art education

December update


*Early-bird registration - Waldorf Homeschooling Conference

Join us in Atlanta, GA March 8th & 9th! We'll be leading 4 workshop sessions at this regional event, covering Geometry, Movement, Watercolor painting, and Chalk Drawing

Read more about all the workshops & teachers, plus take advantage of early-bird pricing, which ends Dec 31st.

Live Workshop Info.JPG

*Waldorfish Families interview series

Every few weeks on the blog we are shining a spotlight on different families from within the Waldorfish community! You are such a diverse and global group - we're pretty sure you'd be bff's in real life. Please enjoy this conversation with Jessica Richardson! She shares a few of her family's favorite resources, as well as some words of wisdom:

"I've learned to let go of perfect, to not expect myself to be able to teach every subject, and to not go it alone. Allowing others, like using the Waldorfish Geometry, gives me a break from planning so I can place attention somewhere else. My best advice is to create a local Waldorf inspired group to meet with weekly for nature walks, festivals, and seasonal fun. Ours is finally thriving and my children and I are so happy when we meet!"

Click here to read the full interview.


*Weekly Art enrollment will close on Jan 15th


For those who would still like to join us for this year's session, the deadline for enrollment is January 15thClick here to join us

(P.S. if you plan to use charter school funds for this course, please send your PO now!)

In January we will begin the process of dreaming up the new 2019/'20 session of Weekly Art lessons! 

*New Geometry Sample Lesson

We've replaced our free geometry sample lesson with something new! Pulled from the Grade 5 course, this freehand exercise will give you a good feel for how all the lessons in the full program are filmed, and how they flow. 

We've also included a brief intro video from each of the grades 5-8, outlining what each course covers.

Scroll down to the bottom of this page, and tell us where to send your free lesson!

Waldorf Geometry Curriculum.jpg


Waldorf Grade One Painting : Out of the Color

Children in Waldorf schools begin painting with liquid watercolors on damp paper in preschool and kindergarten. The use of this medium continues into grade one, however at this point there is a shift in the way the weekly painting lesson is presented.

Grade One wet on wet painting.JPG

The 6-7 year old child learns through experiences. They’ve left kindergarten and are transitioning slowly into more structured learning.

In his Colour Lectures, Rudolf Steiner talks about the importance for each artist (student) to know each of the colors, to understand them individually, and also how they interact with each other. He specifically says that we need to experience the colors in our feeling life in order to understand them. Once we understand them in their trueness, then we can really use them.

Let us try to sink ourselves completely into what we receive through colour from the rich and varied world around us. We must feel what is in colour if we wish to penetrate into its true nature, bringing insight into our feelings. We must question our feelings about what is living in the colour which surrounds us.
— Rudolf Steiner, Colour Lecture 1


Painting lessons create opportunities for students to develop an intimate understanding of the colors through their imaginations, movement, and imitation. When the teacher brings the lessons in partnership with short verses and stories (which help to personify the colors), the children live into each experience fully.

“Painting lessons also provide the teacher with a further opportunity for getting to know the children’s soul constitution in even more detail. Different temperaments and constitutions reveal themselves through what and how the children paint.”
— The Educational Tasks and Content of the Steiner Waldorf Curriculum, Rawson & Richter


In grade one the lessons are simple color experiences guided by the teacher. It is purely artistic work - there is no expectation of the children creating a specific form or picture of something. These experiences are ordered in such a way that allows the children to begin to understand the dynamics of the colors by themselves, and in relation to each other.

Grade One Painting.JPG


The painting lessons begin very simply, with yellow by itself. Then the children will experience only blue. Eventually the two, yellow and blue, will be brought together on the page and the children will experience them together. Next, red is introduced by itself. Eventually red and yellow will be presented together, and then red and blue. Each of these experiences offers the children something new to live into, all the while expanding their understanding of the nature of each of the colors. (Of course, a natural result of bringing 2 primary colors together in a painting lesson is the birthing of the secondary colors - orange, green and purple. A wonderful moment in any painting lesson!)

Grade One Painting - secondary colors.jpg


As the year progresses, the teacher guides the children as they experience all 3 colors on the page together, culminating towards the end of the year with the children learning to create a color wheel.  The color wheel becomes the foundation of many future paintings the children will create in each progressing grade.


Link to the Rawson & Richter book mentioned in this post.

Looking for support around painting with your grade one child? We made you something!

New course line-up!

We've finalized our course offerings for our next school year! Individual info pages for each one will be available soon on our website. For those who, like us, get a little twitchy with all the waiting, here's what we know for certain .....

 

Geometry  

 Photo credit: Jessica Richardson

Photo credit: Jessica Richardson

Brian is teaming up with fellow Waldorf teacher, Caitlin Amajor, for this G5-8 series! We have a FAQ page here, where you can learn more about this artistic, inspired program. Registration opens on July 15th! Courses begin on Sept. 3rd. There is also a link to a new free lesson on the FAQ page. 

 

 

Grade One wet-on-wet painting

Waldorf teacher Amanda Mercer has been busy creating a beautifully supportive program for the Waldorfish community! This video series will guide parents & teachers on a journey through each primary color via wet-on-wet painting techniques & original verses. G2 and G3 courses are in the pipeline as well, although release dates for these are not set yet. The G1 course is OPEN for enrollment! Learn more about it, here!

 Photo credit: Amanda Mercer

Photo credit: Amanda Mercer

 

Weekly Art (Anthology)  

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For the 2018/2019 school year we are pulling together our favorite lessons from the first two sessions of this program! This collection will be perfect for families who have not participated in WA previously. As in prior sessions, the lessons will post x1 per week, and Brian & I will be actively involved in the classroom. Registration will open July 15th, the course will begin August 10th. (see updated info, here!)

 

Festival Art  

Waldorf Festival Art & Storytelling.JPG

We're teaming up with storyteller Sara Logan for this new course! 10 original/adapted stories paired with art lessons to carry your family through the full circle of a festival year!! This course is ideal for families who have previously participated in the Weekly Art program, or those looking for less frequent art lessons than offered in our other programs. NOTEthis program will initially only be available to WA students currently enrolled in the '17-18 session. It will become available to the whole community in time for the '18 Advent season!

 

As always, send us your thoughts + questions by emailing us at support@waldorfish.com

All our best to you from the garden,

~Robyn (& Brian nearby) Wolfe

 

More Than Meets The Eye: The Role of Art in Waldorf Education.

The liberal use of color that infuses all aspects of a Waldorf Education is not only delightful, it’s deliberate. Beautiful main lesson book entries created by students, beginning in first grade with the heartwarming “One Sun”, increase in complexity throughout the grades. Color, form, technique, and meaning converge to animate all subject matter from math to science, foreign language and native language studies. What is the value of this approach?

 Photo: Cristina Havel

Photo: Cristina Havel

“The important thing is to arouse in children a real feeling for life, and color and form have the power to lead right into life...these details are essential to the vitality of the work.” -- Rudolf Steiner, 1922, The Spiritual Ground of Higher Education

 

Shaping and Perceiving

Artistic endeavors sharpen two very important human skills: the ability to shape, or see, and the ability to perceive, or distinguish. When practiced over time using diverse techniques across a variety of subjects, something very special emerges: the ability to shape and perceive new ways of looking at the world. In 1st grade, “One Sun” might become “one son” -- or “one bun”, as my son said to me, giggling, as I ate a hamburger when he was six. As the Waldorf student develops, connections continue to be made on ever deepening levels and the creative process is strengthened, resulting in students who are able to make connections across a variety of subjects. This skill is highly valued in our culture and is known as interdisciplinary thinking. It’s a truly holistic way of looking at the world and contributing effectively.

 Photo: Robyn Wolfe

Photo: Robyn Wolfe

I am always doing things I can't do, that's how I get to do them.  -- Pablo Picasso

The idea that a child cannot succeed in Waldorf Education unless he or she has excellent artistic skills is a myth to be dispelled. One child may draw endlessly in the early grades while another may be adept at origami or painting, or lose herself in handwork. Skills and interests “come in” at different times and under different circumstances. The creative process is sometimes mysterious and always transformative, no matter when and how it reveals itself. There is no wrong way to express oneself artistically. We must teach our children to create without judgement, only then will they be free from inner constraints and available to capture a world in perpetual motion. Therein lies the magic and power of art.

 

What is Waldorfish Weekly Art?

Waldorfish Weekly Art is a unique series of online art classes aimed at teaching a variety of methods widely practiced in Waldorf schools around the world. These classes can be used as weekly art classes that are folded into existing homeschool routines of any kind, as refresher courses for brick-and-mortar Waldorf school teachers, and, for those with far-reaching goals with respect to Waldorf homeschooling, as foundation courses that can be applied to different subjects as your student progresses through the grades.  

Weekly Art 2018-19 course info!

 Photo: Cristina Havel

Photo: Cristina Havel


"I’m so pleased to have found art lessons that draw on the Waldorf style as opposed to all of the “outline and color in” art lessons that seem to be popular online. We are really enjoying them!” ~ Heidi

 

"As a teacher - drawing figures for my chalkboard drawings has always been difficult, and I was rarely happy with the results.  Learning how to first draw the gestures and then detailing it.  Soooo much easier and successful!  I will play more with this one!" ~ Debra


 

 

Learning art as a metaphor for living well.

Miranda Altice at The Indigo Teacher has been working her way through our Waldorf art training program, Waldorf Art for Beginners over the past few weeks. She has written about her process of shedding & peeling away the layers of anxiety and fear that so many of us carry when it comes to Art. We're sharing some of her revelations here, and you will find a link to her full piece below.


Taking the Waldorf Art for Beginner’s course from Waldorfish was honestly a  summer treat for myself and would, in turn, help me in my quest to teach tiny humans how to enjoy expressing themselves through art. 

But it taught me more than that. Robyn and Brian’s super simple, self-paced classes reminded me how to feel confident in my artwork… and in my life… both of which could turn out any which way the blank paper and unpredictable watercolors decide. 

A few things I learned… in metaphors:

  • Slow down. No really… SLOW DOWN. (There is no reason to rush through each part of the process. I even slowed down getting the paintbrushes to the table. And it felt good. I felt more in the moment, and my pace rubbed off on the kids.) 
  • Shut everything else out and OBSERVE.(Watch how the watercolors blend together and are in no rush to become something unique. Observe how the chalk clings to the fibers as it glides over the cardstock. Stop multi-tasking for just a moment and just be there.) 
  • Be PATIENT. (The colors will absorb, they will transform, and it’s not worth raising my blood pressure when it is not meant to turn out a certain way.)
  • TRUST the Process. (It’s just as much about the process as it is the end result, which may turn out better than expected. Even if it doesn’t, trusting the process and keeping my cool was so worth it.)
  • Don’t beat myself up, and don’t be afraid. (See 3 &4. One of my favorite things Brian said in his mellow tone during one of the videos was, “Don’t be afraid… it’s not supposed to look like anything in particular.”  I noticed myself going with the flow, trusting the process, and accepting the outcome… and also daring to swivel my brush a little more.)
  • FRAME it. (I’m allowed to admire my work and accept compliments without following up with negative, picky comments.)
  • Let GO. (Allow yourSelf the opportunity to be immersed in water to better prepare for absorption of watercolors – now contemplate that metaphor.)
  • Take what was learned off of the workspace and into the world. (I often advise this to my yoga students, “Take your practice off your mat.” The spiritual and emotional lessons learned are meant to enrich my life as a whole, not just while I’m sitting at my workspace.) 

As with yoga, I found my experience with diving into the Waldorfish classes to be a meditation in movement… one that I will continue to practice....

Read the full piece here.

 Photo: Miranda Altice

Photo: Miranda Altice

Free Weekly Art Sample Lesson.

What are you using for your art curriculum next year? We'd love to have you try out a free lesson from our online Weekly Art program! 

Waldorf art curriculum

The Weekly Art program can be used as weekly art classes that are folded into existing homeschool routines of any kind, as refresher courses for brick-and-mortar Waldorf school teachers, and, for those with far-reaching goals with respect to Waldorf homeschooling, as foundation courses that can be applied to different subjects as your student progresses through the grades.

Some parents choose to watch the videos first, and then teach their children on their own (media-free, yo!). Other families watch the lessons together and learn side-by-side. And yet other families have their older children work through the lessons on their own, relishing the opportunity to step aside and let someone else be the teacher.

Trying out a sample lesson is the BEST way to determine if Weekly Art is a good fit for your family. Fill out the form below and tell us where to send yours!