If you have spent any time on the internet gathering homeschool resources, you may have come across the word “Waldorf.”
Waldorf Education, or “Steiner Education” is an educational philosophy created by Rudolf Steiner. It is an holistic method of education which aims to teach the “whole child.” The educational style is heavily focused on the arts, the imagination, and making childhood a time of magic.
Waldorf educators typically have a “delayed” (in terms of our current public educational standards) approach to reading and writing. From ages birth to 7, the focus on language development is through the spoken word.
The children will hear poems recited to them through memory, puppet shows of stories, nursery rhymes, hand plays, and are verbally told fairy tales. Through repetition, the children grasp the stories through the language rich words and the images they create in their minds.
In the traditional Waldorf classroom, children will not be introduced to the alphabet until they are 7 years old, or in first grade. This is around the time that a child will start loosing their baby teeth and growing their permanent teeth. This is significant in Rudolf Steiner’s philosophy named Anthroposophy.
When letters are introduced, they are illustrated in a pictorial, imaginative way. They are traditionally drawn using block crayons and watercolors. The teacher will tell a story about the pictures, or the children can create their own stories.
Alphabet Forest is an “Early Childhood Curriculum” because I did not want to define when your child should be learning the skills or reading, writing and learning their alphabet. This depends so much on the family and the family. However, I did use a Waldorf style approach when designing my curriculum. As the years go by, you can use some recipes, activities, stories, finger plays, hikes, and leave those that you don’t feel your child is ready for. The following year, you can revisit the curriculum and do it all over again. This curriculum is also designed to be used with mixed aged siblings. I feel that the whole family has something to learn in every page. You can try the curriculum for free here. It is available digitally as a PDF or as a physical book.
The Alphabet by Reg Down is an adorable Waldorf inspired book that introduced pectoral letters and creates a story within them. Many of the letters line up with Alphabet Forest.
LMNOP and All the Letters A to Z by Howard Shrager is another great Waldorf inspired alphabet book.
Alphabet Forest by Acorn to Oak is an Early Childhood Curriculum inspired by Waldorf philosophy.
Alphabet Forest Supplemental Journal by Acorn to Oak is a drawing and writing journal that has all of the pictorial letter illustrations included in Alphabet Forest.