Grades 1 through 8
Waldorf Education offers a developmentally appropriate, balanced approach to education that integrates the arts and academics. It encourages the development of each child’s sense of truth, beauty, and goodness. The aim of the education is to inspire in all students a lifelong love of learning and to enable them to fully develop their unique capacities. The student’s specific developmental needs are addressed in a structured, socially cooperative and non-competitive environment. In addition to comprehensive language arts, math, science, and social studies, each student attends continuing classes in French, vocal and instrumental music, speech and drama, movement education, painting, drawing, modeling, and handwork.
Waldorf teachers bring a creative approach to the curriculum that educates the whole child—the heart and hands, as well as the head. Our day begins with a two-hour period called the main lesson, devoted to the study of a particular academic discipline (such as math, writing, literature, science, geography, history and drama), taught in blocks lasting from three to four weeks. The intent of this approach is to focus fully on one theme, which is presented in an interdisciplinary and artistic way, actively connecting the subject with the child’s feelings and maturing intellect. This rotation of subjects allows for a concentrated, in-depth study while recognizing students’ need for variety and time to experience and internalize the subject matter. Main lesson is a lively, interactive time, moving between artistic and intellectual activities that engage each student’s faculties of thinking, feeling, and willing. Their interest and enthusiasm is reflected in their main lesson books – an artistic representation of what has been learned.
After the morning academic work come the artistic, practical, and movement classes, as well as continuing skills work in language arts and mathematics.
The Waldorf class teacher stands at the center of the grade school years. Ideally he or she accompanies the same class of children from first grade through eighth, teaching core academic subjects – thus, providing an extraordinary continuity in curriculum and a deep understanding of and appreciation for each child.
At the same time, parents and teachers develop a similar relationship that supports the student’s learning process. Class teachers hold class meetings during the school year for the parents of children in their class. These meetings are an integral part of school life. They are an important bridge between home and school and offer parents an opportunity to become familiar with the activities of the class and its relevance to the children’s stage of development.
Student Evaluation and Reporting
We do not follow a traditional grading system for student evaluation and students are not required to take standardized tests. Rather, students are evaluated through comprehensive written reports sent to parents twice a year. These reports include a characterization of the child and his/her work, attitude, effort and accomplishments in relation to each subject. Formal parent/teacher conferences are held twice per year in October and February.
Homework is not given before the third grade, and is then introduced gradually. Establishing a homework rhythm can give parents an opportunity to connect with their child’s schoolwork and is a good way to develop strong study habits.