Handwork supports the Waldorf curriculum with craft activities that strengthen the artistic, academic, social, and neuro‐motor development of each child. The human hand is unique. Freed from the weight of the earth, it is capable of implementing deeds, of being trained to do the most intricate and amazing things.
In first and second grade, the children learn to knit through the rhythm of stories, verses, and songs. By the end of second grade the child will be able to cast on and off, knit, purl, count rows, change colors, bind‐off, fix mistakes, and sew the completed knitted item. There are many social skills at the heart of the lessons: the children learn to help each other, wait patiently for assistance, respect the work of others, practice working quietly, and help with clean‐up and carrying baskets of work.
In third grade and fourth grade, handwork carries over to the practical activities taught in main lesson. While on a third grade trip to the farm the students will likely watch a sheep being sheared and follow the wool through its creation into cloth. The fourth grade study of California Native peoples lets the children explore how local tribes created their homes and all of their articles for daily living.
In fifth grade knitting in the round is introduced, allowing students to make socks, mittens, and gauntlets. Tremendous concentration and use of math skills are necessary to shape and turn the heel of a sock or add the thumb of a mitten. This relationship to math is strengthened in sixth and seventh grade with geometric applications.
Eighth grade handwork brings the student to present day technology by introducing the sewing machine and mechanical clothing production. The history, politics, and mechanics of the machine are studied.