updated February 5, 2021
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.
Mission Statement - Consulting Services - Lending Library
for Class 1
5-DAY ONLINE COURSE:
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.
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.
S - Swan
R - River
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
BLACKBOARD SKETCHING book
FREDERICK WHITNEY (1908)
available online for free - with step by step directions and illustrations
How to clean block beeswax crayons
blog post - Celebrate the Rhythm of Life
I use Sweet Orange essential oil and a soft cloth. Children love this job!
Teaching Our Children to Read, Write, and Spell: A Developmental Approach Looking at the Relationship of Children's Foundational Neurological Pathways to their Higher Capacities for Learning
- a VERY important article to read... please do NOT skip it!
The Teaching of Writing by Eileen Hutchins
Learning to Read & Write in the Waldorf Schools (PDF) by William Ward
Teaching Capital Letters by Marsha Johnson
Discover Waldorf Education: Writing and Reading, part 1 video by Eugene Schwartz
Discover Waldorf Education: Writing and Reading, part 2 video by Eugene Schwartz
Great Fairy Tales for First Grade - notes for all the letters A through Z
blog post - The Parenting Passageway
Creating a Narrative
In his 1st grade book, Eric Fairman recommends
doing a narrative instead of a selection of fairy tales. For example, imagine a brave traveler wandering along a path in the forest when suddenly he meets a bear (B)
and is forced to take refuge in a cave (C). As he wanders through the mysterious caverns below the earth
he comes to a door (D). And so on!
Quality of Numbers
By the way, Fairman ends his travelers up on a beach (W = wave) and then has them discover a stick laid out on the sand
which contains a mysterious message. The next day there are two sticks laying side
by side. In this way he introduces the Roman Numerals (Mathematics is the third MLB in 1st grade, following
Form Drawing and Capital Letters).
The German Alphabet
Here are some notes contributed by Susanne W. If you are teaching the capital letters in German, and have notes of your
own, please share them!
b: Bear/Baer - The Willow Wren and the Bear/Der Zaunkönig und der Bär
f: Frog King/Froschkoenig - The Frog King/Der Froschkönig oder der
g: goose/Gans - The Golden Goose/Die goldene Gans
h: house/Huette - The Hut in the Forest/Die Waldhuette
k: king/König - King Thrushbeard/König Drosselbart
m: wall/Mauer - The Tinderbox by Hans Christian Anderson /Das Feuerzeug
p: princess/Prinzessin - The Tinderbox/Das Feuerzeug
t: table/Tisch - King Thrushbeard/König Drosselbart
Alexander and the Magic Mouse
by Martha Sanders
A, Y, C, M, W, R
How Waldorf Teaches Capital Letters
important new blog post
includes rationale plus Week One & Week Two lesson notes (2019)
Capital Letters: Week Three
Capital Letters: Week Four & Week Five
SWI Investigation of < sloth >
A Peek into the Classroom... Part I
A Peek into the Classroom... Part II
Shopping List for Capital Letters Block
My Older Notes!
Books to Buy
You only really need one book for this block, which is Teaching Children Handwriting 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
or L M N O P and All the Letters A to Z
(this one is my personal favorite) by Howard Schrager and Bruce Bishof, part of the Live Education! homeschool curriculum creative team.
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!
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
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
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):
- Capital Letters W and U
download lesson plan (PDF)
Note: My second time teaching this, we used a chocolate playdough recipe
for the worms, and the Stabilo Woody 3-in-1 chunky watercolor pencils for the underground tunnel.
This turned out really well! I drew the outline of the tunnel (a large U) on
watercolor paper and my student colored the ground around the U and the sky and grass above. I reminded him that the U had
to stay clean and clear (so that the mice could run through it). Then simply use a paintbrush and clean water to spread the colors around, so that you end up
with a colorful drawing with the underground
tunnel as negative space.
- Capital Letter T
Capital Letter B
download two-day lesson plan (PDF)
Note: My second time teaching this we did it in one day. We read the story, built tall towers out of blocks, and did experiments
with yeast (three jars: one with yeast, one with yeast + water water, one with yeast + warm water + sugar) as well as with
baking soda and vinegar. Then I told him that the baking soda and vinegar reaction was the one that was going to cause the bubbles
in his cake recipe and I sent the cake recipe home for them to make as a family. We finished the session with the Popped Bubble Art.
- Capital Letter Y
Capital Letters H and Y blog post
Note: My second time teaching this we were able to complete both parts of this letter pairing. I did reverse the order, however, to begin the lesson with with "H is for House."
- Capital Letters S and O blog post
- Capital Letters X and P blog post
- Capital Letters E and M blog post
- Capital Letters L and D blog post
- Capital Letters R and N blog post
- Capital Letters F and G blog post
- Capital Letters K and Q blog post
Note: "Gingerbreadiest Play Dough" dries out overnight, even
when put in an airtight container. Instead of trying to make
it last, take it outside for some Forest Putty play!
- Capital Letters V and C blog post
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
R is for River
N is for Net
O is for Otter
S is for Stars
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
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!