Sunday, October 4, 2015

Discovering Waldorf

 I teach in a traditional public school.  This year I had a really hard time getting into the groove of the new school year, particularly in the area if discipline.  I know that the only thing I can control is what I think, say and do.  So I began some soul searching about how to change my approach and my attitude.  One of the my team members shared that she is currently taking training to become a Waldorf teacher.  She shared with our team some of the philosophies of Waldorf and how school is viewed and run.  I was intrigued and began to research discipline strategies.
I can recommend the following site: The Magic Onions particularly this article: Waldorf Discipline 

One of the strategies is to have kids work on small motor activities to help them stay focused or return to calm.  I began collecting baskets, with handles and filling them with sea shells, rocks, glass stones, pine cones and other small, natural objects but one thing I kept reading about but had never seen was moldable beeswax.  I can be found on Amazon with varying review but I ordered it and found it to be a fantastic tool!
It comes in a small box like this with 15 wax blocks in different colors.

I used a scissors to cut several of the blocks into thirds and stored the rest.  I wanted to see how this would go.
I keep them in a container and kids may choose 1 piece to use at a time.
I found the wax to be a great small motor tool.  Kids have to warm it up in their hands for a few minutes before it becomes pliable.  Once it does it can easily be molded.  I doesn't crumble or mold like play dough, it smalls nice and has a nice texture.  It helps teach patience because of the need for it to warm up and is great for small motor.  It leaves no residue and to clean up kids simply put their piece back into the container.  It is safe, non toxic and won't harm kids even if they are orally fixated and try to eat it.  

I use all my small tools for transitions between activities, particularly for early finishers, and for kids that need extra small motor support.  Also, if a child is starting to become upset or argumentative I can bring him/her over to a table as give him/her a small motor task to do.

Another use is to use the wax or even other small objects as fidgets during listening time.  My rule is that a student has to get a fidget before we sit on the carpet and the fidget cannot leave the hands. This has helped a lot with "keeping has to self" during more concentrated listening time.