Grades 6-8 Admissions
Contact: Megan Corcoran, Admissions Director | 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.
Development through the Curriculum
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.
Development of the Individual
Prairie Moon Waldorf Middle School sets two major goals for its budding adolescents: the first is to graduate them with a strong and engaging academic curricular experience that results in their being able to access and actively utilize the skills delivered therein. The second is to send them on with a strong sense of who they are as a person. These senses center on self-discipline and motivation, empathy, courage, resilience, collaborative communication skills, courage and leadership.
Self-knowledge is vital to an entrance into a world that is ever more dynamic and fluid. How is this state of being engendered in the middle school years? The approach is twofold: One is to build skills that move knowledge into action. The second is to hone skills that alternately focus on self-development and on service to one’s community. The marriage of these two streams allows for a strong, self-assured and flexible individual to take up their pleasure and work in this world.
Through their academic work, students are held more tightly to expectations (and these are increased) as the middle school years progress. If work is below standard, it is done again (and again). Here, self-discipline and motivation are exercised. Secondly, they are pushed just out of their comfort zones in opportunities like public speaking, presentations and collaborative projects. This work results in courage, collaboration and communication skills. Finally, we allow them the space to fail and rise once again. This builds resilience, the need for analysis and synthesis and the courage to try again. These three areas of work eventually result in the student owning the power to feel pride or disappointment; they themselves have set the standard. A clear connection has been made between their use of these skills and the outcome.
The second area of development for the adolescent is the shift between self examination and service to others. In an age of self-absorbtion, drawing the gaze outward to the world in need is essential. By helping those in their immediate community, students gain a realistic view of the world and how much of an impact they can make upon in. They learn to address all whom they meet as individuals deserving of acknowledgement (empathy and integrity). The inward look is just as important if carefully guided. Students meet weekly to air inter-personal issues or speak their piece on a social issue living in their class. They learn to listen to truths about themselves and adjust their behavior. Here, equanimity, self-control, courage and leadership are developed. In their final year, they are asked to put all of these skills together in the required year long independent project as well as the Adolescent Wilderness Initiation.
How does this approach to becoming human translate in the “world out there”? New high school students talk of manageable transitions, ease in academics (and ease in adjusting to unfamiliar coursework), a continuing strong personal work ethic and a motivation to create strong, healthy social ties. It is not uncommon for teachers to be phoning these students’ parents with the question, “What school did your child come from?”. Prairie Moon Waldorf Middle School takes great pride in our adolescents and their walk forward into the world.