When Rudolf Steiner wrote the first "Waldorf curriculum outline", via essays, lectures and meetings with educators, his vision was one that made the learning of a foreign language a living and connected part of the whole; the whole human, the whole of a child's education.

Language learning happens through an opening of the ears and of the mind. This was Steiner's goal for all of education; engage, learn, help develop the potential waiting inside of each and every child so that the world never again returns to one of chaos, madness and war. Understanding across cultures, religions and nations through education that addressed the intellect, the spirit and the body was foremost in his mind and that of the first teachers, just beginning to stride forth from the rubble of the first world war.

The beginning stages of a new language can be slow and stumbling, frustrating when one is accustomed to rapid learning. There are ways to make it easier, more efficient and more enjoyable, but nonetheless, it will feel like the world has taken on a new pace for a little while. That's OK, each step you take is planting a seed for the future, just as Steiner and all good teachers everywhere knew education would do. These new sounds, so strange today, will become familiar with repetition and with time and become part of your own ears, tongue, heart, and sometimes...hands, as ASL, Italian or Southern France French can attest.

When you begin the teaching of a language with an actionable request, you set the stage for a response; engaging body and mind in the learning. What could be better aligned with the idea of the whole than a simple, "Put your shoes on." in fact, every part of a child can be engaged in the response; hands, feet, heart (anticipation), mouth ("oui, papa,") and ears and mind.

Take heart if this all feels foreign to you, you are in the right place. Allow for mistakes and imperfections, as these will give way to growth, with diligence and repetition comes ease and fluency.

If you are a teacher in a Waldorf home or school, you know that the beautiful chalkboard drawings you present as part of a lesson are works of love to the child in your care. Likewise, the minutes you spend learning the phrases of the day in a second language are an investment in education and a respect for the nature of a child, who will not learn as well from a screen as from you. The goal is always real life interaction, person to person. It can be tempting to hand over a device and let someone "do their lesson," because there are so many options today to do just that.

I would propose instead to keep it short, keep it essential and remain faithful day after day to the language, to the moment you have chosen to practice, and to remember: each human being already has the means of making the sounds of all the languages on the planet within themself, learning a new one is simply drawing out the sounds in new combinations, which in turn leads to new words, new concepts and a new dawning of a happier, more connected world.