Waldorf Education: What is holistic learning?

if you if you're looking for a holistic perspective at learning I think you just have to look at a little child because in the first three years the children it's the most holistic perspective you could ever have and learning because you know the children they are born and they you can feel there's a lot about these children but they can't actually express this they can't do it they can't speak about it they can't you know putting it to concepts but what they can do is be totally connected with their surroundings with the adults which rather with their siblings and everything and what they do is they are so totally emerged in this world which surrounds them that they actually imitate what's going on it's even more than a mutation it's doing it it's doing what they see and then something amazing happens the children they can stand they can rate they can use their hands freely and then when they have grasped this they start speaking and again it's the adults and their siblings and the other people around them who speak first and they hear this they listen to this they actually listen to this speech of their mothers already when they're in there in the belly of the mother and again it's listening and doing it and then they start speaking and this is a revolution for each human being like just like standing up and having your hands-free and being able to perceive the world and move to the places where you want to go and again the same with the speech you can express something which you would never be able to do if you couldn't speak and this goes through the feeling because you can't speak without feeling you can do that as an adult but you can hear if an adult speaks without feeling but the ordinary speech is about vocalizing something which is in your inner self and and perceiving what others tell you so this is something which every child to us and then the interesting point where they actually begin to grasp the concepts of what they are speaking about I'll give you a little story if ma when my son was three years old we had a we had a pond in the garden and we had a fence around this girl and there were always cats sitting on the fence trying to catch the fish in the pool and when my son was three years old he came and said Papa I know of the fences therefore it's to keep the fish from running away because he noticed that there were less fish because of the cats and he actually began thinking he got the concept of the fence and from that point on he knew every fence in the world what it was all about to keep something in and keep something out so this is thinking and this is holistic learning and you have this in every stage of learning you can do this if you if you if you if you work with the children on the multiplication tables in a class one you can use all these steps which I was talking about to get them a very individual concept of what numbers are you could begin for example to walk special numbers you could go one two three four five and make a step with each number and then you can say two four six and they can just pronounce every second step and then you can do the same with three three six and then you can have children do it all together one group does it with one arrow the others do it with the second role this third ones do it with you and so you can go on indefinitely with this and then so that children do it with their movements with their body with their will powers they just do it and they get it into the rhythmic system they because there's a lot of rhythm in learning as well and they can get it in there too there rhythmic memory which is you know when you have a telephone number you don't say than one number after the other but say it in groups or in a rhythm that's what children do women on these multiplication rows and then you can carry on you can just take a ball and you can just throw it to one child and ask I also get a question the child answers this what's 7 times 5 and then child throws this to somebody else and says what's in the 4 and the 48 and they have to find something which is in this number and so on and then you can ask the children after you've done all these steps you know the 24 has birthday and it invites all his friends who will come and one child will say it's twice the 12 to 12 and another child will say it's it's it's 3/8 and another child says what at 1 and 1 and another one and another one and they can carry on and you can speak to the children about this rich rich rich group of people come to this birthday and then you can ask the children well you know the day before the 23 at birthday and so what happened there and the children will find out oh this is a really lonely number because there's only one guest coming and that's the one and then they get the concept of a prime number and so you can always why I'm telling you this because you can always go through all these steps of doing things having them in your rhythmical emotional system because that's very closely connected and then getting the individual concept and the children will get trust in their own thinking when they go these steps of course you can tell children just to learn by heart of all sorts of things you can do that it's no problem just like you can give child one of those walking machines and it has to walk before it can actually develop the strength and the maturity to do it on its own but it's not good it's better if it shouldn't realize they can't do it Ms actually holistic learning but you can do this with everything we can do this may give you another day give an example or is this too much yeah yeah I would give you an example perhaps from physics oh no let's take chemistry like if you have a you have group of children and then you take all sorts of stuff and burn it and the children they have their fun with making the fire it should be big if possible and they can smell it they can see the smoke they can smell at different senses of all those different pieces of wood or everything and then you can sort of catch the smoke through some arrangement and take it through water so it goes the smoke is being led through a pot of water and so what the children would do is actually make the fire they would make this whole arrangement that this works and then they would perceive they would look very closely what is happening here and they would write it down and draw pictures and describe it very closely and then they could take some fruit to some some blue fruit I don't know you can take any blue fruit or a cabbage or something and make juice from it and then they can put drops of this juice into the water and they'll find that the color of the water changes when they prefer smoke through it from dark it gets lighter and lighter and lighter it's like like mousse and then they can find oh if we take this mug and put it through the water the water something happens with the water the color gets light and they can describe it and then they can take the ashes of the fire and they can put the ashes into water and then they can have this water first put some drops of this fruit juice in it and they all find it gets darker and darker and darker if they take the ashes and then they can go to sleep and in the next morning we start talking about this what did we actually perceive what was happening and the children will find with their own in their own terms that this is something which is a polarity which obviously happens in the burning process and then you can then you can work on this and speak the truth and then and there understand out of the experience out of doing it out of recreating it by drawing it and writing down what they saw and actually making a judgement what was important and what wasn't important then they can then they can get the concept of this I have a question oh yes teachers think that first of all it should be like theory yes yes that's that's the academic way of learning and it's okay you can do that from time to time and that's how adults learn usually it's a way of it's it's a way of learning which begins in your head and then people hope that it will somehow reach your fingers and your heart and everything but they don't test this anymore it's just it stays on this on this cognitive level and it's it's okay we need our heads we need our brains we need our cognitive perception of the world but the the way which we approach is actually to have a have very strong experiences in doing this some things yourself reflecting and perceiving what happens to the world and what happens to me while I'm doing this in the way of understanding more about the world or other people or whatever I'm tackling with and then drawing the concept out of the experience of course in a you know in an exchange and of course we want children to understand more complex concepts but when if they were able to do this and they are younger in a very very thorough way they'll they'll learn to activate the same forces in their thinking first place because you can think in a very abstract sort of black-and-white or greyish way but you can also think in a very imaginative colorful way which is not less scientific but which is sort of more scientific because it takes more in but you have to have some practice in using your imagination and that's what we do you

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