Notes for September
updated November 13, 2016

Preschool Co-op

Recommended Purchase:
Around the World with Finger Puppet Animals by Suzanne Down of Juniper Tree
56 color pure wool felt assortment from Magic Cabin

Story #1 (Sep 12 - Sep 22)

"The Little Wooden Mixing Bowl" from The Breathing Circle by Nell Smyth, page 124

Some nice follow-ups would be

    gathering a collection of all types of bowls from your kitchen and feeling the texture of each one

    making bread in a large wooden bowl

    making playdough and pretending it is bread (homemade playdough recipe, dyed with Kool-Aid)

    hand washing your dishes together after a meal and drying them carefully and putting them away lovingly and with real gratitude to them for all their hard work each day

    filling a bowl with playsilks and pretending it is dough and mixing up a pretend meal for your dolls

    bake anything together! oven pancakes, bread, cake...
    "The Joy of Baking" - an old issue of my preschool newsletter from 2005

    some fun story suggestions:

    care for a wooden salad bowl by sanding it smooth and finishing it with beeswax salad bowl finish

Story #2 (Sep 26 - Oct 6)

"Mother Earth and the Leaves" from Tell Me a Story ed. Louise deForest, page 56

Some nice follow-ups would be

    a nature walk to collect nuts which have fallen (here, the acorns are on the ground and the squirrels are busy collecting them) and any leaves which have begun to change color (here, the sassafras leaves are turning red and falling)

    leaf crafts from Earthways: Leaf Banners p.26, Leaf Crowns p.30, Nature's People p.31

    bird finger puppets from Around the World with Finger Puppet Animals, page 101

    a bird nest for the nature table

    a collection of needle felted leaves, green on one side and different autumn colors on the reverse

    puppetry with brown wool glove (as the tree) and the felted leaves lightly attached, pull off and let fall as the story is told

    make a simple wooden block puzzle by arranging four square wooden blocks together in the shape of a larger square, then taking an autumn leaf cookie cutter and holding it over the place where all of the blocks touch, painting inside the cookie cutter to make the shape of the leaf on the blocks, and then letting the paint dry

    let the children take golden and orange and red and bronze silks and dance around as the falling leaves... when the music stops they flutter gently down and curl up on the ground

Age-Appropriate Academics

Handout for Parents: "Math and Science in the Kindergarten" article by Lisa Gromicko (PDF)

Learning Basic Skills through Music (Hap Palmer)

Third Grade - General

A fantastic resource for chapter book and read aloud suggestions (your library will definitely have this book) is The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

Regarding the festivals of the Christian year, two books I think you would really enjoy are

Two more that are "maybes" (but I'm happy to lend them to you as well to see if you like them) are

Form Drawing & Handwork

You have Form Drawing in Grades One through Four and Painting and Drawing in Waldorf Schools

The first days of FD, as well as the entire sequence through 4th grade, are laid out VERY nicely in the first book and there's a section in the Wildgruber book (pp.69-78) on FD as well.

NO matter your child's age, you would begin at the beginning. I like window crayons, sand or salt trays, tracing the form in the air and tracing it on your partner's back with your finger, tracing it on the floor with your toe, and finding the form in your environment (especially the straight line and curve) and tracing it with your finger. The form on the page is really not the end goal. The idea is for you to move it so much that you completely internalize it. The form on the page is "movement made visible."

So even though it's sometimes called Freehand Geometric Drawing, it's more like "developing an internal sensitivity to the geometry inherent in our world." Obviously, this is too long of a title for an academic subject. FD is done intensively in the first three or four weeks of the school year (I would say figure 1 through figure 14e) and then is a once weekly special subject until they begin a formal study of Geometry.

For straight line and curve I also really like to roll beeswax candles (flat sheet of beeswax becomes a curve) and to begin finger knitting (flat piece of yarn becomes a curve).

My favorite story for introducing finger knitting is Red Berry Wool by Robyn Eversole.

Determining your child's temperament is important once you begin working with spirals. So you'll need to figure this out before you start week two. My blog post on The Four Temperaments may help!

Some notes on stories to accompany forms; I just write suggestions in the margins if I find a book I like.

There's no hard and fast science to choosing the story to accompany each form. It just needs to feel like a good fit to you. If it's authentic to you, it will be authentic to your child. I used to tell my class that we were doing form drawing and then read them a story and then say, "What form do you think I'm going to bring to you out of this story?" And they would delight in guessing what geometric shape we would be doing!

Form Drawing is done with stick beeswax crayons on large sheets of drawing paper or newsprint and I tape the paper up to a door or kitchen cabinet so that you are standing in front of it. You get one chance to make the form once you are ready to draw it. Keep them in a large portfolio in date order so that you can look back at the entire progression at the end of the year.

Learning to finger knit comes before learning to knit with needles. When you are comfortable with finger knitting, let me know and I'll give you some suggestions for beginning knitting projects! You can make wonderful round rugs with lots of colorful finger knitting and an old teeshirt and a hula hoop as the loom! We are doing this right now in homeschool. When kids get into finger knitting they really get into it, and you'll have yards and yards of the stuff. I once had a phlegmatic student who literally finger knit a MILE long piece of knitting. (P.S. Finger knitting is wonderful work to take in the car.)

Old Testament Stories

I'd like to do the lesson planning for this together. Please let me know if there's a time this weekend when we can talk for an hour or two. Remember that it's quality, not quantity, when choosing the stories, and that you also get February for the Old Testament.

Usually you would have a story on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. So for a month we are looking at 15 or 16. Add in February and it's approximately 30 stories in all (with 9 watercolor paintings for Creation). It'll be such fun. There are so many stories we could choose!

*NEW* Genesis: Secrets of the Bible Story of Creation by Rudolf Steiner

*NEW* Commentary on the Old Testament Stories by Roy Wilkinson

Main Lesson Block - Overview

    Tue Sep 13
      start Old Testament Stories (Head)
      hear story: Day One of Creation, paint void, paint light, candlemaking

      start Form Drawing (Heart)
      straight line & curve

      start Knitting (Hands)
      finger knitting

    Wed Sep 14 - add yesterday's story to MLB, hear today's story: Day Two of Creation, paint the firmament

    Thu Sep 15 - Form Drawing or Knitting only

    Fri Sep 16 - add Day Two to MLB, hear story for Day Three, paint oak tree by stream

    Sat Sep 17 - add Day Three to MLB, plant bulbs

    Tue Sep 20 - hear today's story: Day Four of Creation, paint the first sunrise

    Wed Sep 21 - add Day Four to MLB, paint the moon

    Thu Sep 22 - FD or Handwork

    Fri Sep 23 - hear today's story: Day Five of Creation, paint the birds & fishes

    Sat Sep 24 - add Day Five to MLB

    Tue Sep 27 - hear today's story: Day Six of Creation, paint the lion

    Wed Sep 28 - add Day Six to MLB, paint Adam

    Thu Sep 29 - FD or Handwork

    Fri Sep 30 - hear today's story: Day Seven of Creation, paint the rainbow

    Sat Oct 1 - add Day Seven to MLB, read Roy Wilkinson up to Noah's Ark
    Thomas Wildgruber's painting book does give example paintings for The garden of Eden (p.161), The Fall (p.162), Expulsion from the garden (p.163), The offerings of Cain and Abel (p.164), The descendants of Cain (p.165), and Young Noah destroys the idol (p.166). I don't care for most of the paintings in this series. I do quite like the painting of young Noah and ancient Methuselah standing before the gigantic idol made of clay, hammers in hand to smash it. This story is not in my Bible; it would likely be in a Jewish collection of stories from Genesis.

    Tue Oct 4 - hear today's story: Noah and the Ark, build Ark, start to make animals with modeling beeswax (continue throughout the week)

    Noah's Ark in Paper and Card

    Wed Oct 5 - add Noah and the Ark to MLB, hear today's story: Jacob and Esau, make lentil stew

    Thu Oct 6 - FD or Handwork

    Fri Oct 7 - add Jacob and Esau to MLB, hear today's story: Jacob's Ladder, paint Jacob's Ladder

    Sat Oct 8 - add Jacob's Ladder to MLB

    Mon Oct 10 - hear today's story: remainder of Roy Wilkinson book up to Israelites in Egypt (this will begin the 2nd OT block)

    Tue Oct 11 - add yesterday's story to MLB, decorate front cover, number pages, create Table of Contents, add information to the back cover (name, 2016-2017, age, #1)

"OT September 2016," a PDF document which also includes images of the paintings

A document I've compiled so that it is easy for you to have examples at your fingertips.
Please note that this is a LARGE file so it will take some time to download!

Recommended Purchase:
Stockmar Modeling Beeswax
Stockmar Block Beeswax Crayons
Stockmar Stick Beeswax Crayons
Stonex Self-Hardening Clay, White, 5 lb

For painting, you'll want to decide on paints, brushes, paper, and a painting board. My painting teacher recommended this book for learning about watercolor painting and it gives excellent painting exercises:

On page 14 there are a number of "technical remarks." The book recommends

    1. painting wet on dry
    2. painting at an easel or otherwise working with the painting board propped upright
    3. stretching the paper by taping it on a board all around with masking tape
    4. transparent watercolors such as Windsor & Newton paints: my teacher paints with lemon yellow, carmine red, vermillion, ultramarine blue, Prussian blue, mauve, and black
    5. good long-handled flat brushes of marten or sable hair, number 18 or 16
    6. keeping small piece of test paper nearby to test the colors you are mixing for your child
At the painting school I attended, there were many small ceramic dishes with the undiluted paint squeezed into them and allowed to air dry. When mixing up some color for painting with that day, we used other small dishes and wet the brush, scooped up some hardened concentrated paint, placed it in the new dishes and thinned with water until we reached the desired color. Golden yellow can be mixed by using a lot of lemon and a bit of a warm red. Many greens can be made by mixing yellow and blue depending on how much of each color and whether you use a warm yellow or a cool yellow, a warm blue or a cool blue. A tiny bit of black can also be added to your green or red. Etc.

My painting teacher Gail McManus ("Painting with Children in Waldorf Schools" article) STRONGLY recommends Arches watercolor paper. Specifically she recommends Arches bright white cold press 140 lb watercolor paper in the 22" x 30" size which can be found here. She buys the pack of 5 sheets of paper and cuts each one into fourths, making a sheet of 11" x 15" paper. The painting board you get (plexi for wet-on-wet, plywood or masonite for wet-on-dry) should be large enough to accommodate this with a little extra around it for the taping. It's about $5 per sheet of paper, so $1.25 for a quarter sheet.

If you decide you're interested in putting on a play, I have scripts for the following stories:

    from Plays for Grades One through Four by Michael Hedley Burton

      "Saul and David"

    from Let's Do a Play: Eleven Class Plays for Grades 1-5 by Colin Price

      "Esther, Queen of Persia"
      (this play takes place during the time of the Babylonian Captivity, when the Israelites were carried away by force to Persia, there to remain for many years... ever since then, the story of Esther is retold each year among the Jews, at the Feast of Purim)

      "David and Saul"

    from 25 Plays Inspired by Waldorf Teachers ed. by David Mitchell
    available for download FREE at the Online Waldorf Library

      "The Child of the Nile"

      "Daniel, Servant of the Lord"

      "Joseph, the Dreamer"

      "The Twelve Sons of Jacob"

    from Hawthorne Valley Harvest: A Collection of Plays for the Elementary Grades ed. by William Ward

      "Passover Celebration"

      "The Maccabees"

      "Joseph and His Brothers"


Just one more note... I have some favorite picture books for stories from the Book of Genesis. Your library may have them:

Don't forget... I'm happy to lend any of these titles to you if you would like to preview them for a month.

2 hours - phone call

1 1/2 hours - update webpage

2 hours - phone call

4 1/2 hours - update webpage, write main lesson block (PDF)


1/4 hour - preschool story suggestion

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