Mathematics

We teach mathematics in a multi-disciplinary way. Children learn to count by jumping rope; memorize times tables by clapping; study intervals while playing recorder; become familiar with proportion and scale through drawing and woodworking; and come to understand Platonic solids by making origami-like sculptures out of paper. The stories we tell in the early grades lay the foundation for the imaginative thinking needed to solve the abstractions of seventh and eighth grade algebra. The history of computing is explored during the eighth grade year, as students disassemble and reassemble a PC and write simple computer programs. Math skills classes in the grades 6–8 prepare students for high school by developing mastery through consistent practice of mathematical concepts.

Sciences

WSL teachers take a phenomenological approach to science instruction. Rather than teaching theory first, we begin with observation and experimentation. In the early grades, students first meet science experientially and imaginatively through nature walks, stories, and songs. In middle and upper grades, direct observation of phenomena in nature is supported with day- or week-long field trips to farms and outdoor centers. Farming is studied in third grade, zoology in fourth grade, and botany in fifth. In physics and chemistry (grades 6–8), a Waldorf teacher sets up an experiment and calls upon students to observe, reflect and discuss, allowing them to discover the underlying scientific principles for themselves. The goal of this approach is to develop precise observations, accurate reporting, independent thinking, and sound judgment—and to make science a relevant part of students’ everyday lives.

Learning place value with acorns

Learning place value with acorns

Physiology of the ear, eighth grade chalkboard

Physiology of the ear, eighth grade chalkboard

Math specialist in 7th grade, alongside illustrations of astronomy concepts.

Math specialist in 7th grade, alongside illustrations of astronomy concepts.

Eighth grade science experiment

Eighth grade science experiment

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