When Rudolf Steiner described something in 1909, it can sound as if it's coming from left field: for example, that for the young child, love, "pleasure and delight are the forces which most rightly quicken and call forth the physical forms of the organs."
What does that mean? And then, as with so much leading edge brain imaging today, we hear something that sounds remarkably similar: that the young child's brain is actually measurably different depending upon how much loving nurturing he or she receives.
In this latest research, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that when young children get plenty of nurturing from their mothers, they end up with a bigger hippocampus in the brain by the time they reach school age. The hippocampus is an importnat structure related to learning, memory and stress response.
It's an interesting study, whick you can read more about at medicalxpress.com; the research was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.
Here's more from Steiner:
"The joy of the child in and with his environment must be reckoned among the forces that build and mould the physical organs. He needs people around him with happy looks and manners and, above all, with an honest unaffected love. A love which fills the physical environment of the child with warmth may literally be said to "hatch out" the forms of the physical organs. The child who lives in such an atmosphere of love and warmth and who has around him really good examples for his imitation is living in his right element. One should therefore strictly guard against anything being done in the child's presence that he must not imitate."