The importance of art education in the curriculum is perhaps best evidenced by the Steiner Schools, based on the philosophy originated by Austrian scientist, artist, and visionary, Rudolf Steiner. In Steiner’s philosophy “education and pedagogy are based on an understanding of human growth and development” (School 1).
Rudolf Steiner’s education and pedagogy philosophy was inspired by nature. Intrigued and fascinated by the process and beauty involved in the unfolding of a flower, Steiner believed human growth and development worked in a quite similar manner. The philosopher argued that “with each phase of physical growth, a new mode of knowing unfolds which must be given particular opportunities to develop fully” (Smolen 1). The Steiner Schools philosophy is based on this theory, schools which attempt to recreate an environment that is most conducive to this type of unfolding or development, one that is whole and integrative.
The arts are the learning curriculum used to integrate the child with his or her environment. Steiner argued that human beings possess more than five senses. He argued that the development of all of these senses must be stimulated in order for optimal development or unfolding of the individual to occur “Steiner believed that people actually have twelve senses-the accepted five plus thought, language, warmth, balance, movement, life, and the individuality of the other” (Oppenheimer 4). Art allows for the integration of the thinking and feeling realms Steiner believed were crucial for overall healthy development. As one educator notes “When you separate those, therapists get students as adult patients” (Oppenheimer 4).
Since art is a process by which skills, thinking, style, emotion and other aspects of development evolve, it is perfectly suited as the curriculum medium for Steiner’s philosophy of whole growth, one that is based on the contention that people grow in the same ...