SchoolArts Magazine

FEB 2019

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Page 15 of 54

A rt as a way of knowing inten- sifies the experience of living and thinking. In Waldorf edu- cation, the arts as social, emo- tional, spiritual, and cognitive acts are a means of perceiving, processing, and presenting one's know-how. As an art educator and, more recently, a parent of a child in Waldorf education, I have come to appreciate Waldorf education's seamlessly arts-infused curriculum that honors children's imagination as fundamental and vital to living and knowing. Arts Infusion In Waldorf schools, individuals are considered endlessly "coming into being," where each has his or her own unique destiny to fulfill. Accordingly, Waldorf educators teach to this potential, with no one content area dominant over any other con - tent area. In doing so, Waldorf educa- tion blurs the line between art and nonart subjects. The arts are seam - lessly infused in every class where children sing, move, act, and draw with their class teachers as much as their "specials" teachers. Rudolf Steiner, founder of Waldorf education in 1919, believed children need to experience a curriculum in which the arts and imagination are central to accessing and advancing one's potential, in turn, forwarding humanity's potential. Through arts- infused curriculum, Steiner intended to engender self-reliant, inventive thinkers and compassionate adults, who would be free to discover and cre- ate a just society. A century later, are we adequately exposing our pre-K–12 learners to art—this undefined place of the possible—and are we forward- ing citizens who enter society with a greater capacity for creative thinking, and mindful of what could be? revealed through their hands, heart, and head. From the process of poten - tial to the actual, one not only con- jures and holds a picture or concept in consciousness (head), but likewise one comes to own it (heart), and manipu - late it (hand). In essence, Waldorf educators use art-making to advance thinking, feeling, and willing beings as the change-agents in our world. What does it mean to bring some - thing into a form from one's own head/heart/hand? During the pro - cesses of making, our typical habits of linear thinking are disrupted and we must reckon with what arises. Makers engage in flexible thinking to observe and attend to the emergent, embrace problems, persist and persevere through challenges, envision anew, stretch and explore capacities, reflect and judge outcomes, and, most impor - tantly, discover what it is to know and be. All these acts of making and being are essential dispositions for the uncertainties in the century ahead: temperaments to be encouraged and practiced daily in our schools. Carrie Nordlund is an art educator at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. nordlund@kutz- Making as Being Carrie Nordlund Children Are Makers We are makers, a commonality in all of us. During making, we learn about ourselves as much as the objects and subjects at hand. In this way, the act of making in Waldorf schools is a practice of research—art as finding. Waldorf educators have been scruti- nized about the curriculum time they devote to teaching nonessentials such as handwork (e.g., knitting) and other traditional crafts (e.g., stone carving). When I consider the maker education movement where materials act as provocation for research and inquiry, Waldorf education's emphasis on chil- dren seeing themselves as makers is timely and necessary—even essential. Material-Based Learning Children are innate makers; they dwell in a world of the possible. Material-based learning offers making as thinking. In the tinkering of and translation with materials, children discover new certainty and actual - ity; as a result, a kind of trueness is Children are innate makers; the ell in a world of the possible. Tristan Willey, mechanical bug. Based on a lesson taught at River Valley Waldorf School with art teacher Sharon Ferguson. Photo by Tiffany Robinson. A D V O C A C Y SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 11

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