Grade school marks a thoroughfare between the early childhood experience of exploratory play and the more advanced academics and service of middle school years. The heart of Bright Water Waldorf’s grade school curriculum is multidisciplinary study, world mythology and practical skill building.
Scholastic, social, and emotional learning breaks ground in these early grades. Artistic activities permeate every facet of their learning, feeding their imaginations as they experience the deep tapestries of history through stories and fables. Academic foundations are built through lessons and activities that align with the child’s emerging intellect, character and body awareness.
Main lesson teaching runs on a block schedule, in which children delve into a single subject during long morning lessons. In this structure, students explore a subject deeply, using a variety of methods and materials. Main lesson books, in which they write and illustrate their learning, become beautiful works of art. Subject classes - Japanese, Spanish, handwork, movement and music are a part of every day.
Bright Water’s children and main teachers develop a special bond as they progress through the grades. This class continuity builds a teacher’s nuanced understanding of each child, and creates lasting peer relationships in each class.
The grade school curriculum immerses students in image, sound, and movement. Their gradual emergence into academics is often born out of movement-based learning, such as rhythmic activities for math and coordination development. This strengthens imaginative powers at every level.
The curriculum is multicultural; students study the mythologies of the world. The history of humanity as it unfolds through time is at the core of the curriculum. The students learn to recognize the relationships of a culture’s archetypes to what that culture produces, its art and science, its music, and its handcrafts, developing a curiosity and interest in other cultures.
The curriculum uses a block schedule in which one subject is taught daily in a morning main lesson. This main lesson is two hours long and a block runs for three to five weeks. This style of block teaching allows the teacher to approach the subject creatively and intensively from different viewpoints and with varied methods and materials. For example, fourth graders study the Norse sagas and draw the interlocking forms of Norse art. Fifth graders study Ancient Greece and participate in an Olympiad with other area Waldorf schools. In all grades, students hand-write and illustrate their own text books.