Educating through Arts and Crafts
An integrated approach to craft work in Steiner Waldorf Schools
Edited by Michael Martin
Softbound, large format.
Hundreds of drawings and photographs
$35.00Add a review
Educating through Arts and Crafts is as beautiful as it is masterful in its telling. Michael Martin has drawn together 30 articles and essays on various aspects of both the art curriculum and the crafts curriculum of Waldorf education. All of these are illustrated with drawings and photos that bring to life the joy of creation as well as detailing the pedagogical wealth which each represents. If any book on Waldorf education can be said to be a luscious "coffee table book," Educating through Arts and Crafts is it.
It is also a deeply serious and thorough examination of the importance of these subjects to the development and full education of our children, and of their life-giving impact on the adults they are to become. I have never before encountered such pedagogical depth coupled with such love and beauty. This book is a treasure that I believe has the capacity to breath new life and energy into Waldorf education as a whole; it will certainly inspire anyone who reads it.
My hope is that each person who reads it carries its wisdom into their own hands and then teaches that wisdom of the hands to at least one student. That will be a beautiful in-spiriting indeed!
Activities that Strengthen the Child's Cognitive Forces
$16.00Add a review
I really, really like this book. It has just about every activity and craft I've ever witnessed at a Waldorf school, along with lovely pencil drawings, color painting examples, and instructions for stage craft, upright loom building, guidance for main lesson illustrations and content, as well as its core grade-by-grade discussion of activities to integrate into the lessons.
There is a vigor and a joy to it that will inspire and energize any teacher or parent who uses it as a resource. Whether you are teaching in a classroom, teaching at home, or simply want to integrate these activities into your child's life, this is a book to love. Thank you, Elizabeth Auer!
Grades 1 thru 8.
Handwork & Practical Arts in the Waldorf School
Elementary through High School
David Mitchell and Patricia Livingston
$22.00Add a review
An outstanding overview of the nature and role of the practical arts in Waldorf education! The illustrations alone offer such a clear view of the specific projects and goals of the "crafts classes" that the excellent descriptive text is almost an added bonus! Anyone teaching any of the crafts will LOVE this book - it is a real gift and I'm thrilled to see it available.
Mitchell and Livingston examine how working with the hands opens up neurological passageways that establish the foundation of thinking. Copiously illustrated, this book shows how the conscious development and training of the hands in the Waldorf curriculum, from kindergarten through high school, begin with the heart forces to lead the student to enhanced cognition. Additionally, they have created a practical guide to the subjects that make up this curriculum.
The Golden Path
Craft - Technics - Practical
Class 1 to 12
$22.95Add a review
The Golden Path is a triumph! Finally, a comprehensive, thorough and deeply considered overview "the crafts" that are taught throughout the curriculum of Waldorf schools - covering everything from Grade 1 to Grade 12. And, it's in English!
From my perspective, the most significant and valuable aspect of the book is that Alan brings to life Steiner's intent that Waldorf schools offer both a basic liberal arts education and a basic trades education. This intent is all too often lost in what has become, in my opinion, a misunderstood focus on "handwork" as a balancing tool for all the "headwork". In Alan's approach, the students are taught genuinely useful-to-the-modern-world ways to use the intelligence of the hand, which not only serves to lead them into the world in a more complete and powerful way, but, as modern science has shown, creates the framework for a fully human intelligence. It is his modernization of the curriculum, done while keeping very much to Steiner's intent and without losing any of the more commonly taught subject matter, that is the central gift of this very fine book.
A real bonus with The Golden Path the unending stream of color photographs of different projects completed by students in various grades. Alan's recently enhanced printing capacity enables all of us to delight in these handwork victories and study their manifest technic and form. (This is an author, incidentally, who actually produces all his books from writing to printing to binding - no wonder he has such a terrific grasp of the role of the crafts.)
I should add that this is not a how-to in terms of learning the techniques of any of these subjects - there are plenty of resources for that available in our bookshop and elsewhere. This is a guide to what to teach, how to teach it, why you and I want children to learn these things, and the joy they bring. Absolutely everything from knitting to gardening to survival training to baking to toymaking to desk building to . . . more and more and more. All of it is presented with wisdom and enthusiasm.
Inspiring and wonderful! Don't miss it!!
Teaching Practical Activities
Farming, Gardening, Housebuilding for ages 9 and 10
$5.95Add a review
Nine- and ten-year-olds are at a stage where they feel suddenly separated from the greater world of nature. They may feel exhilarated by this fresh breath of independence, but also a bit lost as the natural world which they previously felt at one with becomes more distant to them.
One of the ways Waldorf education meets this developmental change is by introducing practical activities, ways in which we humans, now distant from nature, can nonetheless befriend and work with the natural world.
Wilkinson does a lovely job of gifting the teacher or parent with everything needed to sustain the newly-independent 3rd or 4th grader. He includes poetry and prayers that in older days people used to keep themselves at home in the world yet connected to heaven. And of course, he also shows you how to teach the basics of the subjects at hand.
This is one of his warmest books.
- The Plowman's Charm
- Väinämöinen's Sowing
- Farming and Gardening
- Healthy Soil or the Story of Willy the Worm
- Cultivating Soil
- Types of Soil
- Sunnyside Farm
- A Diversion
- The Year on the Farm
- Concrete and Mortar
- Pipes and Wires
- Furnishings and Equipment
A Farmer's Alphabet
Softbound, large format
$15.95Add a review
When I saw A Farmer's Alphabet, I knew it was a perfect addition to the 3rd Grade Farming/House Building block in the Waldorf curriculum. The feel of these images is so authentic (I grew up on a farm, so I can attest to this), so warm and alive, that having this book available can enrich the student's experience enormously. Many 3rd Grades use Laura Ingles Wilder's Farmer Boy as their focus -- A Farmer's Alphabet practically illustrates the story: a New England farm with work still being done with simple tools.
A bonus is that the alphabet also shows both upper and lower case printed letters that in 3rd grade, when students are reading from printed books as well as writing their own main lesson books, becomes a lovely visual reinforcement.
Gardening with Young Children
$27.00Add a review
I have personally been waiting for over 20 years for someone to write this beautiful book. It is a joy to see it and to recognize in it everything I've ever wanted to see on this topic placed between two covers.
Beatrys Lockie is a passionate organic gardener who taught in a Waldorf kindergarten for many years and found a seemingly unlimited number of ways to pass along to young children her enthusiasm for gardening. Anyone wanting to do the same will love this book as much as I do.
In fact, anyone wanting to learn to garden from a master will love this book, for she includes all the basics of gardening along with her ways of sharing it with our little ones.
And, if you already know how to garden, but want to learn how to work with young children, she shows you that, too. The first part of the book is like walking into her kindergarten where she quietly shows us the rhythms and ways of what is to me a sacred space wherein children can blossom.
Gardening with Young Children answers so many needs with so much love that it simply brings tears to my eyes to read it. I hope that it becomes the seed to many, many gardens that invite children into the world of nature.
Green Fingers and Muddy Boots
A Year in the Grden for Children and Families
Includes a CD-ROM with worksheets
$30.00Add a review
Here is a beautiful, wonder-filled introduction to the joys of gardening! Packed with photos and drawings of birds, bees, flowers, vegetables and much, much more, Green Fingers and Muddy Boots is so evocative of the pleasures of working with nature that you'll find yourself setting it down frequently in favor of going out and getting your hands into some soil. Which I know the author would love for you and children everywhere to do.
Green Fingers and Muddy Boots—with worksheets on the accompanying CD—presents practical and fun activities in the garden for every month of the year, come rain or shine. Activities range from growing flowers and vegetables to spotting birds and tracking the weather and keeping a garden diary.
The activities are suitable for seven- to fourteen-year-olds. Although older children will be able to work independently, it can be fun to work together as a family or school class.
This book is based on the original “Plant and Grow” course developed with the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, which has been used successfully by many families and schools for several years.
We recommend it as wonderful for children of all ages! You can never be too young or too old to get out into the garden.
Biodynamic Gardening for Health and Taste
$35.00Add a review
What a beautiful, useful, mouthwatering book this is! This is one of the most well-presented gardening books ever to have been printed, and the very clearest explanation of how to garden biodynamically that has ever been written. Truly, this is the book that, whether they know it or not, gardeners all over the world have been waiting for.
What captures my heart the most about Hilary Wright's book is that she writes engagingly about biodynamics, the earth's rhythms, gardens, gardening, compost, and while holding your attention as if you were reading a page-turner, she weaves a picture of all of this (and more) being one thing, a whole. She does this in a way that is not just immediately comprehensible (it is most certainly that), it is also crystal clear that gardening within the unity of nature and using biodynamic methods is just not difficult. It's not difficult to make compost (she shows you several ways). It's not difficult to use the preps you need (i.e., the homeopathic preparations used in biodynamics), it's not hard to tend your garden and protect it in wholesome ways, and it's absolutely no problem finding ways to enjoy eating what you grow.
In other words, in addition to pulling it all together and making it clear, Hilary Wright has made biodynamics do-able by any gardener who wants to garden.
So grab your spade and digging fork, your seed packets and trog baskets, and head out into the world of nature that is your garden, no matter how big or small, whether in the soil itself of containers. The harvest you reap will be so much more than the wonderful vegetables you can grow.
Farmers of Forty Centuries
Organic Farming in China, Korea, and Japan
F. H. King
Includes 248 black and white photos taken by the author.
$16.95Add a review
I have carried a copy of Farmers of Forty Centuries around with me for almost 40 years and go back to it regularly, each time finding something new, useful, and insightful that I somehow hadn't really seen in all my previous readings. It is simply a work of genius, the warm and thorough descriptions of the way the people of these three cultures have worked with and cared for the Earth throughout, literally, 40 centuries.
F. H. King lived and worked in the late 19th /early 20th centuries. He was one of the founders of the University of Wisconsin School of Agriculture, and left behind a body of work and a human approach to the task of growing and producing food that inspires and informs even today. Farmers of Forty Centuries chronicles his journey of observation to China, Korea and Japan. It went out of print shortly after I purchased my copy those many years ago, and returned to print only last year (2011). I can't describe how happy it makes me to be able to offer it to you now - really, it is the fulfillment of a dream I've long held.
If you are interested in gardening and farming, or if you find a richness in learning about the daily lives and work of people who lived more simply than we do now, you will find a lifetime of wonder and information in this single book. Your gardening will improve, your farming will take on a simpler, more effective pathway, and your understanding of the world and its variety of wisdom will grow enormously.
This book is a treasure. I hope you all find your way to it.
The One-Straw Revolution
An Introduction to Natural Farming
Preface by Wendell Berry
Introduction by Frances Moore Lappé
$15.95Add a review
I think that in many ways The One-Straw Revolution is one of the most meaningful and inspiring books ever written about agriculture and also about human life. It has certainly been one of the most meaningful and inspiring books in both our lives. About a decade before we met, both Bob and I were reading Fukuoka's beautiful thoughts and doing what we could to bring them to bear on our own lives. Our lives, of course, continued to move on and both of us managed to lose our precious copies, also before we met. Fukuoka's thoughts and experiences continued to live within us, but so did thousands of other things. We discovered the importance of this book in each other's lives only a couple of years ago, after it had been out of print for about a dozen years. We tracked down an affordable used copy and revisited our old friend and his wisdom once again. It was like being reinvigorated, refreshed and renewed ~ we brought to life again ways of gardening, of living that had remained dormant for many, many years. Both we and our garden have thrived in new ways as a result.
What you will find between the covers of this book is in no way a conventional "how-to" about natural farming or gardening or eating. Instead, you'll be given that rare opportunity to see the world through the eyes of someone who was so convinced by a single idea, namely, that nature always knows more than human beings, that he devoted his life to learning to comprehend nature's way of doing things and how he could shape his farming practices to let nature tend the crops and animals in the best way possible.
You'll be introduced to the cycle of the year from the perspective of sequential growing and harvesting; you'll find ways of supporting relationships between plants and animals such that each nourishes the other's life; you'll even find how human life and human needs can be best met in terms of food through the seasons and a work load that is steady but not overbearing.
In short, you'll find a way of looking at and understanding the world around you that has the possibility both figuratively and literally, to feed you body and soul throughout your life.
It is so very wonderful to find this book back in print!
Zen and the Art of Knitting
Exploring the Links Between Knitting, Spirituality, and Creativity
Contains outstanding descriptions of knitting classes in a Waldorf school!
$10.95Add a review
This book has an enormous amount to say about the value to human beings, young and old, of working with our hands. It also happens to contain two wonderful chapters devoted to someone who is an amazing handworker and the best Waldorf crafts teacher it has ever been my privilege to know: Elizabeth Seward.**
Bernadette Murphy has given the most detailed, life-filled descriptions I've ever read of knitting classes actually taught to first and fifth graders in a Waldorf school (Highland Hall). Even better, what you'll find in these descriptions is what I have always hoped someone would do for these classes -- Elizabeth presented everything to the children in ways that united their hands with the hearts and heads, and left an opening for spirit and soul to thrive. We can all be inspired by the simple, yet deeply resonant way she guided the children through the techniques and leads them into a loving, caring relationship with the work of their hands. All this, while maintaining an atmosphere of joy along with setting high standards for the outcomes of that work! What she accomplished is truly what we all want for our children.
N.B. Contrary to what the title may lead you to believe, it is not a treatise on Buddhist meditation, though Murphy's exploration does include this. It is a heartfelt consideration of the core essence of what knitting evokes in the inner life. Interestingly, about 80% of the people she interviewed or observed are practitioners of Christian prayer and meditation. It is a book whose contents and intents are still living in my heart, well past the reading of it. I think you'll love it, too.
**Elizabeth is no longer active as a Crafts Teacher, but does still offer classes and workshops to adults and makes herself available as mentor and guide to Waldorf Crafts teachers. I have known Elizabeth for about 20 years and can think of no one better to call upon in this role. Whether you are involved with a Waldorf School, public or private, that is ready to deepen its crafts program; or are part of a home school cooperative and would like a workshop to help the adults become more skilled at both the crafts and teaching them; or are an adult wishing to enrich your own life with a deeper, more joyful relationship to handwork -- Elizabeth Seward, in my opinion, is some one you could call upon with confidence that your needs will be met and your time and resources more than well-spent. Elizabeth can be reached through her web site: www.workofourhands.net
Children's Knitting Special - Books 1 & 2
Purchase both A First Book of Knitting for Children and Knitting for Children - A Second Bookook
Regular Price $44.90
$39.90Add a review
This combination of approaches is sure to help establish any child (or adult!) as a great knitter!
A First Book of Knitting
Bonnie Gosse and Jill Allerton
$19.95Add a review
This charming book is nothing less than the Waldorf approach to knitting captured between two covers. Here is everything - rhymes for each stitch, excellent step-by-step photographs, and the most delightful collection of projects we have seen gathered in one place. With the help of this book and a kind adult, any child can master the basics of knitting and then go on to create more animal and people friends than you can shake a knitting needle at! We are often asked questions about how knitting is taught in a Waldorf school - we are delighted that now we have such a wonderful way to answer them.
Knitting for Children - A Second Book
Bonnie Gosse & Jill Allerton
$24.95Add a review
The long-awaited continuations of the authors' wonderful A First Book of Knitting for Children has finally arrived! Building on their first volume, the authors bring many new skills and a wider variety of patterns to eager children and adults. Here is everything anyone needs to know about:
- reading a pattern
- increasing and decreasing
- dividing work
- picking up stitches
- multi-color knitting
- knitting in the round
- double casting off
- making proper holes
Included too are patterns for everything from sweaters and hats to gnomes, frogs, hand dolls and their clothing. This is a great book to have fun with - whether you are a child expanding your knitting horizons or an adult knitting for a beloved youngster. A terrific and inspiring resource!
Unlock Your Creative Genius with Modular Knitting
Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer
$8.95Add a review
Here is a book to delight knitters and teachers of mathematics - all at the same time!
How do they do this? Well, they are both mathematics teachers, amazing in their ability to make everything clear and fun. Right from the start, they forge a pathway to knitting heaven by having you take out whatever yarn you like, your choice of needles, and a small calculator. What happens next is a guided tour through a mosaic of shapes and colors -- all of them easy, all of them fascinating and beautiful. With Pat and Steve at your side, you can truly forget about conventional knitting patterns and follow your imagination where ever it leads you. Your students will begin absorbing and delighting in geometric and mathematical relationships without even noticing that's what they are doing. They will also being to love the time they spend knitting simply because they can follow their own inspiration so easily.
Happily and heavily illustrated throughout, with a section of color plates showcasing some of Pat's creations, Woolly Thoughts brings you everything you need for a lifetime of discovering the joys knitting and mathematics. This is a book that students and teachers will love equally - each will discover their knitting and their mathematical skills just get better and better, one stitch at a time!
A beautiful way to unite handwork with mathematics!
Making Woollen Crafts with Children
Illustrated throughout with full-color photos and line drawings
$16.95Add a review
Wool is perhaps my very favorite fiber, one that you allows you to create almost anything. This lively full-color illustrated craft book shows how to make a range of handicrafts from fleece and yarn, including toys, friendship bracelets and braids, balls, pompoms, dolls, dolls’ clothes and animals.
Neuschütz' instructions are wonderfully clear and filled with enthusiasm for the projects. There are diagrams and systematic instructions, along with photos showing the finished item or the work in progress. Creative Wool starts by introducing children to basic methods of spinning yarn, crocheting, knitting and felting, and offers a broad range of projects for children of all ages to complete, working together with adults.
Gerald L Findley
$25.00Add a review
Weaving is a wonderful handcraft for older students and adults. It gets the two hemispheres of the brain talking to each other, develops eye/hand/touch coordination, enhances cognitive awareness -- and it's fun and produces useful and beautiful things. The problem of teaching weaving usually amounts to a question of resources and space: full sized looms are expensive and take up a lot of space. The solution in many situations has been to simply forego weaving altogether and move on to other things.
Needless to say, we are delighted to have found Fingerweaving Basics. This method of weaving using only dowelling for the initial tye-up and finger dexterity to create weft patterns ranging from very basic to imaginatively complex is a beautiful way to offer students the full experience of genuine weaving with very simple tools. The book is fully illustrated with clear and lovely drawings that demonstrate each technique in a step-by-step way; there is a full discussion of materials and methods, including making a warping board for measuring lengths of weft.
Part of the charm of this exhaustive tutorial is the Native American history and cultural notes that appear throughout the book - there are inspiring photos of many Osage belts, along with brief notes as to their use and a bits about traditional fingerweaving in the tribal context. To me, all this history makes the craft even more inviting.
Highly recommended for eager students in 6th grade and up; for everyone grade 10 and up.
Housebuilding for Children
Step-by-Step Guides for Houses Children Can Build Themselves
Preface by Nonny Hogrogian
$16.95Add a review
For me, one of the most attractive things about Waldorf Education is that toward the end of 3rd Grade "housebuilding" is part of the curriculum. When I first read this, I could hardly wait for our children to reach 3rd grade so that they could experience some of the joy I had at that age.
When I was 8-10, my family lived in a home that backed up to an untended field filled with high-growing grasses. With the help of nocturnal creatures we never saw, we children discovered pathways and little "rooms" in the grass, quickly caught on to the process, and set about making house after house that we played in year after year (building them afresh each season by crawling to make paths and lying about to create the "rooms"). Once we had conquered the art of grassy housebuilding, we moved on to large trees where we discovered in our imaginations all manner of houses in the large and leafy branches. This was a period of almost rapturous play and discovery in my life -- and one that I knew could be reflected in the housebuilding blocks of a Waldorf 3rd Grade, even though at the time my children lived far from the wide open spaces I had enjoyed as a child.
What I love about Housebuilding for Children is that it is not about creating the perfect playhouse for children to play in, it is about guiding children to build their own houses, with only enough adult supervision to be sure that safety is part of the process. The houses range from ultra-imaginative super-low budget projects (using discarded materials such as a mattress innerspring or an old dresser), to an actual wood-frame house whose charm is enhanced by the fact that it really can be built by children, given a bit of instruction.
This is a wonderful book that offers children adventure and discovery, and offers the adults who teach them the guidance needed to convey basic building skills to their students. Happily, it is again in print. We are delighted to bring it to you.
Batistine's Summer with Grandpa
$16.00Add a review
Spend a glorious summer with Batistine on her Grandpa's rustic farm! In sunshine, fresh air and sheer joy, Batistine learns about the animals of the farm and those of the fields, when to harvest, how to do all manner of chores, even bridling the great big horse! Grandpa teaches her more, too. Together they talk about being together, parting, what a stupendous accomplishment learning to count is, and watch the clouds float across the sky. Treska Lindsey's beautiful story has much the same feel as Heidi, but with much more detail about farm life, told with such love and joy that it never once is anything other than a riveting part of the story. This is a book that will create warm memories for both parent and child, teacher and student. I can't think of a child anywhere who wouldn't love Batistine and her Grandpa and all the animals and things on Grandpa's farm. Truly outstanding!
Ages 5 and up. Ideal as an accompaniment to the Waldorf 3rd Grade block on farming and gardening.
How Batistine Made Bread
Softbound, large format
$16.00Add a review
Batistine lived in the olden days, long before your great-, great-, great-, great grandmother's mother was even born. Mostly she liked to climb trees or watch her mother and father make things around the farm. But when she turned seven, she wanted to make her own breakfast all by herself - from scratch!
You and your children can follow Batistine has she milks the cow, gathers eggs, harvests and winnows the wheat, grinds flour and much more, until at last she has baked a fragrant loaf of bread and is ready for breakfast!
Wonderful for any child, Treska Lindsey's warm recapturing the wonder of what 'bread' is really all about, How Batistine Made Bread is especially suited for children about age 8 or 9, who are ready for the cooking part of the Waldorf 3rd grade curriculum.
A Museum of Early American Tools
$8.95Add a review
This book is exactly what the title says it is: a museum of Early American tools. And, as with any great museum, simply to enter is to find oneself awash in awe and admiration and wonder. This is simply one of my all time favorite, best loved and remembered books ever.
Seeing Eric Sloane's work come back into print and regain popularity gives me cause for hope for the world. His every sketch, every comment embodies a respect and love for things made by human hands, hands that know and understand the nature of their tools and materials. A Museum of Early American Tools in particular evokes a love of both nature and human effort without ever saying a word about it. Open the pages, you'll see!
In the context of Waldorf education, there are so many places where having a copy of this book simply available for browsing would enliven a student's understanding and warm his or her interest -- for instance:
- during the house building and farming blocks in Grade 3
- kept nearby as woodworking commences in grades 4 and 5 and beyond
- perhaps even referred to during lessons on the Industrial Revolution - as it is bursting with examples that bridge the pre-industrial and industrial ages
There is life and the magic of imagination on these pages!
A Reverence for Wood
$9.95Add a review
If you want to infuse your student with an understanding of why natural materials are so special, just be sure there's a copy of this book available for browsing in your classroom or home. This refreshing, delightfully written, and magnificently illustrated book offers up one picture after another of things made with wood; functional things like doors and sheds, beautiful things like tables and bent wood boxes, and tools - such tools. Sloan even begins the book with colored pictures of the different woods common in North America, and ends it with the most artistic field guide to trees imaginable.
It is sheer joy to see Eric Sloane's books coming back into print - ready to nourish and inspire another generation! A Reverence for Wood is one of his very best.
Aldren A Watson
$14.95Add a review
Rudolf Steiner established Bookbinding as one of the required classes in the high school curriculum of the original Waldorf School. In his day, this was actually an essential skill for anyone wishing to build a personal library: books were sold in unbound signatures; it was up to the buyer to create a protective (and hopefully beautiful) cover. In our day, Bookbinding is still taught in Waldorf high schools, and although it is no longer a necessary skill, it is a richly rewarding one.
This is one of those how-to books that has everything you could want in it - it will take you and/or your student(s) step-by-step through the basics of bookbinding, and then introduce you to some very elegant techniques as well. Watson details materials and tools, and even offers some history as well. Everything is illustrated with beautiful and clear drawings and explained clearly and completely. I can't imagine anyone not falling in love with bookbinding by the time they finish looking through the book.