The Waldorf Alphabet Book illustrated by Famke Zonneveld is a sweet way to introduce your child to the letters of our language. On each page, the letter is introduced with a painting of a main object/animal/etc. in the shape of the letter that also begins with the letter. Surrounding the main image are other images that also begin with the featured letter. For example, on the “S” page the main image is of swans in the shape of an “S” surrounded by other images of snow, squirrell, salamander, seal, sail boat, stars, sand dollar, etc all within a stained glass window. The artistry is rather simplistic and childlike but appropriate for a children’s book. Using the arts to introduce children to the alpahbetic principle is part of the Waldorf philosophy. According to the afterword written by Waldorf teacher William Ward, “To start with, the Waldorf teacher will harness a child’s “feeling life” by introducing the letters artistically and imaginatively, as in the Waldorf Alphabet Book. For each fairytale told, a consonant character will be derived from the picture drawn to illustrate the tale the following day.”
For an early childhood computer class I took, I tried to embrace this approach using KidPix. I created the “A is for Angel” image, however I got frustrated with the limited abilities of KidPix compared to Photoshop.
I have always found it ironic that this imaginative and holistic educational philosophy began in the Waldorf cigarette factory of Stuttgart, Germany in 1919.