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Waldorf Education: Nurturing Minds, Hearts, and and Heads

A Guide to the Application Process

Interested families can schedule a tour, attend an Open House event, submit an application, and meet with the teacher. Families who are offered a spot will receive an enrollment packet.

In order to apply for First Grade, your child must be 6 years of age by June 30th. During the interview with the teacher, an assessment is done to determine the appropriate grade level for each student.

“Let us remember: one book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world.” ~ Malala Yousafzai

Waldorf education is noted for its detailed, richly artistic curriculum that recognizes the developmental stage of children in each grade, mirroring the inner transformation of the child from year to year. The students can relate this age-appropriate content to their own experiences, and therefore become interested and engaged in their own education. 

Education is an art. This means the teacher’s duty to his or her students is to provide them with an interesting, meaningful curriculum; integrating basic skills while giving them an understanding of the world around them and their place in it.

Building a Strong Foundation: The Work of Imagination and Artistry

At Mālamalama Waldorf School, we believe that building a strong foundation for our students involves the work of imagination and artistry. We recognize that children learn best when their imaginations are stimulated and their creativity is nurtured. Our curriculum is designed to inspire their imaginations through artistic, hands-on, and pictorial approaches to learning.

We integrate subjects in ways that engage their senses, emotions, and intellect, allowing them to develop a deep understanding of the world around them. Through the work of imagination and artistry, we aim to cultivate a solid foundation that will support our students in their lifelong love for learning and foster their holistic development.

“We are what we believe we are.” — C.S. Lewis

"You will not be good teachers if you focus only on what you do and not upon who you are." ~Rudolf Steiner

Main Points of Grades School: Artistic Learning for Whole Child Development

  • Grades at Malamalama Waldorf School are designed to inspire students through artistic and imaginative ways of learning.

  • Waldorf curriculum recognizes the developmental stage of children in each grade, providing age-appropriate content that students can relate to their own experiences.

  • Main Lesson is a two-hour block of in-depth learning in the morning, lasting for 3-6 weeks, where students engage in artistic and pictorial methods of learning.

  • No textbooks are used, and students create artistic records of their lessons.

  • Academic subjects covered in Main Lesson include language arts, math, social studies, history, and the sciences.

  • Specialty subject lessons taught by expert teachers include foreign language (Japanese), Hawaiian language and culture, music, movement education, handwork, arts and crafts, gardening, woodworking, knitting, sewing, and more.

  • Continuity and stability of the student-teacher relationship are valued, with the same teacher ideally staying with the same class from 1st to 8th grade.

  • Waldorf education at Malamalama Waldorf School aims to develop students' physical, emotional, cognitive, and artistic capacities, fostering well-rounded individuals capable of meeting the challenges of the modern world.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility—these three forces are the very nerve of education.” ~Rudolf Steiner

Academic Excellence Through Imaginative Teaching

Mālamalama Waldorf School’s curriculum is based on the Block System, which sets aside a two-hour block each morning (Main Lesson) for in-depth learning of a subject. This block may last for up to four weeks, after which the class will go on to a new subject. Academic subjects include language arts, math, social studies, history, geography,  and the sciences.

The student's day is rounded out with specialty subject lessons taught by teachers who are experts in their field. These lessons may include foreign language, music, Hawaiian studies,  gardening, visual art, woodworking, knitting, sewing, and movement education.

The class teacher is entrusted with the noble responsibility of imparting a rich and diverse Waldorf curriculum to the children. This curriculum comprises not only fundamental academic skills such as writing, reading, and arithmetic but also a plethora of captivating subjects.

Children are immersed in a world of enchanting fairy tales, inspiring folk tales, fascinating fables, engaging Biblical stories, intriguing stories of saints, awe-inspiring Norse Mythology, riveting Greek and Roman mythology and history, the captivating culture of the Middle Ages, and enlightening religions and culture of the non-Western world, including India, Persia, Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, Japan, and Africa. Furthermore, children explore local, national, and global history, as well as subjects such as zoology, botany, physics, chemistry, business math, and basic algebra.

The curriculum is infused with art, which not only stimulates creative thinking but also inspires self-discipline, and deepens the understanding of the subject matter.

"Waldorf education stresses discipline and rigorous teaching methods. It is not a free and easy education. It may be artistic, but it requires tremendous discipline. And by disciplining the will, through the curriculum in the classroom, children become prepared for life." ~Rene Querido

Grade School Philosophy: Fostering a Love for Learning and Holistic Growth

The second stage of childhood, from the ages of six or seven until around the age of 14, is a time of significant emotional growth, where children's feelings are of paramount importance. As they respond to their experiences, they gradually develop an understanding of the world around them. The earlier years' physical activity is gradually replaced by a growing sense of inner exploration.

In each grade, children are taught a wide range of academic subjects, not only intellectually but also experientially and artistically. Waldorf-trained teachers guide each child's journey of learning and self-discovery, taking into account their unique abilities and challenges. They nurture the different developmental needs and readiness of each year of childhood and early adolescence, providing a supportive and enriching environment for each child to thrive.


“Where is the book in which the teacher can read about what teaching is? The children themselves are this book. We should not learn to teach out of any book other than the one lying open before us and consisting of the children themselves.” ~ Rudolf Steiner, Rhythms of Learning

The Arts in Waldorf Curriculum: Cultivating Creativity and Expression

The significance of the arts in our curriculum is impressive. Throughout a child's journey through the eight years of elementary education, the Waldorf curriculum includes the full range of arts and handicrafts. Between the ages of seven and fourteen, the child is primarily a being of feeling and sensory activity. While the thinking and intellectual capacities are beginning to develop, they do not dominate until puberty. Therefore, we infuse art in all academic classes in the elementary years, including reading, writing, math, history, geography, botany, zoology, physics, and foreign languages.

The integration of arts into our curriculum is vital as it encourages creative thinking, inspires self-discipline, and deepens the understanding of the subject matter. Children are taught to paint, draw, model with beeswax and clay, knit, crochet, sew, embroider, carve, and work with wood. These activities not only enhance their artistic abilities but also stimulate their cognitive development, supporting their growth as well-rounded individuals.
In Waldorf education, we recognize the importance of nurturing the whole child, and the arts play a crucial role in achieving this goal. By incorporating the arts into all aspects of learning, we foster the child's creativity, imagination, and inner sense of beauty, while also building practical skills and knowledge that will serve them well throughout their lives.


“In the universe we have not to do with repetitions, each time that a cycle is passed, something new is added to the world's evolution and to at its human stage of development” ~ Rudolf Steiner

Harmonizing Minds and Hearts: Music in Grades School

As a Waldorf school, we recognize the importance of providing children with experiences, challenges, and content that are appropriate to their age and stage of development. In music education, this means beginning with an early, varied experience of tone and music, and gradually moving towards a more structured study of music notation, theory, and history, culminating in the child finding their own musical path.

In the first and second grades, we introduce children to experiences of tone, rhythm, tempo, and melodic contour, often through folk music from around the world. We believe that music and movement are deeply connected, and so we incorporate simple singing games and dances to develop vital listening skills. Modeling of musical activities, rather than formal instruction, is the hallmark of this period.

In the third, fourth, and fifth grades, we typically introduce the soprano recorder, providing formal instruction in music notation specific to this instrument and encouraging ensemble playing. This is also the time when we introduce the strings program, which may include learning to play the violin or, in our case, the ukulele.

In the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, we continue with the alto recorder and introduce more abstract and analytical aspects of music theory and harmony. Students of these grades are ready for the rigor and complexity of their musical life. Careful analysis of musical forms, technical mastery in individual and ensemble playing, and more formal rehearsals are now appropriate. The study of music history through biographies of musicians and composers is especially meaningful at this time.

Overall, music is an integral part of the Waldorf curriculum, supporting the child's development in many ways. It fosters creativity, imagination, and an inner sense of beauty, while also building practical skills and knowledge that will serve them well throughout their lives. By providing a well-rounded music education that is appropriate to the child's age and stage of development, we hope to inspire a lifelong love of music in each and every child.
Waldorf curriculum seeks to provide the child with experience, challenges, and content that are appropriate to the child’s age and stage of development.  Through the grades, from an early, varied experience of tone and music, the child moves to the structured study of music notation, theory, and history, to learning to play a musical instrument and then to find his or her own musical path.  

“Dream big, work hard, stay humble.” — Brad Meltzer

“The teacher, as we know, can confer upon the pupil no powers which are not already latent within him, and his sole function is to assist in the awakening of slumbering faculties. But what he imparts out of his own experience is a pillar of strength for the one wishing to penetrate through darkness to light.” ~ Rudolf Steiner

Igniting Creativity: Drama and the Art of Storytelling in Grades School

Drama is not just a form of entertainment, but a vital element that cultivates the whole being of your child. At Waldorf schools, drama is not limited to a few students in special interest clubs, but it is a significant part of the curriculum for the whole class, every year.

Through drama, your child will have the opportunity to integrate their thinking, feeling, and willingness, which is one of the essential goals of Waldorf education. Few other activities address the various aspects of your child's character so globally and engagingly. The creative process of working on a play together also contributes to the social dynamics of the class, strengthening the bond among the students and enhancing their teamwork skills.

At Waldorf schools, the dramatic subject mirrors the developmental stage of the class and often comes from the curriculum that is being taught that year. Through this, your child will have the opportunity to explore and express themselves creatively while learning about the world around them.

In a Waldorf school play, every child moves and speaks, no matter how small the part. Each performance works to bring your child toward full awareness of who they are and to give them awareness and control that will eventually allow them to take charge of their own destiny in life. Their destiny is as particular and unpredictable as the destinies of the heroes and heroines, the gods and goddesses of the ongoing human drama.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas Edison

“You cannot make people learn. You can only provide the right conditions for learning to happen.” ~ Vince Gowmon

Join Our Community: What We Look for in Grades Applicants

We seek families who share our vision and are committed to being active participants in their child's education. We believe that a strong partnership between the school and families is essential in creating a nurturing and supportive learning community where children can thrive. 

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