Thinking, Feeling, and Willing: How Waldorf Schools Provide a Creative Pedagogy That Nurtures and Develops Imagination

  • Tom Stehlik


The approach to education developed by Rudolf Steiner in 1919 is manifest in the worldwide Waldorf school movement and its curriculum, which is based on a firm foundation of child development as a gradual unfolding of the soul qualities of thinking, feeling, and willing. Teachers in Waldorf schools believe that a child’s imagination should be nurtured and encouraged to develop in a healthy way, using pedagogical approaches that avoid mass media and information technologies, especially screen-based technologies, particularly in the early years:

One of the key aims of our method of educating is to help the child toward developing the faculty of free imagination. So, for example, we generally tell stories without offering printed pictures. Our words provide the raw materials. The child has to “clothe” the story with his or her own images. (Mt Barker Waldorf School Parent Association 2001)

This chapter will outline the pedagogical and methodological approaches to teaching and learning that Waldorf schools have been applying around the world for over 80 years, and discuss the extent to which they contribute to the development of the faculty of free imagination in children.


Pedagogical Approach Main Lesson Creative Pedagogy School Fellowship Free Imagination 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom Stehlik
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Education at the University of South AustraliaAustralia

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