Head, Hands, and Heart
Waldorf educators have always recognized a child learns best when their whole being – body, emotions and intellect – is actively involved in the learning process. In the grades, each day begins with a two hour main lesson period, an in-depth exploration of a core academic subject designed to engage the full range of the child’s capacities. Main lesson typically includes some movement, speech and/or drama activity, and often an opportunity to interact and work with peers before transitioning into focused work time. In Waldorf education, the curriculum is delivered in “block” form, where a subject, such as fractions, Roman history, or cultural geography, is explored for three to four weeks at time each morning during main lesson.
During work time, the teacher guides their students through a rhythm of “review, do, new.” This includes deeply reviewing and recalling previously discussed material, illustrating and solidifying their understanding during work time, and learning new material to further their knowledge of the subject at hand. Teaching methods evolve to meet the developmental stage of the class, and academic rigor and expectations continuously grow, especially as children enter the middle grades. No matter the grade, the imaginative, multi-sensory approach of Waldorf education enlivens learning for the children, and allows them to become active and enthusiastic participants in their own educational journey.
The Class Teacher
The Class Teacher is an integral figure in a child’s educational journey at a Waldorf School, and works directly with parents, subject teachers, and peers to build a well-rounded, supportive and academically rich experience. Ideally, Class Teachers carry a class for several years, and typically stay with a class for part or all of the journey from grade one through eight. Class Teachers come to know their students well and 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 experience for each child. The warm sense of community that characterizes the Waldorf class provides a secure environment for learning; each child’s gifts are recognized as a unique and valuable contribution to their class, school, and greater community.
After Main Lesson in the morning, the children have special subject classes. These vary from grade to grade, and allow children to work with their hands, engage with music and instruments, and deepen their understanding of mathematics, nature, and movement. Our subject classes include Handwork, Woodwork, Strings and Music, Middle School Mathematics, Gardening, Games and Spanish. Each subject class is taught by an experienced teacher one or more times a week, and each class brings variety and exciting challenges to the students’ school day. Along with subject classes, each grade has a number of “practice periods” during the week, which the class teacher uses to deepen skills, direct a yearly play drama, or do special, grade specific activities. Click here to learn more about our subject classes and their curriculum.