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A world of art at Michaelmount Waldorf School

By Liane Amerseder

In a Waldorf school, the ability to create something artistic is understood to be a natural endowment, not an ability bestowed on a chosen few.

Hence, right up to Grade 12, artistic activity is considered so normal and necessary that it infuses every subject. The delightful consequence is that Waldorf students are exposed to a wonderful array of media. In the primary school, our teaching is permeated by the ‘seven lively arts’: speech, music, sculpture, drawing, movement, painting and drama. The children are guided in taking part in these activities as naturally as they are expected to learn to read, write and work with numbers.

Watercolours, sculpting, sewing and more

Children paint using watercolours in a ‘wet-on-wet’ style (in other words, watercolours on wet paper). Here they are guided in experiencing colour – and later form – in a way that brings much delight. They also learn to sculpt using beeswax – and later clay. Each morning, the dramatic arts are enjoyed through the recitation of poetry and perhaps some role play of a story from the previous day’s events. From age seven onwards, every child – boy and girl – learns to knit, crochet, do crossstitch, weave, use a sewing machine, make a basket and bind a book. Each child also learns to carve wooden artefacts such as folding stools and tables. In Grade 1, they are introduced to the recorder, and by class six they are happily playing harmonies with each other.

In a Waldorf school, art is not taken as a separate, unrelated subject, it is an organic part of the whole education.

Category: Winter 2012

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