Children and Their Temperaments

Anthroposophical Society Library


Rudolf Steiner says:

“Temperament, that fundamental coloring of the human personality, plays a role in all manifestations of individuality that are of concern to practical life. We sense something of this basic mood whenever we encounter another human being. Thus we can only hope that spiritual science will tell us what we need to know about the temperaments.”

(from The Four Temperaments, GA 57).

The four temperaments are each linked to an element – earth, air, fire, and water. They are referred to as:

  • sanguine (air),
  • choleric (fire),
  • melancholic (earth), and
  • phlegmatic (water).

As Marieke Anschutz explains:

“Every person has his own temperament…[which] stands between two aspects of the person…firstly, the inheritance from parents and ancestors; and secondly those things which we know we do not share with anyone – the individual, the indivisible aspect.”

Children and their Temperaments, page 25.

As a parent, you may want to read this good resource that teachers have recommended, explaining about temperaments in children. We have copies of this book for sale in our bookshop, and it is also in our library to be borrowed.

About the book “Children and their Temperaments” written by Marieke Anschutz: 

“Drawing on an ancient tradition, Rudolf Steiner referred to four fundamental ‘types’ or ‘temperaments’ in the human personality, each of which, he said, has different personal needs and ways of relating socially.

From her experience of working with children of all ages, Marieke Anschutz provides a guide to children’s different temperaments and their role in child character, health and personality development.

The book includes illustrations from home and school, in the context of the Steiner-Waldorf classroom. The author discusses how these ideas may be used to manage, and relate to, groups and individuals.”


You may also be interested in our ‘Parenting Through Anthroposophy’ Group – more information here.

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