Welcome to a new week! It was wonderful to meet with many of you last week during our parent-teacher conferences and share and learn more about your children.
One of the stories I brought the class last week during our Ancient India block was that of the Brahma Creation Story. Waldorf students hear a variety of creation stories as they travel through the grades.
One of the concepts in this story was that time did not exist before Brahma opened his eyes and brought the universe into existence. Time began to exist when fire, planets, sun, stars and moon were created. It was enlightening to watch the students try to take in the concept of there being a "time" without time. And it was fun to see a light come on in one child's eyes when we discussed that growth could not occur if there were no such thing as time. He practically quoted the line in the story that described the creation of "all the things of heaven and earth," including "the plants which burst out of the earth."
This week we are delving into some stories from the Indian epic from thousands of years ago, which is still being dramatized in every little village across India, the Ramayana.
You might enjoy looking at an excerpt (in the attached jpegs) from a Teacher Training program manual from Africa, written by Simon Shirley, "History Teaching Grades 4-8." It explains beautifully why it is important to bring ancient history to children around fifth grade, and why we bring it first in stories and feelings. Later in the year we will study Ancient Greece, first in the form of myths, then in the first written history. It's a turning point in the Waldorf curriculum.
Tomorrow, Ki Steve will join me, and he and I will lead the class in a chant of Kali Durge, Namo Namah, using a drum called a mridang, a harmonium, and a large tamboura, which is the beautiful droning instrument you always hear in classical Indian music. The students will get a chance to try the instruments out.
This week the work on the stories and drawings about the Ramayana will be woven in with math practice, creative writing practice, dictation, and more vocabulary including more dictionary work. Next week we will begin a three week Math main lesson block, on Decimals.
Have a great week!