Resources for “After Schooling” Waldorf First Grade

Julie recently wrote in a comment on one of my First Grade posts regarding her first grader who is in public school.  Her oldest had been in a Waldorf school, and the public school experience was going fairly well for her first grader, but as a parent she was missing some of the beauty and depth that Waldorf brings to the educational process.  She wondered what resources were available without buying an entire curriculum to bring some of the Waldorf magic into her home. This is a great question, Julie, and I am happy to be able to give some suggestions to you and everyone else out there wondering the same thing!

First of all, I think a place to start would actually be your physical space.  To me, if my child was in public school, I would want to make a big effort to have a very special Nature Table to celebrate the seasonal changes.  A little book that may give you some wonderful ideas is “The Nature Corner” by M v Leeuwen and J Moeskops.  The other thing I would consider is to have open-ended toys available for play.  Since a school environment is fairy directed, it will be important for your child to have time to just play.  Play is the work of every young child.  A good source of ideas and how-to’s for making some open ended toys is the classic, “Toymaking with Children”, by Freya Jaffke.

Secondly, I think festival preparation would be very important for your child’s soul life, so just figuring out what festivals you would want to celebrate, gathering ideas, and then sitting down with a calendar and counting two weeks or so before the festival and writing down what you would like to do each day to prepare to celebrate is something wonderful.  A good festival book such as “All Year Round”  or “Festivals, Families and Food”.    The Wynstones series of Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer have great verses, poems and songs to learn.  They are available through www.wynstonespress.com or other Waldorf booksellers.  The book “Earthways” by Carol Petrash could also give you some excellent ideas for seasonal craft ideas that may fit into any festival celebration.

The heart and soul of Waldorf first grade is fairy tales, so a good book with all of the wonderful Grimm’s fairy tales may make for wonderful storytelling time.   I personally enjoy the Pantheon edition of Grimm’s fairy tales as my own resource for teaching.   You could also look for fairy tales from other cultures around the world at your local library.  Please see my blog post entitled,  Great Fairy Tales for Waldorf First Grade,  for suggestions of what fairy tales may be appropriate for a first grader.  Making up your own little stories and nature tales is also so important.

Some other typical Waldorf first grade experiences would be wet on wet watercolor painting, modeling, knitting and playing the recorder, pentatonic flute or pennywhistle.  Please be on the lookout for future posts of these subjects.   They are very important tasks for soul development and also for future academic success.

Last but not least, however, I would imagine with being in a school setting all day long, your child may just need time to be when she comes home so planning lots of free play in natural areas may be a very important thing to provide for her.  Please do see the posts entitled “Fostering Creative Play”, “More About Fostering Creative Play” and “Connecting Your Children to Nature” available on this blog.

Please do look for some future posts on wet on wet watercolor painting, modeling, knitting and music in the home.  These are the wonderful things that make the world go round.

If you have questions or topics you would like me to address, please do leave a comment in the comment section.  I am open to helping and encouraging you in any area you have doubts about!

Just a few thoughts from my little corner of the world.

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