The Waldorf Second Grade

Second graders retain their love of the archetypal imagery of fairy tales and legends, but as their feelings awaken they are also ready to see the dual aspects of human nature. Children study stories of great people, such as stories of the saints, who have overcome great obstacles to achieve greater good in the world.

The pictures speak to the children’s imagination, allowing them to form their own inner pictures so the morals need not be given to them. A second grader has a ready appreciation for a fox who invites a stork to dine on a low plate from which the stork cannot manage to feed himself, simply to enjoy the others’ shortcomings. But to see the stork “pay the fox in his own coin,” and invite him to a sumptuous meal served in an impossibly tall vase is to show the child the scale of justice with which Mother Nature balances her affairs.

In arithmetic, the children carry out more complicated operations with the four mathematical processes, such as carrying and borrowing. Imaginative stories still form the basis of these problems. Through rhythmic counting accompanied by accented clapping and movement of the whole body, they learn to count by twos, threes, fours, and fives, and continue to learn the multiplication tables.

Grammar is introduced with liveliness and humor by acting out stories in which the children can experience the contrast between doing words, naming words, and describing words. Nature study continues with nature walks and field trips along with poetry, legends, and imaginative descriptions of natural processes. Painting and modeling are continuously integrated into the main lesson subjects. In handwork, the year begins with more advanced knitting projects, followed by the introduction of crocheting. Small projects of the children’s own creation exemplify an important principle that handwork products can be useful and functional as well as beautiful. The foreign languages, singing, and recorder continue to be taught as in the first grade, leading the children into a more conscious forming of vowels and consonants.

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