The Four Temperaments – The Melancholic

In this post,  teacher Alexandra Ott gives us an overview of the four temperaments, with a focus on the melancholics.  In future posts, she’ll explore the other three temperaments. 

The four temperaments from Rudolf Steiner are another way of looking at the array of children that stand before us in the classroom. They are named the Melacholic, Choleric, Phelgmatic, Sanguine. Each child has certain tendencies of behavior and a way of relating to life that as teachers (and parents) we become increasingly aware of. In planning our days, our lessons and our interactions with students we can better meet them on their journey through school and life. In looking at the temperaments yourself, you will find that you or your children have characteristics from all four, but mostly one is in close resemblance. In upcoming articles we will look at all of them briefly.

This week…the Weeping Willow

The Melancholic is our thinker, deep and thoughtful, analytical and purposeful. They prefer standing alone, speaking little. They are the children last to finish their work, because of their tidiness and attention to details, also the ones to be most upset by an imperfection. They make friends cautiously and are usually loyal to one or two best friends. You might find them doing something creative, musical or artistic. They especially love to read in cozy quiet places. They easily get upset, especially when they think things are unfair. This drives them to be helpful and sympathetic to those in need, making good caregivers to upset children. To understand the melancholic child, one should know they would rather not be cheered up, as they love sincere sympathy. Yet, let them express their feelings briefly instead of controlling you with their long tale of upset. Show them appreciation for work well done and listen to their deep ideas about humanity.

For more information about the temperaments, come to next Tuesday’s parent meeting, where we’ll be exploring our own temperament tendencies and those of our children. 


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