The Curriculum of the Steiner School - Class 1

Notes and Lesson Plans

Capital Letters
updated August 19, 2023

Recorded here is my own personal collection of articles, resources, favorite links, teaching ideas, and lesson plans. It encompasses many years, from the very beginning of my experience studying and learning about Waldorf to the present time. People from all around the world visit my site and recommend it to others. Welcome!

This site records my journey. I hope my honesty is encouraging and helps break down some barriers that may prevent people from trying Waldorf ideas. Because this is an ongoing site documenting my curriculum experiences and ideas, some materials are more Waldorf-y than others. Please feel free to take what you like and leave the rest.

This page has helpful links and LOADS of free resources to help you plan your first grade year. Enjoy!

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Capital Letters
for Class 1

Waldorf Main Lesson Block Planning: Capital Letters

Join a community of fellow homeschoolers planning this exact same main lesson block for plenty of help and support. This course is aimed at homeschoolers who are already familiar with the Waldorf method, but would appreciate extra feedback and encouragement in planning this block.

Make friends and ask specfic questions of an experienced Waldorf homeschool teacher and consultant as you work through this inspiring, do-able, step by step course. Lifetime access. Just $30.00!

Pinterest - Renee Schwartz
My curated collection of visuals! Browse sample main lesson book pages, watercolor paintings, chalkboard drawings, etc. for Capital Letters. EXCELLENT source for LOTS of illustrations!

Capital letters are customarily done in first grade, with lowercase letters following in second grade.

book illustration
S - Swan

chalkboard drawing
R - River

Wordless Picture Books blog post

Rebus Picture Books blog post

FREE eBooks at the Online Waldorf Library
Excellent resource! Published Waldorf curriculum books provided here in PDF format for you to download, keep, and read... for free!

Sample Lessons and Free Curriculum

Other Helpful Links

My Older Notes!

Books to Buy

You only really need one book for this block, which is Teaching Children Handwriting: Historical, Developmental, and Practical Aspects of Writing by Audrey McAllen. However, in certain situations, you may want others. If you would like a picture book which contains illustrations for all of the capital letters, you may like Living Alphabet by Famke Zonneveld (now called The Waldorf Alphabet Book) and L M N O P and All the Letters A to Z by Howard Schrager and Bruce Bishof. Or, if you're looking for a chapter book and for all of the letters to be presented through a container story, go for The Wise Enchanter: A Journey Through the Alphabet by Shelley Davidow.

new blog posts:
LMNOP vs The Wise Enchanter

The Tiptoes Lightly Alphabet Book

A wall-size set of alphabet cards featuring the illustrations from L M N O P, each with a poem on the back, is also available. Find them at A Child's Dream Come True or Lemon Tree Press for $24.95.

These cards are beautiful!
So are the clever Colorful Letter Building Puzzle Blocks from Nova Natural!

However, ALL you really need to teach the alphabet is your imagination! Simply tell a story and then illustrate it for your child -- within the illustration your child will find the shape of the letter.

The front cover of Putting the Heart Back into Teaching: A Manual for Junior Primary Teachers by Stanford Maher and Yvonne Bleach shows uppercase and lowercase illustrations for N = needle,
T = tree, G = goose, D = dragon, H = hut, C = cave, S = swan, and M = mountain. The back cover shows K = king, F = fish, J = jester, and B = bear.

If you wish to teach this topic the traditional way, with Grimm's Fairy Tales, I recommend Barbara Dewey's excellent book Waldorf Reading for Homeschoolers. She gives a fairy tale for each letter, along with the corresponding page number (so helpful!) in the Pantheon edition of Grimm's.

The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales
Pantheon edition

If your child has already learned his/her alphabet -- or is able to read and you want to do it again in the Waldorf way -- I recommend The Wise Enchanter: A Journey through the Alphabet by Shelley Davidow as a bedtime storybook. This wonderful story takes a narrative form and the children discover each letter along their journey and enter it into a Magic Book (much like a main lesson book). Black and white pencil illustrations are included for each letter.

I made some unconventional choices for our letters. I also taught them in pairs, using concepts and stories that went together.

    W = worm. U = underground.
    T = tower. B = bubbles.
    H = house. Y = yak.
    S = stars. O = otter.
    X = xylophone. P = parrot.
    E = elephant. M = mountain.
    L = ledge. D = dragon.
    R = river. N = net.
    F = feather. G = goose.
    K = king. Q = queen.
    V = valley. C = cave.

My blog posts from teaching this topic (2016 & 2018):

Here were my planning notes from 2016, after my first tutoring student, for the remaining letters:

    Y is for Yak ("On the Menu," p.67, Phonic Rhyme Time)
    H is for House

      There's a lovely illustration of a House with two chimneys in Fairy Tales ("The House That Ate Mosquito Pie") by e.e. cummings. I find it difficult to choose between that story and "The Three Little Pigs" from English Fairy Tales by Flora Annie Steel (link is to a free copy of the story at The Baldwin Project / Either way, I'd love to have us paint and stamp bricks to make the shape of a two-chimney H house on paper, using the little bricks made by Teifoc.

    R is for River
    N is for Net

    O is for Otter
    S is for Stars

      In keeping with the ocean theme, S can also be for Seahorse, if you use the cover illustration from Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle. But Shooting Star (from LMNOP) goes very well with the Otter story as well: A Lot of Otters by Barbara Helen Berger.
      A round O Otter face with a nose and whiskers would be perfect and adorable.

      You could also choose S is for Snake, either with BabyLit's The Jungle Book illustration of Kaa, or with Denise Fleming's In the Tall Tall Grass. Fleming illustrates her books with handmade paper scenes, arranging the colorful pulp on the mold and deckle while it is still wet. This would be fun and easy to do for a snake.

    M is for Mountain
    E is for Elephant

    F is for Feather
    G is for Goose

    X is for Xylophone
    P is for Parrot

      Get out all the musical instruments! A lovely loud and noisy story for this is The Horrendous Hullabaloo by Margaret Mahy. It has wonderful illustrations and lots of alliteration for P.

    K is for King
    Q is for Queen

      Again, you could find dozens of classic stories for this pairing. You could also stick J is for Jester here too, or P is for Prince. I am fond of The Queen Who Couldn't Bake Gingerbread by Dorothy Van Woerkom. Baking would definitely be fun for this story. Or, you could make wonderful-smelling Gingerbread Play Dough.

    V is for Valley
    C is for Cave

      I love The Rainbow Goblins as a choice for this Valley / Cave pairing! And it would be so wonderful to do a dyeing project. You could also put L is for Ledge here too.

    L is for Ledge
    D is for Dragon

    I is for Icicle
    J is for Jump & Joy

      Another fun baking activity with Sun Bread by Elisa Kleven (recipe in the back)!
      Or add in "D is for Door into his Den" with Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson.

    A is for Asparagus
    Z is for Zucchini

      I love the idea of ending this block with A and Z as a pairing! I think at this point you can simply say, today we are going to do the first and last letters of the alphabet:
      A and Z. Your child will know by now what is going on. And there are so many wonderful alphabet books you can read and enjoy to end this block, or series of blocks. I particularly think that A is for Asparagus / Z is for Zucchini is the way to go, illustrating the letters using vegetables, with Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert.

      This book is not only beautifully illustrated, and fun (its premise may set you and your child on a journey of eating a food starting with each letter A to Z), but it is a wonderful choice as well because Lois Ehlert helpfully wrote all of the fruit and vegetable names in all capital letters AND then again in all lowercase letters, providing excellent practice in reading the capital letters your child has just learned and serving as a transition to the lowercase letters of second grade.

      *NEW* Another fun option for ending with the letter A is chapter 5 from The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne called "In Which Rabbit Has a Busy Day, and We Learn What Christopher Robin Does in the Mornings."

All of the above books are great fun, but Bembo's Zoo is a truly unique alphabet book!

"The Bembo typeface is one of the most elegant of the classic typefaces, and its clean, graceful lines inspired the artist to use the letters in a wholly new way. From antelope to zebra -- with such exotic beasts as iguanas and narwhals in between -- this menagerie of animals has been created with only the shapes of the letters in each animal's name.

Children will have fun playing "I spy" with the letters in each picture, and adults will admire the sophisticated art and sleek design of this sumptuous book."

P.S. I really love the idea of J is for Jellyfish, and I can totally picture drawing the bottom of the bell and all those tentacles swinging down. A Beautiful Way to Do Jellyfish Paintings blog post

But I just can't find another letter to put with it... and Jumping for Joy is such a nice thing to act out!

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