Students in Grades 1 through 5 use head, heart, and hands to delve into a robust academic program that engages all their senses and creates lifelong learners.
Main lesson occupies the first two hours of each day. Lessons are structured in blocks of three to four weeks, allowing students to explore multiple subjects with depth and flexibility. Blocks rotate between language arts, history, math and science so that students engage in a varied curriculum. Separate skill building courses in reading, writing, and math run concurrently throughout the year.
A unique feature of Waldorf classrooms is the Main Lesson Book, a hand-crafted, hand-illustrated book written by each child that covers the subject studied in class. By creating their own “textbooks,” students move beyond being passive recipients of an educational program to being active collaborators in their own learning.
Math and Science
Students encounter math and science through looking at their environment. Outdoor play and nature stories awaken a sense of wonder. Math instruction begins through games, both visual and kinetic. Science learning continues through an investigation of the seasons, a crucial part of the students’ growing awareness of their place in the universe. Practical activities enrich these studies. As the students approach middle school, learning becomes both formalized and integrated. Math lessons build on students’ growing conceptual knowledge. Science lessons turn towards a more specific investigation of the physical world.
Mandarin and Spanish
At the Brooklyn Waldorf School, students learn Spanish and Mandarin through dramatic storytelling. These stories teach vocabulary and grammar, while also engaging our students in a basic study of other cultures. In addition to developing their linguistic abilities, our narrative-based curriculum also teaches students to infer meaning through context clues. The skills gained through our language studies help to enrich students’ other studies.
History and Social Studies
Students start to explore the world by taking in their local environment. Through map-making and field trips, they gain an understanding of New York geography. Students visit cultural institutions to study the history of New York City. As they learn to link the modern world to the distant past, students move on to study World History. Students become immersed in stories and myths to deepen their knowledge of early civilizations.
Movement, Music, and Arts (Fine, Practical, and Performing)
Artistic expression lies at the core of Waldorf education. Each of our teachers relies upon music, drawing, and watercolor as fundamental forms of communication in the classroom, which enliven daily lessons and spark students’ imaginations.
Children begin their music studies in our early childhood classrooms, exploring a number of cultures across the globe through song and rhythmic games. As they move through the grades, students advance to choral and instrument studies. Music theory and orchestra form our Middle School music curriculum.
Movement is also heavily incorporated into our curriculum. Equipped with the foundational phsyical knowledge they have gained through our Early Childhood program, grades students will go on to participate in Games and Movement classes. In Middle School, they are able to join our basketball teams and compete against peer schools across the City. Students of all grade levels will also learn eurythmy, a movement art that is unique to Waldorf schools.
At BWS, each grade has a chance to explore Brooklyn, greater NYC, and as the students grow older, take overnight trips. Traveling outside of our urban environment allows students to interact with natural conditions. Spending time together outside of the classroom guides students towards developing strong bonds, building leadership skills, and continuing to work on the act of collaboration.