Friday, February 15, 2019

Fibers & Clothing Week 2

This block has been so much fun! Here are some notes from Week 2.

Week 1: Wool Experiments, Washing Raw Wool, Carding & Spinning, Wet Felting

Week 2: Natural Dyes, Mohair & Cashmere, Yarn Store Field Trip, Silk, Crochet Special Guest

Monday, February 11

  • review wet felting, make wet felted soap stones
  • draft Wet Felting for MLB
  • read The Goat in the Rug by Charles L. Blood and Martin Link
  • try natural dyeing in the crockpot (wool batting, eight chopped fresh beets, white vinegar, 12 hours on low and 10 hours on keep warm)

Tuesday, February 12

Thursday, February 14

  • add Wet Felting to MLB
  • review natural dyes, draft Natural Dyes for MLB
  • look at and feel Nuno wet felted scarf by Andi LeBeau
  • look at our silkworm eggs (which have been colder than 75-85 degrees and are not yet hatching) and the remaining items in the Silkworm Discovery Kit
  • read Silkworms by Sylvia A. Johnson, stopping to look at cocoons (both broken and whole non-living)

Friday, February 15

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine's Day Celebration ECE

Here are a few notes from our week of Valentine Fun!

We continued with our Songs, Verses & Movement for classroom routines.

Circle Time


We are making pop-up cards for friends (learning the accordion fold for the pop-up heart element was so much fun) as well as handmade seed paper valentines for parents. Today we tore red and pink construction paper and white copy paper into tiny pieces and soaked them in a large basin of water.


  • "The Little Valentine Fox," page 11
    from Valentine Tales by Suzanne Down
  • Handmade Seed Paper Valentines - pour shapes

The Handmade Seed Paper Valentines take three days to make, but they are one of my favorite Valentine's Day projects and well worth it!

First, we blended the pulp in my blender in small batches (with plenty of water) and poured it into a large bowl. Then we stirred in two packets of organic thyme seeds.

I stacked four thick folded bath towels on top of each other and placed a linen dishcloth on the top (this is important so that the paper has a smooth finish and the gooey pulp doesn't get caught in the top towel's terry loops).

I placed a heart cookie cutter on top of the dishcloth and we used a slotted spoon to spoon some of the pulp into the cookie cutter. Each child got to make one. They used their fingers to spread the cloud-soft pulp in an even layer and completely fill the heart shape, then pushed downward as hard as they could to squeeze out all of the excess water into the towel pile below.

When they were satisfied, we carefully lifted up the heart shape to reveal the piece of pink heart-shaped handmade seed paper.

When we were all done (we made about a dozen) I placed them on a drying rack to dry completely.


  • "The Valentine Baker of Pink," page 25
    and Valentine Baker Finger Puppet (pattern on page 48)
    from Valentine Tales by Suzanne Down
  • Handmade Seed Paper Valentines - assemble

Today was in our in-class valentine exchange. We had the loveliest time, and I served strawberries cut into hearts for us to enjoy alongside our Soup.

We also finished our Handmade Seed Paper Valentines to take home for parents, attaching the handmade paper hearts to beautiful lacy paper doilies. The note for parents was, "You're in my heart all the 'thyme'!" I copied the planting information from the seed packet and sent it home as well.

And, of course, today was also Stone Soup Day! Here was our list of group contributions this week:

red onion
Swiss chard
chicken stock

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Writing a Woodcutter Circle

I have been very drawn to working with the archetypal Woodcutter image. It's a wonderful combination of vigorous active work and the nurturing spirit.

Last June I made a master list of songs, poems, and movement verses for all of the different traditional professions I could think of; today I am going back to that brainstorm list to help me find ideas for the Woodcutter!

As always, I make long lists and then get lots and lots of sleep while my mind works on the question. I need to find the key images, find the joyful narrative that connects the images, and edit out all that is superfluous.

I just love the "Woodpecker" song on Hap Palmer's CD Rhythms on Parade.

And Miss Erin at the Waldorf School of St. Louis shared with me a great movement idea for "building a woodpile." First stack the big logs (sit, extend legs fully and cross them and uncross them as an X several times), then the little logs (extend arms fully and cross and uncross them as an X several times), and then the tiny twigs (extend pointer finger fully and cross and uncross them as an X several times).

I discovered that there's a start to my vision of this Circle in Nancy Foster's Let Us Form a Ring (pages 18-20 of the book; tracks 28-32 on the first CD). She focuses more on the quiet walk through the woods in the Winter, looking at the beauty of the snow. I want to bring in more of the work of chopping wood, and the movements of the animals he sees as he goes along.

I also found three different woodcutter verses on pages 61-62 of Winter by Wynstones Press.

I like some of the verses from Estelle Breyer's Movement for the Young Child (and this book is available free as a PDF from the Online Waldorf Library). I could see "The Earth is Firm Beneath My Feet" on page 91, "The Lovely Sun is Shining" and "In All I Say" on page 92, "The Blue Sky Above Me" on page 94, and "Ha, Ha, Laughs the Wind" on page 98.

We loved "It Snows" from Gesture Games for Autumn and Winter by Wilma Ellersiek, page 90, in the Honeybee in Winter Circle and I think the children would like us to use it again.

I also like "Winter Weather" (page 89, track 75), "Hello Brother Wind" (page 90, track 76), "Blow, Wind, Blow!" (page 91, track 77), "The North Wind Doth Blow" (page 92, track 78), "King Winter is Come" (page 96, track 82), and "Mark Your Steps" (page 97, track 83) from The Singing Year book & CD.

When the final Woodcutter Circle comes together, I'll be sure to share it here!

If you're interested in the conscious use of archetypal images in early childhood storytelling and puppetry, I highly recommend Suzanne Down's upcoming summer workshop!

~ ~ ~

Steiner's '12 Professions'
The Moral Value and Artistry of the Worker Archetype
in Fairy Tales and Story for Young Children

June 21-25, Boulder CO

~ ~ ~

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Monday, February 11, 2019

Photos Part 2

Here are some photos from the classroom for the beginning of February.

friends sitting side by side knitting their adorable lambs

we finish Zoology with a watercolor painting of the Seal

painting the seal by painting the watery environment around it

our silkworm eggs arrive!

ready to sew up their lambs

this is the classic first knitting pattern in a Waldorf classroom

assembling the awesome & mighty Space Pod

the masterpiece is complete

this quickly becomes a favorite hangout spot in the classroom

the Montessori Short Bead Chain material

used with its set of color-coded Printed Arrows for skip counting

foldable to be the square of the number
(the Long Bead Chain material folds to be the cube)

breaking up our wax blocks for easier melting

time to dip candles in celebration of Candlemas!

"Dip it down, pull it up"

then the children walk through the kitchen, LR, and DR
to stand in line again, giving their candles time to harden

Zac spontaneously starts to sing our song from the Advent Spiral,
"Round and Round"

the children are so proud of their hard work!

the candles get bigger with every successive dip

the older children want to keep going!

Becca is proud of the fattest candles she's ever made
but she says her feet hurt from walking in circles for so long!

playtime in the Space Pod

our introduction to Fibers & Clothing:
science experiments with wool

the wool fabric is full of air and keeps rising up
even when we push on it with a pencil

but the cotton fabric quickly sinks to the bottom

spinning wool fibers into yard by hand

melting golden beeswax for our floating walnut shell candles

ALWAYS melt beeswax over indirect heat...
a can inside a pan of hot water is perfect

placing the shells in a dish of rice helps them to stay steady
when I pour the hot wax in

filling the Bundt pan with greenery and water and freezing it

lighting our little floating candles at Snack time

washing raw wool to try to get the lanolin out!

this is harder than it sounds

we use baby shampoo

the next day we practice carding clean wool

an older child gives a lesson to a younger

and we try the drop spindle using the instructions in our kit

setting up the Nature table for the first week of February

my needle-felted table puppets for Little Brown Bulb
and the hope of Spring

and our candle and snowflake silk 
to remind us that Winter is still holding on

the up-close details in the frozen Ice Candle ring are beautiful

a wonderful centerpiece for Snack time

in Science Club, we make drawing/paintings of our first few planets
using water-soluble oil pastels

Neptune is a beautiful deep blue

we learn that Uranus is a paler blue than Neptune
and much calmer, without the fierce 1500 mph winds

it also has an odd rotation with rings that are vertical instead of horizontal

and many moons (27+)

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