Why is handwork integrated in the curriculum at a Waldorf school?
As a third year parent at Meadowbrook Waldorf School, one of the first interesting things I observed was the use of handwork and other ‘meaningful work’ in the classroom. When adults engage in meaningful work such as sweeping, cutting vegetables, or doing handwork crafts, it brings a sense of calmness to the space. It seems to possess an almost magical ability to settle the children. One of two things often happen. The young child either imitates the work being modeled or s/he feels the security to go off and play nearby. This is something that I witness at home and see weekly in the Parent-Child classroom. In parent-child class, adults are given small handwork projects and the toddlers are happy to explore the selection of toys available to them. In early childhood grades of pre-school and kindergarten, the children are introduced to simple craft handwork projects such as finger knitting. Handwork is incorporated into the curriculum through all the grades and increases in complexity with the childrens’ advancing skills. Learning these craft skills have the added bonus at home being a productive way to pass the time on a rainy day or a long car ride.
“Through beauty, color, and form, handwork and crafts help to lead the children from play to imaginative thinking as adults, forming a kind of bond between the two. “ from The Importance of Handwork in the Waldorf School by Patricia Linvingston published in Renewal, A Journal for Waldorf Education, Vol. 9#1, Spring 2000
A few ways handwork helps children develop. (Source: Angela Mobley)
- Moves the child from play to meaningful work.
- Nurtures sense of reverence and wonder.
- Develop patience and perseverance.
- Builds capacity to concentrate and focus
- Builds capacity to solve problems.
- Promotes capacities for thinking and judging.
Handwork Gift Items at the Meadowbrook Waldorf School Holiday Faire Store
There will be a variety of handwork gifts at the Holiday Faire store this year. You will find knitting, crocheting, felting, weaving and sewing items available suitable for a range of age groups. There are beautiful hand crafted knitting needles and handmade felted wool needle bags. Also featured are lovely wooden beading looms with glass beads, a natural alternative to the currently popular elastic band looms. Shop Saturday 6-9 pm or Sunday 10-4.
Also be sure to visit the handwork display and visit with the handwork teacher to learn more about how handwork supports learning in a Waldorf school.