Welcome to Lower School. With the physical growth of early childhood complete, children are ready for formal learning in the classroom. The interdisciplinary and experiential nature of the early grades inspire a love of learning.
I am ready to learn!
An exciting transition for child and family alike, your first grader is eager to begin “school.” Our curriculum thoughtfully guides children into academics and helps them learn how to learn. The first grade curriculum emphasizes the archetypes that underlie all human experience and lays a strong foundation for the future. With the guidance of the first grade teacher, the class forms itself in a harmonious and cohesive whole.
While teachers tailor the Waldorf curriculum to the needs of each class, your First Grader will typically learn:
History/Literature: Grimm’s fairy tales and folk tales from around the world.
English/Grammar: Phonics-based approach to writing and reading, supported by stories, movement, and imagination. Speech exercises begin.
Spanish: Taught by ear through songs, games, poems, and plays.
Geography: Knowledge of campus and surrounding trails.
Science: Nature studies based on stories, experience, and observation.
Mathematics: Whole numbers and the four processes (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division). Counting in 2s, 3s, 5s, and 10s. Roman numerals.
Drawing: Lines and curves, letters, and story illustrations with block crayons.
Painting: Basic applied color theory with watercolors and the three primary colors.
Handwork: Knitting using two needles, natural materials, and simple patterns.
Gardening: Connection to nature and the four elements through imaginative story, song, play and craft; working together as a whole class.
Woodworking: Fairy houses with natural materials.
Modeling: Beeswax modeling of scenes from the curriculum. Basic clay modeling techniques.
Music: Seasonal songs and games, exploration of tone and rhythm, rhythmic games, pentatonic-based music, Kodaly hand signs, Bordoun lyres, and pentatonic flute.
Eurythmy: The pentatonic scale, clapping simple meters, letterforms and rhythms, dramatized fairy tales, tone eurythmy, social exercises.
Games/Movement: Circle games, folk dances, singing games, jumping rope, obstacle courses.
I am awakening.
The children now know how to be part of a class and work together. They are eager and ready for new challenges. They move away from the “one-ness” of first grade and their behavior becomes more emphatic and extreme. This experience of polar opposites is the hallmark of second grade. The teacher’s responsibility is to bring balance to these extremes. The material for the year meets this need precisely with stories that affirm the struggle of overcoming one’s baser instincts and rising to the good, the beautiful, and the true in life.
While teachers tailor the Waldorf curriculum to the needs of each class, your Second Grader will typically learn:
History/Literature: Aesop’s fables and from other cultures, Native American stories, legends of saints and other “holy” people, The King of Ireland’s Son.
English/Grammar: Children are immersed in reading, writing and spelling. They create their own handwritten “readers” and read along with peers from classic readers.
Spanish: Building vocabulary through counting, colors, animals, body geography, food, family, classroom vocabulary, seasons, days and months of year.
Geography: Learning about the environment through observation and experience while hiking local trails.
Science: Nature studies based on stories, experience and observation.
Mathematics: Whole numbers, odd and even, four processes continued with focus on times tables, number patterns, column adding, carrying and borrowing, and introduction to time.
Drawing: Symmetry: mirror drawing, use of block and stick crayons, introduction of running forms.
Painting: Introduction of three secondary colors, and nature forms.
Handwork: Continuation of knitting, introduction of purling, casting on/off, and color work. Creation of a flute case and gnome doll.
Gardening: Connection to nature and the four elements through imaginative story, song, play and craft; inquiry into the role of healthy soil via “Worm Ranch”; introduction of small groups for garden work.
Woodworking: Sanding, sawing and whittling.
Modeling: Beeswax modeling of scenes from the curriculum. Introduction to clay work.
Music: Seasonal songs and games, exploration of tone and rhythm, rhythmic games, pentatonic-based music, and pentatonic flute.
Eurythmy: Rhythms, the consonants in movement, social exercises, tone eurythmy.
Games/Movement: Jump rope hopscotch, rhythmic games, roundelays, circle games, line games, imaginative games, folk dances.
Who am I?
As children turn nine, a “fall” from Paradise to Earth occurs, metaphorically, as they struggle with a new awareness of their separateness, often called “the 9-year change.” They grapple with human existence on earth. The Old Testament reflects and eases this transition with stories of miracles, sacrifice, loyalty, disobedience, joy, sorrow, jealousy, and love. This separateness signals the development of antipathy, which is the first step toward analytical thinking. Making critical comments eventually evolves into making discriminating choices. A new understanding of natural consequences comes into play. With this more earthly awareness, the children need to learn not only to survive, but to thrive. And so we meet them with the practical skills of gardening, cooking, and building.
While teachers tailor the Waldorf curriculum to the needs of each class, your Third Grader will typically learn:
History: The Torah and stories of antiquity.
Literature: Age-appropriate class readers, Laura Ingalls Wilder.
English/Grammar: Grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, dictation. Plays and speech work. Simple descriptions, sentences, and paragraphs. Simple report writing, spelling rules, and familiar words.
Spanish: Introduction to the written words, including spelling rules. Songs movement and vocabulary building continue.
Geography: House building, farming and basic fiber and textile creation related to particular geography.
Science: Traditional shelters from many cultures. Gardening and animal husbandry.
Mathematics: Whole numbers, tie tables, number patterns, measurement, carrying and borrowing, multi-digit multiplication, time and money.
Drawing: Form drawing using stick crayons. Introduction of colored pencils.
Painting: Advanced forms and technical details introduced.
Handwork: Crocheting: making a hat and practical articles for the home.
Gardening: The cycle of food as nourishment- soil building through composting, seeding, planting, care, harvest and processing of grains such as wheat, corn and millet; natural dye plants experimentation and weaving project; bouquet arrangement.
Woodworking: Stories about trees and forests. House- and structure-building. Building a model house from a traditional culture.
Modeling: Beeswax modeling of scenes from the curriculum.
Music: Sing and play diatonic rounds and seasonal songs, sea shanties and work songs. Introduce diatonic flute, beginning music theory, introduce major and minor scales.
Eurythmy: Movement for major and minor scales, harmonies, and other musical principles. Conscious gestures for sounds of speech. Gestures for C Major scale.
Games/Movement: Ring games, line games, work games and songs, ball-tossing, tumbling limb exercises, balance boards, folk dances.
I want to stand on my own two feet.
After the 9-year-change, each child experiences the more complex and varied circumstances that make up the “real world.” The child turns more earnestly toward becoming a student. The goal of fourth grade is to channel the powerful energy the ten-year-old brings by challenging and stretching them in every possible aspect of work. Projects are designed to build up stamina. Because their imagination can fade as their intellect takes over, children are encouraged to develop and express their feelings and imagination so they can arrive at a trust and belief in the moral order of the world they now see more clearly around them. The teacher helps guide and develop the power of observation with moral and reverent thoughts and deeds.
While teachers tailor the Waldorf curriculum to the needs of each class, your Fourth Grader will typically learn:
History: Local and native people’s history through geography. State history study.
Literature: Norse sagas, Native-American stories, poetry, alliteration.
English/Grammar: Grammatical rules, including parts of speech and tenses. Plays and speech work. Compositions with emphasis on story and content, letter writing, book reports, spelling rules and vocabulary lists.
Spanish: Explicit grammar instruction begins. Written work, first dictations. Simple readings, transition from choral speaking to individual expression.
Geography: Map making: including classroom, bedroom route to school, city, and state. Study of local and California geography in conjunction with local history.
Science: Zoology Descriptive study of animals and their relationship to human beings. Head, trunk and limb animals explained. Threefold nature of humankind.
Mathematics: Review arithmetic processes, timetables, word problems. Introduce averages, long division, fractions, multi-digit multiplication.
Drawing: Form drawing: Interlocking (Nordic) forms, Celtic knots, and dynamic drawing. Introduce fountain pens.
Painting: Work on control and detail. More room for individual interpretation within the work.
Handwork: Cross stitch, embroidery, and hand-sewing introduced. Students create a self-designed handwork project bag.
Gardening: Project based studies of our landscape and the native Ohlone who tended this land before us- acorn processing, basket weaving; care for the land through gardening, birdhouse building, honeybee tending.
Woodworking: Forest walks and tree identification throughout the seasons of the year.
Modeling: Clay modeling through the themes of the curriculum.
Music: Introduce string orchestra. Children take up violin, viola, cello or bass. Continue music reading, major and minor scales, play in 2-4 parts.
Eurythmy: Choreography based on grammatical forms, alliterative poetry, concentration exercises, physical gestures for the alphabet.
Games/Movement: Running, jumping, & throwing games. Folk dances, relay games, ball work, group challenges, cooperative games, circus arts.
I sense myself in relation to others.
This is the pivotal point between childhood and puberty. Fifth grade is a year of harmonious balance as well as the doorway to more systematic thinking and scientific observation. The curriculum reflects this change in the transition from myth to history, the study of Egyptian pyramids and the perfect forms of Ancient Greece. Now the students must clothe their insights with the delicate sense of beauty they have cultivated since first grade. In a blend of careful observation and artistic vision, the goal of fifth grade teaching is to inspire “exact imagination” in our students.
While teachers tailor the Waldorf curriculum to the needs of each class, your Fifth Grader will typically learn:
History: Study of Ancient Cultures: India, Persia, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Greece.
Literature: Ancient mythology, including Gilgamesh. Biographical studies of individual men and women from ancient civilizations.
English/Grammar: Active and passive verbs. Proper use of capitalization and punctuation, synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, subject and predicate parts of speech. Compositions with emphasis on description, book reports, and letter writing. Spelling rules and vocabulary lists.
Spanish: Read simple texts, understand syntax. Short oral speeches and description, beginning understanding of the world as a whole and diverse areas and people within it.
Geography: North American geography, physical and political.
Science: Botany: Study of plants in relation to the earth, the archetypal plant.
Mathematics: Metric and imperial systems, place value, number sense, decimals, fractions, geometry. With Math Specialist.
Drawing: Free geometric drawings, Greek and Egyptian forms.
Painting: Work from darkness into light.
Handwork: Knitting, using four needles to make a pair of socks.
Gardening: Botanical studies- herbal medicine making, pollination, regional plants, plant propagation; carving greenwood butter spreaders.
Woodworking: Making an egg using a saw and chisel. Study of convex shapes.
Modeling: Clay modeling through the themes of the curriculum.
Music: String orchestra continues. Introduce soprano and alto flute, musical modes, general music theory, choir in 2-4 parts, experience live, local music events.
Eurythmy: Poetic rhythms, including hexameter, musical elements of pitch, rhythm, and beat. Ancient Greek dances.
Games/Movement: Rhythmic exercises, tumbling, simple acrobatics and circus arts. Greek sports: javelin, discus, wrestling, running races, high jump, long jump. Greek Games. Team games and folk dances.