A beautiful world to experience
(I – VI classe)
Around the seventh year of age an important change occurs in the child: imitation forces gradually fade and the child begins to experience reality, mainly as images.
Teachers task is to stimulate learning mainly through will and feeling, leading the child in a creative path to awaken her thoughts towards an autonomous judgment ability.
In this way an artistic teaching is born, through which the child experiences the taste for what is beautiful and the teacher artistically organises times, rhythms and spaces of work, trying to draw from his own creativity and intuition.
This type of teaching is kept throughout all teaching subjects, from maths to sciences, from humanistic to purely artistic ones.
The class teacher welcomes children in grade I and leads them throughout the school cycle, becoming their reference and being recognised as a ‘beloved authority’. During the school cycle the class teacher, who teaches the main teaching subjects, works in team with the other teachers, specialists in specific fields (languages, eurythmy, manual work, music, gymnastics, carpentry).
From grade I onwards, the main didactic subjects are proposed one at a time in the first part of the morning as main lesson spanning few weeks, so to avoid fragmentation, supporting concentration and understanding abilities, allowing the child a greater mastery of the proposed contents.
Furthermore, within the lesson, each discipline is proposed so that the operational-practical, the affective-emotional and the cognitive aspects are developed rhythmically.
After main lesson, in the second part of the day, all other subjects (artistic, linguistic and motor) alternate, including some hours of Italian and maths exercising to integrate main lesson teachings.
Stated that “skillful fingers produce thinking skills”, manual work is a subject of practice from grade I, from knitting to crochet, as foundaments for what will be the middle years program of tailoring.
History is introduced in the first three grades through fairy tales, legends to grade 4 with Nordic mythology. In grade V, history starts from the ancient Eastern civilizations, through the Egyptians and the Greeks to the Romans in grade VI, as foundations for what will be Middle Age, Renaissance and modern history.
Geography follows a path going from the mere nature observation to gradual deepening to grade IV when it gets closer to the local territory, broadening in the following years to near and far peoples.
The sciences maintain a nature-linked imaginative connotation up to grade III. From grade IV, children are introduced to anthropology and zoology, from the grade V botany, from grade VI geology and physics.
Shape drawing brings children closer to geometry: grade I child experiments shapes in body movement then draws it on paper, drawing straight and curved lines. In the following classes the shape drawing progressively deepens, passing from symmetry exercises, dynamic forms, weaves to arrive to grade V to flat geometric shapes drawn free hands, thus stimulating the sense of precision and proportions development.
From grade VI flat geometric figures and polyhedral are made with the use of ruler, square and compass.
Arithmetic, maths and Italian, are taught throughout the school cycle, accompanied by artistic and rhythmic experiences well-thought for each specific age, with the aim of gradually rooting in the child pleasure for learning, trust in understanding, logical capacity and critical courage.
Painting and drawing constantly accompany the child: class after class, children pass from a more instinctive phase to a more conscious one, starting from the pure combination of colours up to the representation, up to grade VI, when they get close to technical elements, such as chiaroscuro. Painting and drawing are often an integral part of other subjects, such as history, geography, zoology, botany.
Modeling is also a subject constantly present: from grade I to grade VI, children start experiencing the warmth, softness and malleability of wax first, to the more demanding plasticity of the clay later. Modeled shapes are related with the topics studied in each stage: from animals of fairy tales to crafts, from human figure to animals studied in zoology and plants.
Music is learned too. It accompanies perceptive and expressive capacities and the sensitivity of the soul. At first children experiment simple melodies through singing, flute and lyre. Then more structured melodies are introduced, canon songs and music writing are added.
Eurythmy, a peculiar subject of Waldorf pedagogy, is the art of movement that enables to see music and words. Jokes, rhythm, notes, intervals, melodies, sounds, metrics and inner atmosphere are expressed through movement, showing both physical and spiritual nature of human being, bringing great balance and healing power.
Acting is experienced by all children for the entire school cycle, with periodic performances of recitals, concerts and eurhythmy, strengthening self-confidence and courage.
Throughout the school cycle, children experiment other craft activities such as carpentry (from grade VI), horticulture and grain sowing, gardening and house-building (or hut).