Block Crayons and Developmental Skills

Question from Esther: I have a question about Stockmar vs Filana crayons. We have found that the Filana transfers to the paper much more easily, but you can still get different results applying different pressures. I would like to know if there is a reason why Stockmar for Waldorf other than the wanting of a beeswax crayon. A question came up on another group about whether you would want it to be harder to transfer the color requiring more pressure from a developmental or skill perspective.

Answer from Waldorf Teacher, Diane Power: Hi Esther! First, when I started teaching 14 years ago, Filana was not around. Stockmar products were considered THE Waldorf crayon. If I remember correctly, the reason was that it was preferrable if young children use only things made of natural materials, such as wool, wood, stones, beeswax to model and beeswax crayons. Stockmar crayons at this time are made of 10 % beeswax, 52% paraffin wax, and 30% stearin (plant based waxes).

Question from Esther: Okay, so Filana may be an even better choice because they use no paraffin wax?

Reply from Diane: Filana crayons are made of 25% certified organic beeswax and other natural waxes, never using petroleum waxes or paraffin. All the ingredients are GMO free. You can base your choice on ingredients or how you and/or your child likes them. From a developmental or skill level, I would want the student to learn how to use the block crayon, imitating how the “teacher” is using the different sides to make different shapes, textures, etc., learn how to make other colors, and begin using them to write with.

For a grades student.. Normally, asking the student to apply more pressure would be a grounding activity, coming into their body more strongly. If a student struggles with being grounded, or being fully in their limbs, not having strong individuated control of their fingers, perhaps using a crayon that calls for more pressure would assist them. In addition, playing the pentatonic flute, modeling, and knitting, are all assisting the fine motor skills. Jumprope and running outdoors would assist the gross motor skills. Again, it depends on the child.

I hope this addresses your concerns. It is quite a challenge to meet the needs of the student, but I always find it helpful to think of it artistically as well – adding a little of this, taking a little of that out, until a balance is reached….and then the child grows, matures, changes again.

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