Grade School Overview

Mountain Laurel Waldorf School, New Paltz, New YorkThe Waldorf curriculum, developed and refined over the past seven decades, is a basic classical educational curriculum integrating in-depth study of the arts, sciences, and humanities. What sets it apart is not what is taught, but how? For example, fifth grade study of Greek history includes books, maps, stories, and discussion. But this intellectual understanding is enriched and balanced with emotional engagement, as students stage a play, and with physical activity, as they carefully craft an urn in clay. As the whole child — head, heart, and hands — actively participates, learning springs naturally from within.

Class Teacher

Unique to the Waldorf grade school is the intimate and enduring relationship that develops between teacher and child. A teacher progresses with his or her class from first grade through eighth grade, and over the years a wonderful understanding develops between student and teacher. The class teacher offers security and stability and, knowing all the students’ unique qualities, can plan lessons that will reach and motivate each child.

Main Lesson

The first two hours of each day are spent in a main lesson. For periods of three or four weeks a theme or subject is studied in depth, such as history, geometry, drama, or science. The structure of the main lesson varies by grade, but the approach is always imaginative and colorful to work with all the children’s capacities. In this uninterrupted time the children have the freedom to immerse themselves completely in the subject at hand.

Main Lesson Books

Each student creates an ongoing record of the main lesson in his or her own main lesson book. These colorful books are filled with compositions, observations, diagrams, and illustrations, and are a source of pride and accomplishment.

Special Subjects

Following the main lesson the children’s day is filled with numerous activities such as foreign languages, crafts, sculpture, and music. These activities are often taught by special subject teachers.

Parent Teacher Conferences

Twice each year class teacher’s meet privately with parents to discuss the child’s progress and convey the goals they envision for him or her. As spring draws to a close, teachers share an overview of the child’s year through a detailed and descriptive written report.