The Curriculum of the Steiner School - Class 3

Notes and Lesson Plans

Fibers & Clothing
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 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 third grade year. Enjoy!

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Fibers & Clothing
for Class 3

Waldorf Main Lesson Block Planning: Fibers & Clothing

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!

Books to Buy

A very handy resource that includes all of the major natural fibers (I only have the final four "exotics" because I had the luxury of a four week block) is The Story Book of Science by Jean Henri Fabre (1917). This book is still in print, below, but you can also find its contents online for free at Gateway to the Classics. Use the money you save to purchase the now out-of-print but absolutely wonderful It's Fun to Know Why: Experiments with Things around Us by Julius Schwartz (1952). This book about the science of everyday materials -- wool, paper, glass, bread, iron, salt, rubber, and more -- has great information about wool to start you off, plus hands on experiments, and is full of other chapters that you will use in other main lesson blocks in the future!

The Story Book of Science

by Jean Henri Fabre

Although a bit aggravating because it jumps around so much in its topics -- and not always popular with modern children because of its old fashioned language -- Fabre's book also has many useful chapters. You could read the whole book as a read aloud, and do fiber projects as you come to the relevant chapters, or choose to read only these sections of the text.

    Wool - chapter XV

    Flax - chapter XVI

    Hemp - chapter XVI

    Cotton - chapter XVII

    Paper (includes flax, cotton, and hemp) - chapter XVIII

    Silk - chapters XXII, XXIII, XXIV

Pinterest - Renee Schwartz
My curated collection of visuals! Browse sample main lesson book pages, watercolor paintings, chalkboard drawings, etc. for Fibers & Clothing.

Waldorf Teacher Resources - Michael Seifert
Also be sure to check out his fiber arts "gems" (lesson plans) and "gallery." FREE!

If you are new to Waldorf, you might want to spend more time with wet felting, kntting, or crochet. In general, Wet Felting is introduced in the Kindergarten, Knitting is introduced in First Grade, Crochet is introduced in Second Grade, and Weaving is introduced this year in Third Grade. Naturally, you have to choose projects for this block which fit your family.

It is also a fun option to combine Linear Measurement with this block instead of with Housebuilding. In that case, you can build a loom! Kids Weaving by Sarah Swett has awesome instructions for building a lightweight portable loom out of PVC pipe!

There's information on clothing making (shearing, dyeing, weaving, sewing, etc.) all throughout Farmer Boy so many people just do it as a read aloud at some point during the third grade year.

What Do You Do When Something Wants to Eat You?

by Steve Jenkins

A Beetle is Shy

by Dianna Hutts Aston
boll weevil

My Initial Lesson Planning

ordered silkworm discovery kit with eggs, heat pack - $62.95 - 01/29
kit with eggs arrived 02/01

Sensory Discovery Jars: Prepare a series of opaque jars, each containing one of these nine beautiful natural fibers (wool, cotton, flax, hemp, silk, angora, cashmere, alpaca, camel). When we introduce a new one, pass it around and let the children feel it before revealing what the fiber is. Revisit the textures of all nine at the end of the block.

We are doing this block in February, which starts on a Friday. That next day is the monthly meeting of our local Spinners & Weavers Guild. So maybe suggest to families that they go to Fort Massac as a family field trip on Feb 2nd.

    Field Trip & Special Guest List

    Saturday, Feb 2 - Fort Massac State Park field trip - spinners & weavers
    from Southern Illinois Spinners and Weavers Guild

    Tuesday, Feb 12 - yarn store field trip

    Friday, Feb 15 - Anna O'Neil special guest - crochet
    from Etsy store MyLittleCrochetables

    Thursday, Feb 21 - Lorrie Killion special guest - spinning

    Friday, Feb 22 - Dr. Karla Gage special guest - hemp
    from SIUC Dept of Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems / Dept of Plant Biology

    Monday, Feb 25 - IL Master Gardener - planting cotton

    Tuesday, Feb 26 - group tour of Roaring Oak Alpaca Ranch

    Saturday, Mar 2nd - Fort Massac State Park field trip - spinners & weavers
    from Southern Illinois Spinners and Weavers Guild

    buy a spindle per child from Lorrie - $8 apiece - $56

Week 1 - Wool

    Story: It's Fun to Know Why by Julius Schwartz ("Wool: Fleece for Man" chapter)
    and science experiments:
    "Heat Preserver," p.63
    "A Blanket of Air," p.64
    "Stretch and Spring," p.66
    "Pull and Twist," p.68

    Story: Pelle's New Suit by Elsa Beskow

    Story: Mother Holle illus. by Anastasiya Archipova

    Story: The Six Swans illus. by Dorothee Duntze

    Feel and compare different textures (Romney, Corriedale, Merino, English Leicester, etc.)
    I get my wool fiber from A Child's Dream

    Look at raw fleece (my sister in law shears their sheep and provides raw fleeces for Waldorf homeschool families - prices vary based on weight - please contact me for more info)

    Washing our wool fleece, talk about lanolin, feel lanolin (Lansinoh)

    chapter from The Story Book of Science by Jean Henri Fabre (1917)

      XV - The Fleece

    Wet felting (review yurts from Housebuilding block), projects - pebbles, flowers, hats
    my kids have already done wet felted eggs, acorns, soaps, and geodes

    Wet Felted Flowers (PDF)

    Wet Felted Trumpet Flower Tutorial (YouTube video)

    Hat Felting Process on a Ball (YouTube video)
    Here is how to felt a hat on a ball with Morgan Velasquez in the Jack Rabbit Hollow

    for more projects (slippers, vases) I like Simply Felt

    The Art of Feltmaking has instructions for making felt masks, which could be fun!

    Drop spindle lesson
    Beginners Spinning Set from A Child's Dream

    Start clothing knitting projects according to ability
    (scarves, hats, two-needle mittens... and I am going to try to make my first pair of socks!)

    This book is great for a older sibling hanging out as part of this block... lots of fun patterns for Halloween costumes (I've made the Mermaid Dress-Up and the Firefighter Hat)

Week 2 - Wool

Week 3 - Cotton, Flax, Hemp, Silk

Week 4 - Angora, Cashmere, Alpaca, Camel


    Just learned that stinging nettle can be processed for fiber! I'm very excited to learn more about this. Here are the links a friend shared with me:
    Birte Ford

My blog posts from teaching this topic in February 2019:

Update: As of March 22nd, the silkworm eggs we received from The Silkworm Shop on February 1st have not yet hatched. We received silkworm eggs from a different source, Coastal Silkworms, on March 19th and are waiting to see if we have better results.

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