Developing self-esteem

Handwork

Handwork is critical to the intellectual and emotional development of the child. In the first grade the children learn knitting, and in the course of their schooling will learn to crochet, sew by hand, knit with five needles, cross-stitch, do wood carving, and make clothing using a sewing machine.
Students learn to make things they love and to work skillfully, always increasing their artistry. Handwork should be relaxing and fun, and at the same time productive.

Working to transform the materials of the earth fosters inner growth and a sense of well-being in the children. These lessons support and complement other subjects in the school, helping to bring balance and wholeness to the education.

Purposeful activity

Games

Grades 2-8 participate in a twice-weekly class emphasizing fitness, cooperative games and activities that develop coordination, social skills, and physical abilities.

In The Study of Man, Rudolf Steiner said, when we use our limbs, whether it be for useful or useless work we are “always splashing about in the spirit and (we) are connected with the spirit.” The spirit he refers to here is the external cosmic spirit, not our individual inner spirit-soul. He goes on to differentiate between senseless and purposeful activity. When activity is purposeful it connects us with the spirit in a deeper way, a way that allows for a healthy balance between sleep and wakefulness to develop. “We can guide a child’s external movements towards purposeful movements… so that the child does not splash around in the spirit, but follows the spirit as a goal” (1919, Steiner).

Foreign language acquisition

Spanish

Grades 1-4 have twice-weekly Spanish classes and grade 5 has it once a week.

The Waldorf foreign language approach is a carefully designed access to foreign language instruction and acquisition. The Waldorf approach is based on the idea that the primary purpose of foreign language acquisition is to develop the ability to communicate. Foreign language study also raises one’s social conscience and cultivates an interest in and respect for others. In fact, the Waldorf School sees foreign language study as a window into the soul of another culture. Because the manner in which we think is expressed through the languages that we speak, we nurture a cultural understanding of other peoples through acquiring their languages.

A useful final product

Woodworking

Woodworking students in grades 6-8 use traditional hand woodworking tools to start with a tree transform it into a useful final product.

Their first product is a simple three legged stool. The students start by using a two man crosscut saw to cut a round of wood from a tree. They then split the wood, and use hatchets and draw knives to shape it. They then use foot powered lathes to turn each leg, and then finally assemble their project into their stool.

Environmental science & woodworking

Mystery Class

The 3rd and 5th grade “mystery” curriculum includes both environmental science and beginning woodworking activities. Woodworking skills begins with whittling using carving knives. After they have been trained on how to safely use the knives their first assignment is to carve a wooden egg. In the second half of the year they begin carving a wooden bowl using mallets and chisels.

The 3rd grade’s first project is to construct a simple toolbox from a fence board. The students learn to measure, cut safely and accurately, hammer and drill as they built their boxes. In the spring they use their woodworking skills to construct drop spindles that are used in their handwork class to spin wool into yarn.

Awakening and nurturing

Music

Music is an important element of the Waldorf curriculum. According to Rudolf Steiner, the human being is a musical being, and the making of music is essential in experiencing what it is to be fully human. Music in the Waldorf curriculum awakens and nurtures the deep inner life of the child.

All students enjoy music as part of their daily life at school. Singing and playing both wind and string instruments are established aspects of our music program. First grade students learn to play a Pentatonic recorder and the recorder is played throughout the grades. The class teacher as well as the school’s music teacher work with students in group singing.

In 4th grade, students are taught to play the violin by a trained music teacher. in 5th grade they can choose viola, violin, bass, or cello. In grades 6-8, they can elect into orchestra or choir and after school they can elect to participate in band and/or advanced orchestra.

The creativity within

Art Elective

Through our Fine Arts Elective program, the middle school students are asked to observe, connect, reflect, and awaken the creativity within themselves. They will explore new medium, acquire skills and knowledge to share who they are through their art. Some of the mediums we will be using include graphite, marker, charcoal, ink, dry/oil pastel, wires, clay, block print, soap carving, beading, cut out art, watercolor, acrylic, colored papers, mosaic.

Artistic endeavors sharpen two very important human skills: the ability to shape, or see, and the ability to perceive, or distinguish. When practiced over time using diverse techniques across a variety of subjects, something very special emerges: the ability to shape and perceive new ways of looking at the world.

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