Blog#6 First Efforts

It is with the last words of my previous blog in mind that I share the results of the first real artistic effort in my life. As humble as the results are, I am proud of the fact that I did it, that I made the effort. The contribution of the chalk is evident. Most of the cards were made in just a few minutes, but there was something in my interaction with the colored chalk that was very inspiring and encouraging to me. I made chalk drawings on the blackboard for nearly 30 years and never got beyond a certain point in developing my skill. Still, I am confident that putting those drawings on the board made the stories I told that much more meaningful to the children, giving them an impetus to draw their own.

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LMNOP

In Waldorf schools the beginning of formal language learning, reading, etc. is marked by the introduction of the letters of the alphabet. You might say, “Yes, and what else is new?” But the in-depth treatment of the letters, or sounds, goes far beyond children learning to identify, shape and use the letters for reading and writing. The goal is, through an artistic approach, to touch the children and to have them participate deeply in the experiencing of language.

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Blog#4 My Books

If you go to the website for LemonTree Press on the toolbar you will find the books I have written and published. None of them was initially created as a book per se, but rather they were my sincere attempts to serve the children in my classes by bringing lessons to them via an artistic approach, through story or poetry. This was then furthered by their own creative efforts, writing, painting, drawing, singing, acting, etc.

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Blog#3 The Heart of the Matter

There are many elements in Waldorf education which present startling contrasts to many of today’s educational practices. However, the one I feel impelled to describe first has to do with the importance of the quality of ‘heart’ in reaching the young child. I use the term ‘reaching’ in place of ‘teaching’ because, though we teach children, it is of little use unless we can reach them. I use the term ‘heart’ to point toward the child’s inner life. 

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Blog#2

In Blog#1 I described a nearly ideal teaching situation in which the teacher, myself, was free to present material in the way he felt was fit. Of course it was suited to the immediate situation and certainly followed the time tested best practices of Waldorf education. The school was in Santa Cruz, CA, and the students were, for the most part, white and middle class.

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Blog#1 The Palace of Wisdom and Art

I was fortunate in my early years of teaching to have a large measure of freedom to employ the artistic approach typical of Waldorf education. As someone who identified as a poet prior to becoming a teacher, I was eager to take up the challenge of artistic teaching, or teaching through art. Below is the introduction to Working With LMNOP, the manual that accompanies LMNOP and All the Letters A to Z, my first published book:

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