Introduction to the Golden Key

This course is for families who would like to home educate the Waldorf- way. It can be used as a day by day, easy to follow, program, as a rough guide with own ideas enriching and altering the given lesson plans, or, simply, as a source and inspiration for an already existing method.

The term is divided into four subject blocks, each of which has its own ‘welcome the day' sequence, each of which is made up of seasonal and subject related songs, poems, verses and games. A CD, featuring each of the morning circles, is included. This CD is meant for the teaching adult, to help her or him learn the sequence in advance. The 'welcome the day' time originates in the Waldorf class room and is equally suitable for younger and older children (one can easily include 4 to 9 year olds). Yet, a single child can enjoy the activities - and could even bring a doll or two, joining the class on its own little chair. My own children were very keen to include their guinea pigs in the lessons, which was successful only in a rather limited way, but not impossible…

Each day begins with a 'welcome the day' time and is followed by the review of what was learned on the previous day. From there the new subject is introduced as a natural progression.

Drawing or writing (or both) then deepens the understanding of the given subject. At the end of the lesson, which lasts about 2 hours, a fairy tale or nature story is told. These stories are the basis on which much of the subject teaching is built.

Ideally there would be a three-day rhythm in class one teaching, a healthy counter act to today’s fast moving life. So that the child can really live into the images, before storing them in her or his memory. Of course this does not mean that only one thing can be taught at a time - it is more like weaving several colourful threads into a beautiful pattern.

Day One: listening to the new material (feeling) (heart)

Day Two: recap, discuss, book entry (thinking) (head)

Day Three: bring it to completion (willing) (hands)

Ideally, the stories are told from memory, yet, if the educator cannot find the time to learn them in advance, it is better to read the story than not to have one at all.

1 ~ The first block of three weeks is a subject unknown outside of Waldorf circles. It is called Form Drawing and provides an excellent foundation for all thee work that is to follow: the writing of letters and numbers. It also has proved very helpful for children to learn to focus and, very importantly, to become familiar and comfortable with organising space and direction on each page.

2 ~ The second subject block introduces consonants, all in capitals. There are no given indications, in which sequence the letters should be introduced. I have always used the ‘evolutionary sequence’ which Rudolf Steiner gave to the eurhythmists - but there is absolutely no dogma about this at all.

3 ~ Block three introduces numbers 1 to 12, as well as the four processes, or, in this case: Count Plus, Sir Minus, Lord Times and Duke Divide - four very helpful gentlemen.

4 ~ During Advent the subject block returns to writing, focusing on vowels. Vowels are best introduced as gestures, moving qualities, rather than fixed pictures. I have always found the time leading up to Christmas, with its gorgeous stories, ideal for these special letters, without which no word could really sound right.


Having a black board is a really nice idea - it will give you and your child the opportunity to practice to your heart’s content, until you are ready to put your work onto paper. You could, alternatively, also get hold of a large role of paper for this purpose. It is important that you do not feel restricted by the space you practice on. The work that appears in the Main Lesson Book is the final product, so to speak; the preceding process is equally important.

Main Lesson Books are a Steiner Education specialty. They are wonderfully non-restrictive: there are no lines and they are nice and big. For the six, seven and eight year old, I recommend the A3 books (when in doubt, the bigger the better, at this age).

There are gorgeous crayons out there! They are good enough for artists. They come in sticks and in blocks. The blocks are wonderful for covering large areas, and for blending colours. The sticks are better for drawing lines and details, which will be more important later.

Paper for water colour painting is also best when it is A3. Then the colours can really come to expression and flow freely.

And the water  colours are best in liquid form for the ‘wet on wet’ technique explained later. They can be bought in bottles and diluted.

Paint brushes for this age, are wide and soft, as no details have to be produced yet.

There is a supply package available which includes everything you will need (apart from the black board, which you can create yourself: all you need is a large board, a paintbrush and blackboard paint from the hardware shop).

The Block System

The block system is unique to Steiner education. Children can really deepen their experiences of the curriculum through this way of teaching: We teach one subject for three weeks, and then let it ‘fall asleep and work on the child on a deeper level. We then recall the memory when we teach the continuation of the subject.

Block One: Form Drawing

The first day of schooling is a very important and significant one. A real discussion should take place: why is it so important that we learn? The difference between children and adults could be discussed, and how we have to be prepared for all the tasks and responsibilities that are quite normal in an adult’s everyday life, which no one would dream of asking a child to carry.

Another subject of discussion on this first day is 'our hands’. All the things we can do with our hands - and how lost we would be without them. These discussions are meant to be quite thorough and lengthy - including anecdotes and examples, proving the different points.

Then, proving how amazing our hands really are, the adult draws a straight, vertical line on the board - from top to bottom. Then another may be a different colour and a slightly different length. Then the child or children may also draw lines on the board - aiming to make them as straight as possible. Straight lines can then be walked and run, to experience them with the whole body, rather than just with the eyes and hands.

When this has been practiced, the teacher takes over again and draws a curved line on the board, rather like a very large C. Then the above is repeated.

At the end of this activity, the adult pronounces, with importance, that everything is based on these two forms. Everything we can see around us is made from either one of the two forms or both.

Children (and parents too), find this fact fascinating and will look for this phenomenon around them for days to follow. They will also understand that it is important for them to practice these forms before starting to form the letters.

One can then, ceremoniously, open the large Form Drawing Book and draw ones straight lines on the first page, and ones curved lines on the second.

This first day of schooling is indeed a full one - and one that the child will remember for a very long time. It signifies the beginning of growing up and becoming more and more independent. The story I wrote for this special day, also gives the child a real feeling of new beginnings.

Over the following three weeks, the form drawings develop from the straight and the curve, building on the forms already practiced. They all come out of the stories that have been told.

Every form is first practiced by walking it, running it and drawing it in the air with the arms, before it is drawn onto the board and, finally onto paper.

The flowing of the form is the most important part, followed by tracing it with other colours, still flowing. The last step, completing the page by shading the background is also the least important part, although a very satisfying one.

Another option is to gently colour the entire background with a very gentle colour, with the long side of a block crayon, before drawing the actual form.

The forms themselves, can be drawn with the short side of the block crayon, or, when more intricate, with the stick crayon.

The corners of block crayons are not supposed to be used: block crayons are meant for surfaces and stick crayons for lines.

After familiarizing ourselves with these forms in space and on paper, a natural progression is to find them in the letters.

Block Two: Learning to Write

In this writing block we get to know many consonants, which come out of the pictures of the fairy tales. It is a healthy foundation for children, to see the 'origin' of the letters, not just the abstract shapes, seemingly randomly invented (A is not from apple and B is not from ball - they have nothing to do with each other, actually). I have, in the past taught this sequence to a child who could already read and write - she didn't experience a single moment of boredom, it was, instead, a relief to her, to finally find out what these letters mean and where they come from.

The letters are taught in a three-day-rhythm:

Day One, we hear the story and draw the picture.

Day Two, we recapitulate the story, look at the picture, find the letter in it, walk it, run it, draw it in the air, on the board, make a beautiful, big drawing of it on paper, and think of words that begin with this sound.

On Day Three we recapitulate again and find more words beginning with it, and some of the short ones we write down (may be two or three - the letters we haven't been introduced to yet, can just be ''borrowed quietly'' from the future).

The first letter, for example, is the letter B, and it is given to us by the friendly BIG BROWN BEAR from 'Snowhite and Rosered', so, those could be the chosen three words to write, equally, one could write BEN or BEE etc. The main thing is that the letter originates in a picture true to its appearance.

At the same time, Day Two, or Three of the letter B, is the Day One of the next letter (in this case M) etc. You will find it all laid out in the lesson plans. For practical reasons, such as the end or the beginning of a block, or the length of a story, the three-day-rhythm doesn't always work out, which is fine, it would be unhealthy to be dogmatic about these things - as long as we can stick to ideals and let the progression flow easily, it is a wonderful guide, but when it starts to seem forced and cramped, its best to let it go.

This block is meant as a meeting of the letters, as friends almost, practice and repetition to perfection can wait to a later date - this is a time of celebration.

Block Three: Numbers

This block is a celebration as well: we meet the first 12 numbers and some very special four new friends who will be with us forever!

Each day we meet a new number and explore it thoroughly: What is special to this number? What is unique about it? What exists in this world that comes in this number only? For example the number 4 - there are four seasons, four directions the wind blows from, four weeks of Advent, four corners of the paper, the window and the room, four legs on the chair and the table, four legs on a cat, a dog, a guinea pig… Then we choose one of these for a drawing (I chose a tree in the four seasons, as you will see), and then a beautiful, large number four.

And then there are these four gorgeous characters: Count Plus (a great collector and hoarder), Sir Minus (who has a hole in his backpack and sadly loses things all the time), Lord Times (so skilled at juggling!) and Duke Divide (who insists on just and fair distribution of all things! And equality…).

These four friends first originated in Dorothy Harrer's (New York City Waldorf School) classroom, and I have used them time and time again, and over the years and found that they are not just an invention but, actually are real and stand on their own… You'll love them too, I'm sure. I am deeply grateful to Dorothy!
At the beginning of this block, the child is given a beautiful, velvet or silk bag of glass 'jewels'. These are used every day, for all calculations - before anything abstract is written down.

Block Four: Writing

Advent is a wonderful time to introduce the vowels, which have also been called singing letters or even angel letters, for, indeed, nothing would sound at all, without them.

Vowels are introduced through moods, feelings and gestures, rather than through pictures.

I have picked up on the idea of angels, in connection with these letters: there are small angel families, the parent angel having the family name (for example in the A family, the parent angel is called Aye (as in angel), and the children are A (as in hat) and Ah (as in glass). At the same time, the mood of Ah is experienced in the Advent stories with their wonder and awe of the shepherds, for example.

My friend and colleague Ruth Peterson has explored and perfected a wonderful way of introducing vowels.

My lesson plans are much influenced by her suggestions and are, actually really hers!

My profound thanks to Ruth!

At the end of this block, we have also arrived at the end of the first term. I hope there is and was much fulfilment to be found for everyone!

A Possible Class One Timetable

9am to 11am: Main Lesson


11.30am to 12.30pm Subject Lesson

Lunch (cooking/preparing it together)

Afternoon activities in or out of the home (with other teachers and children) on some afternoons.

Subject Lessons:

Monday ~ Painting: see Colour Stories

Tuesday ~ Knitting

Wednesday ~ Nature Walks: looking for and collecting gifts from nature

Thursday ~Crafts: nature table projects

Friday ~ Beeswax Modelling: see suggestions

Watercolour Painting in Class One

The paintings, this year, are all done using the wet-on-wet technique. This means, the paper is soaked in water for a few minutes, before being placed on the paint board. I have found cat-litter trays from the pet shop, very useful for this purpose. The water, remaining on the paper, then needs to be carefully removed by gently wiping it off with a special sponge.

To prepare the paint, we pour a small amount into a small glass jar (the size of a baby food jar) and dilute it with water, stir it well and try it out on a piece of scrap paper, then dilute more or add more pigment if needed.

The paints used in the given colour story are ready and waiting, and so is the brush, a sponge and one or two glass jars (the size of a jam jar) of water to clean the brush, before a painting verse is said:

A Painting Verse (Author unknown)

The sunlight shines into each day

And sends the dark of night away.

It brings the colours to my eyes,

The bright green earth, the deep blue skies,

The yellow sun, the red, red rose

That in the gentle garden grows.

And from within my loving heart

The light always conquers the dark.

So on my paper let it be

Sunlight and water - joyfully.

Painting Verse (by Robert Lewes)

Help me dear angels of the light

With tender care to paint aright

The colours that in me arise

Bringing to earth from out the skies.

Help me to see in earth’s dark ways

The golden sword of Michael raised,

From out my heart I, too, would bring

The colours of the rainbow ring.

Another Painting Verse

There's a bridge of wondrous light

Filled with colours shining bright:

Red and orange, yellow, green -

The fairest colours ever seen,

Blue and violet, magic rose:

Down from heaven to earth it goes.

I always find that these kind of verses create the most fruitful atmosphere, enabling the child (and the adult) to enter more fully into the moods of the different colours, for that is what painting at this age is mainly about: To understand the character of each colour, to let the hand and brush be guided by the colour, rather than by the mind. There are no shape or forms that we attempt to create at this stage at all - just going with what the colours want, first the single colours on their own, then the interaction of two colours playing next to each other, and then two colours playing and mingling together in such a way that they create another colour. The wet-on-wet technique is wonderfully helpful - one can just be completely immersed in thecolour experience.

To help with these explorations, one can use very simple colour stories to guide the way. They are told right after the verse has been spoken, and right before the paintbrush is picked up. Then they can be retold slowly, as the painting is in progress.

The ’stories’ written here are just suggestions - do let your imaginations roam and see where they may take you.

Beeswax Modelling

Beeswax modelling is such a lovely, warming and therapeutic thing to do - we'll be doing it once a week this year.

It can be daunting, having to soften the wax with the warmth of our hands - especially if our hands aren't warm at all…

One trick is to sit near the heater; another is, to hold it above a candle for a while.

Whichever way, it will be very wonderful to work with the soft wax - and everyone's hands will be warm in the end.

The way to start is, as a rule, by making an egg shape and work from there. Also, everything we make is made from one piece (with rare exceptions) adding bits on, here and there, really isn't meant to happen. Mother Nature wouldn't do this either, but she would grow everything from an egg too.

The projects this year are all from the stories we hear, and will help to deepen the experience of everything taught.

Sample Lessons from ‘The Golden Key’

The Golden Key, Michaelmas Term, Block One, Form Drawing

Day One:

~Welcome the Day

Light a candle and recite and sing:

Morning Verse (by Rudolf Steiner)

The Sun with loving light

Makes bright for me each day.

The soul with spirit power

Gives strength unto my limbs,

In sunlight shining clear

I reverence, o God,

The strength of human kind

Which Though, so graciously,

Hast planted in my soul.

That I, with all my might,

May love to work and learn.

From Thee come light and strength;

To Thee rise love and thanks.

Song (by T. Melia)

In soft morning light,

The stars fade away,

The birds soon awake,

This is a new day.

Journey dreams of night,

They end with the day.

Angels guide us home

For work and for play.

Awake, awake,

Shine like the sun,

Give light and love to everyone.


Good morning dear Earth,

And good morning dear sun.

Good morning dear stones

And flowers, everyone.

Good morning dear beasties

And birds in the tree.

Good morning to you

And good morning to me.

The Harvest (by Alice C. Henderson)

The silver rain, the shining sun,

The fields where scarlet poppies run,

And all the ripples of the wheat

Are in the bread that I do eat.

So when I sit for every meal

And say a grace, I always feel

That I am eating rain and sun

And fields where scarlet poppies run.

September (adapted from the German)

Little flower, can you say

What you do by night, by day?

By day I happily unfold

And stretch myself in sunny gold.

When stars arise and night does fall,

I close myself, become quite small,

And rest and dream

Till morning gleam

Is the beauty you have grown,

Is it for the sun alone?

I receive in happy hours

The sun in golden dust and flowers.

And then I lose my strength and die,

With mother earth I rest and lie.

But newly will my strength unfold

In autumn fruits of red and gold.

Indian Summer (by L. Clemm and W.J. Gerst)

In the fields, golden morn,

Indian children gather corn.

Dance to the sun, dance to the rain,

Dance to the earth who gives us grain.

Indian children put feathers in their hair,

Indian children string beads to wear.

Dance to the sun………

Indian children walk softly as the dear,

To the tepee with the golden ear.

Dance to the sun…….

A little fire they will make,

Bread of golden corn they will bake.

Dance to the sun…….

Bread of golden corn they’ll eat,

Then Indian children fall fast asleep.

Mmmm mmmm……..

Over in the Meadow

Over in the meadow, in the sand in the sun,

Lives a dear mother toad and her little toady one.

Hop, says the mother, I hop says the one,

So they hop and they hop in the sand in the sun.

Over in the meadow where the stream runs so blue,

Lives a dear mother fish and her little fishes two.

Swim, says the mother, we swim, say the two,

So they swim and they swim where the stream runs so blue.

Over in the meadow in the big oak tree,

Lives a dear mother robin and her little robins three.

Fly, says the mother, we fly say the three,

So they fly and they fly round the big oak tree.

Over in the meadow in the reeds by the shore,

Lives a mother water rat and her little ratties four.

Dive, says the mother, we dive, say the four,

So they dive and they dive in the reeds by the shore.

Over in the meadow in a sunny beehive,

Lives a mother honey bee and her little bees five.

Buzz, says the mother, we buzz, say the five,

So they buzz and they buzz in the sunny bee hive.

Over in the meadow in a nest built of sticks,

Lives a dear mother crow and her little crows six.

Caw, says the mother, we caw, say the six,

So they caw and they caw in their nest built of sticks.

Over in the meadow where the grass is so even,

Lives a dear mother cricket and her little crickets seven.

Chirp, says the mother, we chirp, say the seven,

So they chirp and they chirp where the grass grows so even.

Who could it be?

Whisky Frisky

Hipperty Hop,

Up he goes

To the treetop.

Whirly twirly

Round and round,

Down he hampers

To the ground.

Furly curly

What a tail,

Tall as a feather

Broad as a snail.

Where is his supper?

In the shell.

Snappy cracky

Out it fell.

Song of the Gnomes

Little gnomes so short and strong

Heavy-footed march along;

Every head is straight and proud,

Every step is firm and loud.

Pick and hammer each must hold,

Deep in earth to mine the gold;

Ready over each one’s back

Hangs a little empty sack.

When their hard day’s work is done

Home again they mach as one.

Full sacks make a heavy load

As they tramp along the road.

The Knight (by Mollie de Havas)

I ride on my horse with my sword in my hand

I ride through the wooded and mountainous land.

I battle with dragons, with giants I fight;

Defending the weak and upholding the right.

My sword is of steel and my helmet of gold,

I dare all adventures, my heart is so bold.

My armour is shining as bright as the light,

And I am a gallant and glorious knight.


A knight and a lady went riding one day

Far into the forest, away, away.

‘’Fair knight,’’ said the lady, ‘’I pray, have a care.

This forest is evil; beware, beware.’’

A fiery red dragon they spied on the grass;

The lady wept sorely, alas, alas!

The knight slew the dragon, the lady was gay,

They rode on together, away, away.


Brave and true will I be.

Each good deed sets me free.

Each kind word makes me strong.

I will fight for the right,

I will conquer the wrong.

Summer Goodbye

Summer goodbye, summer goodbye.

You may no longer stay,

Autumn is on its way.

Summer goodbye, summer goodbye.

Like a Stork

I lift my leg, I stretch my leg,

I plant it firm and light.

I lift again, I stretch again,

My pace exactly right.

With care I go, so grand and slow.

I move just like a stork;

My eye is bright, my head upright,

And pride is in my walk.


Straight as a spear I stand.

Strength fills my arms and legs.

Warmth fills my heart with love.

~ Have a conversation about schooling and learning,

about our hands and what they can do, leading to the drawing of the

first straight line, followed by the curved line ~ as described in theintroduction.

~ The children draw these figures first on the board (several times) or on a large piece of paper, then into 

theirmain lesson books (the height of the entire page).

Now, the aim is to make the page look beautiful and completed.

The long edge of the block crayon is perfect for gentle background colours.

~ Story Time

How the Baby Robins Learned to Fly

Once upon a time, there lived a family of robins in a barn on a farm. Their nest was high up among the rafters, where they were safe from cats and dogs.

The little robins had just hatched out of their eggs two days ago - and they were very hungry. Their parents were both terribly busy, flying to and fro, bringing food to their little ones, who sat there with their beaks wide open, hoping that the next little worm would be theirs…

Time went by and the four little robins grew bigger each day. They grew bolder too: closer and closer they dared to come to the edge of the nest, especially one of them, Rosabella, she was determined to go to the very edge and look down to the ground without feeling any fear. Of course, she was also the one that tried to get at the food first which the exhausted parents delivered to their brood.

Another little one, Roderick, was terribly excitable; he fluttered from left to right and from right to left, very eager to see everything that was going on in the nest and around it, in the entire barn and through the barn doors beyond. He didn’t even have time to eat his food up, he felt - there was too much to see and do.

Yet, another little robin, Roberta, the biggest one, couldn’tunderstand what all the fuss was about - she just wanted to sit there comfortably, or, maybe even lie down, while she waited for her parents with their deliveries. Then she would sit up and eat everything edible in sight, including the bits left over by Roderick, before settling down again.

The fourth little robin, Romeo, wasn’t sure how he could have ended up in this family: they were so loud and greedy, so restless and busy! All he wanted was a bit of peace and quiet, a safe place where he was out of harm’s way, a place to reflect and dream. Alas, he had to suffer until he was going to be big enough to leave the nest. Yes, he had heard the stories how little birds would have to leave the nest, when they are grown enough, and when they had learned to fly. Although he hoped that these days would be far away still, he heard his family talk about it more and more.

And one day, soon after, the little robins were told that the time had come for them to spread their wings and learn to fly. Of course, this was exactly what they had been waiting for - but now that the time had arrived, they weren’t so sure what to think about it, except for Rosabella, she couldn’t wait to get started. She rushed so close to the edge that she almost fell out but luckily was rescued by her excitable brother Roderick, who was rushing around with excitement and bumped into her just at the right moment and propelled her back right into the middle of the nest.

All four little robins woke early the next morning.

Rosabella wanted to be the first to try; she couldn’t bear to wait a minute longer. There she stood, right at the edge, her wings spread out wide.

‘’How does one do it?’’ she cried.

Mother and Father Robin explained how to spread one’s wings and how to flap them, how to be carried on the wind and gradually descend …

Rosabella, fearlessly, threw herself over the edge, spread her wings wide and beat them fiercely. She did so well that she flew higher and higher - almost hitting one of the rafters. However, her little wings soon grew tired and she had to rest them. Of course, she began to fall immediately, faster and faster the floor seemed to come closer. She couldn’t remember what she was supposed to do. Then she heard her mum:

’’Spread your wings, my love, spread your wings!’’

Suddenly, it all came back to her; she spread her wings and immediately felt how the wind began to carry her. Gradually, she circled down to the ground and landed happily.

Now it was Roderick’s turn. He had been watching his sister from the safety of the nest and thought to himself:
‘’If I just keep my wings spread, everything will be fine. May be I can even explore the barn a little bit while I’m up there…’’

He jumped out, into the air and started to float along. When Roderick realized that he was descending, he flapped his little wings lightly, dipped to his left a little, then to the right. He felt as free as never before and absolutely loved it. As soon as he landed, he wanted another go, but, when he understood that Romeo and Roberta were going to try first, he hopped over to Rosabella and chattered to her about flying, hardly taking time to breathe.

Up in the nest, meantime, it was quieter than it had been since before the eggs ever hatched. Roberta had her wing around Romeo, comforting him - he was almost in tears and trembling slightly.
‘’You’ll be alright,’’ she said.

’’Look, Rosabella and Roderick had such fun, and they are perfectly fine! Do you want to be next or should I? I really don’t mind.’’

While chirping soothingly, she managed to get Romeo closer to the edge. Romeo had tears in his eyes and couldn’t really see where he was going. Roberta said, ’’Just remember what mum and dad said about spreading your wings and flapping them…’’

Exactly at that moment Romeo tripped over a straw and fell over the edge of the nest. He had no more time to think about flying or about being afraid - he had no choice but to fly, and that’s exactly what he did. He flew and actually enjoyed it, forgetting all his worries, for the moment. No doubt, he’d worry again later, about all the things that could have gone wrong - but just now, he really loved it. Peacefully, he sailed through the barn and to the ground.

From above, Roberta was watching, while recovering from the fright she had when her brother fell over the edge. She was so glad that he was alright!

‘’Now,’’ she thought to herself, ’’It’s my turn.’’

Mother and Father Robin smiled and nodded at her encouragingly as Roberta stepped over the edge as if she was just going to walk on air. She very soon realized that she was falling, just like her sister Rosabella had done. Roberta spread her wings wide, as wide as she could, she flapped a few times too, but when she realized what hard work it was, she just decided to look forward to soft landing and then have a nice little rest.

Mother and Father Robin were arriving at the same time as Roberta. They were full of praise for their little darlings. They all had several more practice flights and learned a great deal on that first day. And in the evening, when the sun went to sleep, so did our little robins, exhausted and happy. They dreamt of flying and of the adventures that lay ahead.

Snack Time & Break


(see introduction first)

Colour story One: Blue

Blue was feeling quite peaceful as it entered the room. At first the room seemed so very big, and Blue hovered at the door for a little while. As it got used to the space ahead of it, Blue began to move around a little, staying quite close to the walls. It went all the way around the four walls and found itself getting closer to the door again. Seeing that no one else was in the room and that it was quite safe, Blue’s shyness left and it ventured further into the centre, going round and round humming and dancing, making a beautiful blue curve on itself.

Line circle

The Golden Key, Michaelmas Term, Block One, Form Drawing

Day Two

~Welcome the Day

(as on day one of this block)

Form Drawing

Recapitulate yesterday’s discussion. Enquire whether your child discovered anything with straight and curved lines… Look around the room and discover more - like the door frame, the desk, the window as straight lines; and the light bulb, lamp shade, a clock, your head; and also items that are made of both - like the human body, arm chairs, sofas, a cup etc.… And you will find again that, in fact, everything is made of straight lines and curves.

Now we will draw a form drawing that is also made up of both kind of these lines.
(See illustration)

~Also draw the little birds, learning to fly.

~Story Time

Recall yesterday’s story together and then carry on:

The next few days were very exciting!

All four of the little robins loved flying, and they practiced until they were so tired that they could have fallen asleep on their feet.

You remember Rosabella, of course - she was the most adventures of them. There was nothing she wouldn’t dare; once she even got into a bit of trouble: Her turn had just been, already, but she didn’t want to stop and wait for her next turn, and learn from watching her brothers and sister… She thought that was just too boring. So, she set herself a challenge - she thought, if I can fly from the nest, make three big circles round the barn, then do a loop-de-loop before returning to the nest, then I’ll be the very best flyer and make mummy and daddy really proud of me. She did have best intentions…

All went well at first; taking off from the nest went perfectly, the three circles, too, were very well completed. However, when she went into the loop-de-loop, she somehow seemed to lose control. She had never flown upside down, she had never seen anyone fly upside down, in fact, she had never even heard of anyone flying upside down…

Yet, somehow, she had had this idea, how wonderfully exciting it must be to fly on ones back. She did manage to flip over, although her wings didn’t seem to work the way they did before - so she held them steady.

Nothing worked the way it used to, though, she couldn’t seem to control which way she was flying. At such a speed, that could be dangerous, she knew. She also knew that there was a beam ahead, coming closer rapidly.
Being a very brave and courageous young bird, Rosabella didn’t even think of giving up, no, she kept trying - yet, if it hadn’t been for little Roderick, who knows what might have happened!

Roderick had no awareness of what his sister was up to, at all. All he knew was that he was terribly excited: it was his first time to fly from the highest beam in the entire barn (the one where the owl family lived) - completely on his own. He fluttered back and forth, making excited little squeaking noises; his mum had to shush him several times (the owls were in the habit of sleeping during the day and flying during the night).

Then he took a deep breath spread his wings and sailed gracefully around the barn, gently curving downwards. Every now and then, he flapped his wings, to keep the height - and he absolutely loved the feeling of, not only the adventure, but also the thrill of the freedom he felt.

Completely lost in this revelry, he had no idea that Rosabella was approaching from the darker side of the barn. Of course, she had no idea either that her brother was near, for she was flying upside down…

Luckily, as they were flying in, roughly, the same direction, the impact of their encounter was very gentle, in fact, it saved Rosabella: the light collision came from such an angle that it both flipped her back onto her front and redirected her flight direction to just below the beam.

Roderick had a mighty shock, of course - but he was unharmed and, on arrival on the ground, was praised, by everyone, as such a hero!

While he and Rosabella snuggled down, in a little nest of hay, to recover from this adventure, Roberta and Romeo couldn’t decide who was going next. Neither of them was very keen, especially after they had seen what had happened to the other two.

Romeo said:’’ What if they had hurt themselves? Honestly, they could have broken a wing, or a leg! I am not so sure I want to fly anymore; maybe I’ll just stay on the ground and find my food by hopping around, that’s much safer. Or is it?! Mum and dad were warning us just two days ago, of the dangers of the farm cat - she likes to eat little birds!!! Horrible! Oh, I don’t know, maybe it would be handy to be able to fly away from such a beast.’’

While he was deciding what to do, Roberta was thinking of something completely different. She was pecking away on the earthen barn floor: she was sure she had seen a worm there, earlier. Flying made her always so very hungry - and sleepy, actually. May be she could miss out on this turn… Just as she stopped pecking and started settling down to a little rest with one leg tucked under, she became aware that someone had been saying her name. ‘’Roberta, Roberta, wake up my love, it’s your turn. If you could just fly a couple of rounds, your brother would be so reassured, come on, and do it for him. I’ll find an extra fat little worm for your tea tonight.’’

Well, you should have seen the transformation that came over Roberta: This was definitely worth the bargain. Suddenly, her tired and hungry little body felt fresh and carefree, and ready for anything. She took off with such impetus, grace and elegance that her parents were completely bold over. All they could do was to step back, lift up their heads and watch. There she was, their little Roberta, soaring up high. She looked so happy, as if she felt free and weightless. Twice, she looked down; once she spied her mum and dad, and the next time she thought she spotted that little worm again. She aimed to land next to that spot and surprised herself by how close she actually managed. Soon she was pecking away again eagerly, leaving her parents in no doubt that she was the one they had to worry about the least - she would always be able to look after her needs.

Romeo had looked on hesitantly. He didn’t even want to be reassured. Yet, seeing Roberta return so safely and unafraid, gave him a warm feeling in his tummy and made him feel alright.

He hopped over to his dad and told him he was ready to try again.

‘’Would you like me to come along?’’ his dad asked.

The relief was quite visible on Romeo’s little face; in fact his whole little body seemed to relax as he nodded gratefully.

Together they set off. They started from one of the lowest beams, opposite the barn door. Romeo could see the setting sun from where he was flying. It was a beautiful site, and a reassuring one. Soon the whole family would be snuggled up together in the nest, safe and sound. This thought inspired Romeo to take a little risk: he flew steeply upwards towards the nest, he’d never flown so steeply before - he surprised himself with the accuracy that made him land safely and gently right in the middle of the nest.

‘’First one home!’’ he cried.

All four little robins fell asleep very happy - and Roberta, well she was happy and very full too: she had been right, there was a worm where she had been pecking, and her mum had found her an extra fat little worm for her tea.

~Snack Time & Break


How to make a slip knot, and finger-knit:

Take your thumb and forefinger, and make a little “birdy-beak”. The birdy-beak can pick up things, or the two hands can talk to each other. Also we can use the birdy-beak to make a long cord. Show the child how to make a slip-knot. Show her or him slowly, and the same way each time. When she or he can make the knot, and pull it out, and make it again, he or she can then learn to finger-knit.

Lots of practice — that's the lesson.

lines signal birds

From the next block:

The Golden Key, Michaelmas Term, Block Two, Writing

Day Five

~Welcome the Day

(as on day one of this block)

~Draw the Dome of heaven and discover the D in that

Draw the D

~Story Time


There were once a man and a woman who had long in vain wished for a child.At length the woman hoped that God was about to grant her desire.These people had a little window at the back of their house from which a splendid garden could be seen, which was full of the most beautiful flowers and herbs.It was however, surrounded by a high wall, and no one dared to go into it because it belonged to an enchantress, who had great power and was dreaded by all the world.One day the woman was standing by this window and looking down into the garden, when she saw a bed which was planted with the most beautiful rampion (rapunzel), and it looked so fresh and green that she longed for it, and had the greatest desire to eat some.This desire increased every day, and as she knew that she could not get any of it, she quite pined away, and began to look pale and miserable.Then her husband was alarmed, and asked: “What ails you, dear wife?” “Ah,” she replied, “if I can’t eat some of the rampion, which is in the garden behind our house, I shall die.”The man, who loved her thought: “Sooner than let your wife die, bring her some of the rampion yourself, let it cost what it will.”At twilight, he clambered down over the wall into the garden of the enchantress, hastily clutched a handful of rampion, and took it to his wife.She at once made herself a salad of it, and ate it greedily.It tasted so good to her – so very good, that the next day she longed for it three times as much as before.If he was to have any rest, her husband must once more descend into the garden.In the gloom of the evening, therefore, he let himself down again; but when he had clambered down the wall he was terribly afraid, for he saw the enchantress standing before him.“How can you dare,” said she with angry look, “descend into my garden and steal my rampion like a thief?You shall suffer for it!” “Ah,” answered he, “let mercy take the place of justice, I only made up my mind to do it out of necessity.My wife saw your rampion from the window, and felt such a longing for it that she could have died if she had not got some to eat.”Then the enchantress allowed her anger to be softened, and said to him:“If the case be as you say, I will allow you to take away with you as much rampion as you will, only I make one condition, you must give me the child which your wife will bring into the world; it shall be well treated and I will care for it like a mother.”The man in his terror consented to everything and when the woman was brought to bed, the enchantress appeared at once, gave the child the name of Rapunzel, and took it away with her.

Rapunzel grew into the most beautiful child under the sun.When she was twelve years old, the enchantress shut her into a tower, which lay in a forest, and had neither stairs nor door, but quite at the top was a little window.When the enchantress wanted to go in, she placed herself beneath it and cried:

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel,

Let down your hair to me.”

Rapunzel had magnificent long hair, fine as spun gold, and when she heard the voice of the enchantress she unfastened her braided tresses, wound them round one of the hooks of the window above, and then the hair fell twenty ells down, and the enchantress climbed up by it.

After a year or two, it came to pass that the King’s own son rode through the forest and passed by the tower.Then he heard a song, which was so charming that he stood still and listened.This was Rapunzel, who in her solitude passed her time in letting her sweet voice resound.The King’s son wanted to climb up to her, and looked for the door of the tower, but none was to be found.He rode home, but the singing had so deeply touched his heart, that every day he went out into the forest and listened to it.Once when he was thus standing behind a tree, he saw that an enchantress came there, and he heard how she cried:

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel,

Let down your hair to me.”

Then Rapunzel let down the braids of her hair, and the enchantress climbed up to her.“If that is the ladder by which one mounts, I too will try my fortune,” said he, and the next day when it began to grow dark, he went to the tower and cried:

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel,

Let down your hair to me.”

Immediately the hair fell down and the King’s son climbed up.

At first Rapunzel was terribly frightened when a man, such as her eyes had never yet beheld, came to her; but the King’s son began to talk to her quite like a friend, and told her that his heart had been so stirred that it had let him have no rest, and he had been forced to see her.Then Rapunzel lost her fear, and when he asked her if she would take him for her husband, and she saw that he was young and handsome, she thought: “He will love me more than old Dame Gothel does”; and she said yes, and laid her hand in his.She said: “I will willingly go away with you, but I do not know how to get down.Bring with you a skein of silk every time that you come, and I will weave a ladder with it, and when that is ready I will descend, and you will take me on your horse.”They agreed that until that time he should come to her every evening, for the old woman came by day.

The enchantress remarked nothing of this, until once Rapunzel said to her: “Tell me, Dame Gothel, how it happens that you are so much heavier for me to draw up than the young King’s son – he is with me in a moment.” “Ah! You wicked child,” cried the enchantress.“What do I hear you say!I thought I had separated you from all the world, and yet you have deceived me!”In her anger she clutched Rapunzel’s beautiful tresses, wrapped them twice around her left hand, seized a pair of scissors with the right, and snip, snap, they were cut off, and the lovely braids lay on the ground.And she was so pitiless that she took poor Rapunzel into a desert where she had to live in great grief and misery.

~Snack Time & Break

~Beeswax Modelling

Modelling a bear cub

Warm some orange wax in your hand and make an egg shape. Pull out the one end for the head; then draw out the four legs at the bottom. Again, it is all made from one piece with nothing stuck on afterwards.

stars D

The Golden Key, Michaelmas Term, Block Two, Writing

Day Six

~Welcome the Day

(as on day one of this block)

~Write three short D-words (may be DAD DOME DARK)

Draw Rapunzel’s tower with the prince climbing up her hair,

creating a curve at the top (above the prince) and a straight line (below him), pointing away from the tower at the bottom. (see drawing)

~Story Time

Recap or reread yesterday’s story, then continue:

On the same day that she cast out Rapunzel, however, the enchantress fastened the braids of hair, which she had cut off, to the hook of the window, and when the King’s son came and cried:

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel,

Let down your hair to me.”

She let the hair down.The King’s son ascended, but instead of finding his dearest Rapunzel, he found the enchantress, who gazed at him with wicked and venomous looks.

“Aha!” she cried mockingly, “you would fetch your dearest, but the beautiful bird sits no longer singing in the nest; the cat has got it, and will scratch out your eyes as well. Rapunzel is lost to you; you will never see her again.”

The King’s son was beside himself in pain, and in his despair he leapt down from the tower.He escaped with his life, but the thorns into which he fell pierced his eyes. Then he wandered quite blind about the forest, ate nothing but roots and berries and did naught nut lament and weep over the loss of his dearest wife. Thus he roamed about in misery for some years, and at length came to the desert where Rapunzel, with the twins to which she had given birth, a boy and a girls, lived in wretchedness. He heard a voice, and it seemed so familiar to him that he went towards it, and when he approached, Rapunzel knew him and fell on his neck and wept. Two of her tears wetted his eyes and they grew clear again, and he could see with them as before. He led her to his kingdom where he was joyfully received, and they lived for a long time afterwards, happy and contented.

~Snack Time & Break


Yellow and Red

Yellow was doing a special dance in the room: the rules were that it couldn’t stay in the same spot for more than a second, and that it mustn’t go to the same place twice. Yellow loved this game, and it was very good at it. Just then, the door opened and in came Red. Red watched Yellow just for a minute and then decided that the game ought to be played with different rules: Instead of rushing from one spot to the next, Red said that they had to stamp really hard on each spot and be thorough about it. So, Yellow and Red played the game, each by their own rules, and really enjoyed themselves. They never touched or went into each other’s spaces. At the end, the entire room was filled with Red and Yellow, and Yellow and Red.

horse R

From the next block:

The Golden Key, Michaelmas Term, Block Three, Arithmetic

Day Four

~Welcome the Day

(as on day one of this block)

~Main Lesson

Introduce Count Plus

Let me tell you about a very special gnome, his name is Count Plus. His favourite game is counting, the more he can count, the happier he is. His green suit is lined with many, many pockets. He is forever looking for jewels to add to his pockets. He appears very round - because his pockets are so full. Let’s draw a picture of him:

Draw Count Plus

~Story Time

The Bremen Town Musicians

A certain man had a donkey, which had carried the corn-sacks to the mill indefatigably for many a long year; but his strength was going, and he was growing more and more unfit for work. Then his master began to consider how he might best save his keep; but the donkey, seeing that no good wind was blowing, ran away and set out on the way to Bremen. ‘’There,’’ he thought ‘’I can surely be town-musician.’’

When he had walked some distance, he found a hound lying on the road, gasping like one who had run till he was tired.

‘’What are you gasping so for, you big fellow?’’ asked the donkey. ‘’Ah,’’ replied the hound, ‘’as I am old, and daily grow weaker, and no longer can hunt, my master wanted to kill me, so I took to flight; but now how am I to earn my bread?’’

‘’I tell you what,’’ said the donkey, ‘’I am going to Bremen, and shall be town-musician there; go with me and engage yourself also as a musician. I will play the lute, and you shall beat the kettle-drum.’’

The hound agreed, and on they went. Before long, they came to a cat, sitting on the path, with a face like three rainy days!

‘’Now then, old shaver, what has gone askew with you?’’ asked the donkey.

‘’Who can be merry when his neck is in danger?’’ answered the cat. ‘’Because I am now getting old, and my teeth are worn to stumps, and I prefer to sit by the fire and spin, rather than hunt about after mice, my mistress wanted to drown me, so I ran away. But now good advice is scarce. Where am I to go?’’

‘’Go with us to Bremen. You understand night-music, so you can be a town-musician.’’

The cat thought well of it and went with them. After this the three fugitives came to a farm-yard, where the cock was sitting upon the gate, crowing with all his might.

‘’Your crow goes through and through one,’’ said the donkey, ‘’what’s the matter?’’

‘’I have been foretelling fine weather, because it is the day in which Our Lady washes the Christ-child’s little shirts, and wants to dry them,’’ said the cock; but guests are coming for Sunday, so the housewife has no pity, and has told the cook that she intends to eat me in the soup tomorrow, and this evening I am to have my head cut off. Now I am crowing at the top of my lungs while I still can.’’

‘’Ah, but red-comb,’’ said the donkey, ‘’you had better come away with us. We are going to Bremen; you can find something better than death everywhere: you have a good voice, and if we make music together it must have some quality!’’

The cock agreed to this plan, and all four went on together. They could not reach the city of Bremen in one day, however, and in the evening they came to a forest where they meant to pass the night. The donkey and the hound laid themselves down under a large tree, the cat and the cock settled themselves in the branches; but the cock flew right up, where he was most safe. Before he went to sleep he looked round on all four sides, and thought he saw in the distance a little spark burning; so he called out to his companions that there must be a house not far off, for he saw a light. The donkey said:

‘’If so, we had better get up and go on, for the shelter here is bad.’’ The hound thought too that a few bones with some meat on would do him good!

So they made their way to the place where the light was, and soon saw it shine brighter and grow larger, until they came to a well-lighted robbers’ house. The donkey, as the biggest, went to the window and looked in.

‘’What do you see, my grey-horse?’’ asked the cock.

’’What do I see?’’ answered the donkey; ‘’a table covered with good things to eat and drink, and robbers sitting at it enjoying themselves.’’‘’That would be the sort of thing for us,’’ said the cock.

‘’Yes, yes; ah, if only we were there!’’ said the donkey.

Then the animals took counsel together how they should manage to drive away the robbers, and at last they thought of a plan. The donkey was to place himself with his fore-feet upon the window-ledge, the hound was to jump on the donkey’s back, the cat was to climb upon the dog, and lastly the cock was to fly up and perch upon the head of the cat.

When this was done, at a given signal, they began to perform their music together: the donkey brayed, the dog barked, the cat mewed, and the cock crowed; then they burst through the window into the room, shattering the glass! At this horrible din, the robbers sprang up, thinking no otherwise than that a ghost had come in, and fled in great fright out into the forest.

The four companions now sat down at the table, well content with what was left, and ate as if they were going to fast for a month.

As soon as the four minstrels had done, they put out the light, and each sought himself a sleeping place according to his nature and to what suited him. The donkey laid himself down upon some straw in the yard, the hound behind the door, the cat upon the hearth near the warm ashes, and the cock perched himself upon a beam of the roof; and being tired from their long walk, they soon went to sleep.

~Snack Time & Break


Today, we will use the leaves you found on your nature walk yesterday, to make beautiful Autumn Cards. (Do keep some of the drying leaves and ferns in the book for the project next week! It'll be good for them to have had another week there.)

All you need is those leaves, that are being pressed in a large, heavy book, drawing  paper and your block crayons.

Fold the drawing paper in half, so that it is the size you want to make your cards in.

Then open the 'card' and place it on a drawing board with an arrangement of your chosen leaves under it.

Now, holding the paper in place with one hand, gently draw over the card with the long edge of the block crayon, revealing the beautiful shapes of the leaves.

You can use the same leaves again and again. Keep the cards in a box, for occasions in the future.


The Golden Key, Michaelmas Term, Block Three, Arithmetic

Day Five

~Welcome the Day

(as on day one of this block)

~Main Lesson

Introduce number four

There are four: animals going to Bremen as town musicians; directions, north, south, east, west; corners on this page, on the window, on a square and on the wall; legs on the chair; legs on dogs, cats & guinea pigs, weeks of Advent, seasons etc.)

Draw a nice big number FOUR

Draw a tree in The Four Seasons

Work out with the glass jewels and write the following number puzzles:

4= 2+2


~Story Time

Recap or reread yesterday’s story, then continue:

When it was past midnight, and the robbers saw from afar that the light was no longer burning in their house, and all appeared quiet, the captain said:

‘’We ought not to have let ourselves be frightened out of our wits’’; and ordered one of them to go and examine the house. The messenger finding all still, went into the kitchen to light a candle, and, taking the glistening fiery eyes of the cat for live coals, he held a lucifer-match to them to light it. But the cat did not understand the joke, and flew in his face, spitting and scratching. He was dreadfully frightened, and ran to the back-door, but the dog, who lay there, sprang up and bit his leg; and as he ran across the yard by the dunghill, the donkey gave him a smart kick with his hind foot. The cock, too, who had been awakened by the noise, and had become lively, cried down from the beam: ‘’Cock-a-doodle-doo!’’

Then the robber ran back as fast as he could to his captain, and said: ‘’Ah, there is a horrible witch sitting in the house, who spat on me and scratched my face with her long claws; and by the door stands a man with a knife, who stabbed me in the leg; and in the yard there lies a black monster, who beat me with a wooden club; and above, upon the roof, sits the judge, who called out: ‘Bring the rogue here to me!’ so I got away as well as I could.’’

After this the robbers never again dared to enter the house; but it suited the four musicians of Bremen so well that they did not care to leave it anymore. And the mouth of him who last told this story is still warm.

~Snack Time & Break

~Beeswax Modelling

Making a frog

Warm some green beeswax and mold it into an egg shape. Draw out one end and make the head with its bulging eyes; then draw out the four legs at the bottom and fold the back legs under the frog and the front legs to the front. There is also a little tail-like extension at the back

4 natural 42+2 horse, dog, chicken, cat sculpt an egg