Library Lady's Corner
The Earth and Waldorf Education April 29 2020
It’s exciting to realize that in the same year that Waldorf Education is celebrating a hundred years on Earth, environmentalists like Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and Friends of the Earth celebrated the 50th birthday of Earth Day.
Waldorf graduates leave their schools with a keen awareness of the environment, the living quality of the Earth herself, and the interconnectedness of each of us with each other and with all living things on the Earth. This is not accomplished in Waldorf schools as a kind of “object lesson.”
There’s Science and There’s Science! Part II April 12 2016One cardiologist whose daughter attended a Waldorf school noticed an eighth grader’s illustration of the human heart from anatomy lessons. The cardiologist commented that if the whole team of cardiology under her understood the workings of the heart as well as the Waldorf student who drew that picture, she would have the finest team in the country.
The Green Curriculum in Waldorf Schools ~ Part XII October 30 2015The Waldorf student’s final year brings many inspiring, yet difficult questions to the surface. Many of these questions come at the level of the individual: what are my strengths and weaknesses and how do I work with them? Where do I go from here? Why might I choose a particular path or direction in the world, and how do I approach the many opportunities and challenges before me? The Waldorf twelfth grader feels at last his or her part as a citizen of the universe, eager to step into the world and to leave school behind.
The Green Curriculum in Waldorf Schools ~ Part XI October 27 2015In eleventh grade, the Waldorf students experience their thinking opening to its intellectual zenith. The sciences lead them to continued explorations into the world. New levels of questioning are possible and asking “why” is now in a matured and deepened way. The inquiries of the students show a yearning for the true meaning of things – the reasons and intentions behind a particular phenomenon, action or institution in order to understand comprehensively and to discern their relationship to it. Why are we a nation? Why do plants differentiate themselves? Why are there forces of good and evil at work in the world?
The Green Curriculum in Waldorf Schools ~ Part X October 23 2015By grade ten the students’ have a turning to capacities for intellectual pursuits, and for self-knowledge, invite questions of evolution and transformation. Childhood fades completely and students begin to step up and out of the confines of their previous youthful modes of perceiving, through tensions and polarities, towards experiences of inner and outer balance. A process-orientation echoes through the tenth grade Waldorf curriculum in support of this delicate transition.
The Green Curriculum in Waldorf Schools ~ Part IX October 20 2015Entering high school often heralds an intense period of remarkable physical growth, inner struggle, and social development in a young person’s maturation – they are full of subjectivity, emotional energy, and willful activity. High school students are climbing to the peak of their intellectual capacity at about the time of graduation from high school. At the same time, students step towards greater intellectual capacities, and specifically the capacity to discern out of their own wisdom and sense of judgment. To meet the intensity of these inner developments, the ninth grade curriculum is rich and full of matching intensities found in the intriguing world around them.
The Green Curriculum in Waldorf Schools ~ Part VIII October 16 2015Eighth Grade represents an important milestone in the education of children as they complete their lower school experience with deepened exploration and exciting culminations. As part of the eighth year, the students turn a critical eye to modern history, examining important turning points from the zenith of world exploration to the struggles for freedom and independence in the French and American revolutions, to the history of industry. Biographies of famous leaders carry the students through time from Napoleon’s great conquests to the strength and ideals of the modern civil rights movement.
The Green Curriculum in Waldorf Schools ~ Part VII October 09 2015The grade seven curriculum is filled with the vitality needed to match the seventh graders’ remarkable growth at this time as well as their developing intellects. Social skills roller coast while artistic abilities flower. The Renaissance leads the way with the great artists as inspiration for these practicing artisans of early adolescence. Guided by their class teacher, and building on years of observation and appreciation for the gifts of the Earth, the students continue the quest of deepening their understanding of humanity, and its place in the natural world. On from the Renaissance, the students are led into the sciences to chemistry, mechanics, combustion, physiology, and astronomy.
The Green Curriculum in Waldorf Schools ~ Part VI October 08 2015As the Waldorf class enters grade six, they step towards a wakeful readiness to tackle more conceptual aspects of their studies, with the active imaginations and flexible, mobile thinking that Waldorf pedagogy and curriculum foster throughout the grades. This also holds true specifically for the children’s further exploration and relationship to the natural world. Sixth graders get to the bottom of things with explorations into geology, an expansive study of the mineral kingdom, often leading from minerals to metals, gems and crystals, and completing this spectrum of complexity with some of the roles and functions of mineral substances in the human body.
The Green Curriculum in Waldorf Schools ~ Part V October 07 2015The fifth grade curriculum builds rich tapestries of heroic myths, epic stories and the histories of ancient civilizations. But perhaps the most cherished centerpiece of the fifth grade experience takes place in the great outdoors: The Fifth Grade Olympiad. Based on the classic games of ancient Greece, the students prepare and participate in a pentathlon of javelin, discus, wrestling, long jump and running meets, often with other nearby Waldorf fifth grades. The games each bring distinct qualities to life – balance, beauty, precision, levity and gravity – in a celebration of these attributes, ever-present in human experience and in the natural world.
The Green Curriculum in Waldorf Schools ~ Part IV October 06 2015Strong, willful experiences meet the fourth grader as they work their way through the ninth-year change. In epic tales of an imaginary world unlike our own, the sense of wonder and amazement kindled in early grades finds dramatic representation in Norse mythology: the stories impart spirited depictions of supernatural beings, gods, giants, elves and their animal friends and foes. The stories of mythology and poetry provide stirring personifications of animals, which encourage an interest and care for them that is too frequently under-cultivated in society today.
The Green Curriculum in Waldorf Schools ~ Part III October 05 2015Among many other investigations, third grade addresses the question of how we live, survive, and thrive in relationship to the Earth. The children begin to experience story in connection to history, culture and tradition, as they hear stories from the Old Testament, from Native Americans and from other groups and cultures. Specifically, third grade offers many experiential explorations into how humanity works with and transforms nature to meet the needs of civilization. How did ancient peoples work and live with the land? How did they build their homes?
The Green Curriculum in Waldorf Schools ~ Part II October 02 2015In second grade, many nature-filled legends and fables take center stage, as the children grow into greater awareness of contrast and difference in the world around them. As a result, they are increasingly available for stories about human nature and ideals. Many stories emphasize the relationship and responsibility between human beings and the natural world, especially the animal kingdom.
The Green Curriculum in Waldorf Schools October 01 2015
A Twelve Part Series
From Roots to Bloom
A few years ago on AWSNA’s “Green Pages” Sarah Hearn, Waldorf graduate from the New York City Rudolf Steiner School, with help from a class teacher or two, wrote a series of short articles on the many ways in which the curriculum in our schools connects a child to the Earth, awakens a devoted love of Nature and grows environmentalists who carry a passion for caring for the Earth and all its gifts. Sarah has agreed to have these little articles republished as a guest blogger here. She called her series “From Roots to Bloom,” to emphasize the growth in a human being as reflected in the plant kingdom.
Everyday is an "earth day" within a Waldorf school but since 1970, April 22 has been formally observed as "Earth Day" across the nation. With every day that passes, the ill effects of modern civilization on the environment has become more and more evident. Climate change, air/water/ocean pollution, shrinking wetlands, deforestation, habitat destruction, ozone depletion, and water shortages are just a few of the issues facing the planet today.
Back in the early 1960’s, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin began noticing that the condition of the environment was not being recognized on any political agenda despite evidence of degradation.