Why Chalk?

Posted: August 16, 2020 | Updated: August 16, 2020
Created by: Ms. Sylvia

I fell in love with chalk drawing while teaching at a Waldorf-inspired public charter school.

It was an intimidating setting. I was in the company of incredibly skilled teachers, who had an impressive breadth of knowledge and talents. Waldorf teachers are not only asked to guide students toward their academic growth, but also to shepherd their artistic sensibilities, physical development, emotional growth, social instincts, and more. I knew I could offer them a warm, stimulating, and developmentally appropriate environment. I knew that I could help them develop musically, since that was my background. But visual arts? I had written those off long, long ago. I hadn’t done any sketching, painting, or even doodling since I was a child myself.

Convinced that I was hopeless with visual art, I asked someone else to do my first chalk drawing for the class. In Waldorf education, chalk drawings are an offering the teacher makes for the children. The drawings are gifts. The gift is the beauty of the drawing, yes, but it is also the intention and effort devoted to the drawing. My students were impressed with the visual on the first day of school, but the less-skillful drawings that I created later that year resonated with them even more. Those were drawings that I, their teacher, created for them, my students. When I think back on my time with them, some of my fond memories (though there are countless fond memories to choose from) are of revealing a new drawing and watching their reactions. What I drew sparked their imaginations and became something we could share and build upon together.

Another lesson from the chalk was to let go of what I create. A drawing that doesn’t turn out the way I’d envisioned can always be improved with adjustments, and even the best drawing eventually gets erased to make space for the next. My drawings were a visual gift for the children I taught, but they were a spiritual lesson for me.

I may never be as confident in my drawing as I am in some other skills, but I’ve loved the journey that chalk drawing has sent me on. A skill that I dismissed as beyond my capacity has become one that I enjoy deeply.

I encourage you to search beyond this resource for other chalk drawings. What others have achieved is spectacular! I offer you my drawings as an inspiration to grow with me, to stretch yourself, and-- as the chalk teaches us-- to let go of what we create.