Grades 6-8 Admissions
Contact: Megan Corcoran, Interim Enrollment Coordinator | 785-841-8800
Acceptance into the Prairie Moon Waldorf School is based on availability and the school's ability to meet each child's needs. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year. Learn more about how Waldorf education can benefit your child by attending an Open House or arranging for a private tour with the Enrollment Coordinator.
The sixth grade curriculum sees a transition in outlook from a compliant, energetic class which is ready to tackle anything put before them, to one that begins to question many aspects of their world, especially authority. While looking for confirmation of authority in their lives, they look for cracks therein as well as in the general meting out of just and fair behavior. They are particularly keen on discovering how their own behavior affects those around them. The curriculum expressly addresses these themes though main lesson blocks such as the rise and fall of democracy in Rome (justice and authority), physics, light and shadow drawing, and business math (cause and effect), as well as geology, geometry, astronomy, and essay writing (structure and order).
Seventh grade is a challenging year academically and is often the year in which students find their strengths in academia—a catharsis that often translates into gains in other areas, such as social relationships. The adolescent also feels the pull of independence more keenly: the adults in their lives, as well as their rules, are suspect and fodder for criticism. Simultaneously, they count on those adults to be there, holding the boundaries for them. There is a tendency to become fixated on the self and passions therein run hot (and high and low). The curriculum seeks to match these quickly changing children with subjects of great import which, in and of themselves, upended the status quo: the Ages of Discovery, Reformation and Renaissance. Inorganic chemistry and mechanical physics literally transform matter while anatomy and health and nutrition speak of the very body undergoing so many changes. In order to draw the gaze of the student away from self-consumption, service work on behalf of others becomes a regular part of the year.
The metamorphosis of the adolescent continues strongly in the eighth grade and begins to attain equilibrium within themselves in the three main areas discussed above: academic, emotional, and physical. They develop a capacity for a more even-tempered observation of and participation in the world. Their capacity for critical thinking is far more developed, allowing them to present coherent points of view, understand subtleties such as intention in both language and in action and an ability to view and judge polarities. These come into play in academia through writing research papers, reading and recitation of epic poetry and literature and the study of culturo-political histories. A desire to rebel and reinvent is still strongly present and is addressed though meteorology and the industrial revolution. Mathematics expands and deepens through advanced algebra and geometry. Throughout all, they work to build their capacities for both judgment and self-responsibility, which continues through service work.
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.