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.
Dear Grade Six Parents:
I am writing to share some information about this year’s sixth grade handwork curriculum.
My goal for this year is to infuse the children with knowledge of fine needle work, which requires a completely different skill set than the work done in other grades and challenges the children to hone their fine motor skills very precisely. In review: fourth grade’s cross stitch provided them with the opportunity to sew rhythmically, cross the midline repeatedly, learn pattern recognition and introduce a small needle. Now, two years later, they are flying without the net as there are no well -placed holes showing them exactly where to put the next stitch. They must observe their work carefully, estimate where the stitch should go, and follow that inner directive and sightline.
Towards that end, we will begin the year with needle books. This practice piece is made from plant dyed felt, which is a forgiving fabric and allows us to learn how to begin, master the stitch, end the thread and hide ends. The felt can handle many “missteps” and lends itself well to a smooth and even appearance. Most of the work on the needle book will be done in backstitch, which produces a continuous line of straight stitches. Backstitch is also the primary stitch used in their major project for the year.
That project is a herd of bison. This is a project Carol and I have specially created for your children.
We will be working closely with each child to assist in drawing a bison picture, from which we will draft individual patterns. We will carefully preserve the childlike nature of the drawings so that the finished projects will reflect the person who made it. After drafting the patterns we will transfer them to fabric and begin sewing. This will prove to be a tricky bit of work, because it involves adding a seam allowance to the drawing and visualizing how the pieces should come together to make a three dimensional object. The focus on realism and accurate measurement supports the work Mr. Smith will be presenting in geometric drawing.
As with last year’s sock project, bison will take up the remainder of the year. Hopefully the children will enjoy watching their drawings come to life. As we go, we will learn more about the animal. Each child will be responsible for a brief oral presentation (2 minutes) on some aspect of the bison. The children will receive handwork grades this year. The grade is based on the effort they exhibit, participation, including assisting in preparation and group clean up, and participation in the report project.
Please email me if you have any questions about our handwork curriculum for this year.
Lisa Roggow, Handwork Teacher