Grade School

It's how we teach that changes everything.

Our students can focus at a desk when they need to because they don’t sit at a desk all day. Movement, art, and music are integrated into all the academic subjects - allowing students to learn the best way they know how, by doing. Outdoor education starts early and includes class trips that support the curriculum. We recognize the power of the human spirit and acknowledge the uniqueness of every single child.

Rooted in relationships.

The teacher/student relationship is unparalleled. Each class gets a team of six expert educators who teach the children for multiple years. Teachers are more connected to the students, students are more connected to each other and most importantly, students learn to be connected to themselves. Our classrooms are truly rooted in relationships.


Curriculum by Grade

1st Grade

In First Grade the children are presented with the archetypes of the human being through fairy tales. The characters in each story represent positive attributes, such as courage, honesty and goodness that can influence the young child’s emotional intelligence and social development.

Writing

Writing is taught by introducing the alphabet through pictures, stories and sound symbols. Students learn the proper way to hold and use a variety of writing instruments. Children produce vibrant, full-page lesson books, filled with letters, words, and pictures.

Recitation

Children work to remember and recite (in unison) 20-30 minute poems and stories. They retain stories and texts by repeating and reflecting on their themes, situations and outcomes—the true beginning of reading comprehension.

Reading Basics

Literacy is built through listening, vocabulary development, poetry, and stories. Teachers are schooled in storytelling specifically for this age, and share traditional fairy tales and folk tales from around the world, including: Russian, African, Japanese & Grimms stories.

Mathematics

All four basic math operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) are introduced simultaneously through characterizations that demonstrate their essential quality; i.e. Dexter Divide, who always shares.

Sciences

Stories that personify nature and relate its processes and qualities in experiential terms are most meaningful to the first grader. These provide a basis for scientific curiosity in the upper grades.

Movement

Students have multiple recesses and daily field trips to local parks and beaches to energize their bodies and activate their minds in social play, group dynamics, and exploration of the physical environment.

World Languages

Students experience alternating 6-week blocks of German and Spanish that provide cultural exposure and develop memory, language and vocabulary skills.

Art

Students practice beeswax modeling, “form drawing,” wet-on-wet watercolor painting and traditional drawing.

Handwork

Knitting for coordination, focus and understanding patterns.

Music

Daily singing and pentatonic flute playing with class teacher; lyre and singing lessons, with special subjects teacher.

Eurythmy

An expressive, dance-like art form that establishes timing, coordination and spatial awareness. Twice weekly the students work with the Eurythmy teacher accompanied by a live pianist.

Field Trips & Community Events

The class field trip usually brings students for a day to local nature centers, zoos or museums with a regional, natural and environmental theme involving animals.

2nd Grade

By Second Grade, children have a depth of imagination, interest and focus strongly attuned to learning. They are more aware of their experiences in the larger world and the values and perspectives of others. Their sense of community deepens even as they extend the security of “family” to classmates and teachers.

Writing

Writing through dictation, rhyming word families, sight words, and simple sentence construction. Children continue to produce vibrant, full-page lesson books, filled with letters, words, and pictures.

Recitation

The vocabulary of poems and stories that the children commit to memory increases in complexity and length. Often the children work together to present their first class play, spoken in unison.

Reading

Practice spelling, phonics, punctuation, reading, sentence structure, capitalization, distinguishing upper and lower case letters, poetry, and rhyming. Literacy is built through listening, vocabulary development, poetry, and stories.

Mathematics

Continuation with the four arithmetic processes includes a strong focus on the memorization of times tables. Place value is introduced and practiced in multi-digit problems employing carrying and borrowing.

Sciences

Teachers use nature stories to personify natural and elemental principles. Class field trips to local arboretums and nature centers bring the environmental sciences and zoology alive for the students.

Movement

Students have multiple recesses and daily field trips to local parks. Also each day begins with 30 - 45 minutes of classroom movement and exercise.

World Languages

Alternating 6-week blocks of German and Spanish provide cultural exposure, develops memory, language, translative thinking and vocabulary skills.

Art

Daily practice with drawing and weekly wet on wet watercolor paintings are created for developmental (rather than artistic) capacities.

Handwork

Knitting for coordination, focus and understanding patterns.

Music

Daily singing and pentatonic flute playing with class teacher; lyre and singing lessons, with special subjects teacher.

Eurythmy

An expressive, dance-like art form that establishes timing, coordination and spatial awareness. Twice weekly the students work with the Eurythmy teacher accompanied by a live pianist.

Field Trips & Community Events

Second graders take their first overnight trip to Glastonbury Farm in Indiana, where they learn about native plant species, foraging, and local animal life.

3rd Grade

In Third Grade, children experience a new sense of self. ‘Who am I in relation to others and to the world?’ In Waldorf education we recognize this stage of self-discovery as the nine-year change. New capacities for thinking and judgment are emerging. The younger child’s experience of the unity of all things matures into the third grader’s awareness of a distinctly separate inner life. Strong opinions emerge as they develop a more realistic view of everyone and everything around them.

Writing

  • Learning cursive handwriting
  • Dictation practice
  • Writing a simple story independently
  • Beginning library use and research protocol
  • Weekly spelling quizzes and vocabulary development
  • Develop understanding of basic sentence structure

Reading

  • Hebrew, farming, and historical fables
  • Independent reading and daily reading in groups or with partners
  • Introduction to the basic parts of speech; noun, verb, adjective and adverb
  • Reviewing stories to develop comprehension and sequencing

Science & Mathematics

  • Farming and gardening: growing and cultivating; food rhythms in the cycle of a year
  • Introduction to measurements: calculating distance, capacity, weight & time
  • Memorization of the multiplication tables
  • Daily practice with the four basic operations and multiplication tables
  • Introduction of multi-digit multiplication
  • Introduction of long division

Geography & History

  • Hebrew language, culture, rituals & history
  • Shelters: climate and location of ancient and modern building techniques
  • Grains: importance in global nourishment and world cultures

World Languages

  • Alternating 6-week blocks of German and Spanish
  • Develop memory, language, translative thinking and vocabulary skills

Art

  • Block book motifs from stories and nature
  • Beeswax and plasticine modeling

Handwork

  • Crochet to strengthen the dominant hand
  • Three-dimensional project such as a pouch, hat or hand puppet

Music

  • Music literacy through story
  • Singing in unison; begin singing in rounds
  • Pentatonic flute & diatonic recorder

Gym & Eurythmy

  • Introduce organized physical games with rules and strategy
  • Rhythms, geometrical forms, specific gestures for the sounds of speech
  • Simple ‘concentration’ exercises to develop presence of mind

Field Trips & Community Events

  • Angelic Organics Farm: 3-day field trip to care for the land and animals
  • 3rd grade play: Hebrew story, recited in chorus with costumes, props

4th Grade

Fourth Graders become more self-confident as their perceptions of the world sharpen, broadening the child’s perspective and showing a world of endless, exciting possibilities. The fourth grader has an adventurous spirit, is full of curiosity, and is eager to explore new capacities for learning and creativity.

Writing

  • Weekly vocabulary/spelling tests
  • Sentence structure and paragraph development
  • Independent research paper on an animal

Reading

  • Introduction to grammar and parts of speech
  • Comprehension, inferring and decoding
  • Independent and small group reading
  • Book reports

Science & Mathematics

  • Human/animal environments & behaviors
  • Fractions: equivalent, expanding, reducing, greatest common factors and least common multiples
  • Measurement, the four basic operations, long division and multi-digit multiplication

Geography & History

  • Drawing maps, the four directions
  • Geographic placement through movement
  • History of Chicago

World Languages

  • Alternating 6-week blocks of German and Spanish
  • Introduction to writing, reading and vocabulary

Art

  • Celtic knot illustrations
  • Modeling animals & local land forms
  • Painting story motifs using warm/cool colors
  • More advanced drawing techniques

Handwork

Cross stitch: sequences, patterns, symmetry and direction

Music

  • Modern musical notation and reading sheet music
  • Recorder
  • Singing and playing rounds and part music
  • Beginning orchestra

Gym & Eurythmy

  • Advanced physical games and movement skills
  • Choreography and gestures for the major and minor moods in music

Field Trips & Community Events

  • Camp Edwards YMCA: Three days in Wisconsin hiking, skating, tubing and cross-country skiing
  • Local field trips: explore the city’s rich history
  • 4th Grade Play: A Norse myth recited by the whole class in costumes/props, introduction of individual speaking parts

5th Grade

Fifth Grade is referred to as the “golden year” because students at this age are enthusiastic about learning, eager for new challenges and capable of hard work and creativity. A sense of self-consciousness emerges, yet they remain confident and harmonious with their surroundings. They develop an ordered sense of space and time, and hold a deeper understanding of personal responsibility and the ethics of right and wrong.

Science & Mathematics

  • Botany
  • Decimals
  • Freehand geometry

Language Arts

  • Greek mythology
  • Topic statements, rough drafts and revising
  • Book reports and research papers
  • Grammar
  • Weekly vocabulary/spelling tests
  • Complex memorization of their lines and actions for parts in the 5th grade play

Geography & History

  • Ancient civilizations—India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece
  • North American geography
  • Native American cultures

Art

  • Painting and drawing
  • Sculptural modeling

Handwork

Four-needle knitting, sock making

Music

  • Introduction of wind or brass instrument
  • Orchestra or band
  • Recorder and singing
  • Music literacy
  • 5th/6th grade chorus

Gym & Eurythmy

  • Individual training for Pentathlon: discus, javelin, long jump, wrestling, running
  • Eurythmy for balance, poise, alertness and synchronous movement

World Languages

  • Alternating 6-week blocks of German and Spanish
  • Develop memory, language, translative thinking and vocabulary skills

Field Trips & Community Events

  • Pentathlon: three day competition with midwest Waldorf schools
  • 5th Grade Play: Myth from an ancient culture
    • Past plays have included: Theseus & the Minotaur, The Light of Isis and Osiris, and The Fall of Troy
  • German seasonal song performance at Christkindlmarket
  • Field trips to Oriental Institute, Field Museum, etc.