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Introduction of grammar

You can develop the entirety of grammar by simply making the children more aware of the life of the grammar that is already there when the child has learned to speak.

The introduction of basic grammar in the third grade illustrates an important principle of the Waldorf method, namely, “from the whole to the parts.” In the Waldorf approach, we grasp the whole in sketch or outline first, then move to larger parts, and only slowly down to the granular details.

A second principle in Waldorf method is to relate everything to the human being – to reveal the learning content’s vital and dynamic connection to life as “alive” and intimate to the child’s own life as possible. Thus, we approached the elements of speech and language imaginatively, through pictorial stories and movement, introducing our (human) language as it first appears to the child’s experience; that is, as an accomplished fact of living. Students are made conscious that the language they speak (and can already read in some cases) and has been taken in from their environment naturally and imitatively, contains definite structures and forms that can be identified, named and played with purposefully.

Just as a rainbow is a single visual phenomenon that contains seven distinct colors, language (English) has distinct parts that can be discerned from out the primal phenomenon of The Sentence. Whole to the parts.

The Creation Myth from the Old Testament provided the students another more direct way to enter into and identify themselves with the experience of the two basic elements of the sentence: the names of things (Nouns) and the actions of those things (Verbs).

The story of how Adam named all of the beasts that God had created was made into a play-acting exercise wherein the students mimed animals whilst the others guessed the name of the animal being depicted. The students practiced giving names to things from their stories and from their immediate surroundings in various playful ways, accompanied with the gradually increasing actions and relationships these beings and objects performed. We characterized these kinds of words as Naming words and Doing words. Naming words were written in blue and Doing words in red on the blackboard and the students wrote their sentences using the colors appropriate to each. Continuing in this way, the Adjectives (Color words – green) and Adverbs (How words – yellow) were also introduced and sentences written, copied, and read aloud in class. Gradually, the class helped compose short narratives retelling the stories from the Old Testament.

Awareness of the essential natures of the distinct parts of speech was thus gradually awakened in a pictorial and alive manner.

Teacher Scott

Class Teacher for Class III

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