The sixth grade curriculum is exciting and complex. Students may come home talking about the Pythagorean theorem, Roman aqueducts, or how to calculate a discount. New subjects include geology, physics, business math, astronomy, and a yearlong concentrated block of the fundamentals of geometry.
The historical focus is the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, the rise of Christianity and Islam and the interaction between the two, and the Middle Ages in Europe and in the mighty empires of South America and Japan. The sixth grade curriculum is multidisciplinary: in geometry, students learn the Vesica Piscis, the archetypal architectural form of the Middle Ages. Grammar studies take place in the context of Platonic dialogues and Socratic monologues. Pre-algebra is introduced in the block on the late Middle Ages and Islam.
Sixth grade students choose to focus on either Japanese or Spanish and begin a more intensive language study. Students also choose strings or band. In Japanese, students practice writing and reading the hiragana and katakana alphabets, and in Spanish the students work on the Spanish grammar rules and study Spanish history and geography. In woodwork, students carve a spoon or bowl and in handwork the students sew three-dimensional animals developed from their own drawings. After-school sports are also offered for this age group.
- Spanish or Japanese
- Handwork and Woodwork
- Movement – individual and group challenges
- Band or strings ensemble
- After-school athletics
A note about technology
By this age Waldorf students are knowledgeable in many areas where their public school counterparts are not. On the other hand, at other public and private schools students often have more exposure to technology, which is intentionally limited in Waldorf schools. Computer technology is not taught at school but is used by upper grades students in a limited context for research and communication. Library research is still the main focus for independent projects.
“What’s valued in Silicon Valley is not just the ability to write code. What matters is creativity and the ability to communicate effectively with a team. That’s what they foster at Waldorf.” Brad Wurtz, Waldorf parent and CEO of Power Assure, an energy management company in Silicon Valley
For more on the Waldorf approach to technology in the classroom see:
Fost, Dan. “Tech gets a time-out: San Francisco Magazine, April 2010.” danfost. 1 April 2010. Web.
Richtel, Matt. “A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute.” The New York Times 23 Oct 2011 national edition: 1,19. Print