Last night, while at the house of friend and fellow Waldorf-inspired homeschooler Lisa, she asked me how the nine-year change was going with Pintail. I was happy to report that he is doing well. His tenth birthday is in a few months and I have noticed a wonderful change in him. He seems to have come through the difficulties of the last year with added measures of self-confidence and happiness.
The nine-year change is a transition that children go through between the ages of nine and ten, typically coinciding with the Waldorf 3rd grade. (First grade begins around age 7 in Waldorf schools.) I had never heard of the nine-year change until I started reading Waldorf materials, but it has been so noticeable and real for my children. In Encountering the Self (I learned how to underline! Whoop!), it says, “The ninth year transition can be compared with a birth, for just as children physically free themselves from their mother’s body at birth, so they now free their soul from the surroundings in which they have been living through imitation… How do children experience this transition? A trace of sadness in their eyes; their gait is heavier than before, and they have become more sensitive. They become aware that their world, in which they felt so fully at home, has become strange to them… They are puzzled by the separation between themselves and the world; their father, mother, and their friends now stand outside the circle of their own world… It is in his loneliness that the child senses that he will go out into life from the center of his ego.”
This feeling of aloneness, and awareness of self, is mirrored in the curriculum of the Waldorf third grade with stories of the Hebrew people. Typically, at the beginning of the year, a block on the creation of the world and Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden is presented. This correlates to what the child is feeling; an expulsion from the paradise of childhood; an awareness of being on one’s own.
This block was a short two-week block and heavy on painting. I used the King James Version of the Bible for our text. The creation stories in And There Was Light by Jacob Streit did not resonate with me. We memorized the first verse of Genesis in Hebrew using this you tube recording and here is the Hebrew writing of that verse that he painted into his main lesson book. Some of our watercolor ideas came from this grade 3 training manual that the aforementioned Lisa told me about. The idea for the painting of the Expulsion from Paradise was from Painting and Drawing in Waldorf Schools by Wildgruber.
If you’d like to read more about the nine-year change, visit Carrie’s blog.
I enjoyed this post on the nine-year change at storymama.typepad.com.
Have a nice evening!