Grade 3 Creation Block

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.

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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

Have a nice evening!

7 thoughts on “Grade 3 Creation Block

  1. licoricelovinglady

    Beautiful work!
    The nine year change is an incredible thing. For us it was like a bell curve – I could see it building from about age eight and a half, and there was definitely a day, a moment, when it peaked, when I could say, “He’s changed now.” Then it slowly returned to equilibrium. For my son there was a lot angst around being alone, separate, and now he has come through that and is so much more independent. Now I know about this I can remember something like that happening to me too. It is interesting that this developmental milestone seems to pass unseen by most of society.
    I believe the Old Testament stories really did have a profound impact and now we are doing the Norse stories and they are exactly where he is developmentally too. That Steiner really understood childhood! We will be doing our local geography/mapping block next and just last week my ds gazed at the garden and announced, “I really should map our garden.” Amazing.

    1. Mrs. Mallard Post author

      Thanks Cathy! I would describe my son’s journey similarly; angst around being alone and separate, but it is so wonderful to see them come through with more confidence. I don’t remember from my own childhood. That’s nice that you do! I love that your son wants to do things that fall right into the curriculum – mapping the garden is perfect! Have a great day!

  2. Brenna

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful work and your resources. The painting is so beautiful and very touching with the text.
    I also appreciate the resources you shared, as I am beginning to plan for next year. Though I wrote about the third grade curriculum in my post (as a way to illustrate the nine year change), we’re actually doing second grade this year, with my daughter at the upper end of the grade age-wise (she turns nine in May). I have been digesting Encountering the Self and actually spending quite a bit of time thinking about my own childhood and ninth year. I’m hoping that my teaching next year will support my girl the way she needs.

    1. Mrs. Mallard Post author

      Brenna, My son is turning ten in May, so they are about one year apart! I have found it fascinating to see the curriculum match these big developmental changes. It really works for us. I read a comment from Carrie of the Parenting Passageway on Facebook that recommended the book “I Am Different From You” by Petr Selg for the nine year change. I haven’t read it, but I trust Carrie’s recommendations! And I’m happy to link to you, I loved your post.


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