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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 36, No 11 May 30th, 1973

Notes on Rudolf Steiner Education

Notes on Rudolf Steiner Education

I would like to present two pictures:


Our decision is to study a particular plant. Perhaps we take samples of its leaves and flowers. One flower is divided into its component parts. The collection is dried, pressed, mounted, labelled and neatly filed away in a convenient dark cupboard.


We then decide to study another plant. First we collect its seeds, which have to be stored in some way for the duration of the winter. When at last spring arrives we plant the seeds in the damp earth and watch for the soil to crack and rise, for the cotyledons to push through and lift above the surface. The first leaf, which is totally different in character and form to the cotyledons unfolds, bows to the earth, then majestically lifts to the light. This will take place perhaps one or two weeks after first planting the seed.

So the plant will grow, each leaf will be a metamorphosis of the one before. The first, close to the earth, will be fat, watery in character. As the plant reaches above the dark, watery earth and into the warmth and light, the form of the leaves will change. They become indented; the leaves of some plants even having holes in them. All the time their size diminishes while their shape changes from round to lone and thin. At first the pattern of the leaf become more intricate but then it simplifies.

Then following this withdrawal of the leaf, we have with the flower an explosion of form and colour; there is immense activity in the insect world, bees, butterflies and many more, visiting the plant.

We have noticed that as the top leaves are growing, those down below are dying.

We have observed the plant in times of drought holding its own, perhaps wilting. Then the astonishing transformation during a period of rain. It is not possible to observe in this way without becoming aware of the rest of nature. The birds sing on a damp day just as the colours of the plants glow. At times it has been necessary to hoe the weeds and soil around the plant and afterwards we have noticed the marked increase in its rate of growth.

At last the seed pods form, develop, wither and dry. The life departs from the plant and there will come a time when the mineral elements will join the earth, along with the seeds.

John Stevens: Class teacher at Queenswood Rudolf Steiner School, Hastings.