In the Kindergarten the young child is a being of Will. During the Primary School years, Feeling is the emerging soul faculty for the child. In the High School the curriculum is designed to meet the development of the third soul faculty – Thinking. The capacity for pure abstract thinking emerges and can be approached directly. Students are led to develop independent and creative thinking based on the formation of independent judgement.
In adolescence the students develop their rational thinking. Their healthy idealism needs to be nurtured and protection offered, as sensitive inner feelings and experiences unfold. Teachers in Waldorf Secondary Schools consciously nurture the idealism and individuality emerging in the adolescent. Rudolph Steiner holds that adolescents want above all to find meaning in the world and to sense that they can affect the world in a positive way. These aspirations must be nourished for adolescents to develop into mature, healthy adults.
The Secondary School aims:
- to bring to the students knowledge of the forces that have shaped modern life;
- to foster, as objectively as possible, the latent idealism of the students;
- to orient students in contemporary society, through a bigger emphasis on learning through real life experiences along with classroom teaching. In the High School the subject, more than the teacher, is the authority; and
- to provide a balanced education that fosters free human beings who know how to direct their own lives and play a responsible role in today’s fast-changing world.
For adolescents, life itself becomes largely a question of relationship. In all realms of life, TRUTH is something adolescents sense they must discover for themselves. The teachers and the curriculum provide a rich setting for this discovery of truth, awakening young people to their destiny.