Handwork is an essential part of Waldorf-inspired curriculum, developing fine motor skills while encouraging persistence and perseverance. Handwork can help build the capacity for critical thinking and can promote neurological readiness for reading and writing. It encourages a living connection to math through practical use of numbers, patterns and measurement.
Starting with finger knitting in Kindergarten, children focus on working with their hands throughout the grades. First and second graders learn knitting and move on to crochet and spinning yarn in the third grade. Fourth graders practice cross stitch and move on to knitting in the round in fifth grade. These crafts are followed by embroidery and hand sewing, doll making and machine sewing in middle school. These crafts are not presented as a stand-alone task, rather, they are woven in to the curriculum. An underlying goal behind all these crafts is that students gain a real appreciation of the material as they create objects of practical use to the outside world.