"Waldorf education is not a pedagogical system but an art - the art of awakening what is actually there within the human being." ~ Rudolf Steiner
That time of year is sneaking up quickly. The time for all of us to begin our back to school preparations. Whether your children go to school outside the home or they learn with you in a homeschool setting, it takes quite a bit of forethought to prepare for a school year. Today we share with you some of our favorite Waldorf educational supplies, as well as information about the different ages of school children and what is important to each in a Waldorf setting.
When children are very young, the goal of Waldorf early childhood learning is to provide sensory-rich spaces filled with open-ended and dynamic play-based activities. The toys, space, and objects for this age range should encourage young children to investigate the wonder of nature, explore relationships, and stretch their imaginations. Fostering a sense of place within the family and the season forms the foundation of this stage in development. Part of the rhythms during this early stage are developed through stories, simple verses, and songs. The beautiful and meaningful learning toys in this section nourish a young child’s senses and will encourage very young children to identify colors, stack, sort, fill, shape, and look closely at the world around them. All of these products can be used for many years of play.
As children progress to kindergarten, many of the same rhythms from early childhood continue to play a pivotal and revered part of learning and they can be gently expanded upon through play. At this age, children become even more immersed in art projects and more detailed storytelling using fairy tales as the spark. Through watercolor projects, beeswax modeling, and music, children interact with stories and nature. They also learn to bake, garden, woodwork, sew, take care of their space, and learn more about the calendar and the festivals of the season. Nature explorations and open-ended adventures guide this time of expansive imagination and creative thinking to develop a reverence for the world around them.
As children get older, they continue to learn about the rhythms of the world around them as they begin to explore numbers and math skills. They engage and enliven their senses through artistic projects that require elaborate steps and tactile experiences. Knitting projects develop dexterity, patience, spatial relationships, and math while storytelling comes alive through the sharing of fairy tales and fables, mythological sagas, and riveting biographies of historical figures. At this age, rhythmic movement, art, and drama are woven into daily lessons that engage with student’s heads, hearts, and hands bringing each subject to life for the child.
Back To School Shopping Guide