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December 28, 2006



Donna, this makes so much sense! I have not been doing anything specifically with Daisy, now 6, and yet every time Mara and I sit down to work, she wants to do (duh) what we're doing on our papers! So she struggles to make fourth grade work out of her Kindergarten body. This is a much-needed reminder that I need to paint with her and make things for her to imitate that are within her skill level and age range and are appropriate for her. Thank you!


What a great post! I am homeschooling two ten year-olds who have, until this year, been in a Waldorf school and we are struggling with the other side of this issue. I think their guidance through the nine year change was lacking and now I am working hard to help them find their "artistic voice" through various exercises such as contour drawing and mixed media. We struggle, too, with individual thoughts and idea formations when it comes to lesson time because they wait (like eager little birds!) for me to spoon feed them each paragraph. Slowly, slowly it's coming along. I can understand and support the philosophy for this type of teaching during the younger years but would like to add that I think helping children through the transition is key to developing initiative and critical thinking. There is no magical switch that takes them from one side to the other.

Deborah Gillespie


Thank you so much for this! You have a wonderful gift for explaining things. Anyone ever tell you you would make a great teacher?....
I was at a Waldorf homeschooling conference a couple of summers ago and the art teacher taught us a "painting lesson" the way she would paint with a young child. The discussion came up about having the children paint something specific, rather than just out of their imagination, and she expained that in the younger grades the art lessons are more about learning skills (ie in painting, beeswax modelling etc) and in the older grades it is more about seeing an expression of the child's own imagination, artistic ability etc. I believed her and understood what she was saying, but you have just explained to me WHY, and how it makes sense in keeping with the child's development. I actually said "Ah-ha!" out loud after reading your post!!

Thank you thank you!


I have a child in the third grade at a Waldorf school. He is 9 years old and is starting to mention that he isn't pleased with copying. This only happens when the drawing does not "fit" what his imagination is telling him. I am struggling with how to help him with this because I know that drawing is not a strong point of the teacher and I can see how the children may feel confined by this. When is it appropriate for the children to begin to develop their own imagination and give it merit and is it possible to thwart this natural transition by giving too much leadership and not enough freedom? Will the child "learn" that his ideas are not valuable if he is not encouraged or allowed to express them? From Rebeccas post it sounds like that could certainly be the case. Like reading each child will come to this point at a different time and how can each be met at hi or her needs in a group setting? Hopefully somebody has some insight - thanks so much


Dear Deborah,

I know you are a member of my discussion Forum, Waldorf At Home ( see Christopherus homepage if any of you are interested) and I wonder if you'd like to bring this question there? I don't respond to people's comments about my blog as life would become unmanageable(!!) but you could bring it there and probably get lots of feedback, both from me and from other Waldorf homeschoolers!

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