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.