Teaching Mathematics for First and Second Grades in Waldorf Schools: Math Curriculum, Basic Concepts, and Their Developmental Foundation
For Waldorf teachers, math is often one of their most difficult subjects. Memories of schooldays mathematics can cloud one’s view of the students’ developmental needs, whereas Steiner’s many pedagogical suggestions do not indicate a structure for a cohesive math curriculum. Thus, teachers have developed various ways of teaching math during since the beginning of Waldorf education in 1921. Such diversity underscores the unique responsibility teachers carry for mathematics lessons.
This guide is not in any way intended to diminish that responsibility, but to help establish a unified view of Steiner’s statements for a developmentally appropriate math curriculum. The approaches suggested here might differ from existing programs in several areas—for example, in its direct and immediate beginning to math activities and reluctance to use images for introducing numbers to young students.
This guidebook will be useful for teachers and schools in moving toward a more collegial and systematic approach to teaching mathematics in Waldorf classrooms.
The First Math Block
The Math Operations (The Four Processes)
Math Weaknesses and Developmental Foundations of Math
Rudolf Steiner on the Introduction of Processes in Connection with the Temperaments
About the Author
Ernst Schuberth is a mathematician, Waldorf high school teacher, and Waldorf teacher educator. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, he has taught courses for teachers and mentored schools in many Western and Eastern European countries and in the United States.