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The Twelve Senses

"Protecting and Developing the Twelve Senses"
Keynote Address by Daena Ross

Daena gives a clear and practical presentation of what these senses are, how they interrelate, and how they metamorphose over time. Many practical suggestions are included to help you best support your child's healthy development, starting in early childhood and continuing through the grades. The video presentation, where you can see on the blackboard how the senses are grouped, is the clearest presentation you'll ever find on this topic and an excellent introduction for further study.

Video in DVD format (45 minutes).

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The following review was written by Donna Simmons, founder of Christopherus Homeschooling Resources and is reprinted from her website, www.christopherushomeschool.org.

Some time ago Rahima Baldwin sent me a number of DVD's of talks and workshops from her conferences for me to review. It has taken me some time to get round to doing this (apologies Rahima if you read this!) but I am delighted to say that I have started to view the DVD's and that I am, so far, very excited about what I have seen.

The first DVD I watched was of Daena Ross' keynote speech at the Boulder Informed Family Life Conference last year. I was especially excited to review this talk as I was in the audience at the time (right behind the camera woman actually!) and although last minute fussing about the workshops I was presenting there prevented me from listening as deeply to Daena as I should have, I came away from that talk filled with enormous respect for Daena and a feeling of joy as I finally felt that I understood something of the twelve senses. The twelve senses can be very esoteric and very involved - Daena does an amazing job of clearly and cleanly navigating this subject.

Anthroposophy recognizes and places great importance not only on the usual 5 senses that all of us are familiar with, but with an interrelated picture of twelve senses which enable the human being to come to a place of ease within himself and therefore with his encounters with the world. In Daena's deceptively straightforward and matter-of-fact talk, she lays out an elegantly simple schema of these senses as they are divided into three sets of four. Starting with the lower senses (touch, life sense, self movement sense,balance) and then working through the middle senses (smell, taste, vision, warmth sense), she then shows how the proper nurturing of these lower senses is vital for the right development of the higher senses (hearing, language sense, thought sense, ego sense). It is fascinating to note that these latter higher senses are all social senses - that they are the awareness that one has of the speech, thought and sense of self of another person - not of oneself. Hearing is the bridge between these realms.

As the anthroposophical view of challenges such as autism has to do with the organization of the child's sense of self especially in relation to another person, a conscious working with the twelve senses is of vital importance to any parent or educator striving to work with such children. All parents who are interested in the therapeutic value of Waldorf education should get a copy of this DVD as a gentle, friendly and incredibly helpful introduction to this topic.

And all other parents should get it too! The nurturing of the senses is of grave importance for all our children, whether a child displays challenges or not. Daena gives humorous and playful examples of practical ways to work with the twelve senses that all parents can use in their homes. --Donna Simmons

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