Working With “Brambly Hedge” for First Grade Form Drawing


I have gotten a few emails asking me about how “form drawing with Brambly Hedge” is going.  I first wrote about this idea here:


When we start school, it will still be very summertime weather here in the Deep South.  So, my first thought was to incorporate the summer and autumn Brambly Hedge books into this two-week form drawing block.  I picked a two-week block as opposed to a three or four week block because I think this particular child will be fatigued by a longer block of form drawing at this point in time.


My fourth grader will be doing local geography and as such will be creating a map of her room, our home, the yard in the first part of this block, so I thought it might be fun for my first grader to have something “map-ish” as well…. So:


Day One:  First Grade Rose Ceremony; my traditional small talk about starting the grades, and then the giving of a scroll (I am going to take a rectangular butcher block paper, wet it and scrunch it up,  let it dry, unroll it and burn the ends like a very old and tattered map).  The map will be of  our house with a very special landmarks of our land on it because this child lives in our yard.  She loves our yard, she knows every tree, some of them have special names, and so by looking at this map together we will find our way to our first story, the summer Brambly Hedge story.  I hope to set it up outside with  silks and make beeswax mice and perhaps to also utilize our sandbox with reeds set in it for part of the story.  At first, I wanted to sew the Brambly Hedge characters from the book I mentioned in that first post above, but I decided since my child has never heard these stories, that I wanted to have more of an archetypal feel for the mice characters. 


Then I will tell the story and we can look at the scene and notice the lines and curves.  Then perhaps we will notice how we stand upright on earth and  notice how we can stand and move our arms different ways and be upright.  Then we can see how God (this is my homeschool, so I bring us back to our Creator throughout school, feel free to change this according to your spiritual beliefs)  gives us so many beautiful lines and curves in His creation of nature, just like the way the “river” curves (the blue silk) in our scene.  Everything has lines and curves, and when we go to read letters written on a page those lines and curves mean something!  We  can hunt for those lines and curves in the yard,  and we can draw a  line and curve in the air with different parts of our bodies, and draw them in the dirt with a stick. 

Then I will probably let it rest, and go into a typical first day painting exercise.   For a middle lesson whilst I am working with my fourth grader, I may have my first grader start a mural of Brambly Hedge on a huge sheet of butcher block paper.


Day Two:  We will start with our opening verses and seasonal songs, finger plays and a poem to learn to recite about mice.   We will do some counting forwards and backwards and counting rhymes and practice of even and odd number counting.  We will  look for lines and curves again and practice once again our line and curve in several different ways with our bodies.   I will point out that we stand upright  and here we are:  I (I will draw a straight line).  When we look around nature, we gaze about; we may talk about how this feels different than that straight line.  We will revisit our story and talk about mouse: do they stand upright like us or do they have curves?   Poppy Mouse in our story has to look around her to see her cheeses, her pots of cream in the Dairy Stump.  We can practice looking around from one end of the room to the other and if we look carefully we will see that makes a curve.   Perhaps we can even follow  that curve by holding a piece of  string.    So our first straight line and curved line:  I and C can go into our Main Lesson Book.     We can then  delve back into our story where Dusty find the large, flat piece of bark in the woods and it is carried to the water’s edge where it floats.  It floats like this in the water, doesn’t it:  _____

So that is our second form to practice and do in all different ways.  What a different feeling than standing upright!  We can lay down and stand up! 


Day Three: Start as yesterday with our verses, songs, poem, math. We will re-visit our story and our form and draw it in our book.  We will talk  about the cellar where Basil climbs  down the steps to get the white wines, primrose, meadowsweet for the wedding and the rooms above the Dairy where Poppy dresses for the wedding.  She has a lovely bonnet filled with flowers.  We will practice climbing up and down stairs; how fast and how slow can we do it?  Stairs recall a form that look like graduated pyramids in succession (can’t draw that on here, and I don’t know how else to describe it, lines that form graduated pyramids in a row).  We will build these on the ground with sticks of varying lengths, and then draw them in our Main Lesson Book.  We will then talk about the curves in the water the raft made when the ropes snapped and it drifted into the current.  I will then let that rest.  Later we can make the flower petals from the cellar flowers and the flowers in Poppy’s bridal hat as per the instructions in “Learning About the World Through Modeling.”


Day Four:  We can start the same as the day before with verses, song,poetry, maybe add in  tongue twister or alliteration about mice, and a mouse poem, and math.  We will play in water in our water table and see if we can make curves in the water with a flat piece of bark, and draw the curves large with sidewalk chalk and walk them, trace them in the air with our elbows, and finally draw them on a large piece of paper taped to the floor with a crayon between our toes.  Then we are ready to put them into our Main Lesson Book. 


Okay,  I have more, but I will stop there…..


Anyway, that gives you an idea of how I plan to do this….  I am a homeschooling mother just like you, so please just take this how it resonates with you.  Just a few ideas and examples.  I have other posts on Form Drawing on this blog.


Many blessings,


11 thoughts on “Working With “Brambly Hedge” for First Grade Form Drawing

  1. This is really great Carrie! I do love when you share the knitty gritty of your lessons. It is a great example of how to present material in Waldorf fashion that my not necessarily be traditional (i.e. using a Grimm’s fairy tale).

  2. Carrie, this is so lovely and inspiring! I have really struggled to bring imaginative form drawing, and now I have lots of ideas swirling in my head.

  3. Thank you so much! I am just putting together our blocks for this, our first, first grade year, and your plan sounds so beautiful and warm. It really inspires me, keep it coming!

  4. I had the same thought for form drawing Carrie, haha.
    As we will be using fairy tales for the LA block, I planned to use the Thornton Burgess stories for from drawing. Our ds really likes the stories already, which we started this summer, so continuing them into the first fall period seemed like a good idea.
    Thank you for sharing, it reinforces my curriculum plans and that I am on the right track here.

  5. I came to find this post today, Carrie, because I have been meditating on using Brambly Hedge in my youngest’s first grade blocks. She *adores* the characters and we read a BH story several times a week for bedtime story….so I am feeling like she will be able to delve imaginatively into our work if I can incorporate these stories. I was considering as a container story, but I love reading how you used the stories for form drawing! Hmm, will continue thinking. Thank you for sharing this (so many years ago, now!!) — I need to consider sharing my ideas in a blog format, if not just to “pay it forward” in gratitude for those who’ve inspired me over the years 🙂

    • Sweetbluepeace, did you end up using the Brambly Hedge stories for form drawing? My son has enjoyed the winter story this year, and I like the idea of bringing the forms to him through these stories. And the map… gosh, he would love love love that!!

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

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