Visual Arts

 

Emphasis is placed upon artistic expression in every aspect of Waldorf education. Morning lesson books, an essential component of all the grades, are created as works of art. These books demonstrate what the students learn academically and also demonstrate increasing artistic techniques and expressions.

Art instruction is woven throughout the school day in the early grades and is offered additionally in the middle school. The class teacher in the grades provides most of the art instruction for his or her class. Especially gifted teachers may offer art classes in different subjects to other classes as well as to his or her class.

In kindergarten and the lower grades, the fine arts are integrated into the daily and weekly rhythms of the group. The children do wet-on-wet watercolor painting one day each week. Younger children use fewer colors, focusing on the primary colors. As the children get older, more colors and techniques are offered. Through their own experimentation the children take in experiences of colors and movement and they also learn to care for the materials properly. The children also have regular opportunities to color with crayons and model with beeswax. The early emphasis in bringing these activities is the process involved rather than the product resulting. As children get older, more emphasis is placed on the product

In the upper elementary grades, students continue with watercolor painting but are also introduced to other artistic media such as pastel, pencil and charcoal drawing, beeswax painting, and veil painting. More advanced artistic techniques are presented as it becomes developmentally appropriate. Students experience still life painting and drawing, portraits, painting of moods and landscapes. In addition to beeswax modeling, students work with clay in many settings, integrating the arts into many other subject areas. Students begin using large beeswax crayons for all of their work in the early grades and progress to thinner crayons, colored and graphite pencils and later include calligraphy and standard ink pens. Occasionally, students present written work typed or produced on a word processor. This becomes more common and encouraged in the high school. The emphasis on aesthetics in all school work is one way that the school integrates the arts into all areas of the school.

Form drawing is a unique component of the Waldorf curriculum. It has both pedagogical and artistic value. Form drawing in first grade leads to the formation of all of the letters of the alphabet. As the grades progress, form drawing hones fine motor skills and eyehand coordination and develops into both beautiful knot work borders for morning lesson books but also lends itself to later precision in free hand geometric drawing. Form drawing is also used in remedial work with some students.