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,