WSL’s math curriculum largely mirrors the Massachusetts state standards; however, the range of teaching techniques is broader. In the early grades, students jump, clap, and toss bean bags as they learn counting and math facts across all four operations. This kinesthetic and multi-sensory approach reinforces math concepts in a way that children understand and retain. The quality of numbers and their relationships to each other are also experienced through stories and games—building what educators refer to as number sense, and laying a foundation for long division, geometry, algebra, and the other mathematical skills that follow. In grades 6–8, classes with a math specialist prepare students for high school by developing mastery through consistent practice of mathematical concepts.
Science in a Waldorf classroom begins with observation, experimentation, and questioning—the basis of all great scientific discoveries. Young students experience the wonders of nature, benefiting from the school’s organic gardens and proximity to the 185-acre Great Meadows conservation land. Hours are spent outdoors, in all weather, observing natural phenomena.
As students move through the elementary grades, instruction becomes increasingly formal. By middles school, in the physics and chemistry blocks for example, instruction incorporates experiments, observations, measurements, and recordings—from which students are asked to draw conclusions and discover the underlying scientific principles for themselves.
Learning is documented through illustrations, graphs and charts, and written summaries in each student’s hand-written Main Lesson book, a portfolio of their work in all Main Lesson blocks throughout the year. The goal of this approach is to develop independent, scientific thinking, and to make science a relevant part of students’ everyday lives.
For two perspectives on the Waldorf science curriculum, visit our blog posts “Marveling at Mushrooms” and “Why This Skeptical Engineer Trusts Waldorf Education.”