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 the 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.
Grade School Philosophy
"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
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.
The Arts in Waldorf Curriculum
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 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.
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.
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.