Nurturing and Supporting Change

To nurture and support the changes taking place in Upper Grades students, the Waldorf curriculum transforms significantly from that of earlier Grades.

Critical reasoning skills, accurate observation, and the development of individual judgment are emphasized as each year progresses. Meaningful field trips and guest speakers widen students’ horizons and introduce them to today’s world. In addition to curriculum content, the following changes appear in other areas:
  • Tests and quizzes appear increasingly; in Eighth Grade, students encounter tests they’ll find in high school (e.g. multiple-choice).
  • Letter or number grades may be assigned at the teacher’s discretion in Eighth Grade.
  • Homework increases each year. Rather than “busywork,” it consists mostly of reading, finishing class bookwork, research, or projects.

Grades 6-8

Emerging Adolescence: What to Expect
Like fledglings preparing to leave the nest, emerging adolescents are getting ready to test their wings. For parents, the most disconcerting aspect of these years may be the sense that their children are pulling away, becoming introverted and inaccessible, or shifting their allegiance to peers with whom they crave constant communication. Adolescence can seem like a years-long tunnel from which our children will eventually emerge, transformed into young adults; until then, it is essential that we provide them with informed guidance, supporting them on their journey.

Grades 6-8

Movement and the Arts in the Upper Grades
When the teacher reveals ideas from the curriculum that reflect the students’ own human development, they listen and engage. They experience their teacher’s enthusiasm for the content being taught. They want to learn all they can. They feel that what they are learning is important, gratifying, and demanding—a vast, satisfying curriculum specifically designed to meet the developing mind, body, and soul of the emerging adolescent. Rudolf Steiner designed the Upper Grades curriculum with these principles and ideas as its basis.

Recommended Reading

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If you've had the experience of binding a book, knitting a sock, playing a recorder, then you feel that you can build a rocket ship -- or learn a software program you've never touched. It's not bravado, just a quiet confidence.

There is nothing you can't do. Why couldn't you? Why couldn't anybody?

-Peter Nitze, Waldorf and Harvard graduate, and director of an aerospace company
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