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!!