Grade School Overview
Waldorf education is unique in the way that children are taught. The teachers bring learning alive to cultivate students’ curiosity and to engage them both intellectually and emotionally. In this way, students form a genuine inner enthusiasm for learning. A broad variety of subjects are included in the curriculum, including:
- Languages Arts
- Foreign Language (Spanish)
- Instrumental Music (flute, recorder and strings)
- Handwork (knitting, sewing, etc.)
- Watercolor Painting
- Games & Movement (physical education)
The Waldorf math curriculum includes basic arithmetic, fractions, decimals, percents, graphing, ratios, business math, geometry, pre-algebra and algebra. In the early grades, children first encounter the world of numbers through stories, musical rhythms, artistic activities, and math worksheets, before gaining skills in abstract reasoning in the upper grades.
Waldorf students attain a strong number sense which enables them to understand, relate, and connect numbers. Students with a strong number sense think fluently about numbers and have confidence to be flexible and creative in their approach to solving problems.
Zoology, botany, mineralogy, astronomy, chemistry, environmental studies, anatomy, physiology, nutrition and basic physics are all covered in the grade school science curriculum. Students are immersed in the scientific method of observation, measurement, experimentation, and testing and modifying hypotheses. In the early grades, students begin their science exploration with nature stories and experiencing outdoors which fosters a sense of wonder and curiosity.
42% of Waldorf high school graduates go on to major in science and math. Our science program helps students develop logical reasoning and analytical thinking by providing the opportunity to experience scientific phenomena in meaningful ways through the arts and experiments, and hands-on activities.
Our humanities curriculum draws on rich and diverse cultural sources, with a progression from fairy tales, fables and legends and Old Testament stories in the early grades to study of Norse mythology and the ancient cultures of India, Persia, Egypt and Greece. By the end of 8th grade, students have journeyed through Roman and Medieval history, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the age of Exploration, the Industrial Revolution and up to the present.
Our humanities curriculum expands our students’ knowledge of cultures and helps them understand what binds us together and what differentiates us from one another. The most fundamental and essential advantages of our humanities education enable students to increase proficiency and skills in reading, writing, and critical thinking.
Our foreign language program begins in first grade and provides a window through which the students experience the world. Spanish is taught through songs, games, speaking, and writing.
Students develop an understanding and appreciation for other cultures, as well as build language, listening, and memory skills.
Music infuses the daily life of our school and is emphasized for its power to create and nourish a sense of community. Students have the opportunity to experience music in many ways including singing, learning the flute, recorder, and a stringed instrument (violin, viola or cello), as well as performing during assemblies and concerts. We begin with the building blocks of music appreciation by taking advantage of the natural physicality of young children as they experience tone, beat, and rhythm with their bodies.
We believe that music instruction is a direct contributor to academic success. Music activates both the left and right brain at the same time which increases memory, language skills, executive functioning, and social-emotional capacities.
Artistic activity is an integral part of the Waldorf curriculum, and every artistic assignment has an academic and developmental component. For example, knitting is a fun method to engage children in math skills while developing concentration and memory skills. Every student learns to knit, crochet, cross stitch, embroider and sew (by hand and machine). Students have many opportunities for creative expression through watercolor painting, drawing, modeling with clay and working with wood.
Our visual arts program supports students’ brain development while teaching patience, perseverance, and emotional awareness and regulation. Students expand their creative capacities, develop better hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills.
Spatial awareness, strength and coordination, healthy social interaction, and a joy in movement are the goals of classes in movement and spatial dynamics. These activities focus on teamwork rather than competition.
Students gain enhanced mind-body connection, social sensitivity, and a heightened awareness of each other’s place in the group. Our program lays the foundation for improved life-long health and well-being.