“If you’ve had the experience of binding a book, knitting a sock, playing a recorder, then you feel that you can build a rocket ship-or learn a software program you’ve never touched. It’s not bravado, just a quiet confidence. There is nothing you can’t do. Why couldn’t you? Why couldn’t anybody?”
Peter Nitze, Harvard and Waldorf Graduate and CEO and President at Martek Biosciences
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.
Gardening and Farm Program
“Garden work should be an obligatory addition to the lessons.”
At Cedar Springs all our Grades students participate in our gardening program. With the gardening teacher, they plant, dig, harvest and hear stories of nature. Through these actions, they develop an understanding of seasonal cycles, beneficial insects, tool usage, plant cultivation and food preparation. Their real work as farmers supports sensory integration and provides time for healthy movement. Gardening also helps the child learn how we are connected to each other and the Earth and to illustrate our dependence on others to provide the nourishing food we need.
Rudolf Steiner believed the human being is a musical being, and the making of music is essential in experiencing what it is to be fully human. Music in the Waldorf-inspired curriculum awakens and nurtures the deep inner life of the child. Song and rhythm is part of the Waldorf-inspired curriculum beginning in Kindergarten. Singing is incorporated throughout the grades. The pentatonic flute is introduced in first grade, followed by the recorder in third grade. Beginning in fourth grade, children traditionally choose a strings instrument.