The transition from Kindergarten to the First Grade is an awesome moment for the young child, and this is especially so in a school inspired by Waldorf pedagogy. The children now have daily lessons, with their own class teacher, as well as a variety of other lessons throughout the week, including modeling, painting, music, form drawing, French language and games. Their teacher will meet them each morning, not only with a loving greeting, but with a handshake.
Now the children begin to learn the alphabet through archetypal stories and the symbol language that is drawn forth from them. For example, the teacher may create a picture in which a King stands tall, with sword aloft and one leg striding forward. This picture illustrates the story that the teacher has told. Soon the children recognize the ‘K’ as the ‘King sign.’ Slowly and methodically, through stories and artistic experiences, the alphabet is meaningfully introduced…The children will learn to record their ‘lessons,’ in their own ‘main lesson books.’ It is in these treasured books that the children re-tell the stories and lessons they have experienced throughout the year.
Math lessons are also approached in this manner, with the teacher utilizing the visual arts, rhythm and body geography to awaken the children to the archetypal quality of each of the lower numbers. The teacher weaves the four processes into these number stories from the very first days so that the children will experience ‘addition, subtraction, multiplication and division’ through the story, not as abstractions, but as natural steps in combining quantities. In addition, in their Circle Time, the children speak and move in rhythmical number patterns on a daily basis.
The Video featured here is a “Math Circle” during the First Grade Main Lesson:
In addition to this imaginative teaching brought to the children every day in Main
Lesson (the first two hours of the day), First Grade children also have lessons in
- foreign language (at present, this language is French)
- modeling with fragrant beeswax
- singing and playing pentatonic flutes
- form drawing
- class outings, nature walks
- Full participation in the festival life of the school