The Curriculum of the Steiner School - Class 2

Notes and Lesson Plans

Lowercase Letters
updated July 10, 2022


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 methods. Because this is an ongoing site documenting my curriculum planning 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 second grade year. Enjoy!



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Lowercase Letters
for Class 1/2


2-DAY ONLINE COURSE:
Waldorf Main Lesson Block Planning: Lowercase 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. Just $30.00!



Rationale

Traditionally, Waldorf schools have taught the Capital Letters in first grade and the Lowercase Letters in second grade.

Personally, I like to do this topic as the bridge between first grade and second grade.

Some classroom teachers and homeschooling families prefer to teach these both in first grade, both so that children can read more environmental print (not much is written in completely uppercase letters) and so that the correct pathways for forming the letters can be established as early as possible. Children not taught how to form lowercase letters often invent their own incorrect methods, which are then extremely difficult to unlearn. Muscle memory forms quickly at this age!

When Steiner advocated for the teaching of letters via shape-pictures (you can find MUCH more about this in Teaching Language Arts in the Waldorf School: A Compendium of Excerpts From the Foundations of Waldorf Education Series collected by Roberto Trostli), he himself said that you cannot present every single letter in this way because it would take far too long.

In my classroom, I've chosen to present every uppercase letter with a shape-picture, and if you would like to do that as well with this block, I have given some notes below.

However, you could also group the letters into pathways with poetry that focuses on gestures and movement, and I've included those teaching notes in the Ruzuku course I created, which also contains videos for how to form all of the letters correctly in Script.

The poetry angle also works really well if you are introducing Script to older children who do not want a first grade-style lesson.

You can introduce Script at any age -- as soon as you decide your child's penmanship needs some major attention -- and you may decide to pair it with other topics that would be well-suited to the grade level your child is currently in, such as the Middle Ages and illuminated manuscripts.


Chancery Script

If you would prefer to purchase a book instead of taking the online course, I recommend


Putting Pen to Paper: Principles and Practice of Handwriting

by Melvyn Ramsden

However, I do believe that for this, being able to watch a video is helpful. I've made it a short weekend class, instead of my usual 5 day pacing, because I know that when you're worried about your child's handwriting, you want to get information quickly.


The Question of Fountain Pens

Rebecca Loveless, who trained me in Script (and offers courses on SWI as well), recommends a fountain pen because of the ease of flow of the ink and the weight of the pen, which sits nicely balanced in a child's hand. You don't have to push hard for it to make a mark! Forcing a pencil to write is tiring. These factors, plus the letter formation pathways themselves, make Script the healthiest most ergonomic of style of writing, causing the least fatigue for the child.

If you are using fountain pens I use and highly recommend

Pilot Fountain Pen Medium Stainless Steel Nib - Metropolitan Collection (silver, gold, black)

Pilot Fountain Pen Medium Stainless Steel Nib - Retro Pop Collection (super fun colors)

refill fountain pen ink cartridges - black


If you are beginning Lowercase Letters in first grade, or you feel your child is still working on regulating pressure and will find a fountain pen frustrating (bent nibs, pools of ink on the paper) then another option is Pentel Energel pens. These are what I am using in my classroom with the first & second graders; I move my third graders up to fountain pens.



Lesson Planning

"Letters form as the rain falls and as the wind blows, but NOT as the grass grows."


Introduction

introduction to Chancery Script (the teacher must be trained on this beforehand)

explain origins of terms "uppercase" and "lowercase" and "capital"

look at capitals in interior photos of Rudolf Steiner's First Goetheanum

show a vintage wooden case for movable type

read Johann Gutenberg and the Amazing Printing Press by Bruce Koscielniak

read The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane by C.M. Millen

color illuminated letters from Colour Your Own Medieval Alphabet


Teaching Script

Emblem < u >

demonstrate how to form all of the lowercase letters in emblem < u >


Emblem < n >

demonstrate how to form all of the lowercase letters in emblem < n >


Single Downstroke

demonstrate how to form all of the lowercase letters the single downstroke family


Diagonal Downstroke


demonstrate how to form all of the lowercase letters in the diagonal downstroke family


Sibilant Pair

demonstrate how to form both of the lowercase letters in the sibilant pair



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