More About Knitting and Other Handwork Within the Waldorf Curriculum

Many of you are familiar with Steiner’s famous quote regarding “thinking as cosmic knitting”.  Indeed, knitting is an important part of the Waldorf Education experience.  However, handwork comes in many other ways within the curriculum both as a separate “class” in the grades but also as a skill within a Main Lesson at times as well.  

Perhaps seeing a scope and sequence of handwork within the grades through high school will spark some ideas for your own homeschool.

The book “Will-Developed Intelligence” outlines the following handwork emphasis for each grade:

Kindergarten (and yes, there will be a separate post on this coming up):  Handwork begins with outdoor play; with the gathering of natural materials and building, with modeling in sand and snow and mud; fingerplays; playing with bits of fairy wool; making simple toys.

Grade One:  Making slip knots and finger knitting, knitting:  casting on, knit stitch, casting off;   hand sewing of knitting projects as needed with yarn

Grade Two:  Knitting: casting on, knit stitch (and yes, I know some schools introduce purling here; some handwork teachers have discussed saving purling for Grade Three).  “Will Developed Intelligence” mentions starting crocheting in Grade Two, but I am truly unsure how common this is as I have heard about crocheting more in connection with Grade Three.

Grade Three:  Knitting, casting on, knit stitch and purl stitch; “Will-Developed Intelligence” mentions starting the year with simple sewing;  perhaps crocheting if that has not been introduced before

Grade Four: Cross stitch with mirror picture designs;

Grade Five:  Knitting with four needles:  socks are usually made; knitted stuffed animals may also be made; woodworking is generally taught from Grade Five through Grade Twelve.

Grade Six:  Making a stuffed animal; making of dolls and puppets with experimentation in embroidery

Grade Seven: Make a garment to wear with hand sewing; the study of how embroidery enhances clothing; making of their own pattern; slippers may also be made

Grade Eight:  Use of a sewing machine; learn to use bought patterns; intricate braiding and belt making; sewing details on costumes and hats;

 High School

This is the sequence my local Waldorf High School uses:

Grade Nine:  Basketry, Blacksmithing, Ceramics, Quilting  (also drawing, painting, music for Fine Arts)

Grade Ten:  Ceramics, Jewelry Making, Spinning, Woodworking (also drawing, drama, sculpture) for Fine Arts)

Grade Eleven:  Bookbinding, quilting, veil painting, weaving (also photography, sculpture, for Fine Arts)

Grade Twelve:  Batik, Stained Glass making (also drama, film, oil painting, sculpture for Fine Arts)

Hope that helps put knitting into a context of handwork for all the grades.  Posts on handwork in the Kindergarten and observations for knitting in the Early Grades to come.




3 thoughts on “More About Knitting and Other Handwork Within the Waldorf Curriculum

  1. Thanks so much for this great post. I’m just now reading Donna Simmons’ “Kindergarten with your 3 to 6 Year Old” and learning so much about Waldorf. It’s nice to look ahead and see what’s to come in terms of handwork. I’ve bookmarked this post for future reference.

    Take care,

  2. Hi Carrie,

    I have a very high needs 2.5 year old and I am struggling daily with coping with his behaviour and trying to homeschool my 5.5 year old daughter. I would love to read anything about gentle discipline with super spirited kids and managing a younger sibling like this when homeschooling.

    Thanks so much

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