Friday, September 20, 2019

How Waldorf Teaches Zoology

There are a LOT of subjects which Waldorf teaches differently from traditional schools. One of the most notable ones is Zoology (taught in grade 4, this main lesson block is often called Man and Animal). In short, the Animal Kingdom is presented as a kind of exploded diagram.

Imagine an exploded diagram of a car engine, but instead have the human being be at the center with animals all around. Each animal studied represents a quintessential quality seen to the extreme. This can be a quality of form or of function. A cuttlefish is "all" head. A snail is "all" foot. A snake is "all" trunk. A ruminant (like a cow or bison) is "all" digestion. A mouse is "all" nervous system. Every one of these qualities is brought together into the human being, where each is in balance instead of being to the extreme.

So, with that basic idea in mind, how do you choose the animals?

There are three resources (two essential and one optional) that I recommend for this block. The first essential resource is online for free and is a PDF from the EAST AFRICAN WALDORF TEACHER DEVELOPMENT series of training manuals. It is called the Human and Animal Study Manual. The second essential resource is Drawing from the Book of Nature by Dennis Klocek. This is an art book which also gives stories about the animals covered. It combines your teaching information with help creating the MLB pages.

Lastly, I also recommend The Waldorf Book of Animal Poetry edited by David Kennedy. This is an optional resource but one that is very handy to have. It will save your hours of searching for a poem about a certain animal. Use the poems in your MLB or memorize some of them in the course of the block.

When you download the Human and Animal Study Manual, I recommend focusing on pages 9-15, 25-37, and 52-56. Then read the first three chapters of Klocek's book and do the practice exercises for Tone, Shape, and Gesture.

Dennis Klocek feels that the most important animals to cover are these:

    Earthworm, pp.36-37

    Coelenterates, pp.38-40

    Gastropod, pp.40-42

    Cephalopod, pp.42-44

    Acephalas, pp.44-45

    Social Insects (Termite, Ant, Wasp), pp.48-52

    Social Insects (Honeybee), pp.53-59

    Wren, pp.64-65

    Bald Eagle, pp.66-68

    Duck, pp.69-71

    Owl, pp.72-74

    Cattle, pp.75-78

    Deer, pp.78-81

    Pig, pp.81-83

    Horse, pp.83-87

    Dogs, pp.88-91

    Lion, pp.93-94

    Domestic Cat, pp.95-97

If I had only one three week block for Zoology, I would do earthworm, jellyfish, snail, squid, and clam in week 1. Termite, honeybee, bald eagle, duck, and owl in week 2. Cattle, deer, horse, wolf, and lion in week 3.

For poetry and some more art ideas, I would use

    Earthworm - "Hurt No Living Thing" by Christina Rossetti, p.132 OR
    stanza one of "Under the Stone" by Estelle Bryer, p.134

    Jellyfish - A Beautiful Way to Do Jellyfish Paintings

    Jellyfish - Painting in Waldorf Education by Dick Bruin and Attie Lichthart, pp.86-91

    Snail - "The Snail House," p.129 OR
    "The Poor Snail" by J.M. Westrup, p.137 OR
    "Old Shellover" by Walter de la Mare, p.137 OR
    "The Snail" by William Cowper, p.138

    Snail - snail spiral monoprinting

    Clam - in clay

    Termite - torn paper collage termite mounds

    Eagle - "Mighty Eagle" by Percy Bysshe Shelley, p.214 OR
    "The Eagle" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson p.214

    Eagle - Animals Among the Elements lesson from Live Education

    Eagle - Painting in Waldorf Education by Dick Bruin and Attie Lichthart, pp.86-91

    Duck - "The Waddlers" by Olin Wannamaker, p.197 OR
    "Ducks Ditty" by Kenneth Grahame, p.199

    Duck - Learning about the World through Modeling by Arthur Auer, pp.76-84 "Bird in a Nest"

    Owl - "The Owl" by Molly de Havas, p.207 OR
    "January - The Owl," p.207 OR
    "A Wise Old Owl," p.207 OR
    "Three Little Owls," p.207 OR
    "When Icicles Hang by the Wall" by William Shakespeare, p.208 OR
    "Song - The Owl" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, p.208

    Owl - Owl and Moon lesson from Live Education

    Cow - "Pretty Cow" by Jane Taylor p.41 OR
    "A Farmer's Boy," p.48 OR
    "The Pasture" by Robert Frost, p.49 OR
    "The Cow" by Robert Louis Stevenson, p.49 OR
    "Cows" by Pelham Moffat, p.50 OR
    "Milking Time" by Elizabeth Madox Roberts, p.50 OR
    "Milk-White Moon, Put the Cows to Sleep" by Carl Sandburg, p.51

    Cow - Painting in Waldorf Education by Dick Bruin and Attie Lichthart, pp.86-91

    Deer - "The Fallow Deer at the Lonely House" by Thomas Hardy, p.91

    Horse - "The Horseman" by Edward Lear, p.261 OR
    "I Will Not Change My Horse" by William Shakespeare, p.265

    Horse - Learning about the World through Modeling by Arthur Auer, pp.76-84 "Archetypal Animal Forms"

    Wolf - "The Law of the Jungle" by Rudyard Kipling, p.91 OR
    "The Wolf Cry" by Lew Sarett, p.95 OR
    "A Night with a Wolf" by Bayard Taylor, p.97 OR
    "The Wolf" by Georgia R. Durston, p.97 OR
    "Prairie Wolves" by Robert Van Carr, p.344

    Lion - "The Lion" by Mary Howitt, p.99

    Lion - Learning about the World through Modeling by Arthur Auer, pp.76-84 "Archetypal Animal Forms"

Of course, there are many supplemental resources which could be brought to bear. I love the books by Wilfrid Swancourt Bronson, for example (particularly Horns and Antlers). I've also used chapters from Thornton Burgess's The Burgess Animal Book for Children which is in the public domain and available free from Librivox. I like the poetry of Douglas Florian, which should be at your local library. And, of course, there are the nature documentaries (I strongly recommend David Attenborough for this).

Here are my notes from teaching this topic most recently (2018-2019):

But you don't need to have those things to do a good job with this block! By the way, the < rodent > exploration would be a good way to begin with SWI, if that's something you're wanting to put next in your school year. We usually start it in October.

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1 comment:

Eva said...

Thanks so much for sharing these!