Waldorf education has many particular supplies associated with it, much like Montessori has its own distinctive educational materials. Some things are readily handmade, or easily available from other crafty folks who sell online — things like playsilks, dolls, etc.
Some items, such as the Stockmar crayons and paints, can be a bit harder to track down in Canada. I found some at ape2zebra.com, but it still didn’t have all the supplies I was looking for. I could find them at US-based online stores, but shipping costs were prohibitive (when they even shipped to Canada at all).
Well, I finally found them. Waldorf.ca, which is run by the Waldorf School Association of Ontario, has a Waldorf Bookstore, but that’s a misnomer. They sell so much more than books. The store is physically located on the campus of the Toronto Waldorf School, but they sell online as well, and ship all across Canada. I suspect it’s the main resource for Waldorf schools across the country. And that’s good news for us homeschoolers as well.
I found all the art supplies I was still needing, as well as a few I already had but at a better price (good to know for when they need replacing!)… They have modelling beeswax, which so far I’d been unable to find anywhere else in Canada. Beeswax candles in various sizes. Painting boards! Silk, fairy wool, quality chalkboard chalk, wooden flutes (both pentatonic and diatonic), and main lesson books! Main lesson books in all shapes and sizes and types.
Up until now we’ve been using regular art sketch books, which I often see suggested for homeschooling main lesson books. But they aren’t without problems. The paper is too thin, so we can’t draw on both sides of the page. Or to get it thick enough, it’s waaaay too expensive. Or it’s only available with a top-opening, not a side. Plus, they’re generally 100 pages, which is awfully big for a main lesson book. We’ve been using one sketch book for all his subjects, all mixed together. And you know what? For many subjects, I think that’s fine — everything is learning, everything is related, after all.
But for some subjects, the idea of having a separate book to help him really connect the ideas within a certain area, has a nice ring to it. But it would have to be shorter.
Well, that’s the main lesson books, the “official” ones. You can get them with or without onion skin — thin paper between the pages to keep drawings on adjacent pages from smudging, side-open or top-open, small through extra-large sizes, staple binding or spiral bound… there are also lined books, journal books, composition books… Oh, and did I mention the price?
The art sketch book we’ve been using, which has too many pages, and can only draw on one side, was about $20. A large size main lesson book with spiral binding is $6. Page for page, it’s still cheaper.
The store also sells health products (mostly Weleda brand), games, videos, and — of course — books!
All the Waldorf books (eg, on form drawing, painting, etc), which I’ve been looking for on Amazon and from US-based shops (such as Christopherus), including some I had not been able to find yet anywhere — there they are, right here. In Canada. Affordably priced.
They have tons of Steiner’s own writings — which I myself am less interested in, but most other Waldorf-inclined folks would drool over. Books for children (with the gentle, nature-based Waldorf spin). Waldorf craft books. Books on “Destiny, Karma, and Reincarnation”, if you’re into that side of things. Books of rhymes and verses and songs. Curriculum guide books.
In fact, it’s almost too much! I almost don’t know where to start! But at least I know where to get my supplies once I know what I want.
So far, I’ve ordered painting supplies and main lesson books, and they arrived today. Customer service was great (I had a glitch with my credit card payment — my fault, nothing to do with them — and they were wonderful dealing with it). Shipping was super-quick (they were low stock on one item and gave me the option of shipping right away but incomplete, or waiting a few weeks for the complete order) and shipping costs were reasonable. Everything I received was precisely as advertised. We spent a lovely afternoon wet-on-wet watercolour painting with my daughter, the first time we’ve used the Stockmar paints!
I’d be remiss not to mention the downside of the site — many items don’t have pictures, or full item descriptions. “Details coming soon” is something you see quite a lot. I get the idea that this is a fairly small operation, without a staff of hundreds maintaining the website. Perhaps their online selling is still relatively new and they’re adding details and photos as they get the chance.
But this is a very minor inconvenience when compared with the many, many wonderful things about this site. Their variety is just astonishing, the completeness of their stock is almost overwhelming. And of course, no cross-border fees. One-stop Waldorf shopping in Canada!