When considering the school day – for all ages of children – the whole child is considered. At the beginning of the school day, elementary school students delve into a two-hour academic lesson, or “main lesson”. Main lesson is includes thematic units in project-based meaningful experiences. Academic topics are woven together: literacy and math as well as social studies or science. The core curriculum includes language arts, math, history, geography, and science. With a well-rounded curriculum that includes a variety of subject classes throughout each day, children are learning through many different learning styles. Main lesson typically begins with introductory activities that may include singing, instrumental music, and poetry. In order that students can connect more deeply with the subject matter, academic instruction includes artistic work that includes story-telling, visual arts, drama, movement, vocal and instrumental music, and crafts. Students also have a variety of subject classes, with specialist teachers, each day: Movement/PE, World Language, Handwork, Instrumental Music that complements the morning academic work.
Here at Boulder Valley each child engages in a variety of cultural activities that cultivate the imagination—drawing, painting, poetry recitation, drama, singing, playing a musical instrument are a few examples. During all activities, the essence of the teacher’s task is to work with his students with the imagination of an artist. The children are not simply taught to do artistic activities and manual skills, but they are taught so-called “non-artistic” subjects with creativity as well. This is true, though in widely different ways, in mathematics and grammar, carpentry and knitting, sports and foreign languages, all of which are part of the Waldorf curriculum. These cultural activities help the children build academic skills, fortified with deep comprehension and understanding. For example, in geography, the reality of the climatic zones of North America will be clearer to the child if the teacher can convey—artistically, descriptively, dramatically—the fresh, oxygen-rich air of the boreal forest of the North; the clammy, fetid thick air of the Everglades and the swamps of Louisiana; the rainy and snowy seasonal swings of the vast prairies of the Midwestern plains; the burning dry, mineral-rich deserts to the west of the Rocky Mountains; and the magnificence of the sequoias and redwoods standing tall in the saturating fog of the forests in the rainy Pacific Northwest.
In the natural sciences, a sense of awe and wonder is cultivated from early childhood. Such a mood can arise, for example, when, while studying the human body, the children discover the vital relationship between the substance in the body—the bones—and the quickest of the cells—the red corpuscles—produced in the bones. It may arise when, in examining the modes of seed production in lower and higher plants, the children realize that there is an evolutionary sequence, a connected progression. This sense of awe and wonder will develop into a feeling of reverence, laying a firm foundation for a respectful treatment of the natural environment in later life. And it will underlie, yet never undermine, the critical faculties which the study of science in the later stages of education both requires and develops.
The teacher appeals primarily to the feelings of the child between seven and fourteen. To support such an approach, all aspects at Boulder Valley Waldorf School – from the classroom furnishings to the way a poem is recited, from the pen a student uses to the exercises done in a Games Class – are considered with two criteria in mind: they should be functional and they should be beautiful. For the child, this guarantees a connection with the class community and engaging content.
For more detailed curriculum, please click on the images. Follow this link to learn more about Kindergarten.