The Class 1 year in a Waldorf School

The Class 1 year is a year filled with wonder through vivid tales and stories, rich in imagination and language which help the child relate to what he/she is being taught, whether it is learning the letters of the alphabet or numbers and their values.

This is the beginning of a journey when the seven year old learns to utilise the wonders of colour, nature, explore their innate abilities, and express their own individuality.

Through the use of rich language and imagery within fairy tales, or the teacher’s own stories, the child is fully engaged through his/her imagination and learns the beginnings of written communication (viz. the alphabet and numbers).

It is done in such a way that each letter comes alive within the child and he/she is able to identify the letter not only by memorizing and picturing, but through experiencing it through the entire body and soul. We can form letters or numbers not only with our fingers and mouths, but also with our elbows; feet or the whole body.

These lessons are the focus for two terms of the academic year or until the children are ready to move on to writing words and sentences which are copied from the teacher’s writing on the blackboard. So begins their reading.

Creative crafts such as painting, knitting, wax moulding, movement, drama, speech, games and form drawing form a large part of the curriculum every week Celebrations of festivals in Waldorf Schools, such as the festival of Saint John’s play a major role in the rhythm of the year. St John’s, for example, is a festival of warmth, love and light which usually takes place around the winter solstice, a time of harvesting and sharing. The children create beautiful lanterns in celebration of this festival.

This is just a glimpse of what wonders take hold in the Class 1 year in a Steiner school.

Gabriel Williams