Lower School (1-8)
Each elementary school child begins the school day with an individual greeting and a firm handshake from the Class Teacher.
In a Waldorf school, the class teacher stays with the class for several years – often the full span from first to eighth grade – leading his or her class through each day’s morning lesson. This continuity enables a deep understanding of each student’s strengths and challenges and supports the development of a rich social dynamic in the class. The class teacher is also able to bring continuity to the curriculum as well, unifying the various disciplines over the years. At the same time, working with new subject matter at each level inspires class teachers with enthusiasm as they work each year to make the curriculum fresh and alive for their students.
Inspired most deeply through their feelings, grade school children respond powerfully to what is beautiful in the world—and this feeling for beauty is cultivated by the tools and approaches used in the Morning Lesson work. Students begin the day with music and verse and then move into a two-hour morning lesson. Each morning lesson block is an immersion in a particular academic subject from English, history or geography to mathematics, botany or astronomy. The block, lasting three to four weeks, is shaped and enlivened by the teacher through the arts of music, poetry, painting, drawing, movement and drama. This allows the whole child to become absorbed in the subject matter with head, heart and hands.
As a vital part of learning, the children create their own Morning Lesson Books; observations, compositions, diagrams and drawings are recorded illustrating their studies. These colorful, very individualized books reflect the progress of each student and are not only a record of what has been studied, but a method of inquiry, increasing the students’ capacities for creativity and for knowledge. They are a unique and vital part of Waldorf education.
After the morning lesson, Specialty Teachers provide instruction in subject areas such as foreign languages (Spanish and German), handwork, music, woodwork, physical education and eurythmy- a movement class. Such an integrated and extensive course of study provides the children with a comprehensive foundation for a love of learning, academic excellence and creative exploration.