Sophia Institute online Art of Teaching Waldorf Program
Art of Teaching Waldorf Grade 2
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 2
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 2
Lesson 6 / Waldorf Methods / Reading and Math / Math / Grade 2
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 2 /AoT25
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 the grade 2 as follows. Curriculum examples should include outlines and goals, activities, circle/games, stories, and illustrations/drawings:
2.1. Create 2 examples that relate to "Speaking and Listening" for grade 2.
2.2. Create 2 example that relates to "Grammar" for grade 2.
2.3. Create 2 examples that relate to "Writing and Reading" for grade 2.
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
Language is our most important means of mutual understanding and is therefore the primary medium of education. It is also a highly significant formative influence in the child’s psychological and spiritual development and its cultivation is central to the educational tasks of Steiner/Waldorf education. It is the aim of the curriculum to cultivate language skills and awareness in all subjects and teaching settings. Clearly the teaching of the mother tongue has a pivotal role within the whole education.
English Language and Literature/Class 2
Speaking and Listening
In addition to reciting in chorus, more and more of the children practise speaking poems solo in front of the class. Short poems are enacted or are accompanied by gesture. Those with a strong rhythm and much repetition are especially suitable, such as The Key of the Kingdom and This is the House that Jack Built. To fit in with the story material of this class, fables can be recited (alternating chorus and solo recitation) or perhaps acted. The children are encouraged to retell the stories they have heard and the experiences they have had. Speech and articulation exercises such as tongue-twisters are practised and the different qualities of oral expressions are explored which emphasise certain elements, e.g. speaking in a fiery or watery way, stressing verbs of action, being aware of descriptive elements and names, in short experiencing the qualities of word types and moods. Fables, legends, folklore and nature stories concerned mainly with animals and the local environment are the story material for Class 2. In their content these reveal a broad scale of human activity and relate to the natural world. Animal and other fables are about one-sided aspects of moral qualities (greed, cunning, envy, etc.). Legends, and in particular the lives of the Saints look at the other side of human nature, the part where the hero as holy man or woman brings harmony to onesidedness and by turning towards God gains the strength to serve his or her fellow human beings. There are many examples from a wide range of cultures with the Celtic tradition offering many appropriate stories. The fables of Aesop, Leonardo da Vinci, Lafontaine, Lessing, as well as the animal stories of the Native American traditions also provide important examples. As far as the language is concerned, such legends enable the children to hear and speak in a way that differs greatly from the fairy tale style. The brevity and simplicity of the language of fables initially astonishes the children (Ts that the end already?'). But then they notice they are left with more to think about. The story should be told and retold and listened to several times before a conversation several days later brings this to their attention. The relatively dry tone of the fables is abundantly compensated for in the warm style with which the life and deeds of saints can be told.
The children should be made aware in an imaginative way of the character of activity words (verbs), naming words (nouns) and describing words (adjectives and adverbs). 'This should be combined in a simple and obvious way with a talk about the formation of sentences." Punctuation is taught on the basis of the spoken rhythms which indicate when the sentence starts, finishes or pauses.
Writing and Reading
The transition to lower case cursive script is prepared by suitable form drawing exercises, especially running and rhythmical forms. Lower case letters followed by cursive script are introduced with appropriate writing materials. This usually means changing from wax stick crayons in Class 1 to coloured graphite pencils in Class 2. Care and attention is paid to developing a fluid style of handwriting. The children's effort to orientate themselves on the page supports their endeavours to make the page beautiful and gives them an aesthetic interest in their writing. Steiner considered this important since this activity involves the writer more intensely in her work. 13 The content of written work is related to the main-lesson themes and the children's own experiences. As a general guideline, about a third of writing is composed by the children, the other two thirds comprising texts prepared by the teacher and copied from the board and texts dictated by the teacher. Steiner suggested that the children in Class 2 should be able to write down, 'little descriptions of everything they are told and later what they have learnt about animals, plants, meadows and woods." In Class 2 the children should be taught a good beautiful, flowing, cursive script, and their pencil hold and posture regularly checked. The letter formation too should be checked time and time again. The children use fat, soft pencils 2B, 3B or equivalent, which will encourage flow.
Compared to mainstream schools, very little free writing is done by the children in Steiner-Waldorf schools. Instead, the children write about the stories they have been having in their main -lesson. By the middle of Class 2, most of the children will be getting keen on writing. A good way to support this is by encouraging them to write letters (at home or in the writing lesson) to the class teacher and to each other. This way the children are using writing as an archetypal form of communication - spelling the words as they think they sound - and the teacher can pick out some of the spelling mistakes and use them as part of the literacy programme. The letters also have to be read, providing valueable reading practise. One suggestion is to make a letterbox for the classroom. All the letters can be posted in the letterbox and someone's job is to be the postman. The postman sorts out the letters in alphabetical order and delivers them to the appropriate address (desks, i.e. third desk from the front, near the window). The less able spellers can draw pictures for the words they cannot spell (note: this activity can be delayed to Class 3).
The children continue practising reading with texts they have written themselves or provided by the teacher. A differentiated approach is used including whole class reading, child to adult, child to child and solo reading. There is regular practice in the recognition of auditory, visual and kinaesthetic patterns through teacher-led exercises. Spelling is based on a whole language approach reinforced by contextual, phonic and kinesthetic methods. In Class 2 the emphasis is on phonics - how spoken sounds are encoded by written letters and letter groups. Class teachers must have a thorough knowledge of phonics, but need to be flexible about which facts to teach - and to whom. To insist pedantically on teaching every detail to the whole class is a waste of time, since many children will not need it. Other children will need all the detailed teaching and practice they can get.
Consonant digraphs: ng ch wh ck qu
Vowel digraphs: oo ee
Vowels + r: ar er or
2 -letter cons. blends: tr gr gl cl st etc.
Diphthong: oi oy
Doubled consonants: e.g. - fu nn y da dd y
Soft c rule: c followed by c, i or y says 'ss'
'Magic' e and its effects on the preceding vowel (making it say its name).
Practise listening for a given sound and locating it at the beginning, middle or end of a word.
- Making plurals by adding s or (after s, x, ss, ZZ, ch, sh) es
- Adding -ing (when it does not involve changing the root word)
- Adding -ly
Games can be used to practise identifying and locating: -* the first sound - or digraph - in a word; the last sound - or digraph - in a word; the vowel within a word
* Rhyming games
* Alphabet games (incl. alphabetical order)
* Learn to spell some essential irregularly spelled words such as: 'was: 'are', 'have', 'said: 'they'
* Spelling bees; words chosen by the class teacher to conform to patterns already covered
* Substituting letters to make new words
As the second stage in the teaching of reading, many teachers make a reading book for their class. This is best done in the teacher's own handwriting - the children are used to this - it can then be reproduced on a photocopier or risograph. The children can make their own covers and add drawings to go with each story, thus individualising the book. The book should include stories the children are familiar with such as fables, saint stories, poems, tongue twisters etc. It is important to use reading patterns that have been taught (and learnt!) - ideally getting progressively more difficult. Simple word games are also a good idea. These can go alongside the reading text, for example on the left page and then if the class is asked to read silently the faster readers can then start on the word games. For children who have a difficulty with reading it is a good idea to put one simple summarising sentence on the left hand page for them to read - after the teacher or other better reader has read the right hand page. This is a form of shared reading, which is known to be one of the most effective ways of building the bridge between being read to and reading yourself. (Often parents are willing to help with the reading lesson. Please prepare them before hand so they understand about short vowel/long vowel sounds; particular techniques you have used; which children need special encouragement, etc.) By now the children are almost ready for printed books. First however, they need an introduction to printed letters - the 'g' in particular, but also 'a' and T - and the general layout of books: chapters, introduction, index, etc. At this stage the hardest task for the teacher is to find and choose a good class reader and good reading schemes for individual reading. High standards of artistic presentation, topic, story quality and age appropriateness are important criteria in the choice of reader. On top of that it is important to find books that are not too difficult and are graded so that the language used is very simple - using mainly phonic words - and gradually gets harder introducing more and more spelling patterns. Some existing Waldorf readers are too difficult and can seriously affect the confidence of less able children. There may be a social reason for a class reader - the children hopefully learn to be patient, help each other, etc. - but it is worth asking oneself what good it does for a group of children with extraordinary different reading abilities and reading styles to read the same book out loud.
Blackboard drawing: Saint Francis of Assisi
Stories of the Saints
Stories of the Saints are brought to children in Waldorf schools during the second grade because their meaning resonates with children during this stage of development. Children make a big leap, intellectually and behaviorally, when they go from first to second grade. While the first grader is intent on pleasing their teacher, the second grader tends to seize opportunities for mischief. In second grade, children hear fables, animal tales, and stories about the Saints that mirror their development. The stories of the Saints, in particular, are told so these children can identify with people who have done good deeds for others. Though second graders experience consequences for their new-found “naughty” or “mischievous” behavior, the children are reassured through these stories that they are inherently good people.
How are the stories brought to students?
They are woven throughout the day’s lessons in song, instrumental music, literacy, movement, and art. The beauty of the Waldorf curriculum is that there is freedom for the teacher to shape each lesson in a way that will resonate the most with the temperament of their class. The teacher chooses which Saints’ stories to tell, based on the needs of their class.
The second grade teacher will first present a story in the oral form – usually with an illustration on a chalkboard to support and enliven the storytelling. St. Francis of Assisi, seen above in chalk, is a saint whose adventures are commonly told to second graders because of his gentle nature and heroism.
The stories will live in academic lessons, for days and sometimes for several weeks. The main lesson books made by the second grade children, will feature both drawings and writings about various saints.