“I am confident that the education they have received will make them individuals who can and will take the time to think for themselves and inspire and lead others.”
Middle School Overview
In Waldorf education the Middle School curriculum enhances students reasoning capacities in their developmental transition from active doers and explorers to critical thinkers with acute skills in reasoning, dialogue and synthesizing information from multiple sources to draw reasoned conclusions. In the Middle School, students take an active role in the interpretation and translation of information. Students engage in the scientific process of exploration, logical reasoning in conceptual mathematics, and the study of codified systems of governance. They learn the physical laws of the universe and study the changes and migrations of cultural development in various historical eras. In all these, students engage in the processes of reformulating data, constructing theories, debating complex issues in light of influencing contexts and drawing conclusions based on well founded reasoning.
In the social realm, students’ interpersonal skills and communicative abilities are bolstered by opportunities to engage in projects with practical and “real world” applications. They learn business models to manage operations for the school’s institutional events, they organize fund raisers and take an active involvement in supporting humanitarian advocacy groups. The Middle School class field trips take on more ambitious scope that includes physical challenges (extreme ropes courses, rock climbing, caving trips, outdoor wilderness camping and more) and travel that test students and allow them to build confidence in their capabilities as well as create memorable bonding experiences.
In sixth grade, the curriculum focuses on the children’s growing orientation towards the outer world. As new capacities for thinking emerge, the children are led to understand causal relationships at work in the world. The students can be challenged and are capable of high standards in their school work. The sixth grade curriculum serves to ground the students, to inspire them to venture out toward the unknown and to offer an introduction to their quest in life. In mathematics, students learn the exact constructions with compass and straightedge, learning the mathematical properties of shapes as well as simple formulas. Physics is introduced through art and music. Roman law, black and white drawing, gymnastic exercises designed to model how one overcomes obstacles, skills to “compare and contrast” and astronomy are also introduced into the curriculum at this time.
Sixth Grade Curriculum:
- Public speaking;
- Roman and early Medieval history;
- European geography;
- Physics (optics, heat and acoustics);
- Constructive geometry;
- Mathematical word problems;
Seventh graders navigate two worlds: they inhabit an introspective side as well as an active, outer, exploring perspective. At this age they have a growing need for independence and solitude; they feel enhanced emotional sensitivity and experience a strong need for social connection. Their adolescence is marked by many physical, emotional and cognitive changes including energetic outbursts, and a motivating desire for exploration alternating with periods of emotional listlessness or increased self absorption.
The seventh grade block curriculum studies the Renaissance, the Age of Exploration, the Scientific Revolution and the Reformation in order to activate the students’ developing engagement with and questioning in the world. The students study the innovative thinkers of these eras whose thirst for knowledge was coupled with a fearless need to question and defy authority. The class teacher guides the students in projects that enable them to take an active role in the outer world. They respect and nurture the student’s inner emotional lives while simultaneously challenging their cognitive and creative skills.
Seventh Grade Curriculum:
- Creative writing;
- Renaissance culture, the Reformation, the age of exploration;
- South American geography;
- Physics (heat and mechanics);
- Inorganic chemistry;
- Nutrition and physiology;
A Waldorf eighth grade experiences a gradual but significant shift from the presentation of a subject solely from the teacher to the class, to the mutual consideration of a subject by teacher and class together. A sense of community develops in which speaking becomes more thoughtful and listening more attentive. With the awakening capacity for logical thinking and free, independent judgment, the eighth grader now wants to be in the world more than ever before. They want to do, to discover, to know, and to find relevance in their studies by finding connections with the outside world.
Throughout this year, the students continue to expand their sense of place in the world. They plunge into the Age of Revolution, and embark on a study of noteworthy individuals who have found the courage to follow their passions in revolt against the status quo. In addition to their continued inquiry into scientific phenomena and experimentation, students study the lives and struggles of scientists and inventors who first discovered chemical and electrical laws. These studies ground students in the human aspect of scientific thought, while providing a picture of the profound effects of modern technology upon society and culture.
Eighth Grade Curriculum:
- Practical writing;
- History from the Age of Revolution to the present;
- World geography (Africa, Asia and Australia);
- Physics (electricity and magnetism);
- Organic chemistry;
- Solid geometry;
- Meteorology and climatology.
The eighth grade year marks the students’ final year with their Class Teacher, and culminates in the completion of their Waldorf grade school experience. Given the huge step these students are about to take in the world, the curriculum is designed to inspire passion and highlight the incredible potential of the human mind and soul. It is our hope that our students will graduate with compelling questions that will continue to fuel their love of learning for years to come.