For Waldorf teachers, math is often difficult to teach. On the one hand, memories of their own school days can cloud their view of the children’s developmental needs, whereas, Steiner’s numerous indications do not form a cohesive structure for the math curriculum. Thus, various ways of teaching were developed during the history of Waldorf education. Such diversity underscores the responsibility teachers carries for their lessons.
This guide does not intend in any way to diminish this responsibility, but attempts to contribute to a unified view of Steiner indications for a developmentally appropriate math curriculum. This approach might differ from some existing methods, mainly in directly and quickly beginning math activities and avoiding pictures when introducing the numbers.
This algebra manual is for Grades 6, 7, and 8. The indications given in the Waldorf school syllabus for teaching algebra in these three grades are as follows:
Grade 6— Starting with interest and percent, proceed to simple elements of business and banking arithmetic and, from there, working from interest go over into work with literal numbers
Grade 7— Study powers, roots, negative numbers, and the theory of simple equations, relating them all to practical life
Grade 8— Carry the work of both arithmetic and algebra further, sustaining it with manifold applications