Turning Lead into Gold

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Turning Lead into Gold: The Transformative Alchemy of Waldorf Teaching

“The pieces in this book come mostly from moments in deep time, moments when I found myself thinking some-what shamefacedly, ‘Oh, now I get it.’ And, interestingly enough, a good many of those moments of insight occurred with classroom experiences when I clearly ‘didn’t get it.’” (from the introduction)

Teachers and their styles are as various and unique as the polyphonic symphony of human life. And yet there are certain archetypal traits that would seem to grace the greatest and most effective of teachers: unquestioning dedication, flexibility, good humor, and an unpretentious openness to learning from anyone and everything are a just few.

Jack Petrash has spent the better part of his life teaching children, and teaching those who would also teach children, and the chapters that make up Turning Lead into Gold are filled with his sensitive observations and insights into all aspects of teaching and being a teacher, and a lifelong learner, born of these traits and having walked this path with open eyes and loving heart.

Turning Lead into Gold provides light and insight for teachers, parents, and caregivers, whether brand new or well-seasoned by their own experience.

C O N T E N T S:



1. What Made Me Think I Could Do This?
2. Straight and Curved
3. Back to the Future
4. Developing Good Habits
5. Morning Circle: Prelude to an Important Question
6. What if I Were Starting a First Grade Now?
7. Second Grade: A Hidden Treasure
8. Monday Morning: Conspiracy in the Classroom
9. Third Grade: A Time of Transition
10. Deepening Our Work
11. Fourth Grade: After the Nine-Year Change
12. The Heart of the Matter


13. Working with Parents
14. Hold Them Close and Let Them Go
15. What the Fathers Taught Me about Parenting
16. The Spiritual and Religious Needs of Children
17. The Twelve-Year Change
18. Taking Hard to Heart
19. Goldilocks Had it Right All Along
20. Wabi Sabi: The Beautifully Imperfect

Coda: A Foray into Public Schools


About the Author

Jack Petrash is the founder and director of the Nova Institute, an educator with more than thirty years of classroom experience, and a teacher of teachers. He has written extensively on issues related to innovative classroom instruction. His pieces on parenting have appeared in The Washington Post and on National Public Radio. Petrash’s books include Covering Home: Lessons on the Art of Fathering from the Game of Baseball(2000); Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out (2003); and Navigating the Terrain of Childhood: A Guidebook for Meaningful Parenting and Heartfelt Discipline (2004).

Additional information

Weight 18 oz
Dimensions 5.5 × .75 × 8.5 in




October 2022






Bell Pond Books


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