Why is Handwork an integral part of the Waldorf curriculum?
The world we live in is increasingly automated. Our car doors open and close with the click of a button, we simply put our hands out and water, soap, and paper towels are delivered. Dishes are washed and bread is baked with the push of a button. Our floors are swept by robots. Store doors open and close without any human effort. Our shoes slip on or fasten with Velcro.
Modern conveniences are nice, but are they good for us? Less and less human effort is required for daily, seemingly, mundane activities.
Handwork in a Waldorf school is about activating human-will forces, which allow children to develop into self-sufficient, self-reliant, and resourceful adults.
It also relates to moral development, in a very objective way, we take an action, we achieve a result. We take a step back and examine what has been created and ask, “Is this result what I was aiming for? If not, then what?” We have the opportunity to problem solve, repair, and learn from our mistakes and persevere through the challenges that are presented.
The Handwork lesson brings the conceptual morning lessons into practical reality, by weaving together the natural world with math, geometry, perspective, color, and form. Capacities of memory are developed through bridging these two worlds. It allows the developing human being to realize their innate ability to create and think for themselves.