The Waldorf Grade School offers a classical education for children in grades one through eight that is greatly enriched with the arts. Waldorf education is a carefully structured system, nurturing creativity within the context of intellectual competence and disciplined exploration. Waldorf teachers craft their lessons to work with every learning style, thus enabling every student to shine. Our flexible program meets the needs of individual students as they meld into cooperative class groups, advancing together through expanding realms of information and accomplishment.
Our liberal arts curriculum begins with a multicultural literary base, which takes the children through the full sweep of human cultural heritage, as well as the social sciences and geography. The stories and history presented in the curriculum closely parallel the development of human consciousness through the ages, beginning in first grade with the classic fairy tales that symbolize the archetypes of pre-literate, oral cultures, moving through myths and sagas of ancient societies to the stuff of history. Because Waldorf pedagogy recognizes that grade school students engage most deeply when immersed in richly detailed story, teachers select both primary sources as well as selections from classic literature as their texts. Literature spans every continent and culture and includes the stories of legendary exemplars of humanity; the ancient Hebrew people; Norse, Egyptian and Greek myths; Alexander the Great; Joan of Arc; the Renaissance masters; and world revolutions. Students are immersed in these cultures and thus gain great appreciation for multicultural diversity around the world.
In the early grades, arithmetic is taught through a dynamic process engaging the child’s imagination and intuition combined with kinesthetic activities and games utilizing rhythmic patterns to explore the four processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The children are introduced to freehand geometry through form drawing. Geometric awareness utilizing visual-spatial intelligence is developed in the art of Eurythmy. In the upper grades the children work with weights and measures, fractions and decimals, and later algebra and geometric constructions. Sixth grade marks a significant transition to mathematics as students move away from the mechanics of manipulating numbers to gaining insights into what is solvable. While work continues with fractions and decimals, students are introduced to business math, geometry with a compass and straight edge, and exploration of the golden ratio (pi).
The Natural Sciences
Science begins with nature study, including observation and field experience in the early grades. First, second and third graders develop an intuitive and reverential respect for the earth as they spend time outside throughout the seasons playing, gardening, composting, and simply being in nature. Classes then move to more challenging subjects such as geology, zoology, botany, chemistry, physics, astronomy, ecological literacy, and physiology in grades four through eight. In the upper grades the sciences are taught experientially – that is, the teacher sets up an experiment, calls upon the children to observe carefully, ponder, discuss, and then allows them to discover the underlying conclusion, law, or formula. Through this process, independent critical thinking, sound disciplined judgment, and a respect for the natural world results.