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Black & White in the curriculum

Black & White art plays a vital role in our curriculum, offering numerous benefits for children’s development. This exercise enhances visual perception, developing a sensitivity to depth of field, working as a foundation for colour exploration.


The Steiner Waldorf curriculum places a strong emphasis on artistic expression as a means of holistic education. Art Teacher, Peter Sheen, highlights the role of black and white art in nurturing children’s artistic abilities and its benefits for their development.


“The introduction of Black and White drawing in Class 6, as the pupils are turning 12, and on through the Middle School years is an important and potent aspect of the Steiner Waldorf curriculum.

Class 6 sketching techniques: ‘A Crow’ – graphite on paper

Around this age of pre-adolescents, dramatic changes are taking place both physically (outwardly) and emotionally (inwardly) for the young people in our care. The multi-faceted Art curriculum aknowledges, meets and works with these dramatic changes in a quite unique and meaningful way. Whilst a wide variety of themes and topics are taken up, as well as new techniques and materials utilized, it is the introduction and work with black and white drawing that can really ‘speak’ to the pupils.

Black & White charcoal on paper by Class 8 pupil, Richard.

This new and exciting aspect of the Art curriculum meets the pupils inwardly, by recognising and utilising the many shades of gray that live in between the polarities of black and white. The depiction of the three dimensional world comes to life in a new way through working with light and dark/shadow.


Outwardly and more visible are the practical and technical aspects. These also serve the pupils well, as they look out into the world with new eyes and powers of observation seeking greater accuracy, realism and truthfulness in their work.

Class 8: ‘Once in a Blue Moon’ – charcoal on paper with Peter Sheen


Thus and most importantly, this work is planting seeds for the future and is a truly pedagogical stepping stone as the pupils look ahead to transitioning into our Upper School both with the various artistic courses that are offered and also with regard to meeting the pupils at their stage of development in any subject, with meaningful, nourishing and appropriate material and tools.”


Words by Peter Sheen



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Black & White In The Curriculum

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