Waldorf curriculum recognizes that capacities emerge in students in developmental stages, while also allowing room for individual rates of maturation. This is the foundation for the unfolding curriculum and teaching methods employed through the years in the grades. While the young child until age 6 or 7 learns primarily through physical activity, imagination, and imitation, the children in the Lower School learn best when academics are conveyed through artistic and other kinesthetic experiences that engage their feelings. A sense of beauty weaves throughout the day as the child experiences movement, music, drama, storytelling, and painting while engaged actively in learning.
In Middle School, academics continue to be experienced through the arts, but the pictorial thinking of the earlier grades now turns toward more abstract thinking. Teaching methods adapt to this change to meet the developmental stage of the child.
Grades: Main Lesson Teacher
The school day begins with the Class Teacher greeting each child with a handshake and a warm “Good Morning.” Ideally, Class Teachers will carry a class for several years, and they typically stay with a class for part or all of the journey from grade 1 through 8. In the last few years at DWS, the school has piloted looping in grades 1-4 and 5-8. Currently, the Faculty is in the process of reviewing this to determine if it will continue on a long-term basis. Whether a Class Teacher loops or not, the school is committed to providing a quality Waldorf education for each and every class.
Because the Class Teachers come to know their children well, they can work creatively to bring the curriculum in a way that meets the needs of their class, accommodating individual learning styles, as needed, and work in close partnership with parents to ensure the best possible educational experience for each child. The warm sense of community that characterizes the Waldorf class provides a secure environment for learning where each child’s gifts are recognized as a unique and valuable contribution in the world. While the Class Teachers become a stable anchor in the children’s lives throughout the formative years, the children also experience a variety of special subject teachers, through the years.
Grades: Subject Classes
After Main Lesson in the morning, the children have special subject classes. These vary from grade to grade and may include Choir, Strings/Winds, Painting, Clay/Beeswax Modeling, Handwork, Woodwork, Spanish, Form Drawing, Eurythmy, and Games.
Grade 1 Fairy tales, nature stories, poetry. Beginning reading through phonemic awareness, speech exercises, and phonics. Learning the upper case letter sounds and names through artistic experience. The quality of numbers and Roman and Arabic numerals. An introduction to the multiplication tables through skip counting and the four processes of arithmetic (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division). Speech, singing, pentatonic flute.
Grade 2 Legends of saints and sages, animal fables, nature folklore, poetry. Continued development of writing and reading with lower case letters, phonics, simple compositions. Introduction of cursive writing. Continued work on the four processes and multiplication tables. Vertical addition and subtraction regrouping (carrying and borrowing), number patterns. Drama, speech, singing, pentatonic flute.
Grade 3 Old Testament and Hebrew legends, poetry. Reading, spelling, composition writing. Introduction to the parts of speech. Continued work on the four processes and math facts, long multiplication and division. American measurement, time, money. Shelters, cloth, and practical work including farming, cooking, gardening and animal care. Drama, speech, singing in rounds, recorder or diatonic flute.
Grade 4 Norse mythology, Kalevala, poetry, literature. Paragraph writing, composition, verb tenses, punctuation, dictionary use,spelling. Fractions, word problems. Local geography of town and state, map-making. Zoology: the human and the animal, specialization of animals. Drama, speech, singing, recorder or diatonic flute.
Grade 5 Ancient Indian, Egyptian and Greek mythology; biographies from Ancient Greece; literature. Composition, active and passive verbs, syntax, spelling, grammar, spelling. Decimals, fractions, metric system. North American geography. Ancient civilizations of India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece; Greek history. Botany – simple to complex plants, climate zones. Freehand geometric drawing, drama, speech, singing, recorder or diatonic flute.
Grade 6 History from Ancient Rome through the Middle Ages, poetry, ballads, tales of chivalry, biographies, literature. Descriptive and expository compositions, writing poetry, grammar, direct and indirect objects, clauses and phrases, vocabulary. Business math, ratios, geometric drawing with instruments. Physics (acoustics, optics, heat, electricity, magnetism). World geography, geology, astronomy. Drama, speech, singing, recorder or diatonic flutes.
Grade 7 The Renaissance and the Reformation; biographies, Arthurian legends, historical novels, poetry, literature. Creative writing, introduction to the five-paragraph essay, compound and complex sentences, direct and indirect quotes, vocabulary. Pre-algebra, roots, powers, geometry. Physics (mechanics, heat, optics, electricity), inorganic chemistry, human physiology. The age of exploration, world geography. Creative writing. Drama, speech, singing, soprano, alto and tenor recorders.
Grade 8 Shakespeare, short stories, biographies, poetry, US history from the 17th century to the present, early American history. Literature, business and practical writing, research report writing and oral, presentation, five-paragraph essay, vocabulary. Economic geography and global contrasts. Algebra I, Platonic solids, physics, organic chemistry, meteorology, human anatomy. Drama, speech, singing, soprano, alto and tenor recorders.