Question for the Waldorf folks around here... - Mothering Forums
Learning at School > Question for the Waldorf folks around here...
momtokay's Avatar momtokay 04:48 AM 09-11-2004
What would you suggest for a 4-year old who wants to write letters, spell words, etc. My daughter, who starts at a Waldorf preschool next Monday, just turned four in July. Mostly she just spends tons of time drawing right now, but sometimes she goes through spurts where she wants to try and write. I'm not encouraging or discouraging her. If she asks me how to spell a word or write a letter I just tell/show her. I wonder if I should be doing more or less though. Any advice?


(oh i wasn't sure if this should go under learning at school or learning at home so feel free to move it if it's in the wrong place.)

Deborah's Avatar Deborah 10:25 AM 09-11-2004
I think you are on the track. Answer questions as they come up, but don't volunteer or offer. You might see if you can come up with other activities that she finds more interesting that involve nature or movement.

My experience of waldorf and early learning is that it is okay for a child to ask and be answered, problems come when reading and writing are being pushed (even subtlely). My granddaughter is also asking how to write various letters and can now write her name in block letters. I think that now she is back in nursery school this interest will die out for a while because she is having so much fun at school.

My daughter refrained from even showing her how to draw things. One day Stella drew a picture of a wagon, entirely out of her own effort. What excitement. But letters of course have to be demonstrated, I guess. Too bad, but then every child would create their own version of writing...just rambling. Come to think of it, Stella has been creating her own version of writing. She makes squiggles and then tells us what they mean! Hmmm. But now she is starting to get interested in the way everyone else does it. Conformity setting in. This seems similar to the way my grandson (14 months) talks. Most of the time he happily babbles and gestures and we generally understand the main points he is making (feed me! hug me! watch me!). At some point he will have to buckle down and master the language we all use, alas.

stillnominivan's Avatar stillnominivan 10:58 AM 09-11-2004
I think if she's asking and interested, you should help her!
Rhonwyn's Avatar Rhonwyn 07:24 PM 09-11-2004
If she asks, tell her but I wouldn't buy her any workbooks or flashcards. Let her lead.

My daughter is starting 1st grade in Waldorf and she can write her name, her brother's name and other names. She occasionally asks how to spell something or how a letter looks or what a word is. When she asks, I tell her but I don't point out letters, words or ask her to spell things. She is very anxious to read and is worried that she can't so I have told her that that is what she will be learning this year and next and that she will be able to read when she is ready. Some of it is competetion with her older brother who reads fluently in the 3rd grade at Waldorf.

Also if I remember correctly your daughter is going to have Betsy for a preschool teacher. Betsy is a wonderful resource. She has taught 1st through 8th grade as well as having a very successful preschool for the last 8 years or so. Betsy is considered to be one of the Waldorf gurus in Seattle as well as being a wonderful person. She teaches many Waldorf teacher training classes too.
momtokay's Avatar momtokay 08:53 PM 09-11-2004
thanks ladies! i guess we'll just keep on as is. it will be interesting how preschool changes what her focus is. i'm glad she's going to get to play outside all winter long. i have a tendency to take them out at least daily when the weather is nice, but to hibernate indoors when the rain/cold come along.

she's known all her letters since she was very little (thanks to a wooden letter puzzle) and i think now that she is starting to grasp that letters together make words she is wanting to try it out for herself. she's definitely at a "do it myself" age.

and rhonwyn, you remember correctly. dd is going to betsy's preschool. i am so excited. betsy seems like a fabulous teacher!! i'll be sure and ask for her advice too.

thanks again everyone!!