and contemporary questions

Children are spontaneous painters. Very early in life they express themselves in pictures by drawing elemental symbols. Children first use color as a means of expression, and here it is the feeling of the color that plays an important role. Painting is greatly significant for a child's development. By consciously giving shape to their world of impressions, children deal with and internalize their own experiences. They experience their creative works as confirmation of their abilities


Music and melodic character conceal important keys to understanding the complexities of human nature. They are able to touch the deepest realms of man's soul and can therefore stimulate and set off remarkable healing processes when therapeutically employed.  Music is the universal language in which man can express his/her innermost nature.

Music is considered a social art that promotes the social senses. The musician always relies on others, whether as co-performers or listeners. Children who make music practice social skills. When they play together, it's not only important for them to concentrate on their own voices or instruments, but to be conscious of the other musicians and to fit in correctly to create joint harmony. In this sense, music is an important area for practicing and developing social skills. 


Through poetry, children cultivate their language and feeling for words. By learning and reciting poems, they train their memory and diction, and by performing theatrically they also learn to master facial expression and the use of gestures.


Dancing is one of man's most elemental means to express spiritual and mental processes in form of body movement. Now days, dancers primarily abandon themselves to rhythm, though the ecstasy expressed in modern dance does also reflect the emotional states of early dance. In eurythmy, on the other hand, the intention is to abandon oneself to the world, which can be experienced in all its fundamental qualities and thereby transformed into inner and outward movement.

 "In eurythmy," remarks Wolfgang Veit, "gestures corresponding to the sounds, words and tones that exist in speech and music - and that can be experienced by inner reflection - are expressed in the dimensions of space and time. Eurythmy makes it possible to visually experience the inner character and living structure of a piece of language or musical work. What becomes visible is then able to be clearly and directly experienced."

Rudolf Steiner created a new art form which unites speech (or music) and movement, the latter serving as a means of expression. This new art form was latter named by his wife, "Eurythmy."  Just as speech is the differentiated expression of human experiences, eurythmy lets movements speak. Speech and music are transformed into visible movements and gestures. The body becomes an instrument of expression.

Dance accommodates a child's natural need to be in motion. When a child dances by itself, its movements have a sense of their own and are not motivated by outside influences. Dancing within a group is subject to given rules, rhythm and music. In a manner similar to music, dancing in a group requires the synchronization of all members. Aside from social skills, dancing also teaches tactfullness. Children learn to take notice of others and treat them with respect and tact.

Social Sculpture

Social sculpture, the vision of the future, was named by Joseph Beuys in the mid 1970's. He believed that, "sculpture is synonymous with humanity." While Social Sculpture was not created by Rudolf Steiner, but was inspired by his lectures on the Three Fold Social Order and the connection between people. 

I have not seen this much in the Waldorf Schools, expect maybe in the higher grades at the high schools or in the adult education. This is a concept that was developed for adults to connect with each other in society. 

Bless Bless
Viking Mom

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