13.11 Human Development

Unit Overview - The aim of this unit is to provide the learner with a basic knowledge and understanding of some of the fundamental principles of Spiritual Science as formulated by Rudolph Steiner


1.1 Understand the basic principle of three-fold in Spiritual Science


"The main point is that spiritual science, with its methods of research, only begins where modern natural science leaves off. Humanity is indebted to the view of the world adopted by natural science for which I would call a logic which educates itself by the facts of nature. An important method of training has been introduced, amongst those who have concerned themselves with natural science, with regard to the inner application of thinking.”

Rudolf Steiner. "Approaches to Anthroposophy." Sussex: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1992. Page 11.


Steiner founded the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart in September 1919. He placed emphasis on 3 human qualities:


Thinking – brain and nerves (nerve sense system)


Feeling – heart and lungs (rhythmic system)


Will activity – limbs and digestion (metabolic system)


Through the interconnection of these facets the human being can develop.




2.1 Understand the basic principle of four-fold in Spiritual Science


Taking this a step further, Steiner developed the ideas that are explained in the diagram below:


3.1 Understand the basic principle of seven-fold in Spiritual Science


From birth to approximately 21 years one of the tasks of Steiner education is to bring the right kind of resistance at the appropriate time, whilst nurturing and supporting the child’s physical and soul capacities. The individual, by integrating thinking, feeling and willing, can then welcome, harmonise and forge a conscious connection to, their spiritual core. This strengthens the spiritual nature of each individual, calling individuals to become conscious, assertive, selfless but also self-motivated members of their community.


The Steiner school is established on this foundation and the diagram below helps to visualise this:


4 Understand the basic principle of twelve - fold in Spiritual Science


It was Rudolf Steiner who first outlined that there are twelve senses. His theory on senses was later expanded by various authors


Developing and using as many of your senses as possible is fundamental, because each sense reveals another aspect of the sensory reality.


Further, sensory perception also forms the basis of your relationship with yourself, your surroundings, and the people around you.


The proposition is that If you want to learn to observe well, you must use your senses comprehensively and frequently. With practice, you will find yourself observing more and more, as the different senses complement each other.


For these reasons it is critical that we take account of the 12 senses when we are planning and implementing PSTE through our outdoor land based curriculum.  Similarly we should seek to practice and develop these senses through the work that we do with the children.



The 12 senses are divided into 3 which relates back to threefold:


Will, feeling, thought


The first four senses, the lowest, are called physical senses, or senses of the will because they are used to perceive one's own body.







The middle four senses are the senses of feeling. Observations made with these senses arouse feelings. These senses are also reflected in our language: a tastefully furnished house, a sourpuss, hard to swallow, heart-warming, cold thought.







The last four senses, the highest, focus particularly on the other. These are the spiritual or knowledge senses, and they are used in the observation of other people.





















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Created by Jim Hildyard