In the formative years, before seven years the natural child lives and breathes and eats in a Great Imaginative World. It is his Kingdom, his developmental realm.
Steiner Education provides rich nourishment for the imagination in the primary years; knows the importance of this life force within the soul. Recognises the seminal nature of these early years.
As the children explore the great cultures of the world in developmental sequence via Literature and History the child becomes, for a brief space, a citizen in each New World. Imagination is the coach (and the boat) the horse and driver and the Road!
But what if the child’s imagination is polluted because disturbing images from programs/magazines disturb his mind’s eye? What if his mind is crammed full of images from computer games and he can’t absorb new material properly? Can’t image independently. What if shocking images float up unexpectedly and clog the flow of the pure imagery that opens the door onto new learning?
What if the child’s thinking tracks are blocked with pop-song-power and his brain beats with enigmatic words that are weighted with sexual innuendo, words that undermine wellbeing – if his mind is snagged on repetitive rhythms and he can’t unhitch?
What then? I consider that these hindrances lead to deprivation because a child with a polluted imagination is deprived of the innocence of childhood. Into “innocence” is rolled, I think, all the energy of openness, wonder, beauty…And the child with a polluted imagination
is also deprived of his natural capacity for deep learning because he is unable to harness this essential capacity and use it as a platform for learning.
Imagination is the seat of creativity. The well spring of innovation.
A catalyst for moral actions. It is a precious liquid heated in life’s crucible – each pouring releases a gift.
Actions of kindness are rooted in imagination. We feel/we image within ourselves a little of what it is like to be in the shoes of the other and with empathy we enact a deed of kindness.
And when moral imagination expands beyond our immediate environment and works within society we see harmony, cooperation, humanitarian aid.
Our World is in travail – our children face a mighty task. They need to become People of Imagination. People who know how to harness knowledge, courage and compassion to enable their uplifting vision to be realized – in everyday family life, in community relationships, in global harmony.
From Ruth – Education Coordinator