The Curriculum of the Steiner School - Class 3

Notes and Lesson Plans

Old Testament Stories
updated May 4, 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.

Old Testament Stories
for Class 3

Mission Statement - Consulting Services - Lending Library

beautiful chalkboard drawing

Why Old Testament Stories for this age? Read the article Being Nine Years Old for a nice clear explanation.

I have taught this block for many, many years, starting as a Sunday School teacher (when my daughters were all still toddlers and preschoolers and I was first researching the Waldorf method and deeply yearning to be a Waldorf grades teacher, I began to teach at the church in the Sunday School program just so I could teach the Waldorf OT block), and so therefore my notes for this topic are all scattered over the place. I hope to compile all of them on this page!

If you have suggestions, please contact me!

Please note that I spent much of our time in the first block carefully painting all of the days of Creation. Because of this decision, we only did Creation and The Fall in Block One; Cain and Abel through Joseph and his 12 sons in Block Two; and then had to get the remainder of the Old Testament done in a bit of a hurry in Block Three. If you follow Jacob Streit's pacing, you would instead end Block One with Noah's Ark; cover Abraham through David in Block Two; and have plenty of time to do the prophets in Block Three at your leisure.

Main Text

I recommend Jakob Streit's collection of retellings of these stories, and I also use a lot of picture books (which should be available at your library).

Jakob Streit's work is wonderful and has the added advantage of being available for FREE online at the Online Waldorf Library (And There Was Light, Journey to the Promised Land, and We Will Build a Temple). Another handy option if you're looking for something free and online is Jesse Lyman Hurlbut's Story of the Bible, available at The Baldwin Project aka

If you only have time to do ONE block, or if you have concerns with the Old Testament stories being overly patriarchal, I highly recommend Daughters of Fire: Heroines of the Bible by Fran Manushkin.

One more suggested resource: The Timechart of Biblical History: Over 4000 Years in Charts, Maps, Lists and Chronologies. Not essential. But fascinating!

Main Lesson Book Pages / Chalkboard Drawings

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

Art Projects

Learning About the World Through Modeling: Sculptural Ideas for School and Home
by Arthur Auer (grades 1-8)
AVAILABLE FREE as a download from the Online Waldorf Library

Creative Pathways: Activities that Strengthen the Child's Cognitive Forces
by Elizabeth Auer (grades 1-8)
AVAILABLE FREE as a download from the Online Waldorf Library

Painting in Waldorf Education

by Dick Bruin and Attie Lichthart (grades kindergarten - high school)
AVAILABLE FREE as a download from the Online Waldorf Library

Painting and Drawing in Waldorf Schools: Classes 1-8 by Thomas Wildgruber has several watercolor paintings:

  • Creation, page 160
    my blog post How to Do Waldorf Watercolor Painting has my series of paintings of Creation from a 6 day watercolor workshop I took with Gail McManus in 2016 - highly recommended!
  • The Garden of Eden, page 161
  • The Fall, page 162
  • Expulsion from the Garden, page 163
  • The Offerings of Cain and Abel, page 164
  • The Descendants of Cain, page 165
  • Young Noah Destroys the Idol, page 166
  • Noah's Ark, page 167
  • Saving Abraham from the Fire, page 168
  • Abraham and Isaac, page 169
  • Abraham and the Three Men, page 171
  • Angels: Jacob's Dream
  • Joseph the Dream Interpreter: The Baker and the Butler
  • Joseph the Dream Interpreter: Pharaoh's Dream, page 173
  • Moses in the Basket of Rushes, page 174
  • Moses and the Burning Bush, page 175
  • Moses on Mount Sinai: The Dance around the Golden Calf, page 176

List of Stories (from the first time I taught this as a main lesson)

Block One

Stories #1 - #6 "The Days of Creation" (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6)

Story #7 "The Fall" (And There Was Light, pp.31-34)

Block Two

Story #1 "Cain and Abel" (And There Was Light, pp.35-44)

Story #2 "The Sons of Cain" (And There Was Light, pp.45-49, 74-81)

Story #3 "Noah and Methusala" (And There Was Light, pp.85-93)

    watercolor painting from Wildgruber, "Young Noah Destroys the Idol," page 166

Story #4 "Noah and the Ark" (And There Was Light, pp.93 to the end)

    Here is a chalkboard drawing for building the Ark

    I love the image of the snails showing up last and barely making it before the doors closed... so I think a snail painting would also be a fun way to go!

    You could also do three MLB pages for loading the Ark, using illustrations of each of the categories of animals which Noah's sons gathered - I have LOTS of animal pictures on my Pinterest board for Man & Animal so look there for plenty of inspiration!

    I've just picked one example from the many illustrations which I like:

      Japheth appears with bulls, horses, and other ruminants

      Ham appears with lions, other carnivores, and small animals
      field mice

      Shem appears with eagles and other birds
      barn owls

    Here is a chalkboard drawing for the Flood
    and a simple but dramatic watercolor painting

    A beautiful idea for a mosaic project

    Here is a chalkboard drawing for the first rainbow
    and some watercolor paintings of the first rainbow and the dove

    Noah's Ark

    by Jerry Pinkney

    Noah's Ark in Paper and Card by Charlotte Gerlings
    I don't like the animal templates but several years ago we made an absolutely amazing Ark based on these patterns and directions! Reading the instructions and diagrams, measuring according to the scale provided on the templates, and assembling the structure is perfect work for the third grade child (aka Linear Measurement / Housebuilding). We used scrapbook papers in different textures for the exterior (wood planks, cork, roof tiles, etc.)

    Noah's Ark Out of Cardboard Step-by-Step blog post with my pictures

    It is most common to use modeling beeswax for the animals. Older children could make needle felted wool animals. By older children I specifically mean middle school age or older, if you are homeschooling in a family with older siblings who would like to be involved.

    WoolPets makes a raven needle-felting kit
    which would be perfect for the Ark, as well as kits for MANY other animals! When I made the Ark the first time, I just bought one of every kit. (There were fewer back then.)

    Or choose a book filled with felted animal patterns. These two are our family's favorites:

    It's good to have a rainbow silk to hang over the Ark if you create a display, or to have it as a prop if you put on a play. The Online Waldorf Library contains a FREE class play script by Eugene Schwartz for "Noah and the Flood" (PDF). My class put on this very play one year!

    Even if you can't perform the actual play, reading it around the table as a family is still fun.

Story #5 "The Tower of Babel" (Journey to the Promised Land, pp.7-20)

Story #6 "Abraham" (Journey to the Promised Land, pp.20-30)

    I wanted to do an illustration for the stars being without number, so we spatter-painted white paint onto navy blue construction paper using an old toothbrush and an old window screen. They came out beautifully!

    Here is a chalkboard drawing of Lot's wife looking back

Story #7 "Isaac" (Journey to the Promised Land, pp.31-43)

Story #8 "Jacob and Esau" (Journey to the Promised Land, pp.44-58)

Block Three

Story #1 "Joseph" (Journey to the Promised Land, pp.59-67, 67-81, 82-93)

Story #2 "Moses" (Journey to the Promised Land, pp.93-102, 102-114, 114-128)

Story #3 "Joshua" (Journey to the Promised Land, pp.129-136)

Story #4 "Saul and David" (remainder of Journey to the Promised Land)

Story #5 "Solomon" from We Will Build a Temple

Story #6 "Elijah" and "Tobias" from We Will Build a Temple

    chalkboard drawing for Elijah

    we actually ended up not doing the story of Tobias
    we did Elijah (pp.19-25), Isaiah (pp.33-35), and Jeremiah (pp.37-4) all in one day

Story #7 "Isaiah" and "Jeremiah" from We Will Build a Temple

Story #8 "Daniel" from We Will Build a Temple

Story #9 "Esther" from Let's Do a Play! by Colin Price

    the story of Purim

    class play script for "Esther, Queen of Persia" pp. 53-77

    Purim Hamantaschen with Prune Filling Recipe
    This recipe is a bit of a time commitment, FYI. But delicious!

    It worked best for me to cover the cookie sheets with heavy duty aluminum foil, instead of parchment paper. I pureed the prunes in their cooking liquid in the blender to make the filling. Instead of rolling out the dough between two sheets of wax paper, well-floured, and then using the floured rim of a drinking glass to make the circle and then try to get the circle of dough off the wax paper with a spatula -- which didn't work at all -- I floured my fingers and used a spoon to scoop the dough straight out of the mixing bowl (keep the dough in the fridge to chill between batches) and then pressed the spoonful of dough into a 1/4 thick circle directly onto the cookie sheet. Then after putting the filling in the center of the dough, I re-floured my finger tips and shaped the dough into the three cornered hat.

    I thought it would be pretty to do artwork of a black night sky with just the bright morning star, but Becca chose to draw a vertical line down the center of her page and draw the gallows before & after. Haman building them and thinking gleefully about how he would hang Mordecai, and then Haman hung on his own gallows.

    Esther approx 473 BC

    chalk pastel for Esther

    quote from Esther 4:14

    Queen Esther the Morning Star

    by Mordecai Gerstein

    Esther's Story

    by Diane Wolkstein - the art in this book is gorgeous but I prefer Mordecai Gerstein's retelling, which I think is easier for children to follow

Story #10 "Nehemiah" and "Jonah" from We Will Build a Temple

    Nehemiah approx 445 BC

    chalkboard drawing for Jonah and the whale

    chalk pastel for Jonah and the whale

    The Book of Jonah

    by Peter Spier - has a really helpful map of the region in the back of the book

    also helpful, The Timechart of Biblical History: Over 4000 Years in Charts, Maps, Lists and Chronologies

    I like showing this at the end of the block, when the children can look back and see all the stories they're familiar with

    Jonah and the Whale puzzle from the Buried Blueprints series
    (kids puzzle with 165 pieces)

      The wonderful "Buried Blueprints" book by Albert Lorenz contains artwork originally created for a puzzle series. The original puzzles (Bepuzzled) are better quality than the reprints and are well worth tracking down. The adult puzzles are 1000 pieces, but a few designs were released as kids puzzles with 165 pieces. Try searching for "buried blueprints bepuzzled" or "buried blueprints bepuzzled kids" and see what you can find on eBay.

      If your family likes puzzles, there are several from the Old Testament Stories. These are available in 1000 piece versions:

      The Garden of Eden

      Noah's Ark

      The Tower of Babel

      King Solomon's Mines

    when I taught Sunday School we used wool roving and bubble wrap and wet felted an enormous gray whale, the size of our entire chalkboard, with white curly roving for the spout, and we made a little felt Jonah to fit in its mouth

    after reading the end note from Peter Spier's book (at the end of the story on day 1), read chapter 17 from A Child's History of the World when reviewing the story on day 2

    Becca drew a huge fish with a background of water and put bullet points about the story of Jonah inside the fish

Story #11 "Heliodorus" and "Job" from We Will Build a Temple

    quote from Job 5:9

    For her MLB page, Becca drew 10 little gravestones and the summary of the story of Job above them.

    When I did this block again in 2020 I debated over this story for a long time and finally just did not do it because it is so strong. But chronologically there is interesting evidence that it happened much earlier in the Old Testament, and should probably go before The Binding of Isaac. I can't see, though, having it be THAT early in the block since it really is hard on children! Jakob Streit saves it for the end of book 3. Imagine if it wasn't. First Adam and Eve get kicked out of the Garden of Eden, then nearly everyone on Earth drowns in a huge flood, then Lot's wife turns to a pillar of salt because she looked over her shoulder, then 10 of Job's children die for no reason, and then Abraham gets ready to kill his son Isaac. Harsh!

      "Job's length of his life (he lived 140 years after his trials ended, 42:16) is similar to that of Terah (205 years), Abraham (175 years), Isaac (180 years), and Jacob (147 years). Also, the writer measured Job's wealth in terms of his livestock, which is how Moses evaluated the wealth of Abraham and Jacob (1:3; 42:12; compared to Gen 12:16; 13:2; 30:43; 32:5). Thirdly, the Sabeans and Chaldeans (1:15, 17) were nomads during the patriarchal period, but not later. Finally, the Hebrew word for "piece of silver [money]" (qesitah; 42:11) is found elsewhere only in connection with Jacob (Gen. 33:19)."

Story #12 "Judas Maccabeus" from We Will Build a Temple

ALL of My Blog Posts from Teaching This Topic
(includes the second time I taught this as a main lesson)

Other Suggested Resources

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