Drawing in the Waldorf-Inspired Kindergarten Homeschool

The main emphasis in a Waldorf-inspired kindergarten, whether at home or in a school setting, is free open-ended play in the container of a solid rhythm. Many of us are drawn to the beautiful art produced in Waldorf schools by teachers and students. Art instruction is a big part of the Waldorf method, but like all direct instruction, it does not begin until first grade. In the grades, children are taught drawing skills and they practice these skills daily and use them as a vehicle for learning in the other subjects. In the kindergarten, however, the children play!

drawing 1

I suggest that you have a basket or shelf set up with basic art materials that children can access anytime as part of their free play. The basic essentials are paper (printer paper works great) and stick crayons (a set of stockmar crayons is lovely and will last a long time). You can also add in block crayons, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, watercolor trays, oil pastels, and anything else that tickles your fancy. Add scissors, popsicle sticks, and glue, and your children will be making simple puppets in no time.

Now I've heard a lot of confusion around the internet about the use of block crayons in the kindergarten. I think many people assume they are for kindergarteners because they have a chunkier shape; in fact, block crayons were developed by a fourth grade Waldorf teacher for use in grades classrooms. Block crayons have their shape because they are useful for various coloring techniques such as filling in large swaths of paper, producing bands and ribbons of color of different widths, and shading and mixing colors. Specific drawing techniques have an important and firm place in the Waldorf curriculum: the grades. In kindergarten, children learn through play and imitation. You can provide block crayons if you wish and certainly sit down and practice your drawing and play with your own drawing in front of them, but please don't limit them only to block crayons as they can be frustrating for beginning drawers. You want coloring to be a free and joyful activity in the kindergarten, not something that presents barriers or frustrations for the child. If you need more convincing, read this lovely article by Barbara Dewey at Waldorf Without Walls.  And if you want to learn how to draw with block crayons in preparation for homeschooling in the grades, I recommend the wonderful Coloring with Block Crayons book or DVD by Sieglinde de Francesca.

drawing 2

“Teaching” drawing as a homeschool kindergarten parent is easy: Provide drawing supplies, let your child use them, and enjoy those wonderful drawings!