The core principles of Waldorf Education are that knowledge is best acquired through experimental and academic learning. Waldorf education fosters the ability to think with clarity, feel with compassion, and initiate change with confidence.
The students start the morning with Main Lesson, taught by their class teacher. Planned around a block system of three- to six-week sessions, the main lesson allows for comprehensive study of core academic subjects, including math, language arts, history, geography, and science. The intellectual, artistic, and practical realms are present in both the overall curriculum and within each lesson. For example, literacy is fostered through drama, artistic work, writing, and beautiful recitation of poetry. Math instruction is based in academic concepts which are experienced through real world application, to create a tangible understanding of the quality of numeracy.
The Grade School curriculum is interdisciplinary by design. Working alongside the class teacher, a group of specialist teachers introduces the primary school student to the other areas of the curriculum throughout the course of the day. These areas include foreign language, handwork (development of fine motor skills as well as laying the foundations for pattern recognition and coding), gardening (connecting students to the environment as well as responsible and sustainable citizenship), music, visual arts, Eurythmy, and movement and games.
Our Middle School offers Waldorf Education reimagined for the students of today. Our experienced teachers determine how best to bring each subject to the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students, and how to inspire and engage them in each lesson. Main Lesson blocks are taught by our teachers and by outside experts, based on their passion and mastery of individual subjects. Our teachers work together to interpret what each class needs and to bring the Waldorf curriculum to the students in new and exciting ways (for example, world geography taught through exploration of food cultivation and consideration of relevant issues connected to industrialization, globalization, global warming, and scarcity of resources).
Our Middle School students study additional special subjects, including orchestra, chorus, as well as extra math and language arts classes. The Cyber Civics class, a new addition to the curriculum, helps our students develop the healthy social etiquette they will need to navigate digital media so they can make safe and responsible decisions
A Waldorf curriculum by design is a living curriculum. Given the variables of place and time, as well as the ever-changing constellation of individuals assembled in any class community, Waldorf teachers have the freedom to add and edit as will best serve their students. Although there are certain “milestones” along the journey, rooted in the patterns of human development, the specific vehicles for learning may look different from year to year, teacher to teacher, or Waldorf school to Waldorf school.
This is one reason a Waldorf curricular chart can only be a used as a guide, rather than turn-by-turn navigation. The other reason is the difficulty in isolating “subjects.” At the Waldorf School of Princeton, for example, lessons in sustainability or character are woven into every subject; movement is found in math classes, and math is found in movement classes. Each grade performs a class play that embodies elements from what is being studied in history, social studies, language arts, eurythmy, or music.
View our full Grade School curriculum guide here.
“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 WSPschool administrator and parent