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.
Daily and weekly rhythms are pervasive throughout the Waldorf curriculum. Main lesson work begins inside the classroom at 8:10 a.m. It includes movement, art, music, as well as academic work. Students break for snack and recess after main lesson and finish out their school day with specialty subjects. The specialty program varies from year to year and can include nature study, Spanish, handwork, games and sports, woodworking, choir, art, language arts, math, orchestra, form drawing, newspaper, and yearbook.
First grade at the CWS launches an eight year journey. Leaving Kindergarten, children add thoughtful work to imaginary play. For many, the loss of baby teeth signals the body’s preparation for more tasks. Friendships begin and broaden. New group skills invite wholeness, each child playing his/her role. The teacher, familiar with each child even before…
With zest for learning, Second graders awake in their relationship to their world. Strength in their bodies makes space for feeling capacities. They interact socially with greater sensitivity, acutely sensing joy and wonder, sadness and remorse. Often in stark opposites, they show immense concern, then very little at all. In fairy tales, they are ready…
The Third grade is a turning point as the children move through a stage of childhood that Waldorf teachers refer to as the nine-year-change. The child begins to grow apart from the world, discovering her own identity. Questions arise about attachment to parents, friends, and nature. Insecurity about relationships and impermanence can overwhelm; however, the…
The ten-year-old child greets the world with a fresh face: not a young child and yet not in puberty, they sense the world as far outside of themselves. Feeling alternately separate, curious, resistant, the child craves steadfastness and security. Challenges appear; the fourth grader is not always eager to confront them. They delight in new…
Often referred to as The Golden Year, Fifth grade is one of balance. The students settle into their new sense of self, and a vision of the larger world. Another turning point before puberty begins, the curriculum reinforces past ideals while building on new ones, preparing children to broaden their intellectual scope. With a new…