Grade Two Curriculum

Mountain Laurel Waldorf School - Grade 2Second grade builds upon the foundations of rhythms and form established during the previous year.
Each day the class continues to work to form healthy classroom habits, such as being respectful and considerate of others, taking turns and listening to one another. The children practice how to sit up attentively during recall and story and to take care of their desk contents.

LANGUAGE ARTS
In second grade, language arts are conveyed primarily through stories of saints / holy people and fables, folklore from cultures around the world, and Indigenous People’s tales and nature stories are used as well. The fables offer views of human frailties and foibles that appear in all of us, while the saint legends offer contrasting universal qualities, as well as noble and virtuous deeds.

Using poetry and speech exercises and morning circle activities, teachers continue to augment the children’s sense of appreciation for language and vocabulary. Now the children begin to learn the phonemes, vowel and consonant combinations and basic spelling rules. The teacher writes on the blackboard to model proper letter formation and the children read the text as a class and copy it in their book. At this point, the teacher may point out the basic rules of capitalization. Children will begin writing their own sentences and some may write short paragraphs. Whole language and phonics bring the child from the letters and words of first grade into the world of reading. The class begins to read either together or in small groups. Teachers choose books with an emphasis on rich language, age-appropriate content and beautiful illustrations to meet each student’s level of proficiency.

A tremendous work ethic is developed during second grade. Beautiful handwriting is stressed. The upper case letters are reviewed and lower case letters are introduced and emphasis is placed on forming letters with the proper proportions, the correct pencil grip and good posture. The teacher models appropriate sentence structure through the use of capitalization, punctuation and parts of speech.

New work with consonants may include learning the building blocks of words. The teacher will systematically lead the class through the silent ‘E’ and other long vowel combinations as well. Diphthongs and exceptions are taught as time and the capacity of the class permit. Commonly used sight words are also stressed.

While the children are learning to read throughout all of the main lesson activities, times of silent reading are deliberately created. Non-readers are encouraged to look at picture books or read with a classmate. Beginning readers may practice with their teacher. Formal reading groups may begin with the students reading the stories they wrote in their main lesson books. During the second part of the year, most classes will begin reading either as a whole class or in small reading groups led by the
teacher.

Form drawing expands into more complex forms involving horizontal and vertical symmetry – important for letter perception and writing, loops and loop symmetry as preparation for cursive writing in the third grade, as well as forms that grow or metamorphose

Traditionally, the second grade performs the first play of the year, at the Michaelmas Festival of Courage, rooted from the saint stories in the curriculum.

Mountain Laurel Waldorf School - Grade 2 - MathMATHEMATICS
In second grade, the children begin counting up to 1,000. Counting and numbers become more quantitative, and the four operations are explored in more depth. The students become familiar with odd and even numbers and the class is introduced to place value through an imaginative story of the teacher’s choice.

The class learns how to carry and borrow with numbers up to the hundreds using objects and their imagination to help enliven the concept. Written problems go from horizontal to vertical this year, using both forms to keep the students’ thinking flexible. Mental arithmetic is image driven and practiced daily.

The children work to learn the multiplication tables 1-12 by heart, both through rhythmical movements and recitation during the morning circle and in the students’ written work. Rhythmic memory of the times tables is reinforced with exercises involving bean bags, felt balls, rhythm sticks and jump rope. Mental math is done daily, and by the end of the year most of the children should be able to answer a series of math questions.

NATURAL SCIENCES
Nurturing the children’s exploration of the natural world is continued in second grade as the class teacher may choose to include a nature block in the course of the year. Nature-based verses and songs continue as well as craft projects and field trips. Walks or bike-rides along the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, the Wallkill River and visits to local apple farms provide the children with the opportunity to observe and experience the seasonal changes in a natural environment. Generally, each classroom contains a nature table and children are encouraged to bring in objects from nature. Nature stories based on the seasons and elements prepare the children for the phenomenological-based approach to the sciences in the middle grades.

GEOGRAPHY
The teacher continues to encourage the children to explore their immediate surroundings, and the larger world, through songs, poems and stories.

Mountain Laurel Waldorf School - Grade 2 - HistoryHISTORY
History is brought into the second grade through the study of animal fables, including multicultural tales from around the world and Western fairy tales that encompass wisdom from Eastern and Indigenous Peoples’ traditions. They also experience biography for the first time through hearing the life stories of saints and sages, holy men and women who may have lived long ago; on the cusp of recorded history; or more recently, or even those who are still living today.

GAMES
Games in second grade continue to be presented by the main lesson teacher as part of the morning circle work, as well as by world language teachers as a means of engaging the active will of the child in learning new vocabulary. The second grade children continue to have plenty of time outdoors, with a balance of free, creative / imaginative play and class games to support the continued strengthening of the social dynamic of the class.

MUSIC
Depending upon the teacher’s preference, either the pentatonic flute or soprano recorder is played daily. The children learn more complex pieces through imitation and careful listening. They also sing on a daily basis, incorporating songs that relate to main lesson themes, festivals or the seasons. Many teachers add either dances, hand clapping games and other movements as part of their morning circle routine. Singing, dancing and recorder playing are often incorporated into work share presentations and class plays.

PAINTING
Weekly painting continues to use the wet on wet technique with form beginning to emerge out of color as the children paint many of their acquaintances from the fables and saint stories heard throughout the year.

SCULPTURE
The children are first introduced to the sculpture program in the second grade. The class begins by sculpting, with beeswax, archetypal forms and moves on to forms introduced in the main lesson work.

HANDWORK
In second grade, students continue to develop their knitting abilities and learn new skills like casting on and purl stitch.Single chain crochet is introduced.