Ask a Waldorf Teacher: Block Crayon Skills in Kindergarten

Every Wednesday our members get to ask Waldorf teacher Diane Power questions about their homeschooling experience, Waldorf education and more. These Q & A sessions are posted on the member blog every week so you have access to all the past Q & A sessions. Become a member of Earthschooling to get your questions answered personally every week.

Question from Earthschooling Member: I have a question about block crayons. My 5-year-old gets very frustrated if he messes up his drawing. Is there any sense to re-draw from scratch or would you just walk arounda mess in some creative way? – Natasha L.

Answer from Waldorf Teacher Diane Power: His Natasha!  Is your 5yo drawing during free play and gets frustrated at what he draws or are you referring to adrawing as part of a lesson? 

For a child in kinder at a Waldorf school, they would not be drawing and following instructions from the teacher. That would begin in grade one. There would be a time for drawing or supplies would be available during free play. A teacher may tell a story while drawing. Many times the children would do something similar but it was never required.

At this age, one way to encourage him after he’s made a “mistake” would be to ask him if you could try to correct it. Or you can look at the picture with him and ask, “What do you think the picture is trying to be?” I’ve tried to stay away from redoing a drawing or painting completely unless an accident happened that ruined the piece. You could also talk about what he would do differently the next time.

Natasha: I don’t name it “a lesson” when we sit down to draw (paint, model or sew) together. We have been drawing together since he was 3, he would just watch and copy what I am doing or do what he wants or sometimes he copies only a few elements of my drawing and mixes them up on his own. Here is an example of how we drew a gnome with block crayons, he didn’t like that the hat turned out too big. So he decided to draw one more gnome (I did the same), but his second one turned out completely messed up. Especially the shoes. I came up with a story about a Long-Shoe Gnome who hid all his secret things in his shoes, and nobody even guessed to check there, and that he came to my son in a dream and thanked him for drawing him such big shoes. The story was the only thing that helped my son not to fall apart. I am just trying to make sure I will be prepared for the other cases like that. What if something goes wrong.

Diane: It looks as if he was tiring during the second picture. You could have him try again the next day when he is fresh. Your story idea was fabulous! And yes, things do go wrong sometimes. It will be your response that will teach him the most. How can you prepare yourself when something like that eventually happens? Disappointment is a part of life and it’s a perfect opportunity for you to model how to meet those moments.

Natasha: Next day he did try to draw another one, but ended up with a horse Thank you for your clarifications and also for the reminder about the age-appropriateness.

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