Entering grade school as a child is like walking though a new door into an unexplored world. They are guided in this world by their class teacher who, in most instances, stays with them through eighth grade. The rhythm of the day now centers on the Main Lesson period taught by the Class Teacher. This is when one subject is taught for the first extended morning period for three to four weeks. During each Main Lesson block the children create their own textbooks, full of illustrations, from elements presented by the Class Teacher. This Main Lesson time is filled with movement, recitation, reading, writing and artistic work and each day is thoughtfully prepared to work harmoniously. The day continues with track classes that are taught by the Class Teacher but also specialist teachers that are designed to broaden a students’ practical, cultural, academic, and social skills.
As a student travels through the grades we see that capacities develop over time and consciousness changes slowly. There is no switch to flick; rather, the child unfolds new abilities and understanding as a plants unfolds shoot, stem, leaf, flower and fruit. The teacher’s task is to support and guide this development, to uncover latent talents in a healthy and balanced way. We believe that the path to an active will, a rich and sensitive feeling life, and an enlivened and flexible thinking lies through our arts-infused education.
In these early grades, a child enters into a world rich in movement, numbers, imagination, language and art. Numbers and letters are discovered through drawing and story. Scientific observation and knowledge is woven into each grade level. The telling and recalling of stories, legends and fables develop memory and imagination. Waldorf schools are well known for their language-rich environment which promotes language usage and comprehension in English as well as Spanish. A deep foundation in math skills is developed and constantly reinforced. Students approach the processes and concepts of mathematics through blocks devoted to math but also through math track classes each week. Motor skills and spatial orientation are developed with the class teacher through rhythmic activities as well as work with the handwork and games teachers. All learning is developed through artistic practice in painting, drawing, modeling, recorder playing, singing, poetry and drama.