Knitting Our Community Together

Bethesda, Maryland (12/02/21): The Washington Waldorf School (WWS), a PreK through Grade 12 independent school in Bethesda, MD has found a new way to celebrate community togetherness during the lingering pandemic. Students, parents, alumni, and faculty have shared their handwork skills to decorate the campus with “yarn bombing” trees and columns on campus.

“While the yarn bombing looks great and is a fun way to bring our community together, it also connects directly to our curriculum and the importance Waldorf education places on the arts in developing problem-solving, creative thinking, and perseverance,” said Lelia True, Interim Head of School.

A group of 6th grade students and some of their parents came together to create a large yarn Progress Pride Flag that now hangs on a large tree at the north end of the school. The youngest students have participated by providing strands of finger knitting. Older students and adults from the wider school community have contributed knitting and crochet panels that have been pieced together into yarn mosaics of varied colors and patterns. Most of the materials for the project are not newly purchased. The community donated yarn from their personal stores – or even repurposed partially completed projects that were languishing at home.

WWS’s handwork curriculum progresses with the students’ development, meeting the students where they are and providing them with challenges and opportunities for success through each stage. Finger knitting and hand sewing in the PreK/K classes develop fine motor skills. From 1st-8th grade WWS follows a robust and thoughtful curriculum that progresses with the students’ development. Each grade has a different core project. Grade 1 knits a rabbit, Grade 2 completes more complex knitting projects, Grade 3 learns to crochet, Grade 4 engages in cross stitch, Grade 5 works on four needle or circular knitting, Grade 6 learns pattern-making and hand sews animals, Grade 7 completes a hand sewn doll with a rich backstory, and Grade 8 learns to use a sewing machine and develops an independent project. Woodworking is also taught from grade 4 and up. In the high school, fine art studies (weaving, metalwork, sculpting, painting, and drawing) are a core part of the curriculum. 

The arts integrated education that WWS offers fosters well rounded, creative, and capable individuals who can apply their skills in whatever fields they eventually pursue.