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Working Wholistically with Gender and Sexuality - Excerpts From Guidebook

Updated: Apr 9

We are pleased to be hosting Meaghan Witri of Developing the Self - Developing the World on April 17th for a Community Talk on "Healthy Relationships with Self & Others" in relation to the Social Understanding, Gender and Sexuality Program that she will be facilitating in our school with grades 4 to 12.

We are sharing below some excerpts from the content-rich 46-page Guidebook that's provided for faculty, staff, parents and caretakers as a useful resource to "understand the progressive nature of the changing consciousness of gender and sexuality within society, and how to better understand the influence of the wider community on the conditions and beliefs in which young people are being raised."


Excerpt from P. 2 of Guidebook


When we consider how we work with young people in the area of gender and sexuality, we must first ponder what the future community of humanity may be. We are now well within an age which could be characterized by the need for human beings to develop their individuality in community with others. Rudolf Steiner described this as the "Consciousness Soul Age", and as part of this evolution new generations are posing questions that oppose the old ways of individualizing and relating to one another. The first way to support this progressive way of being is through developing the quality of reverence for each human being's individual capacities.

"The first prerequisite of the Waldorf teacher is to have reverence for the soul-spiritual potential that the individual child is bringing with them into the world" - Rudolf Steiner, The Kingdom of Childhood

With this in mind, the task of guiding children through developmental milestones requires us to address their individuality and to communicate consciously in each given moment as opposed to reacting out of conditioned and habitual thinking. Working in this way we work with the Consciousness Soul age, supporting its progression.

If we are to work with the future pictures of community, when speaking with young people, it is important to strive to hold in our awareness that the community structure is moving and changing like never before. Family structures are morphing and awareness of this is an important part of the future community


Excerpt from P. 25 of Guidebook

In our deepest consciousness we are neither male nor female. As the adolescent develops further and grows into adulthood they have the opportunity to strengthen their inner self, their true being. When the inner self is stronger than the outer forces, the individual is no longer dominated by the outer vehicles but instead begins to be influenced by the inner activities of the soul and the “I”.

Our deepest capacities are neither male nor female; they are androgynous. Our inner being is genderless. As the individual awakens in self-awareness they are less affected by the vehicle but rather can govern the forces working in it.

Waldorf Education is based on the creation of a healthy relationship between the individual and the bodily vehicle so that as adults they may take on the task of furthering humanity’s evolving and development of human freedom. The overcoming of onesidedness helps to strengthen the individual and allows the inner human being to gain mastery over the outer world.

“The more we learn to assess people according to their inner faculties to deepen life inwardly, the more we help to bring about what must be the basic characteristic of the future humanity.” Rudolf Steiner, Reincarnation and Karma: Lecture IV


Excerpt from P. 22 of Guidebook

Emotional and Soul Changes During Puberty

The educator discusses how puberty brings great changes to the physical body but also to the feeling life. Emotional highs and lows as well as outbursts of emotion are common as adolescents experience new and confusing feelings. An understanding of this process enables students to gain insight into their own and their peer's behaviour.

Feelings of elation can also increase which can result in "crushes" on either sex. These may create questioning and confusion regarding sexual orientation because they can be so strong, however they are more indicative of the intensity of the feeling life at this age rather than sexual orientation.


Excerpt from P. 23 of Guidebook

The Biology of Males and Females

Discuss how male and female reproductive systems are vastly different but the eternal nature of human beings is not. When human beings allow their reproductive urges to influence their behaviour, there is a division amongst human beings. It is important to identify what the body is asking of us in order to differentiate it from what our inner being is asking of us.

Discuss the difference between physical and emotional development using an example such as; "while the physical body may be able to conceive because of menstruation or ejaculation, this does not mean that someone is ready emotionally for parenthood". The age of consent in different countries reflects this and reveals cultural beliefs around sexual maturity. Some countries consider a girl to be a 'woman' as soon as she is capable of reproducing, because that is valued highly in that culture.


Excerpt from P. 24 of Guidebook

Women release more oxytocin (the ‘lets bond forever’ hormone or love hormone) during sex and men release more dopamine (the ‘come back to yourself’ hormone which is linked to reward seeking behaviours). These examples shed light on how behaviour can be affected when there is no ‘decision maker’ to over-rule biological urges. The male body wants to ‘seed the world’ and can draw a young man sexually towards someone that they may not want to have a relationship with. Likewise young women can try to find relationships through sex and an unhealthy cycle can ensue.


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