This morning Mrs. Johnson posted a wise response on her list (firstname.lastname@example.org – please join if you are not on this list) to a mother. This is a post regarding spelling/ grammar within the Waldorf Curriculum:
“Waldorf is just so different, often. This is one of those areas.
Here are a couple insights to get you thinking inside the Waldorf box.
1) the spelling words come from the curriculum. They are part of the block, part of the ‘story’, part of the telling you are doing in your story-sharing time. They are not ‘disconnected’ random words. They certainly can lead to word family lessons and discussions to cement and explore spelling and phonemes. So the grade three child is hearing the Old Testament and the Practical Arts block stories all year long and the spelling words come from these areas.
2) the grade three child learns about Naming words (nouns) and Doing words (verbs), most often in the telling of the story of Creation as Adam names each animal as they are created.
You are Rabbit! Rabbits jump!
You are Goat! Goats leap!
You are Snake! Snakes slither.
You are Fox! Foxes slink.
And so on. Simple Naming and Doing, great basis for movement exercises, too.
3) In the grade 4, we begin with the nine parts of speech. We bring this from the Nine Worlds of the Norse gods, the Nine Days that Odin hung on the tree to obtain the ability to write, and the inclusion as we can see for that post-nine year change child of being able to step back and divide things into their parts now….fractions, music, and so on. So we have the ability to divide a bit and that is when we bring the Nine Parts of Speech. But we do this with games and directly from the curriculum as well.
He is Odin.
He is the wise Odin.
He is the wise Odin who sees.
He is the wise Odin who sees so clearly.
He is the wise Odin who sees so clearly and speaks so calmly.
Dissecting abstract language concepts into diagrams is meant for the middle school child. The younger ones need to stay in their imagination and in the story of the moment. We can see with each Norse god, unique characteristics that create a personality and a ‘type’. This is also true of our spoken language, each one has a personality and even a culture embedded in every single sound. Some languages do not have all the elements of English, others do. In some, the word order is quite different. In English we say I I I at the first, I am the most important. In others, the I is hidden or unspoken or ignored….
Children can be taught many things. We know this, but it is HOW we bring it that makes it Waldorf or not. Creating images, living pictures, in our hearts before we bring it to the children is very important.
For example….why are some verbs regular and others not? What are irregular verbs like, then> I am, you are, he is, she is, we are, they are………why, they are a bit individualistic aren’t they? Yes, why they are quite independent and not very easy to rule over, they are like the sons and daughters of Moses who don’t really pay attention to what he says when he is not there! They go their own way…and over here, so many good little words….I fly, you fly, he and she fly, we fly and they fly. Good little fly, way too obedient! Good two shoes? Or a good student? Always minds his manners, that fly.
And so we can see, can we create a town or a land where these characters live, some decent and easy to understand, others quite persnickety and rebellious but cute as bedbugs! Little rascals. Well we must make friends with them all, shan’t we?
Yes, bring in the materials, but do bring it on a platter of the imagination and this will create in the child a mood of play and drama and pure fun.
Hope this brings blessings to you,