Our Elementary School program seeks to uncover the academic, artistic, physical, and social gifts of each child. At the heart of Waldorf education is the belief that education is an artistic process, and through showing the children to approach their work with care and beauty, children learn to love learning for its own sake.
Central to the Waldorf Elementary School experience is the class teacher. In Grades 1-5, one teacher instructs the children in their primary subjects: reading and writing, mathematics, history, painting and drawing, and recess. The same teacher often follows the class from year to year, creating an intense, personal bond in which the teacher observes and shapes curricula around the strengths and weaknesses of the group growing before them.
During Main Lesson, a one-to-two-hour block at the start of each day, the class teacher instructs the class through song, poetry recitation, arithmetic or grammar exercises, and orates a story or a segment of history. For 4-6 weeks, the students focus deeply on one subject, such as geography, botany, Hindu mythology, or the history of the Roman Empire, and handwrite and illustrate Main Lesson books to account their weeks of learning.
Year-long subject courses round out the rest of the day: World Languages, Handwork, Vocal and Instrumental Music, Eurythmy, Woodwork, Library, and Physical Education are taught by expert teachers who also shape their courses around the children’s developmental needs as they evolve through the grades. In Grades 6-8, specialized Language Arts and Mathematics teachers bring further expertise to these subjects, and in Grades 7 and 8, teachers from the Upper School program bring Information Sciences, Chemistry, and Physics lessons to the classroom. Technology is introduced as a tool to be used sparingly and with purpose in Middle School.
From first through eighth grade, week-long class trips, assemblies, holiday celebrations, recitals, and yearly class plays bring a lively sense of fun and community to the students. Life-long bonds are made and students have the sense that they have, in each year, learned in a manner that neither hurries nor stays their developmental growth. By eighth grade, our students are inquisitive, capable, opinionated, and open to the world.