Science in the First and Second Grade Waldorf Homeschool Curriculum

There is a wonderful article here regarding the approach toward science within the Waldorf curriculum:  http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journal_Articles/ScienceDavid.pdf

As a science person, I also wrote an article on this blog regarding how I view the rigorousness of science as presented throughout the Waldorf curriculum and also traced what subjects in science are brought in when here:

http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/02/28/science-in-waldorf-homeschooling/

Science is a very important subject to me and to our family.  I think Waldorf education provides a very rigorous and age-appropriate, developmentally- appropriate way to science education.  For First Grade and Second Grade, many parents wonder what they should be doing within the curriculum for Science since most of the emphasis is placed upon Language Arts, Math and Form Drawing.  Let me assure you there are plenty of places to work science in!

Here are some ideas and suggestions:

  • Form drawing off of simple nature stories. This is especially effective during these early grades.
  • Tell spontaneous made-up stories regarding the animals around your home and in your area.  A wonderful reference is Anna Comstock’s “Handbook of Nature Study.”  Read up on what animal or plant you would like to make a story about and work those characteristics into your story.
  • Do several short one to two-week blocks on backyard nature each season.
  • Spend lots of time outside just feeling, observing, using the 12 senses every day and in every kind of weather.  Look at how the weather affects plants and animals throughout the seasons.
  • Do get Joseph Cornell’s “Sharing Nature with Children” and work nature games into your school year.
  • Do plenty of festival preparation – this is part of science:  the cycle of the year.
  • Do plenty of arts and crafts involving natural materials on your craft days.  Look at things such as the cycles of wool from visiting sheep at a farm to raw fleece washing to carding and spinning to dyeing yarn and knitting as part of your handwork.
  • Start a garden!  Garden throughout much of the year.  See my review on “Gardening with Young Children” by Beatrys Lockie here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/08/07/book-review-gardening-with-young-children-by-beatrys-lockie/
  • Cooking provides many opportunities to observe chemical phenomenon.
  • Visit farms, orchards, aquariums, zoos, beaches, mountains, grasslands and other places.
  • Start terrariums and aquariums.
  • Catch small animals and keep them overnight and then let them go! We currently have a snail that we found and have enjoyed watching the snail move with its one foot, seeing the snail’s eyes on the end of the stalks up close, finding out what  a snail loves to eat, how to build a snail habitat. 
  • Feed the birds throughout the winter, put up bird boxes, bat houses, owl houses. 
  • Get your little outdoor  space certified as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat.
  • Read stories that have to do with nature.  Donna Simmons has great lists in  her book “From Nature Stories to Natural Science” available here: http://www.christopherushomeschool.org/bookstore-for-waldorf-homeschooling/essential-christopherus-publications/from-nature-stories-to-natural-science.html
  • In first and second grade, provide opportunities to work through the elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water.  Some second grade families do an entire block on these elements through toy and craft making.
  • Look at thing with the NAKED eye to really develop observation skills – you have years left in which to use microscopes, magnifying glasses and telescopes. You do not need these things yet!  Save your money until you really need these things in later years!
  • Work through poetry and movement.  Choose seasonal fingerplays, songs, circle time work that looks at animals and plants in the seasons.  Move like these animals.
  • Work with any pets you may have to train them.  Clicker training is just wonderful, and works with pretty much any animal from dogs to cats to Oscars (the fish).   If you google “clicker training”, lots of resources will come up.  Help your child to do such  things  as feed and brush the dog, but do NOT expect the child to take full responsibility  for a pet yet!  Work to include your animals in the rhythm of your day.
  • Other appropriate blocks to work in science include a block of the four seasons, length of year, length of months in First or Second Grade.  A good resource for stories involving the seasons is Dorothy Harrer’s
  • Blocks that include work with the Four Elements are great sources of inspiration and scientific thinking.
  • Blocks that include stories that revolve around the animals and plants of a specific habitat – mountain, desert, ocean.

Hope that sparks some ideas for you as you plan,

Carrie

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One thought on “Science in the First and Second Grade Waldorf Homeschool Curriculum

  1. Pingback: Planning 101: Planning for Fall « The Parenting Passageway

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