The children are introduced to fairy tales from around the world. These stories not only set the central theme for the year, but they allow the child to embark on a journey of the soul. Such stories strengthen the moral lives of children, so that later, after these pictures have lived in them for many years, this strength and guidance will help them to deal with the challenges life brings to them.
To put Waldorf education in context: it is through the stories that are told daily that the foundations of Literacy, Numeracy and Life Skills lessons are based.
Literacy through characters
Where numeracy is more than just numbers
A lot of focus is placed more on plus and minus and the bonds of numbers up to 30 are practiced. By drawing interesting new shapes and geometrical stars (form drawing), the children learn basic geometry.
Life skills nurtured through colour, music and handwork
Another new concept to the Class 1s is the recorder and the process of learning to play and read music. The children learn to play the pentatonic recorder by mimicking the finger movements of the teacher, developing their finger dexterity as well as teaching them the rhythm of music. Recorder becomes more formal as the children grow older, and by Grade 6 they are able to play the recorder by reading sheet music.
Visual arts also play an important role in Class 1 as children experience colour and art through painting and drawing. They work with beeswax crayons and learn to draw pictures by copying the teacher and creating an object or animal drawn from whole shapes rather than simply filling in outlines. Painting presents many “wow” moments when the children see how colours are created by mixing them on the paper, rather than simply painting a picture.