Library Lady's Corner
Math and Arithmetic in a Waldorf School May 24 2017
Children learn arithmetic in school. Most of what we call “math” is arithmetic — the skills of computation and calculation. When we do addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, times tables, square roots, calculating area — for examples — we are doing arithmetic. Arithmetic is a division or department of mathematics. Geometry, algebra, and calculus are other branches of mathematics.
Teaching children skills in arithmetic tends to be a cause of anxiety in our culture. Comparative studies accomplished in the latter part of the last century, comparing the attitudes of Japanese parents and American parents about arithmetic skills was revealing. Read More
Today "difficult children"—children with attention deficit disorder, high levels of anxiety, restlessness, aggressiveness, and other emotional and behavioral problems — are a major challenge for parents, educators. and therapists. Once the child has been diagnosed and labeled as having ADD or autism or some other condition, the standard approach is to use psychotherapy and/or psychotropic drugs to change behavior. Millions of children today, for example, take the drug Ritalin for attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity. Continue reading...
Traditional Tales Retold by Kelly Morrow April 20 2017
Lazy Jack; King Thrushbeard; The Prince and the Dragon; and Sylvain and Jocosa
When class teacher Kelly Morrow’s search for first readers appropriate and challenging for her students proved fruitless, she created her own. The four little books range from 18 to 38 pages. Each book tells a folk story in a simple, clear, but interesting way, and each story is enriched by a moral truth. The cover of each is an engaging color illustration, and there are black and white drawings throughout.
Waldorf Publications and WECAN Form a More Perfect Union February 26 2017
Here in the land of publishing it’s not always easy to tell what is happening beyond the borders of a completed book process. During the journey of publishing a book there are proposals from authors, committee decisions about those proposals, backs-and-forths with authors, decisions about the age range of the book’s usefulness, permissions from other publishers, decisions about illustrations where needed, layouts, font choices, size of the book, cover decisions, edits, proofreading, biographies of authors, sometimes translation issues, and then the actual lining up for printing of the book before going to press. Read More...
There’s No Minute Like the Last Minute! December 16 2016Waldorf Publications and the Research Institute for Waldorf Education have many fine possibilities for thoughtful gifts when thoughtfulness in the hectic season becomes hard to muster.
Consider the caliber and depth of some of these gifts — remember, books and subscriptions keep giving long into the future!
A Waldorf teacher's presentation on Martinmas & Veteran's Day! November 10 2016The feast of St. Martin coincides with Veterans’ Day. This is no accident because St. Martin of Tours started his life as a conscripted soldier in the Roman army. He was even in his youth, remarkable and he rose in rank to a leadership position quickly.
Belly Laughs September 09 2016
The first grade class teacher kiddingly told the first grader that he was “full of soup,” that he was tricking her and she tickled him as she challenged his playful trick. The little boy let out a deep belly laugh as he conceded that he was caught out and that he was indeed playing a practical joke on the teacher.
The laugh gave the teacher a reason to pause. It was almost December and she had never heard this child laugh like that before. He lived in a difficult home situation and there had been questions around the boy’s placement in first grade. He was repeating first grade following the decision of the previous teacher and so was new to this class.
In the first days of the second time at first grade, the teacher noticed that the boy’s voice had a disembodied quality.....
The Truth About Age Twelve June 20 2016The age of twelve is remarkable. As childhood comes to its end, the twelve-year-old can feel accomplishment and mastery of many skills in jump rope, running, reading, arithmetic, high jumping, memorization, writing, logic, and reasoning. Just as the sense of mastery peaks, the child’s body begins to change. Though the first changes are invisible, the child feels them with a growing sense of alarm at what the changes might be. Read More...
Being Nine Years Old June 16 2016
The teacher knelt before the boy to explain how to cross the street carefully and to check to see if he felt uneasy about crossing without a teacher holding his hand. The boy’s mother was taking a job in the area and she wanted her children in a Waldorf school. The boy had come to visit the second grade that day. He had, up till then, been home schooled, and there was a question about whether or not the boy belonged in second grade or third grade because of his age—older than the youngest in the third grade and younger than the oldest in the second grade.
After the teacher had completed explaining carefully how to cross the street without a teacher helping him, the teacher asked, “Can you do that?.....
First Grade Readiness and the Waldorf School Plan
A parent of a kindergartner asked a teacher this question one day, “What’s the big deal about teeth in a Waldorf school?” It’s a good question as Waldorf teachers take seriously the changing of teeth, from milk teeth, or “baby teeth,” to the new growth of adult or second teeth.
Deciding whether or not to declare a child ready to move from kindergarten to first grade is a weighty decision to make.
The Waldorf School and the End of Year Report May 27 2016Assessment is a “hot topic” in the news and in educational debate. In Waldorf schools assessment takes many forms, none of which includes standardized testing.
During the year, concentrated “blocks” of study might include an end-of-block assessment. A block might be three or four weeks long and concentrate study on one topic. After a botany block in the fifth grade an outdoor “treasure” hunt to find, for example, a monocotyledon, a pistil, a tap root, a deciduous conifer branch, a dicotyledon, and so on, might be the "test.” Read More...
Book Review: Solving the Riddle of the Child: the Art of the Child Study by Christof Wiechert January 25 2016The very essence of Waldorf education lives in the Child Study. Observing the children is primary task of every Waldorf teacher. The entire curriculum should be formed out of this child observation practice and new organs of perception are developed from this practice. This is why Rudolf Steiner was so insistent about administration being done by those who are with the children every day, not by others who have nothing directly to do with teaching the children. The real revolution lives in this open secret of Waldorf education: that the observation of children is the heart of the curriculum… Read More...
Music Instruction in Waldorf Schools January 22 2016Once a child reaches first grade, the change of teeth tell the teachers that the child is ready to learn in a new way.
The Winter Garden in Waldorf Schools December 01 2015During the month of December, the days grow their darkest. In Waldorf schools, just after Thanksgiving, there is a celebration called the Winter Garden, or the Advent Garden. Advent means “To Come” and aside from this term used in some religious celebrations, it is meant to announce the coming of the light.
The Green Curriculum in Waldorf Schools ~ Part III October 05 2015Among many other investigations, third grade addresses the question of how we live, survive, and thrive in relationship to the Earth. The children begin to experience story in connection to history, culture and tradition, as they hear stories from the Old Testament, from Native Americans and from other groups and cultures. Specifically, third grade offers many experiential explorations into how humanity works with and transforms nature to meet the needs of civilization. How did ancient peoples work and live with the land? How did they build their homes?
The Green Curriculum in Waldorf Schools ~ Part II October 02 2015In second grade, many nature-filled legends and fables take center stage, as the children grow into greater awareness of contrast and difference in the world around them. As a result, they are increasingly available for stories about human nature and ideals. Many stories emphasize the relationship and responsibility between human beings and the natural world, especially the animal kingdom.
The Green Curriculum in Waldorf Schools October 01 2015
A Twelve Part Series
From Roots to Bloom
A few years ago on AWSNA’s “Green Pages” Sarah Hearn, Waldorf graduate from the New York City Rudolf Steiner School, with help from a class teacher or two, wrote a series of short articles on the many ways in which the curriculum in our schools connects a child to the Earth, awakens a devoted love of Nature and grows environmentalists who carry a passion for caring for the Earth and all its gifts. Sarah has agreed to have these little articles republished as a guest blogger here. She called her series “From Roots to Bloom,” to emphasize the growth in a human being as reflected in the plant kingdom.
Temperaments in a Waldorf School August 18 2015The four temperaments are used in Waldorf schools for evaluating the character of each child one is teaching. These temperaments provide the teacher with tools for forging an inner connection, making the child feel that his or her teacher knows with wisdom what is behind each decision made in the classroom. Diagnosing temperaments correctly helps to build trust between teacher and student, teacher and class. Teachers often arrange seating of children so that students with similar temperaments are seated together or near each other. This provides a kind of gentle “homeopathic” experience or mirror to the child that helps the child build balance within his or her character without being heavy-handed, or too didactic.
Hygienic and Therapeutic Eurythmy in Waldorf Schools August 14 2015
In our world we have accomplished wonders beyond imagining in this beautiful, material world of ours. Human beings have surpassed records of accomplishment in ways unimaginable in the past. We can feel satisfied at the miracles that have been wrought as we take material thinking and development to its outer limits.
This leads to a consideration of what might be the right way to proceed from here. We cannot push or pull human physical capacities any further without assistance from drugs or devices.
One characteristic of Waldorf schools in elementary grades is to keep one “Class Teacher” with a class from first through eighth grades. This practice has been adopted by public and private schools and is known as looping. In Waldorf schools this eight-year cycle could be called “giant looping.” Of course, this eight-year cycle is an ideal that is not always possible. Life, marriage, health, age, can all get in the way of completing this commitment. In some Waldorf schools it is even policy to have the looping go from grades... READ MORE
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