Updated: Oct 4
The Steiner Kindergarten is a place of calm, of nurture, of enriching texture, smells, sights and sounds. It is a place of purpose, that purpose may be play, it may be joining in with purposeful work or craft, it may be rest. It is a space that allows all these things to happen harmoniously. I often get asked, ”Why Pink?” “What if a boy comes here?” Apart from the fact the latter question can encompass a whole new debate about Gender stereotyping I will delve a little into the first question In the hope it sensibly attempts to answer the second.
Now I am no expert on Steinfers work - so if anyone has anything to add please do comment for readers, but from what I can understand and grasp ....Rudolf Steiner said “Colour is the soul of nature, and the entire cosmos ...and when we experience in colour we participate in this soul”. Where does this thinking come from? Well many cultures use colour as an outward expression of the inner world of a person...for example we may be ‘feeling blue’ we may ‘see red’ or be ‘green with envy’. Steiner saw colour as the emotional expression of the natural world - as we look at species such as Octopus who change colour when sleeping, hunting, eating and dreaming. Chameleons who change colour as a means of defence, camouflage and the wide array of animals who read colour in others as an indication of receptiveness to mate - or a warning to stay away. As human beings we read colour in the environment - ‘Red sky at night, Shepard’s delight’, ‘Red sky in the morning Shepards warning’.
It is clear that our relationship with colour is instinctual in us and is woven throughout the natural world. Even today in a capitalist world we find companies using the psychology of colour to appear more trustworthy (blue for banks) to create more of a desire (red for fast food) etc. So colour plays a massive part in our psychological wellbeing.
Steiner's study of colour within Anthroposophy reflected the instinctual nature colour plays in our lives -how we feel within, and externally. Anthroposophy although likened by some to a religion because of its deep, thoughtful and sometimes systematic approach to deepening the understanding of the human being as a whole - beyond what science can teach us - is not a religion but is as a tool to try and understand the things we cant necessarily see ‘Spiritual Science’ as Steiner called it himself. Through this thoughts on the effect of colour on the human condition Steiner woven this knowledge into his first school.
Colours are deliberately and consciously used and respond to a childs stage of development. Nursery’s, Kindergartens and Early Grades, tend to have pinks, the colour of the sunrise, warming, nurturing, hopeful. A loving, innocent and traditionally femenine colour it creates a womb like atmosphere and one where children feel embraced and nurtured. I read somewhere but cant remember where - Steiner referred to pink as being the first colour of the unborn infant from within the mother’s womb. So its qualities would been deeply embedded in a young child‘s perception of environment. Usually colours are painted in a special watercolour wash called Lazure which brings them to life, lifting a flat and lifeless surface into a beautiful array of perceived light, shadow and shape.
Colours change and take on more vibrant as the children are more conscious in their learning - colour reflecting the classroom and its topics. Although I have only just began to study Steiners observations on colour, I can feel his reasoning as I sit in the playroom in my home, in morning play, we light a candle the warmth and softness encircles the room - there is such a quiet warm reverent welcome for children to get on with their work of play.
Pink is a colour for everyone.