Middle School Test

Lower School

While education is a continuous and never-ending process, it is grounded in the experiences from childhood and school. At TWS we strive to inspire our students to evolve into creative thinkers who are centred and strongly connected to humanity and the environment.
Our curriculum is specifically designed to achieve these goals by:

  • integrating subject matters with developmentally appropriate themes and learning approaches, which appeal to the deepest interests of your child.
  • integrating academics, arts, movement and culture to appeal to diverse learning styles and cultivate the growth of your child's intellectual and social-emotional capacities.
  • providing extensive opportunities for children to be creative based on learning through designing, problem-solving and developing strong capacities for analytical and creative thinking.

This combination of integration and hands-on experience creates the optimum opportunity for healthy cognitive and emotional growth, and for building a foundation for success in Junior/Middle School, High School and beyond.

Grade 1

Our school year begins with the ‘Rose Ceremony’, which marks this important passage from Kindergarten to the Lower School. The Grade 12 class welcomes the new Grade 1 into the grade school community. The transition from Kindergarten to more structured learning in Grade 1 is an important step for students who are excited to join ‘the big school’.

Grade 1 students are eager to bond with their teacher and to be taught. They begin to experience a sense of individuality that gives them new capacities for learning and socializing; the challenges of the Grade 1 curriculum build upon these new capacities.

The Grade 1 year is structured around rhythm:

  • the calendar and its festivals
  • monthly change of the Main Lesson Block
  • the rhythm of the lessons balances quiet focus and active movement

Each Main Lesson topic has a three day rhythm; students engage with the same material in different ways over three days.

Movement activities take advantage of children’s developing bodies to learn and strengthen memory.

  • Rhythmic clapping and stamping while reciting times tables engage the child’s whole body, not just the head, to fully understand the concept of times tables and multiplication.
  • Movement activities deepen learning and balance children’s natural desires to move with the quiet listening and writing activities of the lesson.

Main Lesson Subjects

  • Introduction to the alphabet and writing
  • Basic facts to 10
  • Introduction to addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
  • Fairy tales
  • Folk Tales and nature stories – retold and dramatized

Skills Lessons

  • French, music (singing and recorder playing), eurythmy (a movement art), watercolour painting, drawing, modelling, knitting, rhythm exercises, form drawing, nature walks, games.

Grade 2

Students’ development continues in Grade 2. Each child has a deeper sense of their ability to grow and learn. This confidence comes with a bravado and social assertion that sometimes needs to be softened for a healthy social life.

The curriculum addresses this by presenting fables and stories of 'saints' or people who have had a special relationship with animals, e.g., St. Francis and the wolf. The animals in these stories reflect an aspect of our human nature that needs to be 'tamed', and the children find these stories reassuring and inspiring.

Grade 2 continues to be structured around rhythm:

  • the monthly change of the Main Lesson Block
  • the rhythm of the lesson balances quiet focus and active movement, as well as thinking and creative work.
  • each Main Lesson topic has a three day rhythm:
    • Day 1: introduce a subject
    • Day 2: recall the significant details of the presentation
    • Day 3: creating something
  • Students engage with the same material in different ways over three days.

Recitation to build memory skills is central to class work. Hundreds of lines will be learned and retained over the course of the year, from the lines for the class play, to the many verses and stories told throughout the year. This capacity for memorization will serve the students in the academic years ahead.

Movement and other creative activities continue to foster strong math skills. The movement process grounds the learning in the body, rather than just in the head, deepening learning and making it accessible for wider use in later years.

Field trips in Grade 2 build understanding of the connection between the children and our environment. They typically include trips to a farm, apple picking, skating trips and nature walks around the school and beyond. This direct experience of the natural world creates a base to build future respect for the environment.

Main Lesson Subjects

  • Writing (punctuation, syllables, capital letters, writing sentences)
  • Early reading skills
  • Arithmetic (multiplication tables, work with four processes, including carrying and borrowing)
  • Fables, legends and stories of Holy People
  • A class play drawn from the curriculum may be staged

Skills Lessons

  • French, music (singing and recorder playing), eurythmy (a movement art), watercolour painting, drawing, modelling, knitting, crocheting, games, form drawing, crafts, nature walks

Grade 3

Grade 3 is typically a time when children go through profound neurological and psychological shifts that occur between 9-10 years of age. We refer to this time as the 'nine year change'.

The Grade 3 curriculum brings a healing element to the psychological uncertainty the child feels at this time by teaching many practical life skills. These skills reassure the children that they will be able to take care of themselves one day.

The study of gardening and shelters around the world allows students to consider how they will on day make it on their own. Farming, gardening, food preparation and house building are a central focus of the curriculum. Students will be:

  • Planting and harvesting in the school garden;
  • Collecting compost daily throughout the school to feed the garden;
  • Visiting and staying at a working farm for 3 days;
  • Studying shelter through the ages and around the world:
    • Influences of climate, environment;
    • Location and designs of dwelling;
    • And sometimes, a small building project.

The stories in the Hebrew Scriptures reflect the child’s psychological experience. Like Adam and Eve, the children are leaving the paradise of childhood behind and having to go out into the world and discover how to live with other people and with the land.

Added: Measurement and its evolution: taking measure of the world gives the children the confidence that they can manage it. They learn how to measure - from a day’s journey to the king’s thumb width (which became our ‘inch’ measure!). Measuring length, width, weight and volume, charting time and handling money are all important skills to possess.

Main Lesson Subjects

  • Literacy, basic elements of grammar, introduction of cursive writing
  • Arithmetic (long division & multiplication, add and subtract columns)
  • Measurement, time, money
  • Farming, gardening and house building
  • Hebrew stories and other wonder tales
  • Optional class play relating to the curriculum

Skills Lessons

  • Reading, French, music (notation of rhythm & notes, singing and recorder, rounds), introduction to string instruments, eurythmy (a movement art), painting, knitting and crocheting (additional skills), games/physical education, form and geometric drawing, farming and gardening

Grade 4

Grade 4 students often display self-assurance and the sense that they have ‘arrived’. New privileges are granted at school, such as the ability to be on the playing field with students from the older grades. The forest playground remains a popular play location with swings, sand area and climbing structure; students often enjoy the feeling of their speed, strength and agility.

Focus on group activities draws the class together as a social whole: plays, movement lessons, games, and stage performances all support this end.

Students need a great deal of form to meet school tasks, both academic and otherwise. Self-discipline and healthy work habits are developed at this age.

Increasing objectivity permeates the curriculum, such as the first overt science study: study of the self and observation of similarities, differences and relationships between the human being and animals. This study is extended through painting, modelling, play acting and poetry recitation.

Geography study starts with the local area and its geographical characteristics. The class studies the lives of the First Nations people before the arrival of settlers, the effect of their arrival, intermingling between the peoples locally and the history of settlement in York Region, particularly Richmond Hill.

Main Lesson Subjects

  • Arithmetic (fractions)
  • Reading, grammar, spelling, composition, dramatization
  • Local geography and history
  • Norse mythology and sagas
  • Study of humans and animals
  • Optional class play

Skills Lessons

  • French grammar and reading, music (songs in parts, tenor and alto recorders) stringed instruments continued, eurythmy (a movement art), painting, embroidery, hand sewing and cross-stitch, physical education, form drawing, gardening.

Grade 5

The Grade 5 student is balanced; physical development and academic ability are both strong and stable prior to the approaching changes of adolescence. Most students have good learning habits and are able to begin more detailed independent work.

The study of ancient cultures leverages the students’ expanding academic capacities. Students experience the contributions of India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece to our understanding of the world. This year marks the change from pre-history and mythic representations to formal Western History (classical Greeks).

Study of Ancient Greece is enhanced by re-enactment of the Greek Olympic Games. A day of competitions in pentathlon, discus, javelin, wrestling, long jump and running are all conducted with a mood of reverence and striving for beauty. This event brings together students from a number of Waldorf schools and is very significant in the Grade 5 calendar. Preparation of the chiton, the traditional Greek dress for competition, features by each student’s personal design and handwork.

The study of botany is suited to the grounds of TWS, with opportunities to observe plants directly in their natural habitat. Nature walks and sketching different varieties of trees and plants outdoors in their natural setting are part of the lessons.

Main Lesson Subjects

  • English composition, grammar, spelling, reading and plays
  • Canadian geography
  • India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece
  • Decimals, fractions and freehand geometry
  • Botany
  • A class play drawn from the curriculum may be staged

Skills Lessons

  • French, music (four part recorder, singing, strings and winds ensembles), eurythmy, knitting with four needles, woodwork (carving), clay modelling, painting, physical education (traditional Greek Pentathlon events, team sports skills, fitness)

Grade 6

Grade 6 students demonstrate a wide range of signs of puberty and adolescence. Some have lengthening limbs and faces, and may become self-consciousness as they work to regain control of their changing bodies. The study of the ‘physical body’ of the earth, geology and mineralogy, matches the students’ experiences of changes in their bodies.

Science study flows from observation of phenomena such as sound, light, heat, magnetism and static electricity. Students move from observation to a basic understanding of how it works and exists in the world around them. This understanding is expanded to how technology and machines operate in our world.

Astronomy also begins by observing these phenomena, the constellations in the sky, and the movement of the stars, planets and our moon. The study is supported by poems and quotations on astronomical themes as well.

History offers a view of the Romans and their control over the physical world with aqueducts, roads and cities. The students are led to understand how the strength and excesses of the Romans led to destruction (native cultures, and eventually the Roman Empire itself), which lays the base for understanding Medieval societies (feudal society, monasteries etc.)

Special events in Grade 6 may include:

  • camping trips (often to study geology or astronomy),
  • a class play related to the themes of the year
  • building a ‘haunted house’ for 5th graders at Hallowe’en
  • the Medieval Games and Feast Day to extend the experience of the Middle Ages Main lesson

Added: Main Lesson Subjects

  • English composition, grammar, spelling, literature, drama
  • Geography of the Americas or Europe and Africa
  • Troy, Rome, the Crusades, Medieval Society
  • Arthurian legends (1400-1700) (Grade 6 or 7)
  • A class play drawn from the curriculum may be staged
  • Business math, geometry, percent
  • Physics (sound, light and colour, heat, magnetism, static electricity), minerals and geology, Geocentric astronomy.

Skills lessons

  • French, music (four part recorder, singing strings and winds ensembles), eurythmy (a movement art), knitting on four needles and other needle work, painting, woodwork (carving), physical education (team sports), gardening

Grade 7

Most students will have their 13th birthday during this year; some will enjoy a cultural ceremony or celebration to mark this milestone. Almost all students will have reached puberty and be in the early stages of adolescence, with accompanying highly charged emotions.

Along with these physical changes are the development of a burgeoning intellect and a capacity for logical thought. Teachers approach material through observation, and encourages an understanding the relationships between materials, human beings and society.

The class looks for opportunities to contribute to the larger community by volunteering in a well-organized, structured program. Support for a food bank, or Out-of-the-Cold program gives students a larger perspective on life, and plants seeds for future growth. The adage ‘think globally, act locally’ is reinforced in the life of the class.

The class play often draws on material from the Renaissance, and presents increasingly more challenges to the actors. Over the years all students are assigned a large role to provide them with a challenging acting opportunity.

Main Lesson Subjects

  • English composition, grammar, spelling, research papers, literature and drama
  • Class play
  • Geography of Europe and Africa, or the Americas (other topic in Grade 6)
  • The Renaissance, Reformation, Age of Exploration
  • Arthurian legends (1400-1700) (Grade 6 or 7)
  • Algebra, geometry, power, root
  • Physics, inorganic chemistry, astronomy, physiology
  • Perspective drawing

Skills Lessons

  • French, orchestra, eurythmy (a movement art), knitting (advanced), woodwork (carving, objects with moveable parts), physical education (circus arts, team sports), gardening, visual arts.

Grade 8

Grade 8 at TWS has a special quality, as it is the culmination of the Lower School years. Many students have spent 8 or more years together, and see this year as the pinnacle of their school years to-date.

History lessons focus on Revolutions mirror the turmoil and yearning for independence students are experiencing as they enter adolescence.

The Grade 8 project, a year-long independent study on a topic of the student’s choice, reflects the students’ status. Students are given a clearly defined process to conduct research and present it in correct academic form. They also present a model or visual presentation of the theme, make an oral presentation, and answer questions posed by classmates, teachers and parents.

High School open mic nights are open to Grade 8 students, as the ‘seniors’ of the Lower School.

The class play is another key marker of this year. The script, often written by a well-known playwright, challenges the students in their speech, acting and teamwork. Students support the work to prepare sets, props, costumes, make up, lights and backstage, and house management. The resulting production is enjoyed by other students, teachers, parents and community members.

The class trip is a key event, often involving a wilderness experience supported by guides. Most destinations involve nature activities, some with accompanying cultural experiences.

The final event of the year is the Grade 8 graduation. Students present a program of music, skits and thank-yous; the teacher presents diplomas with a word about each student. The graduation is attended by family, friends and other community members.

Main Lesson Subjects

  • English composition, grammar, literature
  • Geography: any parts of the world not covered in previous years
  • Canadian and American history, Industrial Revolution to modern history
  • Algebra, geometry
  • Meteorology, climatology, physics, organic chemistry, anatomy
  • Nutrition
  • Special Grade 8 Play production

Skills Lessons

  • French, orchestra, eurythmy (a movement art), handwork (machine-sewn garments), woodwork (stool), physical education, gardening, visual arts.