Waldorf curriculum works in rhythm with the natural stages of children’s development. Each grade’s curriculum is specifically designed to develop and inspire new capacities for growing and learning, inspire imagination, cultivate creativity, encourage flexibility of thought, freedom of expression, and promote problem-solving.
The cornerstone of the day in grade school is the main lesson, a two-hour period at the beginning of the day when children are most ready for academic work. Main lesson blocks are focused on a single curricular subjec (i.e. language arts, math) and continue on for three to four weeks. All main lessons incorporate the arts, and can include storytelling, movement, music, poetry, drama, drawing, painting, modeling, reading, and writing. Students record and illustrate their lessons in main lesson books that are treasured for years. Afternoons are filled with specialty classes of handwork, music, eurythmy, games and movement, and foreign language (Japanese).
Grades children engage in a variety of cultural activities that cultivate the imaginative faculties—drawing, painting, poetry recitation, drama, singing and playing a musical instrument. They are taught “non-artistic” subjects imaginatively and artistically 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 slowly, fortified with deep comprehension and understanding.
Class teachers remain with the same class throughout the elementary years when possible. As a result, the teacher and students build close, secure relationships that accommodate individual needs, and the teacher-parent relationship functions as a partnership.
All aspects in a Waldorf school—from the classroom furnishings to the way a poem is recited, from the pen a pupil uses to the exercises done on the playground—are both functional and beautiful. For the child, this guarantees a caring authority that produces a stimulating effect on all his inner and outer senses.