“What we learn with pleasure we never forget.” ~ Alfred Mercier
One of our favorite aspects of the Waldorf preschool teaching approach is introducing a topic by means of a story. It is such a great way to spark a child’s interest and to invoke their imagination from the very start. It creates a perfect foundation for further study of the subject. This is something we try to use as much as possible in all our curriculums, whether we are learning about birds, wolves, or alphabet letters.
And so today I wanted to share with you how this approach is implemented by our wonderful teacher Adriana Carlson in her letter lessons – that are very loved by all the children at the school.
Adriana’s lessons usually take place in the afternoon, after the children get to spend the first half of their day in the forest exploring and playing. After they return to the school cabin for a bit of rest from active play that is when our lesson takes place, followed by more free play and then an art project. During the warm weather the lesson along with lunch and art activities all take place outdoors. During the cold part of the year, we get cozy by the fireplace inside the school’s cabin.
Bringing arts to learning of letters
“When children draw or do rudimentary painting, the whole human being develops an interest in what is being done. This is why we should allow writing to develop from drawing.” ~ Rudolf Steiner (founder of Waldorf education)
One of the fundamental principals Rudolf Steiner (the founder of Waldorf school system) put forth was the importance of including “lively arts” at each step of the learning process in order to involve feeling, thinking and doing in child’s learning experience.
These lively arts include movement, music, speech, drama, painting, drawing and modeling. And we try to make them a part of our lessons and curriculums as much as possible.
Each letter lesson includes an original little story written by Adriana, a drawing and some speech and/or drama activities. Throughout the lesson the children are welcome to just watch and listen, or follow the drawing process in their special letter journals and later take part in the story telling as well.
Each letter is worked on over a course of few days offering children repetition, an opportunity to practice their drawing/writing skills (if desired) and participate in the process of story telling.
Tomte’s tea party and letter “T”
So here I’m going to share with you a video Adriana has recorded at her home for the school’s children during COVID-19 school break.
While it is not an in-person lesson, it gives you an insight of how creative and beautiful this approach is.
Don’t rush, don’t stress
In closing, I wanted to share with you Why Waldorf Works: From a Neuroscientific Perspective by Dr. Regalena “Reggie” Melrose. The article talks about brain development and the importance of not pushing the academics too early.
Create imaginative ways to learn new things, but don’t feel let down or frustrated if your great and marvelous ideas sometimes just don’t click with your child. We go through that both at home and school on a regular basis.
The time will come when your child is ready! And in the meantime, read stories together, good ones and lots of them. Let him or her have the best childhood possible, full of imagination, free play and lots and lots of hours spent running wild through the woods! Not only it will make them happy, but it will also lay foundation for their future success according to numerous studies.