Quality of Numbers

One thing I love about the Waldorf approach to mathematics is that in first grade, a child isn’t learning just how to write a numeral or what exactly makes up the quantity of a number, but is introduced to the qualities of that number as well–one is for unity, two for duality, etc.

I’m going to post the little number poems we used with each number. She didn’t copy them all in her lesson book. Sometimes she wrote the whole poem, other times just a couplet, and still other times, nothing at all.

One is the sun.
One is the tree.
One is the earth,
And one is me.

Two ears to hear,
Two eyes to see,
Two hands to help
Those all ’round me.

I didn’t like this one, and I think in her lesson book, she wrote “One, two, me and you!” instead.

The world is three-
Beast, plant, and stone.
God is three-
Father, Spirit, Son.

Summer and autumn, winter and spring–
Through four seasons passes the year;
Fire and air, water and earth-
Out of these four does the whole world appear.

Five are the fingers on each hand,
Each foot has five toes.
Five rays has the star shining o’er the land,
Five petals has the rose.

Wherever light would find its home,
In storm or cave or honeycomb,
Six is its chosen number and form.

Seven colors in a row
In a shining rainbow.

Wriggling spiders on eight legs crawl,
Spinning webs on every wall.

Nine is a mystery, hidden away,
A secret to be revealed one day.

Ten fingers have we on our two hands.
Ten toes, as on two feet we stand.
For ten contains within two fives,
Which we’ll remember all our lives.

Some came from Eugene Schwartz’s number poems, which are floating around all over the place but, I believe, came from A Child’s Seasonal Treasury. They’re also here. I also found some other poems here. Some I just made up.

Have a wonderful day!