Tips Regarding Math in Waldorf Grade One

Hi all!  This is a primer for those of you preparing for Waldorf Grade One next year and the math portion of it, and a few hints for those of you doing Waldorf Grade One right now.

First of all, I think math as very, very important.  I think it is almost more important than reading at this early age because  1 – our society in general is more geared toward alphabet literacy rather than numeral literacy (unlike countries such as Singapore) 2 – the eye fully develops for tracking around age 8, so many of you have time in the future for neural maturation that will improve reading between the ages of eight and ten (and I am not saying do not focus on reading or writing, I am just saying we tend to put math on a back-burner) 3 –there does appear to be a drawing of teachers and homeschooling mothers to Waldorf Education who are artistic, creative, readers and writers but who do not love math and science.   This should make us doubly aware to include math and science in our Waldorf homeschool experiences.

For more regarding Math Phobia please see here: 

Here are a few suggestions for planning:

For those of you planning Grade One for fall, here is a suggestion:   I like to put the Quality of Numbers block in November before Thanksgiving (that is introducing the qualities of numbers 1-10 or 12), and move into the four processes the week after  Thanksgiving and throughout December.  So, approximately a six-week block on the Quality and Quantities of Numbers.

Then, once you come back from a Winter Break, jump into that third Math block early in the Spring to really practice those four processes.  You could even add a short fourth block somewhere in later spring.  I really do like Donna Simmons’ last math block in her First Grade Syllabus.  It uses fairy tales from different countries to practice the four math processes.  At the very least, it may stimulate your own thought process! 

Another good thing about  introducing the four math processes in the fall is that one can then  practice math every day during non-math blocks during the Spring.  Counting, skip counting, and estimating can be done every day after the qualities of numbers are introduced.

For those of you in Grade One who are  just introducing the four processes this month,  (and I do hope you have another math block to go to really work with a deepening of the four processes), I have some ideas for you:

-Daily math practice for the remaining time you have if you have any non-math blocks left.

-Make your Second Grade math heavy with more blocks based around math than language arts, and to really accelerate math practice.  Practice estimating, counting, the four processes in life, in everyday activities.  There are many resources for integrating math into everyday life.

-Here are Math Goals from Ron Jarman for Grade One:

Jamie York says these are Grade One math goals:  (this list is much simpler, Jarman tends to be more advanced.  For greater details as to York’s math goals, please do see his First through Fifth Grade Book that actually has a great deal of detail in it as to progression of learning addition and subtraction facts and more.  It is not nearly as simplistic as laid out here):

“– First Grade  

Quality of numbers.

Counting forward and backward up until 100.

Number dictations.

Rhythmical counting.


The four processes – introduction.

Learning the “easy” addition facts.”

So, I think the main goal for you between now and the end of the school year would be the two, fives and tens times tables and addition facts at least up to 12 to know cold  (and introduce them up to 20!)  Subtraction facts are  usually the goals that hang children up, so put some extra attention to those facts as well.  Movement and games are important.

Feel free to leave me a comment and agree or disagree (pleasantly, LOL) with me!!

Love to all and happy math!  I will post the math goals for Grades Two and Three soon!



5 thoughts on “Tips Regarding Math in Waldorf Grade One

  1. Do you have any favorite resources for math movement and games? While we do a lot of clapping, stomping, bean bag movement, it would be nice for some fresh ideas!

    And while I think it is important for math to occur at least most of the time (practice during non-math blocks), resting it is equally important. My son seemed to struggle a bit with division at the end of first grade. He would confuse it with multiplication. However, when we began second grade with a math review, he immediately got it. He just needed that time for it to really seep in!

    • Rest IS really important – to schedule some times without math completely! You are so right and I need to go back and add that in, I have said it in other posts as well..
      I like jump rope for times tables, do you like those? I also thought of old-fashioned squat thrusts (remember those from gym??) I also like Marsha Johnsn’s all pupose math games – Greeting the Dame of the Land of Numeria, etc..
      Waldorf could use a comprehensive math and movement source – Active Math that I have referred to comes close, but it was made for a classroom situation, not homeschool…

      Blessings and thanks!

  2. Pingback: Free Lesson Block Plans and Ideas Grades 1-3 | The Parenting Passageway

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