Handwork at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

As human beings, we use our hands regularly in our daily lives. At Waldorf, the Handwork curriculum is broad and includes skills such as knitting, crocheting, hand sewing, embroidery, felting, paper crafts, pattern design, and machine sewing.

Many of the benefits of the Handwork program are obvious: hand-eye coordination; basic math skills such as counting, the four math processes, and basic geometry; the ability to understand and follow a process from concept to completion; and the ability to focus on a project for an extended period of time.

There are also more subtle rewards that complement these obvious benefits. Students must prepare and care for materials. Many of the created items have a practical use – a case for a flute, a needle book, a pair of socks. Design and color choice allow for individual creative expression. One of the most far-reaching benefits of Handwork class is the social aspect. While there are times when quiet is needed, such as when you are learning a new stitch, most of the time the atmosphere in the classroom is social and conversational, not unlike a quilting bee. Students learn to speak politely to one another. Throughout the process, respect is fostered.

At the Waldorf School of Atlanta all first graders learn how to knit. This basic skill uses both right and left hands, and brings a steady, calming rhythm to the younger child. Crocheting, which emphasizes the right or left hand, almost always follows in the second or third grade. Cross-stitch is paramount to fourth grade as the children begin crossing over from childhood to adolescence. In fifth grade, knitting in the round, used to make hats, mittens, and socks, is a three dimensional, mathematical activity leading up to critical thinking in the middle school. Long-term hand-sewing projects involving concepts, patterns, and mathematical computations are usually found in sixth or seventh grade. The eighth grade Handwork curriculum often involves machine sewing, which perfectly integrates the student’s study of American History and the Industrial Revolution.

We hope you enjoy the Handwork series on our blog:

Grade 1 handwork

Grade 2 handwork

Grade 3 handwork

Grade 4 handwork

Grade 5 handwork

Grade 6 handwork

Grade 7 handwork

Grade 8 handwork

Our Handwork Teacher is Lisa Roggow.

lroggow photo

 

 

 

Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 8

The Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Catalina De Luna Garza.  A review of the Language Program can be found on our website and specific insights into teaching each grade are found in these letters to the parents.

 sra de luna headshot

Dear Eighth Grade Parents,

It is exciting to write this letter about eighth grade as this year marks the completion of a journey together. The main topic for this grade is Revolution; yes!  They will study the Industrial Revolution and explore the search for cultural and spiritual freedom through the ideals of the French Revolution. This search for freedom and individuality is reflected in the students as well. The work in the eighth grade becomes very independent; ideally students take responsibility for their own learning. The students usually have an increased inquisitiveness and a need to communicate their individuality.

We will study the biographies of Hispanic people -past as well as modern times- that have had an influence in the world such as: Cesar Chavez, Simon Bolivar, Neruda, Kahlo and Rivera, and others.

 “The children should meet what is typical of the life and activities of the people whose language they are learning” –  Rudolf Steiner.

 The structure of the lesson changes considerably as the rhythmical part diminishes allowing ample time for independent intellectual work: grammar, reading, writing, and speaking. In addition to reviewing basic grammar rules learned in previous years, the eighth grade will now work at an analytical level comparable to their native language arts work. They are expected to follow the rules of grammar introduced and be able to apply these rules to written exercises with some attempt at using them in conversation. Reading becomes an important tool for learning, oral and written retelling of the read material provides opportunity for the students to practice their skills.

Eighth grade will continue to have three Spanish sessions during the week. Students are expected to have daily reviews of the material covered at school (15 minutes minimum) to keep the language learning ongoing. They are expected to complete regular weekly homework assignments and prepare for quizzes and vocabulary tests.

Through the year we will have larger projects to appreciate the cultural richness and diversity of the Spanish speaking community such as:

  • Celebrating Day of the Dead by creating an offering in the classroom to remember our ancestors. We will also attend the festival held by the Mexican Consulate for this celebration.
  • We will visit a Hispanic farmers market and have the chance to buy supplies for our cooking block.
  • A Puppet show for the kindergarten is the project that culminates our journey together. The students will prepare a story for young children as they remember their own childhood in kindergarten and recapitulate their time at WSA.

If you have any questions or concerns about the Spanish program, please email me .

Sincerely,

Catalina De Luna, Spanish Teacher at WSA

 

sra de luna with grade 8 DOTD

Handwork at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 8

The Handwork Curriculum at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Lisa Roggow.    Her loving care of the children is evident in these letters to parents of each grade.  

grade 8 lined bag

Greetings Grade 8 Parents:

I wanted to let you know a little bit about our plans for Eighth Grade Handwork.  In our array of handwork tools, the sewing machine is the most complex.  We work with it during eighth grade as the students learn about the industrial revolution; a practical demonstration of the incredible changes technology can bring.   It is always interesting to observe the children as they take their first turn on the machine.  Some of them go so cautiously that the machine barely runs, while others have lead foots and have difficulty stopping and staying on an even line.  They are steering with their hands, accelerating with one foot and learning to keep their fabric within the boundaries.  Add to this picture the fact that they must learn to anticipate when to stop and how to reverse and you will see why I often refer to sewing machine work as an early driver’s ed experience.

Our first project this year will be the last one you see- we will make a lined bag that will be used to keep our projects in for the remainder of the term.  This bag is a WSA tradition, and for good reason.  It has a fairly simple construction, allowing students who are new to the sewing machine to learn how to sew straight lines, to keep an even 5/8” seam allowance, and to pivot.  In order to make the lining, they have to cut and sew an exact replica of their first piece so that the two fit together.  Sewing is completed by stitching two seams – one close and the other very close to the top edge, creating a casing for a drawstring.  Once this project is complete your child should be able to repair all those shorts and hoodies that have lost their drawstrings!

With the completion of the bag the children should have a basic familiarity with the machine and sewing seams, and begin to be able to visualize garment construction.  This will prepare us for our next project, pajama pants.  Skills sets introduced here include reading and following written instructions from a pattern, sewing accurate curves, and measuring to fit.

Once the pj bottoms are completed, the children will be allowed to select a final handwork project.  Choices include pieced pillow cases with French seams, decorative pillows, and skirts.   Depending on the student’s experience and expertise, they may select a more complex project not on this list.

The eighth grade has handwork every Friday afternoon. It has been my delight to have worked with many of your children since we leaned to knit together in first grade.  It is my hope that we both enjoy our time together this year, and that we bring strong focus and good intent as we create our last handwork pieces together.

Ms. Bulmer and I are very grateful for the opportunity to work with your children, and look forward to a wonderful eighth grade experience.    Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or concerns about the handwork curriculum.

Thank you,

Lisa Roggow, Handwork Teacher 

 

AUTUMN MIDDLE SCHOOL MAIN LESSONS at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

Adolescence is an expansive age. Throughout the autumn middle school students have been asked to extend themselves both in the variety and the depth of their studies. The approach of the holiday break is a time for culminating all the efforts made over the previous months, and the main lessons reflect that.

drawing in ml book

The sixth grade, for example, has just finished a writing block with a special focus on dialogue and style. One way of developing your own style is by experiencing someone else’s. Each student set the stage for a scene, drawn from history or other familiar subjects. The composition was then collected and typed up without naming the author. This was passed on to a second student who developed the rising tension. Following that, it was passed on to a third student, who wrote the climax. To supplement the element of dialogue, students worked daily on a recitation of Mark Antony’s oration at Caesar’s funeral, drawn from Shakespeare. At this time, the sixth grade has taken up the subject of Astronomy. Having focused earlier on the earth forces of Geology, they now turn their attention to the cold, clear constellations of autumn’s night sky.

The seventh grade students are also occupied with earth study, developing group reports for European Geography. The subjects are wide-ranging for each report, including biographies, current events, and artistic renderings of both physical and cultural geography. The block will close with a European “feast,” featuring food samples from many regions. In art, the students have explored perspective drawing, painting, and pastels over the autumn, and will now move into the careful copying of Renaissance portraits.

Eighth graders have finished their main lesson on the Civil War. As with the previous grade, they too developed group reports that included biographies of both an African-American and a spy, along with battlefield maps. Their current study is Solid Geometry, taught by Academe’s Sharon Annan. This subject combines the spatial thinking of geometric drawing with the linear thinking of algebra, and is something of a culmination of many years of Waldorf math. Additional subjects in math have included a study of the binary system, which is the language of computers, and an algebraic expression of the Pythagorean Theorem.

platonic solids

The students’ autumn efforts have yielded a bountiful harvest! This harvest, of course will become the seeds of future growth, and we look forward to what will unfold next.

~Jim McClurkin

6th Grade Teacher

jim mcclurkin

This article was originally printed in the December 2010 edition of the Garden Breeze newsletter of the Waldorf School of Atlanta.  

Thoughts for Summer from the Waldorf School of Atlanta

butterfly painting

Kindergarten:

As the school year ends the children are delighted with their new freedom. Life is filled with the warm sun shining down on us all. It is as if a burden of dark and cold has been lifted. It is time to be out, to shed clothes and shoes…to really feel the earth and grass on bare feet and connect with the light of the sun and stars. It is summer. Children have all the time in the world!

We parents are delighted when our children are happy and resilient. Children are more patient, tolerant, flexible, and happy when their life flows rhythmically. Rhythm isn’t a schedule. Schedules are goal oriented. Rhythm is life oriented. It is ebb and flow, again and again and again… with little variations on the way.

Follow this recipe to create your summer rhythm: repeating days, weeks, and traditions to make the summer season full, rich, and memorable. Even those of us who work can create days and weeks that have that summer feel.

*Take a few activities you love and that make it feel like summer such as:

Rolling in the grass, riding bikes, jump rope, swinging…

Swimming, grilling, working in the garden, blowing bubbles…

Walking to the park/lake/pool/creek, natural places to wade/play/build a dam

Concert in the park, camping in the back yard, hiking, making/eating popsicles…

Camping trip, hiking, visiting Grandma and Grandpa for a week, some summer camp days

 

Decide if these are daily, weekly, or seasonal activities…

*Add in daily/weekly activities such as chores that need to be done, grocery shopping, laundry, food prep, cleaning house, … Your children are such capable human beings. It is healthy for them to participate in the life of the family. It can even be a disservice to a child to always have things done for them.

* Downtime to do nothing! …Find beautiful stones and four-leaf clovers, Give your children time to breathe (and yourself too)! Give them the gift of time to get “bored”. It is actually healthy for your child to not know what to do. It takes an inner strength of will to pull one’s self out of that seemingly empty place. What a gift when the creative juices start flowing! How empowering!

*Combine and Alternate

Inside time/ outside time

Loud times /quiet times

Silly times/focused times = breathing in and out…breathing is healthy!

Regular meal times!

Sleep time: Kinder children still need to get those same 10-12 hours sleep each night and a nap/quiet time in the afternoon. Even on vacations children (young and old) need rhythm and sleep… and the adults too!

So, give your children time to feel the warmth of the sun on their skin, see the dust sparkle in the sunlight, smell new mown grass, hear the insects hum as they work…and breathe your days in and out… enjoy your summertime.

 

~Annamay Keeney

Kindergarten Teacher

bicycle

Grades 1-5:

As the summer months approach, the long days of summer seem like a dream come true. But after the first few weeks, many families struggle to find rewarding things to do with their children.  Of course there are wide range of camps available both at WSA and throughout the community but what else is there to do? Here are some fun, easy, and inexpensive ways to keep busy.

1. Become an investigative reporter – with a camera, students can take pictures of the world around them and make up stories to go with their pictures.

2. Gather up old greeting cards and create puzzles or collages.

3. Have your child make an obstacle course in the backyard and have the family take turns going through it. Who can complete the course in the fastest time?

4. Make a terrarium.

5. Find a place to volunteer with your child.

6. Invent board games

7. Explore making paper airplanes.

8. Create a sculpture with recyclable materials

9. Stargazing & story telling

10. Skip stones at the river

11. See a Shakespeare Play

12. Learn how to paddle a canoe

13. Hang and monitor a bird feeder

14. Celebrate a summer holiday (even if you make up your own)

15. Make Homemade Ice Cream!

Grades 6-8:

1. Encourage children to take on responsibility in areas of interest to them. (Volunteer at a veterinarian’s office, senior center or theatre.)

2. Physically challenge your children with activities like Outward Bound, hiking, white water rafting, rock climbing, water skiing or horseback riding.

3. Take them on an adventure with a purpose, i.e., not just a hike, but a hike to find the perfect camp site; not just a bike ride, but a bike ride to a lake for a swim.

4. Give them a job that will teach them to master a new skill (knot tying, bike repair, planning, shopping and preparing for a weekly dinner, building a camp fire, laying a stone path, tending a garden). Practical work will help them feel more competent.

5. Build a fort, shelter or tree house with your child.

6. Visit or volunteer on a farm (interactions with large animals help children learn how to adapt to another being’s needs).

7. Allow time for boredom. Let your child arrive at their own ideas for an activity, using imagination and initiative.

Often children have issues with focus and persistence in the face of obstacles. Encourage your child with activities such as these to help build their will, patience, motor skills, and sense of discipline.

 

This article originally appeared in the June 2011 issue of the Garden Breeze Newsletter of the Waldorf School of Atlanta.

bench and flower pot

Woodworking at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

 woodworking

From an early age children begin to express their will by exploring the use of their hands. It is with their hands that they begin to develop other faculties. Accomplishment and joy are the rewards achieved through the wisdom of each activity.

“To do, to be active, is Man’s noblest calling.”

Woodworking begins in the fifth grade. In this grade students experience the full process of woodworking, within which the children review botany, especially the various types of wood, and learn the use of hand tools and woodworking techniques. While working with wood, children’s senses are awakened, hands begin to strengthen, hand-eye coordination improves, and with repetition, their ability to sustain focus slowly increases. Patience and attention to detail emerge.

In the sixth grade, students learn to accurately use both ruler and compass to refine their measuring skills. They are expected to create projects using the sense of touch, an approach that allows them to express their feeling through manual arts. Students shape and form the object with the help of simple hand tools. Through hand-eye coordination in fabricating the object, the students develop the strength of hand and stamina of will necessary for personal growth. During the sixth grade year, students are also introduced to the history of woodworking. They are each assigned a research report and an oral class presentation on an aspect of this topic.

The grade seven woodworking curriculum and projects emerge from the students’ study of the ages of discovery and exploration. This year, there is an increased emphasis on the importance of rules and regulations, developing clearer communication skills, and becoming more independent and willing to explore new boundaries. Adolescent students are in search of clarity and truth, and they now meet the world around them by asking: “Why?” They desire and benefit from both mental and physical challenges. The projects this year focused on developing the students’ will forces, critical thinking, patience, team building and performance, and personal management of time.

In the eighth grade, students are able to experience the culmination of all their previously acquired woodworking knowledge and skills. They have become more acutely aware of the physical world around them and how they, as physical bodies, move within that world. In response to this maturation, the eighth grade project is selected both to challenge and expand the skills that the students have developed over their four years of woodworking. The project is layered with detailed processes and problem solving and requires each student’s consistent focus, keen accuracy, creativity, and most of all, patience. The eighth grade class is currently working with inlay patterns made from thin veneer. Some students are making journals covered with thin plywood and leather, others are building boxes with a plywood lid. In both projects the plywood holds the inlay design. The rich fiber and color of the veneer come to life as the student sands and buffs the surface with beeswax. These items will be available for your viewing in the woodwork
room on Grandparent’s Day.

~Francisco Moreno
Woodwork Teacher

wood bowl

This article was originally printed in the April 2013 Garden Breeze Newsletter of the Waldorf School of Atlanta.

Visit us online at www.waldorfatlanta.org

 

8th grade fundraiser

The 8th grade has begun raising funds for their trip in the spring. Last week’s sale was a hit. Besides, how can you not support them with signage like this?

Grade Eight

Grade Eight chalkboard