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The heart of a Waldorf school curriculum is the view of child development articulated and promoted by Rudolf Steiner that is embodied in all Waldorf schools.  For example, the arithmetic curriculum focuses on whole numbers in Grades 1-3 because we see a sense of wholeness as supportive of the young child’s need to understand the world as a cohesive, secure environment.  As the child moves into the Fourth Grade, this understanding changes; now the child becomes aware of many aspects of her own personality and is thus affirmed by the study of fractions—the multiple parts of any whole.
 

 
Even as the details included in a course may vary according to school location or culture, every aspect of the curriculum is intentionally placed to support and affirm students as they move from one developmental phase to another. The elementary curriculum is designed to provide students with a nourishing and intriguing overview of human culture, from its very beginnings and into the Twenty-First Century. The students are expected to present their best efforts in every assignment; and so the teachers are very careful to create assignments worthy of those efforts.

 

In addition to content, the presentation of the curriculum develops capacities that will be explored and fulfilled later in life: capacities for intellectual and artistic pursuits, for working with other people, for inner development. We strive to create in our students a dynamic interest in the world and the ability to translate that interest into meaningful action.

 

 

We can place ourselves correctly in life only when every moment, every day, every week, every year becomes a source of learning for our further development. Regardless of how far we go in our schooling, we will have accomplished the most if, through this schooling, we have learned how to learn from life.


[Rudolf Steiner: The Spirit of the Waldorf School]

 

 

The Waldorf Elementary Curriculum

First Grade

Language Arts:             World Fairytales [literature]
            Alphabet           
            Phonetics & speech exercises
            Poetry, word play, and class play
Science:             Nature studies
Arithmetic:             Whole numbers
            Addition, multiplication, subtraction & division with whole numbers up to 24
            Counting to 144
            Roman numerals
Second Grade
Language Arts:             Fables, stories of saints & heroes [literature]
            Lower case letters
            Simple sentences
            Rhyming words
            Speech exercises, poetry, class play
Science:             Nature studies
Arithmetic:             Operations with whole numbers
            Times tables
            Number patterns
Third Grade
Language Arts:             Stories of the Hebrew Bible, Native American tales [literature]
            Structure of sentence
            Parts of speech: noun, verb, adjective, adverb
            Simple descriptive composition
            Speech work, class play
            Cursive writing
            Spelling [continues through Eighth Grade]
Science:             House building
            Farming [soils, grains]
Arithmetic:             Operations with whole numbers
            Times tables
            Measurement, weight
            Time
            Money
            Place value
Fourth Grade:
Language Arts:             Stories of Local History [literature]
            Norse sagas [literature]
            Alliteration, poetry, class play
            Verb tenses, plurals
            Parts of speech: add prepositions & pronouns
            Abbreviations
            Composition, letter writing
            Book reports [oral & written]
            Written reports related to science projects
Science:             Local & state geography
            Zoology [Human and Animal]
Arithmetic:             Review all operations with whole numbers
            Long division
            Word problems
            Averages
            Common fractions
Fifth Grade:
Language Arts & History:             Stories from Ancient History: India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt
            Greek myths, Greek history through Alexander the Great
            Active & passive verbs
            Subject, predicate
            Synonyms, antonyms, homonyms
            Composition
            Book reports, letter writing
            Spelling, dictionary work
            Oral and written reports related to science projects
Science:             Geography of the United States
            Botany
Arithmetic:             Number theory
            Review of common fractions and mixed numbers
            Decimal fractions
            Reciprocals
            Metrics
            Freehand geometry
Sixth Grade:
Language Arts & History:             Ancient Rome
            The life of Christ, ancient Judaic society
            The life of Mohammed, ancient Islamic society
            The Crusades
            Medieval society:  Cloister, Castle, City
            Age of chivalry, medieval literature & history
            Subjunctive mood
            Diagramming sentences
            Composition: emphasis on exposition
            Outlining
            Business letters
            Spelling, dictionary work
Science:             Physics: sound, heat, light
            Mineralogy
            Geology
            astronomy
            Geography of Europe
            Basic world geography
Arithmetic:             Review of decimal fractions
            Percentage, interest, profit, loss
            Ratio, proportion, exchange
            Estimation
            Equations
            Geometric constructions with straight edge & compass
Seventh Grade:
Language Arts & History:             1400 – 1700: The Age of Exploration
            Renaissance
            Reformation
            Arthurian legend, historical novels, biography, tales of adventure & humor
            Review all grammar
            Development of plasticity of language
            Summaries, essays, research papers
            Poetry forms
Science:

            Chemistry: combustion, the lime cycle; acids, bases, & salts

            [inorganic chemistry]
            Physics: mechanics, magnetism, electricity, sound, heat, light
            Physiology & anatomy
            Tides, maps, weather
            Geography of Africa & Latin America

Arithmetic:             Graphing
            Introduction to Algebra
            Perimeters, areas
            Roots, powers
            Geometry with straight edge & compass
            Geometric theorems & proofs
Eighth Grade:
Language Arts & History:             1700 – present
            English Civil War, Industrial Revolution, French Revolution, American Revolution
            American Civil War
            Immigration and social reform
            Shakespeare
            Review all grammar
            Newspaper reporting
            Class play
            Spelling & dictionary work
Science:             Geography of Asia, Australia, and Antarctica
            Physics: sound, heat, light, electro-magnetism, hydraulics, aerodynamics
            Meteorology
            Chemistry: the chemistry of food, the nitrogen cycle [organic chemistry]
            Physiology & Anatomy
Arithmetic:             Percentage
            Algebra, signed numbers, equations
            Geometry of Platonic Solid

 


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