Sophia Institute online Art of Teaching Waldorf Program
Art of Teaching Waldorf Grade 1
A curriculum could be compared to the list of ingredients for a recipe. However good the recipe, the quality of the ingredients is crucial but to make a start the components also need to be available. When they are to hand, the next question is whether the cook is skilled enough to combine and adjust flavors so that each item plays its part without overwhelming the others. An experienced cook may be able to substitute one ingredient for another, even to improvise in such a way that something new is created. But we should not forget that emotion, even love, goes into the preparation of food and this will influence how it is received. And, of course, the expectations, health and culinary experience of the diners also makes a difference.
A curriculum guides an entire learning process. It should not, like a dish into which a chef has thrown every possible taste, explode in an overwhelming, sensation-bursting blowout; it should bring to the table ingredients that are well- balanced, digestible and nutritious, that promote health and stimulate, not stupefy, the senses. Over time, as with diet, a curriculum can introduce items that may not be immediately appealing, stronger tastes or more subtle and complex ones: intellectual chillis, subjects initially sour or astringent, as well as flavors, textures and scents that help to educate the palate. A primary school curriculum, in particular, sets out ingredients for the hors d'oeuvres of lifelong learning.
Of course, many school curriculums share common ingredients, but the distinctive qualities of the Steiner-Waldorf curriculum framework are, we believe, unique:
Sophia Institute Waldorf Courses: The Art of Teaching Waldorf Grade 1
Lesson 1 / Waldorf Curriculum / Introduction
Lesson 2 / Waldorf Curriculum / Grades 1 - 3 (Part 1)
Lesson 3 / Waldorf Curriculum / Grades 1 - 3 (Part 2)
Lesson 4 / Waldorf Methods / Reading and Math / Introduction
Lesson 5 / Waldorf Methods / Reading and Math / Reading / Grade 1
Lesson 6 / Waldorf Methods / Reading and Math / Math / Grade 1
Lesson 7 / Waldorf Methods / Sciences / Chemistry / Introduction
Lesson 8 / Waldorf Methods / Sciences / Physics / Introduction
Lesson 9 / Waldorf Methods / Sciences / Life Sciences / Introduction
Lesson 10 / Waldorf Methods / Sciences / Geography / Introduction
Lesson 11 / Waldorf Methods / Sciences / Geography / Grades 1 - 8
Lesson 12 / Waldorf Methods / Sciences / Gardening and Sustainable Living
Tasks and Assignments for Art of Teaching Waldorf Grade 1 /AoT111
Please study and work with the study material provided for this lesson. Then please turn to the following tasks and assignments listed below.
1. Study the material provided and look up other resources as needed and appropriate.
2. Create examples of curriculum that addresses the learning method and content appropriate for grade 1. Curriculum examples should include outlines and goals, activities, circle/games, stories, and illustrations/drawings: Create 2 examples for grade 1.
3. Additionally submit comments and questions, if any.
Please send your completed assignment via the online form or via email.
Study Material for this Lesson
Geography/Earth Sciences/Environmental Studies/Human Geography and Economics/Class 1 - 8
Small children take their surroundings, i.e. other people, animals, plants, stones, stars, sun and moon, as well as the seasons of the year, for granted. If we can constantly renew this unity of the different realms, we shall strengthen the children's confidence, gratitude and self-assurance. In the basic mood of children during their first seven- year period, these feelings can be expressed as: 'the world is good!'
During their first year at school, children should learn to see differentiation in the overall totality of nature while at the same time becoming increasingly more awake to the way everything belongs together. They are encouraged to reflect on things through stories, through looking at nature, following the seasonal changes and through descriptions of experiences that emphasise what is special about what they see; what is huge or tiny, what is delicate or immensely powerful in nature. Such stories and observations will only get through to the children if they are told 'with soul', i.e. if they are filled with humanity through personification. This lets them sense that there is nothing in the world that is meaningless or without significance. These experiences are particularly important as a preparation for the real situation in which we find ourselves today because they not only lay foundations, but also set the pattern for the future.
* The kingdoms of nature, the elements, the seasons of the year and the stars should be described as though they themselves were speaking. By this we do not mean unreal stories or inventions but imaginative tales that speak of the essence of things. They can be in the form of parables or nature legends.
In Class 1 the children have learnt to see their surroundings through 'new' eyes and have begun to hear what these surroundings are telling them. Now, in Class 2, they experience how human beings are linked to the kingdoms of nature. The feelings that result from this, an active identification with nature - what could be called 'love for the world' - are very important. These feelings evolve until the children become 'mature for the earth' in Class 8, when they can be experienced as responsibility.
* Fables, such as those of Aesop tell of the relationship between human beings and their surroundings in anthropomorphic form.
* Saints' stories, notably those of Celtic saints, express a similar quality. The figure of St. Francis of Assisi, with his reverence and humility towards all created things, can serve as a yardstick-by which to measure the lessons. Such stories lay a foundation for morality.
During the first two years of school, environmental studies belong as an integral part of every lesson. Let the children talk about what is going on in nature, what they meet with on their way to school, what they discovered on an outing, and so on. Things they bring to school with them (bird nests, leaves, conkers, fruit, stones, animal horns, snails, etc.) can provide the starting point for talking about the world around us. This does not mean that there need not be specific main- lesson blocks for some of these subjects, but simply that in Classes 1 and 2 there is no need to make separate subjects out of nature studies. The 'outdoor classroom' should be regularly visited and experienced in all weathers and seasons.
Children reaching the age of nine undergo a decisive alteration in their relationship with the world: the world that was a part of them becomes the world that surrounds them. The children need to understand and literally grasp, as far as they can at this age, the links they sense they have with the world. In the coming years this can develop into an understanding of nature, animals, human beings, work and technology. Complex work processes that take a long time to complete can be understood by the children, for example, through a house-building main-lesson, or a farming main- lesson that shows them the whole sequence from ploughing and sowing to the end result, bread. Their intelligence is schooled by means of concrete reality. It is important that at the moment when they meet and sense what they are working with, their links with it are not broken and turned aside into mere rational and factual abstractions, but that their own activity leads them to the wide-ranging implications.
* The human being and the earth: the farmer and the work on the farm, ploughing (the horse, harness, shoeing, the plough), harrowing, sowing (various kinds of cereal), different soils (drainage of wet ploughland), harvesting, threshing, milling, baking, dairy farming. Once traditional methods have been introduced, children should see what tractors, combine harvesters, etc. do
* The miner and other traditional occupations to do with working the earth (turf cutter, stone mason, dyke digger)
* Making use of the elements in house-building: brick making (drying, baking), preparing mortar, bricklaying, carpentry, roofing
* 'Archetypal' callings such as shepherd, hunter, fisherman, woodcutter, charcoal burner, baker, tailor, shoemaker, potter, carpenter, tanner, saddler, spinner, weaver, or blacksmith
* As much as possible, children should have direct, hands-on experience of these trades
The emphasis among these various possible themes will vary depending on the geographical location of the school.
Steiner's imperative, 'all lessons must give knowledge about life: should be taken into account. Local geography is an important aspect of environmental studies. Previously the lessons have turned on general aspects (links with nature, knowledge of work processes), but now they focus the children's attention in both space and time. A new, more concrete source of knowledge opens up, encompassing both time and space.
The immediate surroundings of the school, the locality, the town or city are shown to the children in their geographical/spatial and historical/temporal development, right up to the present situation. Through these studies, their more generalised relationship with the world can be transformed into a sense of belonging, both socially and spatially.
* Observing the sun as a way of recognising the four compass directions
* The rising and setting motions of a few characteristic constellations round the North Star, and the movements of the moon
* Drawing of bird's eye view of the school (or the child's home) and the town or village it is in
* Descending from a high viewpoint (hill, tower) into the surrounding landscape changes one's view of what can be seen
* Different children's routes to school are described and drawn
* Making clay or papier mache models of the immediate surroundings and shapes of the landscape
* Drawing first simple maps
* Historical events and legends illustrating the development of the locality are told
* The different ways the local soils are tilled, local industry, workplaces and infrastructure are examined. Vivid descriptions of typical local industries and professions
* A visit to the local railway station, docks or airport can give the children a sense of how their home town is linked to other places, why people travel to their hometown, what commodities are imported and exported.
As with all subjects, the task of geography lessons is to accompany and support the children in their physical, psychological and spiritual development. In addition to this, Steiner also wanted geography to occupy a central position because it can be linked up with so many other subjects (biology, physics, chemistry, astronomy, mathematics, history, etc.) and thus provide a general sense of unity. He also stressed the moral component of geography lessons by saying that learning about people living side by side would help the children to love their fellow human beings."
Geography must give the children an interest in the world and courage for life. They must learn to understand the earth as a natural space with specific life rhythms in which human beings are enveloped but which they can also change through economic and cultural activity. The foundation for responsibility and an awareness of ecology must be laid early.
The curriculum alters its emphasis in keeping with the stage of development the children have reached. Building on the local geography of Class 4, the children in Classes 5 and 6 are first led closer to the earth through looking at local ways of farming and industry in which human beings are in partnership with nature in different regions and their inter-dependencies. This helps them in their development. In Classes 7 and 8 they then get to know the character and culture of other peoples, particularly in other parts of the globe. Geography lessons thus have a sense of movement and counter-movement. During the middle period of childhood the children find their home on the earth in physical space, i.e. there is movement towards the earth. Then, as puberty approaches, when they attain earthly maturity, there is a movement towards the psychological and cultural differentiation of the earth.
Teaching geography to children in the middle part of childhood means giving them many facts linked to experience. The pupils are to learn something about the world, but in such a way that feelings are linked to that knowledge. Original causes remain in the background. A selection of regions and landscapes of their own country are described. The important thing is to expand the study of economics and infrastructure begun in Class 4 to wider regions.
The children can go on 'journeys of discovery' along rivers, travelling beyond their immediate surroundings. They can 'travel to the coast' or into hilly regions.
* Contrast life by the sea, in the hills, in the lowlands
* Mining and other industries
* Continuation of map drawing, use of wall maps, atlases
* The economic and geographic links between the home and neighbouring countries, stressing mutual interdependence
* The regional and physical geography of their country or larger region. In the UK this would usually be the whole of the British Isles
In Class 6 there are two aspects to geography. On the one hand, the home country is related to the continent it belongs to. On the other hand, there will be a short but systematic overview of all the continents. These are contrasted with one another as to their main topography and morphology (outline, river systems, mountains, skies, climate, vegetation, etc.). Astronomy belongs here in the way it relates to the earth and the seasons. Geology and botany also come into the geography main- lesson. Industry and commerce are extended to include a few striking examples where global links are significant. The teacher will make careful choices, bearing in mind what he or she intends to bring into the discussions of other parts of the world in Classes 7 and 8.
If the school is European, the main -lesson will be on Europe. In their earlier geography lessons the pupils will already have been shown contrasting landscapes and lifestyles. Now Europe as a whole can be seen from the aspect of polarity, e.g. by looking at the different influences of water, air, light/warmth and of the rocks and soils in different regions on land- scape and economy. This may mean a comparison between a lowland country such as the Netherlands with an Alpine country such as Switzerland, or be- tween regions with a traditional economy connected to the sea, such as Norway, with a landlocked country such as the Czech Republic.
Overview of the earth as a whole
* Shape and distribution of the continents and oceans. Ocean currents. Relationship of the tides to the moon
* Dependence of the vegetation belt on the position of the sun and climatic conditions. Seasons in relation to the earth's orbit
* The rocky foundations, old and young parts of the earth
* Young folded mountains (e.g. the Alps, the Himalayas, the Andes), the rift valleys, e.g. the Red Sea Jordan valley, Rhone Valley, etc.
* The great rivers and their individual character- istics, e.g. the Rhine, the Danube, the Dnieper
* Tropical rainforest, savanna, the outback of Australia, salt deserts as ecosystems
* The globe should be looked at as a whole from different perspectives, i.e. not only with Europe at the centre
* Breaking new ground, forest clearance and the creation of dustbowls, with striking examples of soil erosion
* Mineral deposits and trade relations
* Opening of transport routes (e.g. Trans Siberian Railway, the Suez and Panama Canals)
Obviously one cannot cover all these topics but a balance is sought that exemplifies as much of the whole as possible.
In Classes 7 and 8 the transition is made from agriculture to industry and commerce to the cultural situation in different parts of the globe. This is one of the shifts of emphasis that Steiner recommended.' This necessitates the teacher selecting the material for both the classes. The cultural aspect, in turn, leads to history playing a part in geography lessons: in Class 7 particularly the Age of Discovery, including the transition from the Ptolemaic to the Copernican view of the world. This shows the children that today's view of earth and universe is one that has evolved and that it is not a system set in stone for all time.
So that the different characters and cultures of other parts of the world do not remain in the realm of ideas, Steiner suggested letting the children paint or do other artistic or practical work in the style of those cultures. Other main-lessons, too, can be enriched by biographies of discoverers and descriptions of other parts of the world.
In connection with the theme of discovery, the astronomy of the visible sky should be studied. Obsrvations should be made and charts showing the main constellations shown.
* Since the Age of Discovery is the subject of history lessons in Class 7, it could be argued that America would be the obvious choice for geography, or Europe if the school is in America, i.e. where did the colonists come from? Africa, too, with its polarity between the black African and the Islamic cultures can be taken as a whole. In the following, therefore, we shall assume the sequence: Class 7 Old World, Class 8 New World. Class 7 might even have two geography main -lessons.
* As well as the historical perspective connected with European Colonialism, the link between agriculture, raw materials (cotton, rice, wheat, coffee, tea, etc.) and manufacturing industry should be stressed. This in turn should be placed in a context of global climate zones, e.g. SE Asian rice, rubber, hardwoods, North American Prairie wheat, Caribbean bananas, South American beef, Australian wool and mining, etc.
* Building on the astronomy in Class 6, the visible night sky should be described and observations made of the constellations. The appearance and paths of the planets can be described and the cycles of the moon observed.
The main geographical regions of Africa can be characterised from a climatic, topographical, plant zone perspective:
* North Africa, West Africa and the Equatorial Regions, the Sahara and Sahel, Eastern Africa and Southern Africa
* Different ways of life in black Africa and Islamic Africa in the different vegetation zones (e.g. Pygmies and rain forest peoples, shepherd nomads, Samburu, Masai, farmers and plantations, oasis populations, miners)
* The continuation of various religions and traditional African societies
* The Colonial and post-Colonial influences of France, Britain, Holland, Germany. Confrontation with Western world views. Examples of developing nations and their economic relationship to the developed world. The problems of famine and civil war in the Horn of Africa, the tensions between tribalism and modern commercial interests in West Africa, multi-cultural societies in Southern Africa, etc.
* Main geographical regions, Himalayas/Hindu Kush, Indian subcontinent, Tibet/Mongolia plateau, North and South China, SE Asia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, Korea
* Macro-landscapes in their cultural and geographical polarity (e.g. the influence of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity); SE Asia as a subcontinent of islands, the huge populations of Eastern Asia, the Pacific Rim as a rapidly developing region and the modern significance of the Asian tiger economies
* How the role of Asian peoples is changing in the modern world. The future of China and the Pacific Rim countries, in relation to the global economy
* Issues connected with rainforest exploitation
As they increasingly enter into the world, Class 8 pupils want to come to grips with world problems. Conversely, their own problems also take on 'world' dimensions. So especially in geography lessons, the interplay between 'me and the world' should be catered for. By concerning themselves with the cultural and soul life of other peoples, as well as their cultures and values, the pupils experience that psychological characteristics of peoples can differ greatly. This can help the youngsters find a foothold in their search for their own inner soul life.
Another approach to geography lessons in Class 8 is to ask oneself where metamorphoses, polarities and intensifications take place in geographical phenomena.
If America is the subject of lessons in Class 7, North and South America can be compared. This helps develop the pupils' powers of imagination. It helps prevent fixed ideas from creeping in, but leads rather to knowledge that can come alive and grow. The pupils should learn to understand how the different mentalities of Hispanic and Anglo Americans came about in a historical process.
A further theme in Class 8 is the moods and changing patterns of the weather.
* Introduction to typical landscapes of North and South America, e.g. by means of an imaginary journey, use of place names to show cultural influences
* Structure of the double continent and its diverse animal and plant life
* Arrival of the Native Americans and their adaptation to different geographical areas
* The Spanish- Portuguese and the Anglo- French occupations and their consequences (mineral wealth, technology, destruction of nature)
* Encounters between individuals in America. Different psychological make-up of the various social and ethnic groups. Development tasks and possibilities. The demographic issues in the USA
* Cloud formations observed and painted. Meteorological readings taken and charted: rainfall, humidity, air pressure, wind speed; including the use of instruments e.g. barometer, wind vane, etc. High and low pressure, weather fronts. Cultural aspects of climate in Northern countries and the length of day; Mediterranean lifestyle and climate; desert peoples; arctic peoples; tropical environments
If America has been studied in Class 7, a geographical and economic comparison between Africa and Europe, or Europe and Asia can be undertaken.