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Everything Is Connected
Waldorf School of Princeton offers a curriculum centered on the developmental stages of the growing child and the harmonious integration of the human capacities of thinking (head), willing (hands), and feeling (heart). This means that the intellectual, artistic, and practical realms are present in both the overall curriculum and within each lesson. Students inhabit fairy tale lands as well as chemistry labs, and a wide variety of places in between—the classroom may be the garden, woods, or auditorium, in addition to the more conventional locales.
The Class Teacher
The central figure in our Waldorf classrooms is the class teacher, who in most cases remains with the children for grades one through eight. The capacities of the child unfold slowly, and we believe that they are best supported by relationships that are given time to develop. In a very short time the class and teacher become a family, with a special bond that deepens as their years together grow. We believe that young children benefit tremendously from this very personal, humanistic style of teaching and learning.
The class teacher is responsible for educating the child in a full range of subjects, including mathematics, language arts, history, science, painting, drawing, and music. The day begins with a two-hour period called “Morning Lesson” or “Main Lesson.” Planned around a block system of typically three- to six-week increments, the main lesson allows for comprehensive study of core academic subjects. During this portion of the day, the teacher typically asks the children to recall aspects of the lesson from the previous day, and then presents new material. The hallmark of this approach is the focus on the teacher as the source, speaking directly to the students, promoting active and interactive learning, as opposed to passively using a textbook or a computer screen.
The Main Lesson Book
At the end of the morning lesson, students will usually be asked to create and illustrate a page in their main lesson books reflecting the day’s content. These books become their textbooks, precious to each individual author and illustrator because of the critical thinking and authorship that goes into bringing these books to life.
An Array of Special Subjects
Working alongside the class teacher, a group of specialist teachers introduces the primary school student to the other areas of the curriculum in the course of the day. These areas include foreign language, handwork, gardening, music, visual arts, Eurythmy, and movement and games. In addition, the upper grades have time set aside twice a week for extra work in mathematics and language arts, in a skills class that supplements the material introduced in main lesson. The continuity of the curriculum from grade one to grade eight equips our students with the capacity for perspective.
Through full integration of the academic, the artistic, and the practical, the Waldorf School of Princeton guides children toward self-knowledge, awakening within them a warmth of heart, clarity of thought, and strength of purpose with which they will meet the world.
“Today’s children need to be equipped to handle the many challenges and demands of the rapidly changing and complex world they will face as adults. The capacities they will need include a strong sense of integrity, the ability to develop relationships and to work well with others, the capacity for imagination and creative problem solving, and intellectual curiosity. Waldorf Education, with its focus on supporting the growth of all aspects of the child, is uniquely suited to support the development of these capacities, and is why my husband and I chose this education for our children.” —Janine C., former WSP school administrator and parent