Creating Waldorf Spaces at Home

Written by Tahnee Moore

Trinus’ Early Childhood rooms are spaces we immediately connect with and feel we would like our children to be in. What is it that we are instantly resonating with? Here I am going to share the pedagogical intention and reasoning behind them so you too can bring Waldorf into your home. 

A small child is a total sense organ who absorbs the space deeply and unconsciously and then is shaped by it. It is for this reason that Trinus’ spaces are designed to support the child’s development and nourish their senses.  

The lower senses (movement, balance, touch, life/wellbeing) are particularly important for children under 7 years old because this is how they experience the world and develop their brain, physical body and organs. 

Rudolph Steiner, the founder of Waldorf pedagogy,  spoke about experiences essential for healthy early childhood education:

  • Love and warmth
  • Care for the environment 
  • Creative artistic experience 
  • Meaningful adult activity as an example for the child’s imitation 
  • Free imaginative play
  • Gratitude, reverence and wonder
  • Joy humour and happiness
  • And that the adult caregiver is on a path of inner development 

Love and Warmth

If we take the experience of love and warmth we can easily see how this lives in an Early Childhood classroom. The furniture is made of wood rather than metal or plastic. Wood holds warmth. The corners are softened and love and care has gone into their construction. Everything is made just the right height so the child feels that they “are just for him or her.” 

Then the room is made to feel soft, with gentle silk cloths across the windows or to cover a harsh brick wall. The room may smell of lavender or an essential oil and has a feeling of homeliness. When children arrive their teacher greets them with a warm welcome from her rocking chair. There is always a carpet on the floor and a soft corner to cuddle up in.

Care for the environment 

There is always an element of life in a Waldorf classroom, a plant, a fish tank, fresh flowers, etc. The nature table that changes with the seasons. The songs and stories shared may also reflect this. Outside in the playground, the children are shown to care for the plants, to observe the ants, to be excited if a dragonfly is discovered. Our connection and custodianship of the Earth is intrinsic to Waldorf Education. 

Gratitude, Reverence and Wonder

Again the nature table is an essential part of an Early Childhood space. It is specially designated table that allows us to admire the beauty, perfection and wonder of creation. When we dedicate a place to put nature’s treasures the children are invited to subconsciously appreciate and marvel at nature’s gifts. How the leaf pattern is formed, the geometrics of a pinecone, the delicate nature of a butterfly wing… 

Reverence is also practiced in how we care for our toys, how everything in the classroom has a place, how we set the table, and of course in our interactions with our teachers and classmates. 

Each meal we share is started with a reverent pause and a song of gratitude. Of course, the children themselves being in the space of reverence grow up to be reverent. 

Free Imaginative Play

The space allows the children to immerse themselves into free individual play. Near the shelves is a big cleared rug, ready to be played upon. Have available for your children toys that support their development. For example, open-ended wooden blocks, dolls with minimal detail, etc. Toys that do not dictate the game to be played allowing the children’s imagination to work.

Having reverence for each child’s individuality and nurturing the expression of that individuality is an essential part of Rudolph Steiner’s work. This is expressed within the classroom space where there are several little spaces: a treehouse, a kitchen, a cozy nook, a doll’s corner… There is always a wooden play stand that can make a new space and be moved around easily by the teacher. The teacher will always be quietly observing the children and create the physical space needed. Her role is to support whatever is living in the expansive, wonderful imaginations to be played out freely. 

Meaningful adult activity as an example of child activity 

“Children [under 7 years old]  do not learn through instruction or admonition, but through imitation. Good sight will develop if the environment has the proper conditions of light and color, while in the brain and blood circulation, the physical foundations will be laid for a healthy sense of morality if children witness moral”. – Rudolph Steiner. 

Because children imitate adults at home it’s important to make mini me spaces. Eg if you are an artist you would make a little artists desk, if you are a business person you would have a pretend office.  I wanted to gift some practical advice if you did want to bring Waldorf into your child’s play space.  Less is more and you don’t need to cover them in countless toys. The more use one toy has, the better. So I suggest the following: 

  • Have a decent amount of Wooden blocks so that the child can construct anything they dream of.  
  • A basket of Silks fabric  might be a gift that will stand the test of time. We buy ours from Mercurius.
  • A good doll is also an investment. 
  • Old clothing for dress-ups 
  • Nature treasures brought back from a walk nourish the child so more than any predetermined plastic figuring.

And the best play is unguided play in nature.

Wooden blocks often become mobile phones and chairs are rearranged to become a car or a bus.  Birthday parties are thrown and cakes are made from various toys, the silks can become any costume or prop…

In Trinus the teacher will also be aware that the children are deeply absorbing her activity and role models handwork or other purposeful activity worthy of imitation. Baking, cleaning, mending as activities but also the attitude of the teacher is being imitated. The teacher’s work must be carried out with a joyful song, and a reverent mood. 

Within this proper physical environment, the child receives so much through their senses and their inner qualities are nurtured. They themselves are received with reverence, warmth and love and from this space their individuality is nurtured into being. 

How To Teach to Add Fractions?

If you teach your child the math concepts with things they are familiar with it will be easier for them to understand it. We want to provide you with a story to tell your child and to make it live together. All you will need is two empty jars, a Sharpe, and beans. Ready?

Martin and Carolina went to the store and they both took an empty jar.

(Measure the jar, divide it into three, and place two marks with a Sharpe in the jar to make the three parts visual for your child) 

Adding fractions with stories

They each filled one-third of their jar with beans.

(Fill the jars up to the first mark)


Martin had a great idea to put his beans in Carolina´s jar so they could share what they had.

How many thirds do they have together?

fractions with beans

Be creative! And find moments in your child´s day-to-day activities where he/she makes use of fractions. The more children live what they are learning, the easier it becomes for them to learn it.

Let´s make their learning meaningful! 

Reading Recommendations

This is a great list of stories to tell your children! 

You may think that some stories in this list can be scary for your children, but remember, as Miss Marcie says in her article about the importance of storytelling, «What is important to know is that a child will only imagine a picture in his mind that’s as scary as he can handle. For example: if we tell the story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff a three-year-old might imagine a troll that’s not much more than a blob, whereas a six-year-old might imagine a hairy, ugly troll with big teeth and ears. A Waldorf teacher will tell a fairy tale to young children with a gentle, pleasant voice, without over-dramatization. Again this leaves the child’s imagination free to picture the story to be as scary or as benign as he can handle.»

The following list has been compiled by Megan Young from Carnegie Rudolf Steiner Pre-School Centre Inc. and they appear in You Are Your Child`s First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin. Her section on Fairy tales and the Young Child is well worth reading (pp. 172-181) Most of the stories are from the Grimm Brothers.

Fairy Tales 

Key to age suitability

  • Kinder (4 to 7 years old)
  • Class (7-8 years old)

Simple or sequential stories


  • Sweet Porridge  (Grimm)
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  • Little Tuppen.
  • Little Louse and Little Flee
  • The Turnip 
  • The Mitten
  • Little Madam
  • Gingerbread Man
  • The Jonny Cake
  • The Hungry Cat

Slightly more complex stories


  • Billy Goats Gruff
  • Three Little Pigs
  • The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids (Grimm)
  • Masenka and the Bear
  • The Shoemaker and the Elves (Grimm)

More Challenge and More Detail


  • Star Money (Grimm)
  • The Frog Prince (Grimm)
  • Mother Holle (Grimm)
  • Little Red Cap (Grimm)
  • The Bremen Town Musicians (Grimm)
  • Little- Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty) (Grimm)
  • The Donkey (Grimm)
  • The Queen Bee (Grimm)
  • The Snow Maiden 
  • The Seven Ravens (Grimm)
  • Rumpelstiltskin (Grimm)
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (Grimm)

Class 1

  • The Golden Goose (Grimm)
  • Spindle, Shuttle, and Needle (Grimm)
  • The Hut in the Forest (Grimm)
  • Snow White and Rose Red (Grimm)

Classes 1 and 2 

  • Hansel and Gretel (Grimm)

Tales that have a personal experience of suffering or sorrow

Six years old in Kindergarten or Class 1- to match their sense of departure from the heart of early childhood

Kinder and Class 1


Class 1

  • Jordina and Joringa (Grimm)    
  • Brother and Sister (Grimm)   

Class 1 and 2

  • Cinderella

Class Seven Curriculum Overview

Suggested blogs The Six-Year Transformation: Discovering Waldorf Five Frequently Asked Questions About Waldorf Education The Role of Nutrition in Brain Development: The Golden Opportunity of the “First 1000 Days” Class Six Curriculum Overview

Adversity, An Opportunity to Build Resilience

Written by Gabriela de Erichsen

Since March, Guatemala, and the whole world has been facing an uncertain situation through this pandemic.  This situation has affected not only the economic area but also the emotional well-being of all humankind. It is very important for us parents to be strong for our kids.  We have to keep in mind that everything has also changed for them. We are all struggling with uncertainty and hopelessness.  As parents, if we break, our kids will break too.

Here you can find the entire talk and the highlight of Ms. Petersen´s talk. There is so much wisdom shared and amazing tips for us parents to keep in mind to build resilience in our children. 

What is resilience?

Merriam Webster defines resilience as: 

  • The capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation is caused especially by compressive stress.
  • An ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.

My journey through this pandemic has been one of constantly having to bounce back and it’s not easy! Bounce back from disappointment, having to totally change the way I do my work, not going home- this is now the longest I have gone without seeing my family, and friends – Cape Town my City. 

In her book “The Gifts of Imperfection”, Brene Brown speaks of cultivating a resilient spirit as one of the guideposts for wholehearted living. So I decided to work backward from these things resilient people DO to explore how we can help our children learn to be resilient so they can do the things resilient people do. 

She identified 5 of the most common factors of resilient people: 

  • They are resourceful and have good problem-solving skills
  • They are more likely to seek help
  • They hold the belief that they can do something that will help them manage their feelings and to cope
  • They have social support available to them
  • They are connected with others such as family and friends

I think the biggest lesson we need to learn and teach in regard to resilience is that the only way is through. We cannot avoid it, we cannot escape it…. So how can we help each other through

One thing that comforts me is that children learn and adapt more quickly than adults!! They are more flexible and resilient than us. They adapt quicker. 

There is no step by step on how to guide when it comes to cultivating capacities. Resilience is a skill, a feeling, a confidence, a trust in oneself and in life.

Resilience comes from solving problems, and going through situations, it’s not in your head it’s from or out of what you do. 

In my opinion, FAMILY is what is going to teach our children resilience in this moment. And that’s wonderful because we can help all of us get stronger through this. Our children are our mirror! So if we are constantly criticizing, being negative, and complaining, they will learn to do what we do. 

Practical tips to keep in mind

  • Spirituality – knowing, trusting believing there is something bigger than ourselves. 
  • Gratitude practice 
  • Awareness- checking on loved ones, family conversations, and sharing.
  • Being aware of nature and beauty
  • Worry jar 
  • Talking about the good and bad AGE APPROPRIATE! We cannot tell a 4-year-old that thousands of people are dying of COVID and expect them to deal with that. But you can say “I also feel sad that we can’t go visit grandma today, it makes me want to cry too.”  
  • Make a point of acknowledging when someone solved a problem no matter how big or small, ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY CLEAN UP A MESS! So that becomes part of their vocabulary- I made a mess and I clean it up
  • Let them see our mistakes
  • Apologize when you are wrong
  • Connection
  • How to express feelings? Because we have to go through: what color do you feel today? What animal? What color is angry? Older ones: draw, speak, write, exercise. What can we do to feel the feeling and then what helps us transform that? 

The bad news: Our children learn through the US! So immediately we need to know that we cannot teach them anything that we are not. So, from now on I want you to be thinking about how resilient are you. I want you to start thinking about how you can grow your resilience because that will be the most powerful gift you can give your children. 

What are we going to do?

I personally loved how Ms. Pettersen ended the talk by saying, “The ball is in our court now, what are we going to do with it?” 

And remember, we all go through dark times. And what gets us through is hoping and praying for that light at the end of the tunnel. And that light at the end of the tunnel is our presence now, having life, health being able to wake up every morning, and having our loved ones near and safe.

What Are The Benefits of Crafts?

Written by Julie Moon

As Ingun Schneider remarks in her article “Supporting the development of the hand,” many children today are using their hands almost exclusively to manipulate electronic devices such as computer mice, and are increasingly unable to hold a pen/pencil with any confidence or skill. Traditional craft skills such as knitting, are not widely practiced. The consequences of this are alarming. A great deal of research is published today which makes a clear case for the link between ‘nimble fingers, nimble minds’- that is, the relationship between healthy neurological development and the engagement of the fingers in fine motor activities. The more we take into account that intellect develops from the movements of the limbs, from dexterity and skills, the better it will be (Rudolf Steiner, The Renewal of Education).

Working with this picture of human development- that thinking grows out of movement and dexterous skills developed through activities such as craft- Waldorf educators work to bring craft throughout the curriculum. Our craftwork includes knitting, weaving, sewing, and woodwork.

The brain discovers what the fingers explore. The density of nerve endings in our fingertips is enormous. If we don’t use our fingers, if, in childhood and youth, we become finger-blind, this rich network of nerves is impoverished – which represents a huge loss to the brain and thwarts the individual’s all-around development.

If we neglect to develop and train our children’s fingers and the creative form-building capacity of their hand muscles, then we neglect to develop their understanding of the unity of things; we thwart their aesthetic and creative powers. Today Western civilization, an information-obsessed society that overvalues science and undervalues true worth, has forgotten this (Matti Bergstrom, professor and neurophysiologist).

Recent neurological research tends to confirm that mobility and dexterity in fine motor muscles, especially in the hand, may stimulate cellular development in the brain, and so strengthen the physical instrument of thinking.

Craft begins in the early years with the children consciously using their hands, and refining the movements of their fingers – improving fine motor skills. Finger knitting is the beginning of the knitting curriculum; sewing is refined year-by-year (Margaret Skerry – a former teacher at Sophia Mundi school).

The crafts of ancient peoples were part of everyday life and they were made with a disciplined attention to detail, loving care, and artistry. Joy seemed to be in the making and our children also find joy, challenges, and a sense of achievement in their craft lessons!

Sometimes we might get the sense that crafts are a waste of time and would like to see our child more involved in information-involved activities but we have to keep in mind the amazing neurological impact that it has on our child.

Healing Stories for Challenging Behavior 

Stories live in us, they become us. When we think about our favorite books as children there is a part of us that wants to both claim that story as our favorite and share it with others. The stories that we hold so dear and carry within us also shape us. It could be as lighthearted as aligning with your favorite house in Harry Potter (is anyone not in Gryffindor?) to something much deeper, an archetype of a prince or princess, and a happy ending from a fairytale.


Steiner recommended we tell age-appropriate fairytales to children to feed their soul with images that they can aspire to and that will guide them as they encounter life. For children under the age of 7 pictures from stories are the only way they can truly understand the world. They are literally thinking in images and not in concepts.


Imagine you have a four year old who is always walking in and taking things from an older sibling’s room. You could try telling them that it is an invasion of privacy and that this makes the older sibling not feel very nice.




You could read them the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”. Then say in a jolly voice, “don’t be a Goldilocks and go into your brother’s room.” The small child now has an image to draw a deep understanding from, especially in the context of social realms. Stories are powerful, fun and effective in shaping our lives. They speak to the soul.


When dealing with the inevitable challenges that we encounter raising children it makes sense to use stories to support them (and save ourselves from constantly repeating requests!).


“Healing Stories For Challenging Behaviour”, By Susan Perrow is a treasured Waldorf Teacher Resource for this reason. In her life’s work Susan has supported many children and parents with stories to successfully transform: nightmares, bedwetting, trauma, disrespectful attitudes, whinging, pinching, biting grief, teasing, being disruptive and so many more!




The stories in Susan`s Perrow book are tried and tested magic and incredibly inspirational and easy to work with. If the story that you need is not in there, she has also offered the tools so you can easily write your own story.


A very brief overview, you need:

A metaphor: A wild horse.

A journey: The wild pony has no friends.

A resolution: A magic brush is found and the wild pony loves to calmly groomed. He makes friends with the little boy who grooms him.


Animals work best for small children and if they say, “hey this is like me” you can smile and leave them to ponder that.


Curative Stories


Here are a few more tips to help you with creating your own stories by HARSHITA MAKVANA:


  • Understand the listener: The first and foremost step is to understand your audience: knowing what they want will help you create and narrate a compelling story. So ask yourself what your child likes: superheroes, prince and princesses, aliens or historical figures?


  • Construct your message: The next step is to define a message that you want to convey through your story. What should the children take away from the story? Is there anything specific you want them to learn from this story? Build your stories based on these questions.


  • Include creative words: The usage of innovative and impressive vocabulary works best when you are narrating a story to children. But limit the usage of words that are difficult to comprehend for a child.


  • Expressive style: Keep the listeners enamored by telling the story eloquently and dramatically. Be energetic, get emotional and go with the flow. Create a thrilling experience filled with suspenseful and surprising incidents if the story warrants it.


  • Timing: The importance of timing in storytelling and the effect it can have on the children cannot be stressed enough. Whether it is a campfire story, bedtime story, or just a humorous one to narrate on a rainy day, it has to be appropriate and suitable for the mood and time of the day.




As parents and teachers we have a deep sense of what our children need and the lessons needed to guide them towards success.  By communicating this in their language of images we can impart the wisdom, joy and love from our soul to theirs

How can you teach your child the qualities of the four processes?

Math has a quality and quantity part. For math to come alive, it is important that the children understand the quality of the four different processes of math first and then we can introduce the quality side. The following story is one way to introduce them to the different quality of each process.


Deep, underground, the gnomes are always busy working to gather jewels for the Gnome King`s Treasure Mouse. Every gnome has to bring in exactly 12 jewels every day, no more, no less, for most of them can only count to 12, but there are four gnomes who can count more, and less, and this makes them act differently. They even look different from their ordinary companions! Two of these fellows usually come home with more than 12 jewels and the other two with less. 

Picture taken by Sasha Prosser


TIMES is the name of the first. Yellow as a candle flame, he lights up hidden places so as to find more treasures, at least 2 times more than 12 jewels a day. And he has to make two trips, instead of one, to be able to show off before all the others bragging, “Twice as much I bring to please my King!”


PLUS is the second, fat, green and greedy. He loves to think, “3 and 3 and 3 and 3 are twelve” and as he adds up what he finds, he wants more and more not only for the King but for himself. He fills his hands and stuffs his pants so that they rattle as he approaches the King. When he gives the King only 12 of these pretty stones, the Kings hears his rattling pants and turns PLUS upside-down to get all the rest. Says PLUS, “My pants I pad with all I add.” 


MINUS, the third gnome, is blue and ragged. He has holes in his suit and holes in the sack which he carries. The jewels he gathers fall out through the holes as he wails, “Raggedy- blue, what will I do?” He always has less than he should even when he meets one who is always willing to share what he has found and consequently also has less. 


Warm-hearted and red as the heart`s blood, the fourth gnome is named DIVISION. When he hears the wailing of blue MINUS, he hurries up to him saying, “With you I’ll share the jewels I bear.” 


Now the Gnome King knows all about these four gnomes. He knows that MINUS will always be losing his jewels but that PLUS will find them and add them to his pile. The King knows that DIVISION will have less because he is kind enough to divide up his jewels and give a share to MINUS; and that although DIVISION brings in only a part of what he is supposed to, TIMES will bring in more than he should so that in the end nothing is lost but some is gained. 

math gnomes

Picture taken by Julie Blanchette


MINUS loses 8 and has 4 left


PLUS picks up the 8 and adds them to his 12 


DIVISION gives 6 to MINUS and keeps 6


TIMES gather 2 times 12



How many jewels do they bring in altogether?

5-day activity to improve reading

Our objective with reading should not be only for them to learn how to read but to LOVE reading. So they become life long learners. 

Before we go into reading, it is important to know how human beings started to write. Hans Tholken, who taught in Trinus, makes us go back in time and says that before we had the letters of the alphabet (Alpha, Betha, Gamma, etc.), there were PICTURES. The Aztecs in Mexico and the Egyptians used PICTOGRAPHS to write. Carving pictures in stone with hammer and chisel engaged the entire human being, HEAD – HEART- and HAND. Today´s writing is merely a function of the HEAD. You need three fingertips to hold a pencil and just one finger to punch the keys on your computer. So we at TRINUS provide images to introduce the letters, and we engage the entire human being.

A Waldorf teacher from Mountain Phoenix explains that 6 things need to happen before reading: listening, speaking, artistic expression, pictogram, alphabet, and writing.

She mentions that the International Reading Associations has noticed that children are not comprehending what they are reading. In her conference “Teaching Literacy in Waldorf Schools,” she explains in-depth the literacy process. I will like to focus on a specific part where she provides an example of different steps that can be taken to develop the reading skills in our children. Please watch this 7- minute video so that you can fully understand the reason behind the activity suggested below.


If you would like to see the full conference you are more than welcome to, I highly recommend it.  

As she explains, storytelling is vital for reading. It provides children with visual imaginary, rich vocabulary, auditory discrimination, sentence order, etc. If you can include movement, that is even better!


I will like to suggest to you a 5-day activity you can do with your child to improve his/her reading:


reading waldorf


Day 1: Tell them a story and make a drawing about the story. The drawing can be completed before or after telling the story. You can tell them one that you already know, or you can read to them one of the Grimm Brothers.


Day 2: Write what they recall.


Day 3: They draw the picture of the story.


Day 4: They will write what was written on day 2


Day 5: They read what they wrote


reading waldorf



These steps make reading come to life for the children, therefore, it is easier for them to connect, and it is more enjoyable.  I recommend doing a different story every week, and after a few weeks, you will start seeing improvement in your child’s reading. We want children to be life long learners, and to reach this; they have to enjoy it!

How to Make Multiplication Circles

Creating math circle waldorf

You will need:

  1. Wooden circle
  2. Nails or tacks
  3. Hammer
  4. Pencil
  5. Marker
  6. Yarn


Draw a circle with a pencil. The easiest way is to make a mark with a marker at 12 and 6 o´clock. Place four marks evenly in the two halves. Then number the marks starting at 0 at the 12 o´clock mark and finishing with the number 9.

In the marks place the nails and hammer, one nail per mark. Tie the yarn to the top were the zero will be and you are ready to start multiplying.

If you don´t have nails you can use tacks. Or you can always draw the circle in a paper and do it that way. But is a better learning experience to have the wooden circle so they can create the patterns with the yarn.


Below you can see a different example of the wooden circle:

Multiply circle

Picture from Lemon Lime Adventures





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