Primary School

The theme of the primary years is the world is beautiful. Children begin primary school in the year that they turn seven. Now that their minds and bodies are primed, formal instruction in reading and writing begins. As a result of waiting until the children are ready, they feel less anxious and are empowered to conquer this complex task, and we find that mastery requires less time.

Throughout the Waldorf School, subject matter and teaching methods are specific to the children’s ages. We uphold that learning in the early primary years is based on feeling, with children’s intellectual skills and capacity to make independent judgments unfolding gradually throughout this 7 year period. In keeping with this dominance of feeling, the children are offered stories rich with metaphors, morals and images and augmented by high-quality arts and crafts.

The school day is divided into three sessions, beginning with a warm-up period of speech exercises, poetry, songs and rhythmical activities to develop sensorimotor learning skills. This brief session is followed by the Main Lesson, which is the academic focus for the day. The Main Lesson uses stories to introduce topics at a time when these will answer the children’s present developmental needs. Three to four weeks are devoted to each theme, resulting in day by day continuity that fosters student enthusiasm and allows an indepth treatment of each topic.

The second session between recess and lunch is typically given over to artistic and craft activities, foreign language lessons, music and “practice lessons” for English and mathematics. The afternoon session generally involves active or outside activities such as gardening, Bothmer gym, woodwork and games. These activities involve the body and hands directly and also engage the intellect as children have the opportunity to plan, measure, calculate, and solve problems inherent in the tasks.

Download:
Primary School Curriculum Document


 

 "Learning needs to be warm and vital, stirring children into an experience of beauty."

"Education is an art: it must speak to the child's experience. To educate the whole child, the heart and the will must be reached as well as the mind."

Rudolf Steiner