Language Arts is our expression of relationship to language. The language arts programs are integrated and woven into the class teachers’ lessons and are based on the developmental stage of the class as indicated by Rudolf Steiner. Each class uses the spoken word, written language, poetic recitation and drama as tools in the content of the lessons. The emotional content of the poems and stories feed the soul and imagination of the child and the written word allows for the expression of the inner nature of the students.
The curriculum as presented by the teachers helps support the developing capacities of the individual child and encourages and strengthens their own growth. Exercises introduced nurture the individual within the context of the group dynamic of the class. Language content presented to the children reflects their stage in their spiritual and emotional development and is carefully chosen by the class teacher. Practice of skills in oral, auditory and written work is ongoing in all classes in line with Steiner’s recommendations for each grade.
- To foster a love and appreciation for the written and spoken word.
- To enable students to be literate in the English language and to bring a balanced approach to the introduction of language arts through the grades incorporating all forms of the written and spoken creative language.
- To offer opportunities for the presentation and performance of language though poetry, verse, story and drama.
At HWS our class teachers carry the math program throughout the eight grades using daily practice of mental math combined with blocks and track classes of developmentally appropriate concepts and skills based on the indications of Rudolf Steiner. Body work, rhythm, movement are combined with mental and written practical work to bring an enlivening, imaginative math curriculum to our students. The following overview outlines content through the eight grades:
The math curriculum is designed for students to experience an intuitive, well-practiced and joyful understanding of numbers and math concepts and their uses in the world. These experiences align with the children’s’ developmental stages such as moving from whole numbers into work with fractions in grade four only after the nine-year change. All class teachers at HWS have studied Anthroposophy and participate in on-going professional development. This keeps math teachers inspired in their learning and rooted in the view of the human being that Steiner indicated, guiding each aspect of their work.
Our school policies meet the school principles in terms of the math curriculum and we are exemplary in our practices, working together to keep standard high and share resources.
At HWS our class teachers carry the science program throughout the eight grades moving from indirect observation of the natural world to more overt, precise, experiential science in the upper grades. This programs is designed based on the indications of Rudolf Steiner and the developmental stage of the students. The following overview outlines content through the eight grades:
The overall goals of the science curriculum are to acquire an orientation and understanding of the natural world. Part of achieving these goals is to make the learning about the natural world experiential. The experiential goals involve aspects of wonder and interest, motivation and attentiveness.
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Geography is the study of the Earth as the habitat of mankind. It is therefore, most important to study man’s home and to understand and respect it. (R. Steiner)
Geography as a subject begins in grade four although, in the early grades, the child’s natural affinity to his/her environment is cultivated by the teacher. Practical activities such as farming and gardening in grade three, nature walks in grades one and two, stories and calling attention to the beauty of seasonal changes all nourish a child’s natural love for his/her earthly home.
- The first is map drawing which starts in grade four through the transformation of the students known surroundings into a first geographical map.
- The second aim is that through the study of different environments, geography lessons give rise to a deeper understanding of different cultures and throw light upon human conditions that exist throughout the world.
- The third aim is to give the picture that earth and mankind are inseparable and share a common fate. Ultimately, this picture is important given many of the challenges facing the earth today such as climate change.
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- The Faculty, staff and students of our school share music in many contexts. During the school year, the faculty prepares and presents choral pieces for Grade Eight Graduation and various festivals and assemblies, offering the students a true gift of the spirit. The whole school community, including parents, joins together in song for festivals and meetings. There is a strong tradition of music in the school and all faculty consciously strive to bring celebration and learning through rhythm and song.
- Music permeates the classes and all teachers bring music to the children. Class teachers bring music in their own way to students, sharing repertoire with each other that is connected to the age and stage of development of the children. Three music specialists also work in our school, a musical theatre specialist, who is our music teacher, and a professional cellist and violinist who hold the String Program. Children in grades one through eight receive several lessons per week from our music teacher who brings singing and recorder playing to the classroom. Students in Grade three through eight have the option of adding violin or cello to their school music experience.
Class Music – Singing and Recorder
Our music teacher develops a relationship with each class teacher, and strives toward bringing each grade level developmentally appropriate musical activities. In addition, the music teacher prepares the children and faculty for presentations to the school community.
Beginning in Grade three, the students have the option to participate in our on-site strings program which is held by two qualified professional musicians. In addition to their work with the students, our cellist and violinist each offer their musical inspiration by performing for school events.
Students may play either violin or cello and each receives a weekly ½ hour private lesson. In addition, string ensemble is part of the class curriculum in grade 4 and 5, and string orchestra for students in grade 6 through 8. Whenever possible, the music learned in string study is related to the classroom work to enhance the Waldorf curriculum being presented there. The ensemble and orchestra share their music with the rest of the school community at festivals and assemblies.
Movement has always been a means through which students learn. In recent years, educators have recognized that it is integral to children’s learning experience.
Eurythmy is a rhythmical movement and is part of the Waldorf curriculum. We express music and speech through movement and gesture. It is the expression of language through story and verse that is unique in Eurythmy. For every sound we speak there is a Eurythmy gesture. It was developed by Rudolf Steiner as visible speaking and visible singing utilizing the whole human body as the instrument.
The students explore aspects of music and poetry through inner pictures. We experience geometry, spatial directions, and coordination (both gross and fine motor skills) as we work together in a group. The students gain in strength, stamina, dexterity, and agility as they bring movement into expression.
As the students advance through the grades, the material becomes increasingly more challenging and complex. We study aspects of grammar, arithmetic, geometry, music, history and many other subjects. While the students develop memory, listening, sequencing, and concentration skills, they begin to work through the pedagogical exercises.
The Eurythmy program is designed to support the steps of the student’s academic growth. The lessons reflect the work of the Main Lesson and reinforce the learning in other subjects. Each grade is met with age appropriate material, i.e. music, verse, and story which increases the students’ intellectual, artistic, and social development.
Movement has always been a means through which students learn. In recent years so much research has been published recognizing just how integral movement is to a child’s learning experience. In the early grades the main lesson and subject teacher uses stepping, rhythm, clapping and recitation in circle formation daily.
The class teacher or art teacher models or demonstrates various techniques with reverence and respect for the materials, subject matter, peer work and their own work. The teacher gives age appropriate support to individual students in a way that allows them to blossom as individuals.
- To support and enrich the student’s physical, emotional and spiritual development
- To enhance the academic work through painting, drawing, clay modeling and crafts
- To support the development of thinking, feeling and will forces, patience, focus or concentration, fine motor skills and interest and appreciation of peer work
- To support and enrich the curriculum, i.e. calligraphy in grade six, Renaissance reproductions in grade seven
- Developing observation skills (helps with math etc.)
- To develop human capacities through experiential learning
Practical Arts (Handwork and Woodwork)
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