In the elementary years, Waldorf makes lively use of a time-honored practice: teaching children through stories that recount the deeds of heroes, the qualities of animals, the history of a people, cultural wisdom and spiritual truths. Stories also promote solid learning in every academic subject from the alphabet and basic arithmetic through zoology and Greek history.
First grade is the commencement of formal schooling marked by children's new interest in learning. Students establish good habits of classroom life and work that will form the basis for all subsequent learning at school. The students and teacher build the foundation for an ever-deepening relationship while forming a socially cohesive group during this special year of beginnings.
Lines & Curves
Abby Wright was born and raised in Talladega, Alabama. Looking for a change of scene after high school, she attended Grinnell College in Iowa and majored in French and linguistics. While in college, she worked in the theatre department's costume studio and has been designing and sewing her own clothes ever since. After graduating from Grinnell, Abby went on to pursue graduate study in linguistics at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. While there, she was introduced to Waldorf education by volunteering with the handwork teacher at the Emerson Waldorf School. Eventually, her interest in Waldorf education overshadowed her interest in Vowel Nasality, her dissertation topic, so she decided to pursue her Waldorf teaching certification at Antioch University of New England. While in New Hampshire, she also worked in the young adult department at the Nashua Public Library. Abby spent her years in New England pining for the South and moved to the Atlanta area with her husband, Aaron, as soon as her teacher training was finished. She spent a year learning the ropes as the first grade assistant at The Waldorf School of Atlanta before taking this class. Abby enjoys fiber arts of all kinds, cooking, and gardening.Grade One Pedagogical Overview
First Grade is the commencement of formal schooling marked by the child's awakening capacities of memory and thinking. The seven-year-old retains a feeling of oneness with the world, and is more able to bring broad awareness than focused concentration to learning situations. Much learning therefore involves the presentation of an image to the child, ensuring her understanding through her own mental picturing. This leads to a pictorial approach in the teaching of all subjects.
The rhythm of working together as a class is established during this year, and the students are introduced to all areas of school life. The students are eager to learn together and take their place within the large whole. As new habits are formed, a foundation is being laid for healthy social interaction. Through the teacher's authority and presence, a sense of reverence, respect, and wonder permeates the mood in the classroom.
Throughout the first grade year, the academic tasks of reading, writing and arithmetic are embedded in the rich world of fairy tales. The archetypal pictures found within the fairy tales engage the child's fantasy in the subject matter that they encounter throughout the year. Through these richly crafted stories, the children are introduced to speaking, writing, reading, and mathematics. All skills are reinforced with practice involving rhythmical movement, recitation and music. Bookwork is illustrated with pictures that reinforce the concepts being developed. Each lesson aims to incorporate a three-fold structure, which fosters the development of the children's feelings, thinking abilities, and will forces.