Ask a Waldorf Teacher: How Many Colors Can I Use in KG Watercolor Lessons?

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 am wondering about the painting lessons in the kindergarten curriculum. I thought k was supposed to be only one color at a time. – Melissa D.

Answer from Waldorf Teacher Diane Power: Hi Melissa! The wet-on-wet painting gives the student a color experience in early childhood. One color may be used as the painting story is told; sometimes more than one.

Once first grade begins, I’ve started with a color review, meaning that we only use one color with a color story per week, move to two colors interacting with each other, and finally using the basic three colors.

What you are trying to avoid is a mishmosh of colors which looks like mud. Each color has a mood, changes when it is placed next to a different color, and transforms when blended with another color to bring something totally new. These are the experiences that we as teachers are guiding our students to see, sense, and feel.

Note from Kristie: This reminds me of when I visited the Prairie Flower Children center and filmed the Introduction to Early Childhood Education (found also in the Teacher Support Package). I was so surprised to see the teacher creating rainbows with her KG class using three colors but she did it so skillfully and taught the lessons so well that each picture resulted in a gorgeous rainbow and none of them were “muddy” at all. I was impressed! It really reflected on her connection with her class that she could get 10 students to do this at the same time. It really brought home to me how truly important modeling is in the classroom – no matter what you introduce to the children. And patience, as well. When I asked her about it she shared that they had done this lesson many times and the results were not as good the first time they did it.

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