Contact: Megan Corcoran, Interim Enrollment Coordinator | 785-841-8800
Acceptances into Prairie Moon Waldorf School are based on availability and the school's ability to meet each child's needs. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year as long as there is space. Learn more about how Waldorf Education can benefit your child by attending an Open House or arranging for a private tour with the Grades Enrollment Coordinator.
“Human growth and development do not occur in a linear fashion, nor can they be measured. What lives, grows, and has its being in human life can only be grasped with that same human faculty that can grasp the invisible metamorphic laws of living nature.”
—Colin Price, from "Five Frequently Asked Questions" by Colin Price; originally printed in Renewal Magazine, Spring/Summer 2003
Waldorf Schools take a developmental approach to education, and the curriculum is designed to meet students at the specific stage they are in at each age. Waldorf students experience continuity in the relationship with their core teacher over many years, as each Class Teacher ideally stays with one class for up to eight years. This long-term relationship supports a rich social dynamic in the class, and gives the teacher deeper understanding of each student’s strengths, challenges and developmental milestones. Multiple special subject teachers provide an additional array of perspectives and expertise.
Prairie Moon Waldorf School offers a rich and comprehensive academic program which includes English based on world literature, myths, and legends; history that is chronological and inclusive of the world's great civilizations; science that surveys geography, astronomy, meteorology, physical and life sciences; and mathematics that develops competence in arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. Additional subjects include two world languages, physical education and gardening, as well as a wide selection of arts, eurythmy, handwork and woodworking.
AN ASCENDING SPIRAL OF KNOWLEDGE
Each subject studied should contribute to the development of a well-balanced individual.
In the Waldorf grades, the school day begins with a long, uninterrupted lesson. One subject is the focus; the class deals with it in-depth each morning for several weeks at a time. This long main lesson—which may well run for two hours—allows the teacher to develop a wide variety of activities around the subject at hand. In the younger grades, lively rhythmic activities get the circulation going and bring children together as a group; they recite poems connected with the main lesson, practice tongue twisters to limber up speech, and work with concentration exercises using body movements.
After the morning's lesson, which includes a review of earlier learning, students record what they learned in their lesson books. Following recess, teachers present shorter "run-through" lessons with a strongly recitational character. Foreign languages are customarily taught from first grade on, and these lend themselves well to these later morning periods. Afternoons are devoted to lessons in which the whole child is active: eurythmy (artistically guided movement to music and speech), handwork, or gym, for example. Thus the day has a rhythm that helps overcome fatigue and enhances balanced learning.
The curriculum at a Waldorf school can be seen as an ascending spiral: the lessons that begin each day, the concentrated blocks of study that focus on one subject for several weeks. Physics, for example, is introduced in the sixth grade and continued each year as a main lesson block until graduation.
As the students mature, they engage themselves at new levels of experience with each subject. It is as though each year they come to a window on the ascending spiral that looks out into the world through the lens of a particular subject. Through the main-lesson spiral curriculum, teachers lay the groundwork for a gradual vertical integration that deepens and widens each subject experience and, at the same time, keeps it moving with the other aspects of knowledge.
All students participate in all basic subjects regardless of their special aptitudes. The purpose of studying a subject is not to make a student into a professional mathematician, historian, or biologist, but to awaken and educate capacities that every human being needs. Naturally, one student is more gifted in math and another in science or history, but the mathematician needs the humanities, and the historian needs math and science. The choice of a vocation is left to the free decision of the adult, but one's early education should give one a palette of experience from which to choose the particular colors that one's interests, capacities, and life circumstances allow. In a Waldorf high school, older students pursue special projects and elective subjects and activities, nevertheless, the goal remains: each subject studied should contribute to the development of a well-balanced individual.
If the ascending spiral of the curriculum offers a "vertical integration" from year to year, an equally important "horizontal integration" enables students to engage the full range of their faculties at every stage of development. The arts and practical skills play an essential part in the educational process throughout the grades. They are not considered luxuries, but fundamental to human growth and development.
THE WALDORF CURRICULUM FOR GRADES 1-8
History, language arts, science, math, and history are taught in main lesson blocks of three to five weeks during the morning main lesson hours.
Primary Grades 1-3
Pictorial introduction to the alphabet, writing, reading, spelling, poetry, and drama. Folk and fairy tales, fables, legends, world religion stories.
Numbers, basic mathematical processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Nature stories, house building, and gardening.
Middle Grades 4-6
Writing, reading, spelling, grammar, poetry, and drama. Norse myths, history and stories of ancient civilizations. Review of the four mathematical processes, fractions, percentage, and geometry. Local and world geography, comparative zoology, botany, and elementary physics.
Upper Grades 7-8
Creative writing, reading, spelling, grammar, poetry, and drama. Medieval history, Renaissance, world exploration, American history, and biography. Mathematics, geography, physics, basic chemistry, astronomy, and physiology.
Special subjects also taught are handwork: knitting, crochet, sewing, cross-stitch, basic weaving, toymaking, and woodworking. Music: singing, pentatonic flute, recorder, stringed instruments, and percussion instruments. Foreign languages (varies by school): French, and Mandarin. Art: watercolor painting, form drawing, beeswax and clay modeling, perspective drawing. Movement: eurythmy, Spacial Dynamics, group games.