While we continue many of the same kinds of forms explored in first grade, we begin a new impulse in second grade. The second grader begins to experience a vague sense of duality or polarity in the world. For this reason, the second grade stories told in Waldorf schools will revolve around the tales of human virtue, such as those of the saintly beings from various traditions, as well as the tales of lower nature, such as those found in Aesop’s Fables.
The child is only dimly awakening to these same qualities in the world and within herself. So the stories provide an imaginative realm of soul in which such themes may be explored. Likewise, there are movements and forms that can provide a similar exploration and arena for discovery. It is important to note that the Waldorf teacher will not end a fable by explicitly recounting some abstracted moral. It is important to allow the child to “digest” such lessons herself.
With the movements and forms, we would also not muddy the child’s experience with some intellectual explanation of its value. We simply bring the movements and forms for the child for her experience. We trust the profound wisdom at work in the cosmos and in every human being. We do not need to explain this “soul digestion” any more than we need to explain our physical digestion in order for it to happen after a meal. We simply bring them new movements and forms that provide an even more direct experience of the above and below, the right and the left, and the cross-lateral.
Rudolf Kutzli, in his book Creative Form Drawing, reminds us that this inherent power
of Waldorf form drawing “leads to an activating process of unfolding creative forces that lie dormant in every human being. It speaks to the inner rhythms that bring harmony to the forming and dissolving, the challenging and quietening, the cosmic and earthly in the human being. It thereby strengthens the very center, the ‘I’ between the constant threat of tendencies toward sclerotic thought, barrenness of soul, and the aimlessness or apathy in the whole sphere of the will.”
Enjoy this quick peek inside one of the Grade One lessons!