Some of you are already thinking of planning your first block of first grade. I have just planned our first block. This is my third time teaching first grade, and while each child is so different, I think there are some general tips that can be helpful to any parents planning a block.
If you have looked at the festivals of the year, your school year calendar, observed your child, and planned what blocks when plus gathered resources, you are ready to start planning your first block in detail. If you are NEW to Waldorf homeschooling, you really need to understand the “why” and “how”. WHY do we do form drawing as the first block and HOW is it typically done? Steiner’s educational lectures are the cornerstone in this regard, along with secondary pedagogical resources.
Many parents look at each block in terms of setting a goal for artistic work, soul development, and academic capabilities. First grade is especially about getting children into their bodies, so to me this is an especially logical place to start. I like to come up with an outline for each day and week. So, in our case, I have our day started with movement, using the movement block rotation listed at the Movement for Childhood website. I also like to plan “movement breaks” from this website as I know I will need them during the time spent with my child.
Then I look at establishing a daily order: for example, after movement our order may be our opening verse and active circle, active math, what the main lesson (in this case, form drawing) actually will be each day , and the ending of our day. In our case, our first grader will also spend time each day working with his older sisters, so that will be listed as well – what they will be doing with him each day, whether that is cooking or handwork or reading to him or playing games.
Once you have this order of what happens during the time you are together, and what happens each day of the week outside of the “main lesson time”, it is easy to make a template and start to plug things in from your resources or to make up what you need from your own creative and authentic self. What will your movement, opening verse, active circle, active math, main lesson work be each day? Look things up and create your own things! You can write your own poetry or verses or songs and make up your own poetry! Steiner outlined the first several days of first grade in his lectures, so looking at his indications is also an essential first step to planning the main lesson part of your template.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to draw from your child’s interests when it is developmentally appropriate. For one child, when we did form drawing, I drew a lot from a story I made up about pond life and the movement of the animals, wind and things around the ponds in our local area. For another child, I did form drawing based upon the stories and characters of Brambly Hedge. You will find the right thing for your child if you just sit with it all for a little bit. It will come. Trust the inspiration that comes to you! It will be the right thing for your child.
Many blessings, and thank you for letting me share,
Dear carrie, have been folowing your page with interest as I provide ‘homeschool’ for a KG age child …I see now you have moved into first grade…we’re not there yet… he is really much younger at 4 and a half years….is it possible to have access to your last years letters which would have included KG? enjoying the regular contact warm wishes Rosie
I have been writing since 2008 at this blog and have had three children go through the early years — if you look under the homeschooling header, “early years” should be a category, or you can use the search engine box to search. Also, look under Family Life for festivals, inner work, monthly anchor posts by month. Lastly, check by age under the header that says “Development” and many posts will be there under age four. I will continue to write about all ages (well, up to the age of my oldest child), so there will always be more early years posts to come. If you are looking specifically for planning about the early years. Here is a planning post from the back posts: https://theparentingpassageway.com/2012/05/24/get-your-planning-on-homeschooling-kindergarten/
Hi Carrie, I just love your posts. Thanks so much for the mention of the website Movement for Childhood. What a gem of a website!! Just wondering where on the website you get the movement breaks. Thanks kindly/Jennifer
I think it was mentioned in one of the articles, perhaps the one where the blocks are described??….sorry not to be more specific, but I am not sure. I have also read The Extra Lesson and Foundations of the Extra Lesson and it might have come out of my brain from that reading, but I am pretty sure it was also on The Movement for Childhood website. There are a lot of articles on there!