The Place of Literature in the Steiner Curriculum

 Story transports us to Other Places. Accessibility is irrelevant because imagination can dissolve all barriers. In the updraught of imagination our souls can fill with newness. My dingy inner room can glow with the radiance of a loving deed carried in by a story; my apathy can be replaced by a surge of empathy as I walk with an outcast, in story, and feel with him, the searing blows of circumstance upon a scarred back.

 There’s a link between the child’s experience within story and his experience within creative play.

 In the early years the natural child is saturated with imagination and he pours it forth in play and with it he transforms all things, himself included. Scanty props enable him to enter a world of magnificence!

Play generates a creative energy that purls through the child’s being and the child seeds in play future potentials: independence, resourcefulness, responsibility, creativity, initiative, trust, kindness, tolerance.

Rudolf Steiner said  ”Play works from within outwards, work from outward inwards.”

Story fires the imagination and when we open a many-layered tale the child enters and blends with the participants there. He inhabits story-places in the same sort of way he did, when in play, he created his own kingdoms and roamed within them.

He moves around freely within the story and joins himself to many characters in a multi-faceted way.

 He flows along with the shifting scenes and in some deep inner place his feelings are stirred by the events around him. Serenity, vulnerability, satisfaction, consternation and joy rise up one by one and take stage within.

 So, once more he is a player – this time in story. Once again imagination is his means of transport.

This new-found-play (within story) also works from the inside to the outside.                                                                           

 Via Story the child ‘travels’ on the back of a free ranging imagination that knows no limits; and it is this far reaching imaginative capacity that provides a sturdy foundation for expansive learning.

Story-listeners become adults who are skilled imaginers: people able to harness imagination and therewith solve problems. People who use imagination to weave between disparate fields of knowledge and find connections.

 Imagination is the wellspring of creativity; it is the seminal power that quickens innovation.

Ruth – Education Coordinator