Waldorf 4th Grade Supplies
Fourth grade is such a fun year in the Waldorf curriculum and it’s a great time to expand your students’ artistic and academic skills with the use of some exciting new supplies.
Here are my recommendations for Waldorf 4th grade supplies.
Stockmar Watercolor Paint – By 4th grade, your students are ready to work with 6 colors. The colors in this set are carmine red, vermillion, golden yellow, lemon yellow, ultramarine blue and prussian blue. You’ll find these colors satisfactory right through 6th grade, so feel free to invest in the set, knowing you’ll get a lot of use out of it.
Strathmore Watercolor Paper 11“ X 15” – There’s no doubt that Strathmore paper is the cream of the crop when it comes to painting paper. This paper resists pilling, but even more important, it allows painters to lift off paint to reveal white paper underneath. This is a pretty essential technique when it comes to painting in the middle school, so make sure you choose a paper that works. This wire-bound pad includes 12 sheets of 140-pound paper for $7.30. A little pricey, but depending on how frequently you paint with your students, you shouldn’t need more than 2–3 pads per child. (You can also probably find Strathmore paper in bulk on Dick Blick if you need to outfit an entire classroom.)
Brushes – Odds are, the brushes you started painting with in first grade are starting to look a bit worse for wear. It’s time to invest in a new set of brushes. You should provide your students with both a large brush and a smaller brush for more detailed work. For the large brush, I like to give them the “cat’s tongue” brushes in 4th grade because of the detailed work it allows. For the small brush, the Mercurius No. 12 is a good size.
Make sure you’ve also got rags and water containers (which you can probably reuse from last year or scrounge up something from around the house.)
Lyra Super Ferby Pencils – These pencils are my hands-down favorites. The pigment is incredibly vibrant and they are built to last. I handed these pencils out to my students in 4th grade and a couple of times each year we would sort through our pencils and replace the ones that had become too short to use. This set of pencils lasted us all the way through 7th grade and now that we’re in 8th many of my students are still using their set and asking to replace them from my stash of extra pencils, even though I’ve given them a new set of skinny pencils. Next time around I think we’ll stick with our trusty Super Ferbies right through 8th grade. Starting in 4th grade, your students should have a selection of 18–24 colored pencils to use. If you are a classroom teacher, don’t purchase the individual sets. Instead, purchase boxes of individual colors and a nice pencil pouch for each student. There are a couple of big benefits to doing it this way.
1. You can handpick the colors your students get. Most of those sets come with a white pencil – I’ve never used it – and they don’t come with enough greens and browns.
2. You can replace individual pencils, rather than replacing the whole set. We almost always run through our red pencil really quickly, while the light peach doesn’t get a lot of use.
If you’re a homeschooler, see if you can get together with a local co-op and go in on an order together.
Filia Oil Crayons – I love these oil crayons. Think of them as the replacement for your block crayons. They are great for quickly and easily adding borders to pages, but the best part is that they mix well with each other and other drawing media. They’re also erasable and super-cheap. They come in a variety of colors and you can get a set of up to 48. I think 9 crayons is perfectly sufficient, since they blend so well.
- Fountain pen – This Greenfield fountain pen has long been the standard in use in Waldorf schools. It is really difficult to find a quality fountain pen that is easy for students to use. I’m not a huge fan of the Greenfield pen, but I haven’t found anything better. They’re also pretty expensive. If students are taught to take care of them, they can last all the way through 8th grade, but they’re not great. These BinaryABC pens on Amazon look like they could do the trick. Though they don’t appear to be made really well, they’re super-affordable ($16.99 for 11 pens!). I really like the Pilot MR Retro Pop Collection fountain pen for my own use, but I wouldn’t recommend it for student use (well, maybe 8th graders.) The metal barrel is a bit slippery and difficult to hold onto.
- There’s nothing better than the trusty old Ticonderoga when it comes to writing with a pencil. Yes, every store has their own brand pencil that is sold at a fraction of the cost, but they just don’t hold up. Spend the little bit extra for the Ticonderoga.
Incidentally, your students may have been using a triangular graphite pencil up until now. I had students who preferred using that pencil right through 5th grade and each year I purchased a few of them so they could. It was worth it because those kids guarded those pencils carefully and I never had to worry about replacing them too frequently.
- Clay – Purchase a couple bags of clay at the beginning of the year so you’ll have it when you want to use it. I alternated our art periods. For a 6 week block we would paint, then for the next 6 weeks we would work with clay. For inspiration and exercises, I highly recommend Arthur Auer’s Learning About the World Through Modeling.
- Paper – You should also purchase a variety of paper to work with throughout the year. Extra-large drawing paper, tissue paper, construction paper, origami paper, kite paper and a roll of butcher block. There are so many different ways you and your students can use these different types of paper. If you’ve got it on hand the ideas will come to you.
One final recommendation – One of my favorite new resources is a great book called Painting and Drawing in Waldorf Schools by Thomas Wildgruber. It’s a little pricey, but it will take you all the way through the grades with a painting and drawing curriculum. Definitely worth the expense. You can rent it through Amazon, but this is a text you’re going to want to own.