Digitized. Uncompromised.

The Special Subject Teachers’ Online Conference
Grades One through Four

Welcome! Please Read This First. Don’t be overwhelmed or intimidated by the sheer volume of this conference. (No one ever said that the life of a Waldorf teacher was easy!) You don’t have to listen to every lecture or view every slideshow or instructional video; decide what works best for you. You know what needs your specialty subject dictates, and you are likely to find them met by many of the offerings in this course. As we like to say, this conference is all about Your Dates, Your Space, and Your Pace. Make it your own!
Please click here to listen to two introductory talks by Eugene Schwartz
Click on the links to access lectures or visual content. This page will remain open even while you visit the linked pages, so you can return and multitask. Pause lectures at any time, and return to them as often as you wish. We strongly suggest that, while you are listening to a lecture, you open your word processor and type notes as the lecture plays.

Problems or Questions? Please contact us at:
iwaldorf@icloud.com or call: 610.310.6659

Passwords for Videos:

Use these when you are accessing videos from the various grades.
Grade One:
Grade Two:
Grade Three:
Grade Four:

Watch the Navigation Guide: This is a generic guide that will give you a good picture of the conference environment. Click here to view the Guide.
Please fill out your Evaluation Form. Your opinion is important to us.
Meg Chittenden has recorded wonderful songs appropriate for Grade Four. They available on CDs, so that you can listen to them after your conference time ends.

For more information, contact Meg at:


Table of Contents
You will find our very extensive Table of Contents nestled, like a Russian Matrushka doll, in the colored “containers” below. Simply click on Grade container and its contents will appear; click on the contents and you will find all of the links to lectures, videos, and other resources. Click again and the container will close.

  • Grade Two
    • The Second Grader
      • The Second Grader Part 1
        Part 1: The Second Grader Part 1
        2.1: Second Grade as the “orphan” of the Waldorf grade school. The transition from One to Two. Division and polarization as the signature of Grade Two. [16:50]

        2.2: Social challenges of Grade Two. Was all that work in Grade One to no avail? The threefold school year. Bullying and benign neglect. [15:10]

        2.3: The battle of etheric and astral forces in Grade Two. The central importance of the temperaments in second grade. Forces of growth and their effect on consciousness. [17:05]

        2.4: The role of the Guardian Angel in Grade Two. Where does the Guardian Angel reside, and what causes this being to withdraw? The role of divisiveness in second grade. [17:30]

        2.5: Identifying children’s temperaments, an important teacher skill in Grade Two. [20:10]
      • The Second Grader Part 2
        Part 2: The Second Grader Part 2
        2.6: Proportions of the temperaments in the second grade classroom. Understanding and working with the melancholic child. [19:45]

        2.7: Understanding and working with the phlegmatic child. [20:15]

        2.8: Understanding and working with the sanguine child. [21:10]

        2.9: The sanguine child, continued. Understanding and working with the choleric child. [22:20]

        2.10: The choleric child, continued. Understanding and misunderstanding the temperaments. [13:15]

        The Fourfold Human Being: A Dynamic Diagram [5:45]
    • Preparation
      Part 3: Preparation
      2.17: The proliferation of sources available to teachers. The Online Waldorf Library. The gift of the Internet. Use the artistic skills you need to cultivate for your students as a means of self-renewal this summer. Researching the lives of the saints. [21:00]

      2.18: Organizational capacities and etheric forces. The teacher’s organizational skills as a foundation for the unfolding of children’s memory forces. Einstein’s economy of memory. Don’t waste your memory’s “storage space” on trivia; use a Day Planner, Day Runner, or digital device and save your inner memory for your class! The challenge of time -- an issue of colleagueship. [20:30]

      2.19: The deeper significance of punctuality. Timeliness and incarnation. Punctuality in relation to challenges in dress and learning issues. The Michaelic nature of Waldorf education. Steiner’s social/cultural expectations for the eight grades. Wasting time. [20:10]
    • Saints and Fables
      • The Fables
        Part 4: The Fables
        2.25: Even if you have never read a single Aesop’s Fable, you probably feel that you “know” many of them. Aesop’s work is one of the foundations of Western culture, and is the stuff of “conventional wisdom” and cliche. Dispensing with the “moral” of the fable. [16:05]

        2.26: Who was Aesop? Whether he really lived as an individual or is a legendary composite figure, he is a reflection of the transitional time to which his name has been attached, the mid-7th to 6th centuries BCE. A look at his contemporaries. In subtle ways, the second grader is recapitulating this classical transition from sentient soul to mind soul. [18:50]

        2.27: A look at some fables, remarkable for their laconic embodiment of the astral world. [15:10]

        2.28: Teaching the fables. They can be used as pedagogical or therapeutic stories and taught when the occasion arises, or taught weekly during a dedicated extra main lesson. Steiner’s story about the butcher’s dog and the sheep dog. The need for discussion preceding some of the fables. [16:55]

        Grade 2 Language Arts: Student Work Slideshow
      • The Saints
        Part 5: The Saints Part 1
        2.29: Obstacles to teaching about the saints. Parents may have their issues with these medieval figures, but Waldorf teachers often struggle with the stories even more. [19:35]

        2.30: The dual quality of the second grader’s astral body. The “higher” aspect, imbued with selfless idealism, has at times been best embodied by the Catholic Church and its saints. The Russian film
        Burnt by the Sun presents a startlingly accurate depiction of the soul of the eight year-old. [20:20]

        2.31: Who were the saints? Part One. To answer this simple question we must explore some of the most complex aspects of Rudolf Steiner’s esoteric research. The principle of “Spiritual Economy” as a force in the evolution of Western culture. The mission of the higher bodies of Jesus of Nazareth. The effect of the etheric copies. [19:00]

        2.32: Who were the saints? Part Two. The effect of the astral copies. “The wind bloweth where it listeth . . .” The consequences of spiritual development, East and West. [18:50]

        2.33: The saints and the temperaments. Working with saint stories to work with children’s temperaments. The melancholic saints. [17:00]

        Part 6: The Saints Part 2
        2.34: Saint stories for the phlegmatic and sanguine temperaments. [17:55]

        2.35: The choleric temperament is surprisingly strong among the saints. An example. [18:35]

        2.36: A list of saints whose lives should be recounted to second graders, and the reasons why. Longer stories and the “three day rhythm.” [17:55]

        2.37: Significant saints, continued. The modernity of many saints. [23:15]

        2.38: Saints and animals. Several saints who embody the “higher astral” nature, and one saint linked to etheric forces. Potential for disharmony among the higher bodies. Ambivalence can live in saints’ stories, too. [24:15]

        Images of the Saints, an instructional video [40:30]

        Images of the Saints
        The contents of the video in PDF form. Feel free to print some of these for your classroom.
        Click here to download the PDF

    • The Path of the Teacher
      Part 7: The Path of the Teacher
      2.42: The Teacher’s Path part 1: Care and nurture of the physical and etheric bodies of the teacher. Health and memory. [17:30]

      2:43 The Teacher’s Path part 2: Care and nurture of the teacher’s astral body 1. The life of relationships in and around the school. [19:45]

      2:44 The Teacher’s Path part 3: Care and nurture of the teacher’s astral body 2. The life of relationships in the family. [13:00]

      2:45 The Teacher’s Path part 4: The work of the Ego. The inner life of the teacher. [17:40]
    • Slideshows and Videos
      Slideshows and Instructional Videos
      (Also listed above with the relevant lectures)

      Form Drawing 1: Student Work Slideshow [11:10]
      Grade 2 Language Arts: Student Work Slideshow [36:30]
      Please note: The video
      Reading, Writing, Recapitulation is strongly recommended as content that your class parents (and even your colleagues!) may find helpful. Therefore, it is not password-protected, but is available on Vimeo.com to anyone who wishes to view it throughout the year. The Vimeo link is: https://vimeo.com/97607320
      Reading, Writing, Recapitulation [45:00]
      Grade 2 Arithmetic: Student Work Slideshow [15:40]
      Grade 2 Expanded Notation Instructional Video [34:10]
      Form Drawing: Student Work Slideshow [11:10]
      The Beeswax Challenge: Stockmar & Filana Crayons [41:00]

      Grade 2 Teaching Recitation: Instructional Video [29:30]

      Grade 2 Songs, Games, and Dances 1: Instructional Video [29:00]

      Grade 2 Songs, Games, and Dances 2: Instructional Video [46:00]

      Form Drawing Instructional Video 1 [37:15]
      Form Drawing Instructional Video 2 [35:50]
      Painting with Patience in the Primary Grades 1 Instructional Video [54:15]
      Painting with Patience in the Primary Grades 2 Instructional Video [43:00]
      Images of the Saints Instructional Video [43:30]
  • Grade Three
    • The Third Grader
      • The Nine-Year Change Part 1
        Part 1: The Nine Year Change 1
        3.1: The central importance of understanding the fourfold human being. Third grade as a critical juncture in human life. the interrelationship of the physical and etheric body. The etheric body's contraction as a part of human incarnation. Life forces and memory forces. The etheric body as a foundation of the learning experience. [16:45]
        3.2: The etheric body as the home of the guardian angel. The etheric body and its protective anabolic nature. The astral body. [13:40]
        3.3: The interplay of the etheric and astral bodies. The anabolic, upbuilding, protective nature of the etheric body. Its connection with heredity and memory. Its need of rhythm. The catabolic, destructive quality of the astral body. The stresses it places on the adolescent’s physical body. The astral body’s need for variety and change. The interplay of the etheric and the astral and the birth of thinking. The meeting of the etheric and the astral and the onset of the nine year change. [16:30]
        3.4: The four temperaments. The role of the etheric body in forming the temperaments. The four elements, rather than the four bodies, as a guide to a child's temperament. [22:30]
        3.5: The interplay of the forces of antipathy and sympathy in relationship to the spiritual world. Antipathy felt for the physical/etheric past, and sympathy experienced towards the astral/ego future. Necessary steps for the child to go forward in life as a free being. Healthy preparation for the astral body’s incorporation given in N/K and primary grades. The progressive spiritual beings and hindering forces agreed to allow the astral body to come much too soon. This strengthening is very important. The prophetic gift vouchsafed to the third grader. [18:15]
        The Fourfold Human Being: A Dynamic Diagram
      • The Nine-Year Change Part 2
        Part 2: The Nine Year Change 2
        3.6: The importance of developing the perceptive life of the Waldorf teacher so that the nine-year change is really seen. The model body, and the child's need to transform it. The parents who do not want to see the nine-year change occurring. The “model child” and the danger of eating disorders in the future. The role of childhood illnesses in the past in transforming the model body for the child. In our time children parents and teachers must do this transformation more consciously. The role of the school doctor and the tragedy of his absence in many schools. [15:30]
        3.7: The transformation of the child's rhythmic system during the nine year change. The nine year change is a breathing experience,filled with contractions and expansions. The child seems to vacillate between adolescence and early childhood. The need for “breathing space.” Waldorf teachers can warn parents of what is to come in third grade. Parents and children all get to rehearse what life will be like with an adolescent. These changes are, above all, matters of soul and spirit. Profound changes in the child's sleep life caused by the astral body's presence. The role of the bedtime prayer. [16:20]
        3.8: When does a child need religious instruction? Before age nine, the physical/etheric is immersed in the divine world. After age nine, the astral body awakens the child to a duality of matter and spirit. The bedtime prayer provides security for life in sleep. This is an awakening to death. “Assurance of safety” is no longer a given, but must be requested. Death is flowing from the child's future. Life-threatening illnesses, marriage breakups, loss of a pet or home etc. are common in third grade.Yet schools are remarkably unprepared for this contingency. Separation anxiety. Fear of “robbers,”“kidnappers,” and “break–ins."The phenomenon of "astral reversal.” The teacher's path of development. All prayers are beneficial for the third grader; any type of religious instruction is helpful. [15:10]
        3.9: Two real–life stories about third graders illustrating the nine–year change. [16:50]
        3.10: Summary of the fundamentals of working with the nine–year change. [6:50]
        The Nine-Year Change: A Dynamic Diagram
    • The Hebrew Scriptures
      • The Hebrew Scriptures Part 1
        Part 3: The Hebrew Scriptures 1 - Introduction
        3.17: The integrated nature of the odd-numbered grades as opposed to the fragmented quality of the even-numbered grades. Grade Three is particularly integrated, and everything the children learn flows directly out of the Hebrew Scriptures. The central and absolute importance of stories of the Old Testament. The most important document teachers will ever teach to their children in the eight (or even twelve) grades. [13:30]
        3.18: Jewish families are finally rewarded with these stories, after two years of living with the Germanic Grimms' Fairy Tales and the Christian saints. They will want to make contributions to the life of the class. Teaching children Hebrew, sharing festivals, sharing foods. Remember that we are teaching about ancient Hebrew culture, which is not the same as modern Judaism. In Grade Two, even though the children were hearing about Saints, they were not brought into the world of the modern Catholic Church. The problem of the Jakob Streit books. Try to remain true to the actual Hebrew Scriptures, and not be swayed by the “improvements” of well–intentioned anthroposophists. [15:20]
        3.19: Overemphasis on the Seven Days of Creation; what is essential for the third grader are the stories that begin with Abraham. Comparative religion course is not needed here. Working with the increasing ignorance of North Americans concerning these stories. Ways in which teachers can rectify gaps in their own education concerning the Hebrew Scriptures. Waldorf teachers must immerse themselves in the Hebrew Scriptures before teaching them, or the children will not derive their full benefit. [16:00]
        3.20: The Hebrew Scriptures: Context and chronology. The challenge of assigning "dates” to the people and events. The context of the later stories, from 800 BCE on. [16:15]
        3.21: Valentin Tomberg's threefold approach to the Hebrew Scriptures. Patriarchs, Priests, and Kings: the contraction of consciousness. The role of the Prophets. [15:00]

        Biblical History Timeline 1
        Biblical History Timeline 2
        Jewish Thought by Pamela Lutz
        An insightful and comprehensive guide to understanding the Hebrew Scriptures from a modern Jewish perspective.
        Click here to download the article.

      • The Hebrew Scriptures Part 2
        Part 4: The Hebrew Scriptures 2 - Creation to Noah
        3.22: Genesis and the Patriarchs. The basic stories: Seven days of Creation. The Fall. Cain and Abel. Noah and the Flood. The Tower of Babel. Abraham. Isaac and Ishmael. Jacob and Esau. Joseph and his brothers. [19:40]
        3.23: How do we tell Bible stories to our class? An example: The story of Cain and Abel. Three different ways of approaching this story. The first is the story as told in the King James version of Genesis. The second is the story narrated by a Sunday school teacher and writer. The third is a children's comic book of Bible stories. [15:20]
        3.24: Cain and Abel, continued. Comparison of the Sunday school teacher's rendition and the comic book presentation of the story of Cain and Abel. Finally, the way in which a Waldorf teacher might approach this story. [17:45]
        3.25: Noah and the Flood. The Biblical genealogies and their meaning. Introducing Noah to a class. The Tower of Babel. [15:49]
    • Language Arts
      Part 5: Language Arts
      3.57: Language arts, part one. Examples of short essays written on such questions as what is good? What is beautiful? What is true? Our work is to help the child express what lives deeply with in him through the medium of language. How can we clear the path so that even today's child can write and speak with a good vocabulary good grammar and an elegance of speech? [16:00]
      3.58: Reading in Grade Three. The optimum grades for reading. The excessive pressures placed on teachers to get all of the children reading. Three aspects of reading in the class: How the individual child reads. Reading together as a class. Reading groups. Bringing in parents as co-leaders of reading groups. The need for courage in the proper approach to reading. [15:40]
      3.59: The structure and timing of the reading group. [14:45]
      3.60: The counter-intuitive nature of the reading group. Children of mixed abilities read together. Parents, rather than teachers, are used as leaders of the reading group. These innovative aspects of the reading group can be terrifying for many teachers, who will tell you in advance that it could not possibly work. Once again, the willingness to take a risk and the courage to swim against the current are what is needed to teach children in our time. [16:50]
      3.61: Teaching writing. Important changes in form (cursive) and content (non-imitative) this year.(We will look at cursive writing more fully in our
      Form Drawing instructional video.) As teachers we must be increasingly aware how what we write on the board becomes a model not only of content but also of grammar and style for our children. Although most of what third-graders right continues to be copied from the teachers writing on the blackboard, today's child may need more opportunity to express him or herself. [17:10]
      3.62: Why teach Grammar in Grade 3? Just as the inherited “model body” must be reconstructed by the child, so must the imitatively assimilated “mother tongue” be consciously recreated by the child. Importance of world (foreign) language in the Waldorf setting. Grammar in Grades 3 and 4. Grade 3 Grammar is more of a kinesthetic than a written subject. The class teacher’s own speech habits and her relationship to English Grammar is the most important factor. [17:50]
      Language Arts: Student Work Slideshow [12:00]
      Your password for all of the video presentations is Third3

      Please note: The video
      Reading, Writing, Recapitulation is strongly recommended as content that your class parents (and even your colleagues!) may find helpful. Therefore, it is not password-protected, but is available on Vimeo.com to anyone who wishes to view it throughout the year. The Vimeo link is:

      Reading, Writing, Recapitulation [45:00]

      Writing to Reading 1: Student Work Slideshow [22:15]

      Writing to Reading 2: Student Work Slideshow [13:20]

      Teaching Writing in the Waldorf School, a YouTube video [10:00]

      Teaching Reading in the Waldorf School, a YouTube video [10:00]
    • Farming and Gardening, Fibers
      Part 6: Farming and Gardening, Fibers
      3.63: Current interest in the greening of America has helped the educational world catch up with Waldorf schools. Steiner had hoped that farming and gardening would be subjects in every grade, but for a long time there was little interest in this subject in the Waldorf world. Suggestions for organizing the first block. Teaching children basic gardening skills, and developing a narrative imagination of a farming family and their lives through the year. [15:10]
      3.64: The farm trip. Its pedagogical value: children will keep a diary which allows them to do a lot of original writing, and children will be drawing scenes from the farm – some of the first drawings that they do without the teachers model. Prepare the parents well in advance for this trip. For some families this is the first time that the children have been away from home. The children generally are looking forward to it, but there are parents with great separation anxieties. This separation from the home and hearth can actually stimulate the nine-year change in children who have not experienced it yet. [17:15]
      3.65: Fibers. Reflection of the higher members in the fibers that we use for clothing. Helping the child, once again, to find a replacement for the model body. Handwork teachers and class parents can be extremely helpful in this block. The fiber fair. [20:00]
      Farming & Gardening: Student Work Slideshow [31:50]
      Fibers: Student Work Slideshow [9:30]
      (Your password for all of the video presentations is Third3
    • Slideshows and Videos
      Slideshows and Instructional Videos
      (Also listed above with the relevant lectures)

      Instructional Video: Songs, Games, and Dances [55:00]

      Instructional Video: Israeli Folk Dance [2:10]

      Instructional Video: Third Grade Form Drawing [50:00]

      Instructional Videos: Teaching Arithmetic
      1. From Color to Number [36:00]
      2. Expanding Numbers [30:00]
      3. Time and Measurement [22:00]

      The Beeswax Challenge: Stockmar & Filana Crayons [41:00]

      Form Drawing: Student Work Slideshow [14:00]

      Hebrew Scriptures 1: Student Work Slideshow [26:10]

      Hebrew Scriptures 2: Student Work Slideshow [29:00]

      Farming & Gardening: Student Work Slideshow [31:50]

      Fibers: Student Work Slideshow [9:30]

      Shelters & Dwellings: Student Work Slideshow [11:40]

      Measurement: Student Work Slideshow [19:10]

      Language Arts: Student Work Slideshow [12:00]

      Please note: The video Reading, Writing, Recapitulation is strongly recommended as content that your class parents (and even your colleagues!) may find helpful. Therefore, it is not password-protected, but is available on Vimeo.com to anyone who wishes to view it throughout the year. The Vimeo link is: https://vimeo.com/97607320
      Reading, Writing, Recapitulation [45:00]
  • Grade Four
    • The Fourth Grader
      Part 1: The Fourth Grader

      4.1: The nature of the Fourth Grader. A conversation with the buildings and grounds/maintenance person in the school. Constructive and destructive forces in the fourth-grade child. A new level of energy. The Fourth Grade class as the barometer of the school. For the first three grades children are at the receiving end of the teachers capacities. In Fourth Grade, they begin to give back and reflect what the teacher has given. Odd and even-numbered grades. The unique placement of Grade Four in Steiner's original seven year plan. [15:10]

      4.2: The necessity of understanding the fourfold nature of the child. Childhood illnesses: why would they come so often in the third and fourth grade years? The 9 to 10 year change-it's not over yet! Working out of Rudolf Steiner's picture of the human being at a time when the physical body is seen as the be-all and end-all of human existence. Waldorf education is more and more removed from the educational mainstream with every succeeding year. Pointing to changes in the brain as a means of justifying Waldorf education cannot really take us very far; we need to penetrate the fourfold human being. [14:30]

      The Fourfold Human Being:
      A Dynamic Diagram

      4.3: The interplay of the etheric body and the astral body. Forces of health and well-being versus forces of destruction and illness. It is not a matter of having one overcome the other, but finding the healthy balance and harmonization of these polarized forces. The four to one proportion of heartbeat to breath is a sign that a degree of harmony has been attained. Dreaming consciousness as the balance between etheric sleep and astral wakefulness. [15:10]

      4.4: From temperament to personality. The temperament manifests in a fourfold way, but the astral body manifests in a twofold way. The blending of a etheric and astral forces results in an eightfold division in the classroom. Now every temperament has its introverted and extroverted side. In the midst of this greater complexity a more mature social life is born in the class. The problems of cliques and the severance of once secure, now broken friendships loom large in the fourth grade. [15:50]

      4.5: Future Shock 1: The premature primacy of the astral body in the life of the fourth-grader. The intentions of the higher spiritual beings who created us were that we would remain like automatons for the first 35 years of our life. The astral body was meant to be incorporated much later than it is in our time. This is an important aspect of the 10-year-old. [16:30]

      4.6: Future Shock 2: The higher spiritual beings had to accept the rule of Lucifer in the first half of Earth evolution. Along with this came Lucifer's intervention in human development at the time of the Fall of Man. We are not constituted to be able to handle the power and speed of the astral body at age 10, yet this arrangement in the spiritual world necessitated the coming of the astral body at this time. The astral body is quintessentially social in nature, so good deal of our work in grade four is teaching children how to be social beings. The challenge of social media and computer games. [16:45]

      4.7: Future Shock 3: Lucifer and Ahriman. Both have their place in Earth evolution. Lucifer opened up the early incorporation of the astral body: in our time Ahriman is able to work on this body as well. Children not only need to learn how to be social in one another's presence, but how to be social via technological means as well. Waldorf schools don't necessarily want to accept this, but it is a growing necessity of our time. [16:35]

      4.8: Future Shock 4: The child's future is streaming towards him or her in grade four. This is a good year in which to honor and celebrate something more mature that will flash up now and then. Drama can be very helpful here. This is the year when a big and spectacular class play is a necessity. It is also good if you can create shorter plays drawn from material in main lesson blocks that are performed every two months or so. Ask your colleagues to be forbearing, because fourth-graders need to appear in public more often than other grades. This grade is like a Boot Camp for you, the teacher, in learning how to deal with the more complex social needs of the astral body. [15:10]

      The Nine/Ten-Year Change:
      A Dynamic Diagram

    • Working with Parents
      Part 2: Working with Parents

      4.9: Working with Parents 1. Grade Four is the year in which you get a better sense of which families constitute the core of your class. Just as braided drawing only gets challenging when we bring in a third strand, the "third strand" of the parents becomes an important part of the weaving of the teacher with the children. Many concerns, doubts, and uncertainties that have remained quiet within the parents in the first three grades begin to become outwardly expressed in grade four; in this respect it is a real fulcrum. [14:55]
      4.10: Working with Parents 2. The “back to school parents morning.” This is an important way to inform all of your parents, all at once, altogether about what year will look like. Organize it like an evening meeting but give yourself more time to develop everything. Be very clear with your parents about the necessity of their presents at parent evenings and other events.[14:50]
      4.11: Working with Parents 3. The Parents’ Evening. Give parents advanced notice about the evenings agenda and give them a clear schedule of the evening, so they know exactly when it will begin and precisely when it will end. The structure can be basically the same as the Saturday welcoming meeting that I spoke of in the previous lecture. The biggest warning: watch out for the tyranny of parents who want to make announcements. Find ways for them to announce things by paper, email, anything but the parent evening. And be wary of the tyranny of the parent who asks an important question at the very end of the meeting. Advice on how to work with this. [16:50]
      4.12: Working with Parents 4. Parent conferences. In fourth grade is especially important that we meet twice with individual families: once in the fall and once in the spring. We must recognize how much of the child's future is prefigured in the fourth grade year and we want to share these insights with parents. The experiences that Eugene had giving parents advice based on such insights: a cautionary tale! [16:40]
      4.13: Working with Parents 5. One of the tasks of Waldorf education in the 21st-century is to strengthen the bonds between teachers and parents. This spiritual strivings of parents increasingly are what draw them to the Waldorf School; Waldorf teacher should not disappoint parents by holding back on the spiritual foundations up for work. The importance of parent education grows every year, yet the economic problems of Waldorf schools are diminishing the educational opportunities available for parents. [14:00]
      4.14: Working with Parents 6. The Parent Conference continued. Ground rules for the parent conference: both parents must be present, show examples of other children's work to get parents an idea of where their child stands in the class. Whatever decisions are reached in this meeting should be written down, and send hard copy to the parents. Be sure that you are speaking to the father as well as the mother. Suggestions for winning over fathers.
      4.15: Working with Parents 7. Three Children A Day: the most valuable piece of advice given in the entire conference. [16:50]
      4.16: Working with Parents 8. How to write year-end reports in a more efficient, effective, and even enjoyable way. The rise and fall of the written narrative report. The ascendancy of rubrics and metrics to make report writing easier for teachers. The written report as story and drama. [15:00]

      The Other Two-Thirds of the Class is a parent/teacher workshop led by Eugene Schwartz
      at the Susquehanna Waldorf School in Marietta, PA.
      View both lectures here. [2:30:00]

      Torin Finser’s
      The Second Classroom, published in 2014, is the first book to take an honest and
      objective look at the challenges faced by Waldorf parents and teachers in their work together.
      Eugene and Torin recorded a conversation that they had about these issues.
      Download it here.

    • The Fourth Grade Curriculum
      Part 3: The Fourth Grade Curriculum

      4.17: The Grade Four Curriculum. [11:00]
      Norse mythology
      Local geography
      Language arts and grammar
      Arithmetic and Fractions
      Form Drawing
      Class Play
      Class Trip
      The integrated and unintegrated curriculum of the odd and even grades.

      A Grade Four Block Rotation Guide
      Click here for the PDF

    • Form Drawing
      Part 4: Form Drawing

      4.18: Form Drawing. The most important subject in Grade Four. Learning how to draw knotted and braided forms is more than just a skill. It is an active and creative means by which the child harmonizes the etheric body that has sustained them for the first three grades and the powerful, dynamic forces of the astral body. [16:30]
      Form Drawing Teacher’s Guides:
      Your password for all of the video presentations is Four4Class

      1. Part 1: Knotted Drawings [35:10]
      2. Part 2: Braided Drawings [38:00]
      3. Drawing with Pencil [8:00]
      4. Student Work in Form Drawing [22:40]

    • Norse Mythology
      Part 5: Norse Mythology
      4.23: Norse Mythology 1. Norse mythology is one of the most memorable of all subjects Waldorf students learn. Powerful awakening forces contained in the minutes. Steiner's insights concerning Norse myths are often revelatory. Direct experience of the gods as opposed to dream like recollection. The nature of the Norsemen, and the experience of their myths. [16:30]

      4.24: Norse Mythology 2. Myth and history. Be cautious about spending too much time on the Norsemen and the Vikings. It is the mythology that works most strongly on the children. "The Dreamsong of Olaf Asteson" and "The Kalevala": great works of art, but are they are appropriate for grade 4 students? Misunderstanding about the relationship of common geography and the appropriateness of subjects. [17:10]

      4.25: Norse Mythology 3. The Germanic myths and the Niebelungenlied. Siegfried, the human hero, eclipses the gods in importance. This epic may be better taught in grade six, as part of Medieval History. Monotheism and polytheism. Rudolf Steiner's vision of the Spiritual Hierarchies. [16:30]

      4.26: Norse Mythology 4. Who are the "gods," particularly the Norse gods? Angels, Archangels, and Archai and their path of evolution. "Fallen" beings and beings who choose to hold back their own evolution. Lucifer and Ahriman. [16:35]

      4.27: Norse Mythology 5. Vanir and Aesir. What is conveyed by "families" of gods, with parents and children? More developed gods are "parents," e.g. Odin, and less developed gods are "children," e.g. Thor. The "Human" stages of spiritual beings. [15:25]

      4.28: Norse Mythology 6. Source materials. Three very wonderful retellings of the Norse Myths are available. The most poetic one is from the first third of the 20th century, the most visually delightful one is from the second third of the 20th century, and the most scholarly is from the last third of the 20th century. Any one of them can be your single resource, but it would be good if you could work with two or even three to see which one is most suited to your narrative style. [14:15]

      4.29: Norse Mythology 7. Presenting the stories. Two blocks are sufficient, but three blocks would be even better because of the triadic quality of the myths. Try to really digest these stories over the summer and before you teach, so that you can make eye contact with the children as you narrate them. The main purpose of the Norse Myths is to introduce the child's astral body to the child's physical body. [14:10]

      4.30: Norse Mythology 8. Creation and the Nine Worlds. Steiner's cosmology and earth evolution. The transition from warmth to light to fluid and finally physical substantiality. The Norse creation story. [15:45]

      4.31: Norse Mythology 9. The “casting-off” aspect of creation. The giant has to come first so that the beautiful creatures have cast off all that is crude about their physical nature. But that which is cast off tends to live on. The battle between the gods, who represent the astral world, and the giants, who represent the physical/etheric world, constitutes one of the great dramas of these myths. [13:55]

      4.32: Norse Mythology 10. Yggdrasil, the World Ash. The Norns. The tree as the all encompassing symbol of Norse mythology. The destructive forces of the Dragon and the tremendous sensory powers of the Eagle with the squirrel mediating mischievously between them. [18:20]

      4.33: Norse Mythology 11. The Nine Realms. The interplay of earlier stages of Earth evolution, Lemuria, and Atlantis. Dwarves, Jotuns, and gods represent the physical, etheric, and astral forces in ceaseless interplay. [17:45]

      4.34: Norse Mythology 12. The Aesir. From temperament to personality. The four major gods and the four temperaments. The power of the astral body in the Norse Myths. The need for more drama in teachers renditions of these stories. [17:40]

      4.35: Norse Mythology 13. Attributes of the gods. Odin and Idunn. [15:15]

      4.36: Norse Mythology 14. Attributes of the gods. Loki. [14:00]

      4.37: Norse Mythology 15. The Wall of Asgard, a retelling of the story. [22:00]

      Norse Mythology: A Slideshow of Student Work [1:05:15]
    • Zoology
      Part 6: Zoology
      4.54: Zoology 1. This block not only serves as a culmination of Grade 4 but also lays the foundation for future Natural Sciences blocks. Like all of the natural science subjects in the curriculum, it is deeply connected to Anthroposophy, whether we know it or not. [10:50]

      4.55: Zoology 2. Why is it called "Man and Animal"? Evolution? Creationism? Intelligent Design? Upon what foundation are we building this main lesson block? Darwin and Haeckel. "Ontogeny recapitulates Phylogeny." [17:10]

      4.56: Zoology 3. Steiner's imagination of Earth evolution. The natural world and its sacrifices. The earth as a classroom. The challenging quality of Steiner's evolutionary worldview. [19:50]

      4.57: Zoology 4. Epimetheus and Prometheus. The price of perfection in the animal world is one-sidedness; the compensation for imperfection in the human world is versatility and inventiveness. [14:40]

      4.58: Zoology 5. Human teeth and animal teeth. The teeth as an imaginative picture of the nerve-senses, rhythmic, and metabolic-limb spheres in animals and humans. [16:25]

      4.59: Zoology 6. Animal childhood and human childhood. The dramatically different “schedules” in which endowments and capacities arise. [18:00]

      4.60: Zoology 7. Resource materials. The tidal change in the way in which the Zoology block has been taught over the past century. [17:50]

      4.61:Zoology 8. Reports by children. Cautionary words concerning a venerable “tradition” in most Waldorf schools. When asking a sensible question is equated with mounting an attack. [20:25]

      4.62: Zoology 9. Further comparisons of humans and animals. The sea and the air. Skeletal systems and the horizontal and vertical planes. [20:00]

      4.63: Zoology 10. Rudolf Steiner’s threefold classification of the animal world; a framework, not a bed of Procrustes. The animals as expressions of human temperaments. Four types of birds. [15:50]

      4.64: Zoology 11. Drawing and modeling animal forms. Drawing animals from life. Crawling and understanding the significance of the upright posture. [10:10]

      Zoology: A Slideshow of Student Work [54:15]
    • Slideshows & Videos
      Part 7: Videos and Slideshows

      Painting with Patience [40:00]
      Although this instructional film was developed for the Grade Five Online Conference, it has been viewed by thousands of class teachers in all grades. The student paintings that appear in the Norse Mythology Slideshow were created using this technique.

      Norse Mythology: A Slideshow of Student Work [1:05:15]

      Thor Triumphant Part 1: Excerpts from the Class Play [18:35]

      Thor Triumphant Part 2: Excerpts from the Class Play [9:50]

      Zoology: A Slideshow of Student Work [54:15]

      The Nine/Ten-Year Change:
      A Dynamic Diagram

      Form Drawing Teacher’s Guides:

      1. Part 1: Knotted Drawings [35:10]
      2. Part 2: Braided Drawings [38:00]
      3. Drawing with Pencil [8:00]
      4. Student Work in Form Drawing [22:40]

      Mathematics Teacher’s Guides:
      1. Patterns and Predictions [24:50]
      2. Secret Numbers [24:00]
      3. Factors [19:10]
      4. Fractions 1 [18:20]
      5. Fractions 2 [12:45]
      6. Fractions 3 [21:10]
      7. Etheric & Astral Currents in Grade 4 Math [17:30]