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Nowhere in the Steiner curriculum is a “threefold social concept” presented in an ideological or dogmatic way. Nevertheless, seeds are planted in many ways and in many places. Through the journey of the Main Lessons in the lower and middle school much is learned about how the three social spheres slowly differentiated. In the great civilisations of the Near East, in Ancient Mesopotamia, the economic aspect developed markedly, through trade, agriculture and division of labour. In the civilisations of Ancient Greece and Rome we see how the legal-rights aspect was differentiated and heightened. And it is in the Christian civilisation of Europe, with the awakening of the human individual, that the cultural and spiritual life gradually became emancipated from the controlling influences of state and religion.


In geography studies in the middle school (Years 7, 8 and 9) the relationship and development of these three social spheres is brought to certain clarity although, as Stockmeyer notes specifically, the threefold social organism is not taught as such.*


Steiner specifically indicates how physical and human geography in the middle school can present a picture of the economy formed through transformation of nature’s products, of the cultural and spiritual life belonging to different peoples in different lands, and the life of rights within the political sphere of a State applying to all people equally. A keyword for these studies is 



What is gained in geography studies can be brought to a higher level of understanding in the senior intensives, with freedom explored in the Philosophy Main Lesson, fraternity or mutuality in an Economics Main Lesson, and rights and politics in a Main Lesson dedicated to that theme.


* Stockmeyer, E. A. K., & Steiner, R. (1969). Rudolf Steiner's curriculum for Waldorf schools: An attempt to summarise his indications: a collection of quotations for the benefit of the different Waldorf schools. London: Steiner Schools Fellowship, p.81.



Steiner Education Centenary Revival

A booklet of specially selected excerpts from Rudolf Steiner's thoughts on education and the threefold social order. All proceeds are donations to the Education for Social Renewal Foundation. Click here to make an order. 

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