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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 centered 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

Grade 1 sets the foundation for the years to come. One of the main Grade 1 goals is to create a healthy and cohesive group of children and adults that can openly express themselves with humility and respect and who endeavor to practice tolerance and support for each other. In this way, the whole group becomes an entity greater than the sum of its parts. Grade 1 is a time for celebrating beauty while learning basic skills, practising reverence and expressing gratitude. Grade 1 stories are international fairy tales, nature stories and “pedagogical” stories. The fairy tales give the children confidence in beauty, goodness and justice in the world.  Through the nature stories they learn about the world around them. The teacher creates “pedagogical” stories to help the children navigate social issues such as fairness, equality, honesty and friendship difficulties.

Movement:

Grade 1 days begin with movement.  Skipping, galloping, hopping, clapping and stomping accompany many of the morning warm-up verses and songs.  This helps to waken the children up physically and mentally. It brings awareness to their surroundings and develops coordination and confidence. They also work on learning the right and left sides of the body.

Games class in grade 1 is a mixture of large and small group activities including both imaginative games and games aimed at mastery individual skills. The group games may require the students to observe and anticipate before acting, move in a variety of spatial planes, work as a socially responsible team member, move rhythmically, control impulses, and engage their four lower senses (touch, life, self-movement, balance). The individual skills are catching and throwing, skipping, basic tumbling, healthy rough-housing (a form of wrestling), balancing, juggling, folk dancing, and hand clapping games.

The Sensory-Motor Enrichment lessons include movement, drawing, and painting exercises that focus on developing and strengthening the foundational  capacities  needed for  readiness for academic learning: overcoming early movement patterns ,comfort with the sense of touch, free movement of limbs, spatial awareness and ability to move through space with confidence,  laterality, strong sense of balance, strong proprioceptive sense, motor planning, strong sense of rhythm, and strong gross and fine motor skills. Lessons develop over the course of the year to meet the needs that the children demonstrate in their participation.

The grade one Eurythmy lesson takes its material from the seasonal and fairy tale literature. Simple music in the mood of the fifth or a major key builds the foundation for the musical movement experience. The gestures are imitated from the teacher. Physical skills include skipping, hopping, galloping and side-stepping. Forms consist of the circle, straight lines and curves.

Mathematics:

The first main lesson block in Arithmetic is spent discovering the quality of numbers and learning about Roman and Arabic numerals. Written Arabic numbers are practised in the sand, on the blackboard and in Main Lesson books. The children count forward and backward to 100 and beyond. Coloured block or bead manipulatives and matching cards are used to learn about place value.  The children practice counting by 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s and 10s while hopping, clapping, stomping, walking and manipulating bean bags. The essence of the four processes (subtraction, addition, multiplication and division) is understood through stories about the four temperaments that typify the processes. Counting gems and beans help work through math stories (problems) which are then written in equation form in the Main Lesson book.

Language Arts:

English language is developed through daily recitation of verses, poetry, songs, stories and short dramatic presentations.  Each day, several of the children are called on to recall a portion of the previous day’s story. They learn each letter through a story and picture and draw these in their Main Lesson books. Each ‘letter picture’ takes the shape of the letter and is a word that begins with the sound of that letter. The children learn to identify and print all the letters beautifully in capital form. Consonants and vowels are practised orally, then written to create simple words that correspond to their drawing. Consonant blends, sight words and some other phonics rules are taught in Grade 1.

Form Drawing:

In Grade 1 the children are taught that the world is made up of straight lines and curved lines. These lines are explored in simple patterns that grow and shrink in length and combine to make many forms on the page. Concentric circles, arches and running forms are also explored. Form drawings are explored through story and movement before drawing them on the page.

Home Surroundings:

During this year much time is spent outdoors in all seasons and weather; these experiences lead to stories about nature. On the TWS campus there are fields, a forest, a ravine, and a stream to explore.  In the classroom items from the outdoors are displayed on a nature table that children delight in adding to.  These experiences, and the seasons in general, often lead to craft activities.

Sculpting:

Usually each week Grade 1 children model with beeswax, creating shapes suggested through a story, often nature stories relating to animals.  Some teachers create these stories based on the children’s outdoor experiences, others use a variety of texts.  A favourite text is the Stories of Mother Westwind by Thornton Burgess.

French:

In grade 1 French is taught exclusively orally.  The children are immersed in the language through verses, songs, poems, stories, movement, games, dialogues, fairy tales and plays spoken and sung in chorus. Each lesson integrates a wide variety of movement.  Great care is given to correct pronunciation and to foster respect and reverence for both the language and the culture.

Painting:

Through the ‘Wet on Wet’ watercolour technique the children are introduced to and experience the qualities of colour. They begin with each of the primary colours, painting on the wet paper with the wet paint and watch as the colour moves over the white page. The teacher demonstrates how the colours can be worked with and gives each colour its own story in which its nature is revealed.  Through “conversation” the colours meet each other and sometimes combine.  Out of the colour form may arise.

 

Grade 2

The Grade 2 year marks a growth in confidence and abilities from Grade 1.  As in Grade 1 ,the curriculum supports integration of the senses and neurological system with the physical body.  This builds confidence in the children in their ability to move through the world.

Socially, the children are more likely, than in Grade 1, to “knock heads” with each other, and also be caring and compassionate as they test their growing capacities. Stories told in Main Lessons give children opportunities to experience these aspects of this stage of development.  Through fables they learn of the foibles of humanity and what leads people to “knock heads”.  Through stories of noble, community serving individuals from around the world, and the saints of the Middle Ages, they learn how people can change their ways and how to live with great caring and compassion.  Nature stories and legends of the people Indigenous to the area are also an important part of the Grade Two story curriculum.

Movement:

Lessons work to orient children to different aspects of their bodies, specifically their left and right hands, as well as to conduct basic movement activities that support the gradual integration of their neurological systems.  This is worked on using whole body movement, core strengthening activities, symmetrical and asymmetrical movement activities, skipping, hopping, rhythmic walking, bending and stretching, throwing and catching, as well as balance and spatial orientation activities.  These activities take place in morning warm up as well as in Games lessons.

Games class in grade 2 is a mixture of large and small group activities to encourage both imaginative games and mastering individual skills. The group games may require the students to observe and anticipate before acting, move in a variety of spatial planes, work as a socially responsible team member, move rhythmically, control impulses, and engage their four lower senses (touch, life, self-movement, balance). There is an introduction of games that require personal responsibility, risk taking, and the playful element of not taking oneself too seriously.). The individual skills are catching and throwing, skipping, basic tumbling, healthy rough-housing (a form of wrestling), balancing, juggling, aiming/precision, folk dancing, and hand clapping games.

The Sensory-Motor Enrichment lessons include movement, drawing, and painting exercises that focus on developing and strengthening the foundational capacities needed for readiness for academic learning.  In addition to the capacities worked on in Grade 1, which are listed below, in Grade 2 an emphasis is placed on bi-lateral integration and laterality.   Capacities worked on in Grades 1 and 2: overcoming early movement patterns, comfort with the sense of touch, free movement of limbs, spatial awareness and ability to move through space with confidence, laterality, strong sense of balance, strong proprioceptive sense, motor planning, strong sense of rhythm, and strong gross and fine motor skills. Lessons develop over the course of the year to meet the needs that the children demonstrate in their participation and in keeping with the needs shown in the Grade 2 Observation.

The Grade 2 Observation is a process by which every Grade 2 child is seen individually.  Teachers with training in working with The Extra Lesson, a Waldorf developed approach to sensory- motor integration, conduct the observation.  Through looking at the sensory-motor development of each child, a profile of the class is built.  Teachers integrate appropriate activities into their lessons that address areas in need of development and strengthening.  Through this process some children may receive additional help individually or in small groups as needed.

The grade two Eurythmy curriculum takes its material from the stories and verses of the saints, fables and seasonal literature. Simple pieces in a major key make up the music curriculum. The forms are still based on the straight line and curve but now include two circles instead of one.  This provides an awareness of ‘self and of the other’, which is one of the themes of the grade two work. This also makes opposite forms possible. The saints with their strong social conscience versus the clever animal stories bring a different kind of opposite to the lesson.  The second-grade student should be able to find their place in these new form possibilities even after a free-form exercise. That includes their place in line. They should be secure in their awareness of up and down, right and left. Their basic movement skills of skipping, galloping and side-stepping should be solid. Their feet should be able to do the opposite to what the teacher has demonstrated as a foot exercise. They should be able to differentiate between large and small, strong and gentle and quick and slow. They should be able to follow the gestures and know when it is time to work and when there is quiet. They should be able to watch the others and then be able to step into their own work again. They will be asked to recognize a movement and name the animal or music that is being moved. They should after practice be able and brave enough to lead different parts of the lesson on their own.

Form Drawing:

The Form Drawing lessons begin with running forms and progress to forms with mirror images using a vertical midline.  In the drawings, a form is started on one side of a line and the children work to produce its mirror image. These forms can progress to using the horizontal midline, crossing both midlines and then to quadrant mirror images

Mathematics:

The math curriculum reviews the four processes to solidify the children’s use of the processes and the differences among them.  Children work on memorizing the times tables/division tables from 1-12 using rhythm sticks, bean bags and walking patterns while reciting.  They continue to work with place value, number dictation and memorizing basic adding/subtracting facts to 18 to help the children build a strong fact base for future work.  This work is done through stories that are the beginning of word problems.

Language Arts:

The children continue to develop clear speech through recitation, memory recall and word games to create a strong foundation for reading and writing. Speech work focuses on making speech expressive to communicate movement, action and emotion.

The year often begins with introduction of lowercase letters and talking about the usage difference between capital and lower-case letters.  The children review the sounds of each letter and begin to work with word families to connect common sounds with written forms.  Children copy sentences that coincide with their drawings into their Main Lesson books. These sentences are regularly read out loud. The children learn spelling rules and spend time discovering words that follow these rules in various sentences written in the Main Lesson books from stories shared in class.

The children work with class readers to decode and analyse poems, phrases and words from songs and verses they learned in Grade 1.  In this way the children are able to recognize words they were already familiar with.  The teacher prepares this ‘reader’ based on pieces already memorized, or choses a book that is based on phonemes the children have been introduced to, and that has plenty of repetition.

Cursive writing is sometimes introduced and practised in the spring.

Sculpting:

Beeswax sculpting involves warming the wax while recalling or hearing a story, then, with the teacher’s guidance, molding an aspect from the story. At times throughout the year, children are given opportunities to choose part of a story they could retell through their sculpture.

Singing and Recorders:

Song and music ring out during our morning; many of the daily blessings and transitions are sung. The children learn new songs in each block. The children practise playing their pentatonic flutes regularly during Main Lesson, often playing songs we also sing.

Recall and Memory Work:

Children memorize many songs, verses and poems, as well as the times tables, getting progressively more complex as the year goes on. Every day the children spend a portion of our lessons remembering the new material brought the day before.

French:

The lessons continue to be taught orally. Grade 2 is a year in which students begin to learn and experience through contrast, for example adjectives such as (petit/grand, etc...).  The language continues to be taught exclusively orally.  Also, the individual versus the group, the I versus the we, become more conscious for the child. Accordingly, the students are invited to speak individually although group recitation remains a strong component of the lessons.

Painting:

Painting in Grade Two provides experiences of the primary and secondary colours in a "wet on wet" format. Forms begin to arise out of these colour relationships, such as images of pumpkins at Hallowe'en, characters from stories and seasonal themes.

Class Play:

In the fall, the children learn, as an ensemble, the play of St. Martin. This play is performed outside after a beautiful lantern walk, followed by a warm gathering of all around a fire. The Grade 2 class typically performs another play at some point during the school year.

 

Grade 3

As in Grades 1 and 2 the Grade 3 school year continues to focus on helping children become healthy human beings in all ways. The psycho/social turning point referred to as "the nine-year change" takes places for many children in Grade 3; much of our work is to help the children transform in a healthy way so they are stronger for the future. The children are moving out of the childhood fantasy phase. They cross a boundary out of the land of enchantment they will never again enter in the same way. It is a time filled with loss and fear for the children.

Children also lose some of their capacity to learn through imitation. This enables them to develop stronger capacities for independence in thought, feeling and action. They develop strong powers of memory and the ability to make mental pictures of their experiences. It is important we continue to work hard at integrating the senses and neurological system with the physical body.

The curriculum is designed to help children through this developmental stage.  Stories of the Hebrew Bible bring a picture of development from being at one with all in the world, through stages of dependence to independence and the need to listen to the “still, small voice within”; these stories are the centrepiece of the year.

We bring the children practical activities that comfort them as they think of themselves heading out into the world. They learn how people make shelter, how to grow food, how to measure things for everyday life, how to exchange money and how to manage social relationships. We bake in the kitchen, build a shelter, work in the garden, plants seeds, sell seedlings and work on a farm on a 3 day trip.

Movement:

We use whole body movement, core strengthening, symmetrical and asymmetrical movement activities; form drawing, skipping, hopping, rhythmic walking, bending and stretching, throwing and catching, as well as balance and spatial orientation activities.  These take place in games and on balance boards, with verses and songs as a form of play.

Games class in grade 3 is a mixture of large and small group activities that are focused on individuality, collaboration, aiming, precision, and judging. The group games are often building skills as precursors to sports. We spent blocks of time focusing on particular skills such as throwing and catching, strategizing, basic tumbling, juggling, skipping, memory, rhythm, hand-eye coordination, ball kicking, folk dancing, healthy rough-housing (a form of wrestling) and pyramid building. These skills help to master the left/right spatial planes and midline crossing. An important element of these classes was learning good sportsmanship, following the rules and forms of a games class, developing physical aptitude, graciously winning and losing, and enjoying the spirit of playing games with one another.

The grade three eurythmy lessons are based on images of Creation and Rudolf Steiner’s Evolutionary sequence of Consonants, seasonal literature and poems about farming, gardening, building and other activities. The music is in a major key but gradually moves to the minor key experience. Geometric forms are added. The movements change from imitation to knowing. The gestures are recognized as the pictures of sounds, tones, pitch, and rhythms.

The individual student should be able to see when the circle is properly spaced and balanced.   In an active group setting, they should be able to individually walk the forms of triangles, and simple stars. They must know the directions of space on their body and in the space around. They need to be able to walk straight and curved forms with confidence. They need to be able to remember their place in the forms.

They should be able to hear and clap and step rhythms accurately. They should be able to skip, gallop and side-step with the music. Expansion and contraction of forms and gestures should be rhythmic and fluid.  The other qualities being worked on should also become visible i.e. water, fire, earth, or air. Concentration and rod exercises should be able to be done individually.

Form Drawing:

In third grade when most of the students will experience their nine-year change, we continue to work with an axis of symmetry however now the two sides are different because we use a curved axis.  For the first time the children are being asked to deal with the difference between the outer and inner life.  When working with a curved axis one side of the form is more open to the world while the other is more closed.  This closely reflects what is happening in the child’s soul life during this transitional period.  The form drawing lessons for the third-grade work to aid the children in finding a harmonious balance between the inside and the outside.

Mathematics:

In math we work on: memorizing math facts up to 18; speed in calculations with math sheets; multiplication/division tables; adding and subtracting with multiple digits; borrowing/carrying; multiplying multiple digits by a single multiplier;  long division by a single divisor; measurement of time (clock, days, months); measurement of distance, weight, volume (Imperial and metric); counting money, making change; mental math; problem solving using multiple processes; estimation; finding the mean between two numbers.

English Language:

We work developing clear speech as the foundation for reading, writing and spelling. We recite verses, sing songs and present small dramas. Children begin reading books this year in a variety of groupings; they read aloud in groups and individually, learn decoding and word attack skills and reading with expression. They are introduced to the library and are allowed to check-out books. In grammar we introduce nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. The focus of writing this year is retelling stories or recounting experiences. The children are encouraged to make their best spelling guesses but not to get stuck. Our concern is to develop a sense of writing as speech. We continue to work on penmanship; if not introduced in Grade 2, we introduce cursive writing (upper and lower case).

Painting and Sculpting:

Throughout the year we paint extensively with watercolours. Subject matter is based on themes from the curriculum. Seasonal images also enhance the celebration of nature and festivals. A special series of paintings are often done to illustrate the story of Creation. The technique of wet on wet is still used with the intention of developing technique. As the children gain more control over their materials more form and variations of colour are worked with.

Further work with the quality of primary colours by exploring how they arrive out of light and dark. Mixing the primaries to make orange, green and violet with confidence is practiced. We sculpt characters and animals from our stories with beeswax.

Music:

We sing throughout the day; folksongs, many in Hebrew, are introduced. We add more complex tunes to develop strong listening skills.  We play recorders daily, graduating from the pentatonic flute to the C-flute. Later in the year, the orchestra teacher introduces the violin. Children learn how to hold a violin and bow properly, how to draw the bow, where to place their fingers on the strings and some of the names of the notes.

We continue to spend a portion of our Main Lesson daily remembering what happened the day before. All children are expected to remember something from the previous day’s story.  Progressively children are asked for more and more detail and are provided many ways to express their memories (through clay, drawing, writing, making something out of paper, etc.). We also memorize many songs, verses and poems as well as math work.

Recall and Memory Work:

Children memorize many songs, verses and poems, as well as the times tables, getting progressively more complex as the year goes on. Every day the children spend a portion of our lessons remembering the new material brought the day before.

Developing the Will:

We work on the children’s capacity to engage in hard work, overcome obstacles, learn difficult things, do chores and create with their hands every day.  We add to our list of chores this year collecting and taking out the compost throughout the school. We maintain strong, consistent daily and weekly rhythms.  We also add the dimensions of time and deadline this year to help focus our activity.

French:

In grade 3 the lessons continue to be oral. They are supported by verses, songs, poems, stories, movement, games, dialogues and plays. The children experience a taste of writing and their first French book in which they draw the different trades and write the names of these trades.

The transition to speaking individually is further encouraged. More question-and-answer format is used to present opportunity for individual speaking. Choral speaking and reciting as a whole class continue.  New vocabulary supports the themes of the main lesson curriculum. Vocabulary is practiced through games prepared and led by the students such as a loto (matching) game. Numbers are practiced with the use of mental arithmetic reinforcing the math curriculum.

Special Events and Activities:

Grade 3 is a year filled with special events and activities. Possibilities include: participating in the Michaelmas play; carving pumpkins; making calendars and clocks; class play; Seder supper; baking/bake sale; growing seedlings in the greenhouse; plant sale; building a shelter for school community using hand tools; farm trip; gardening; carding, spinning and weaving wool; making a rag rug; crafts with corn husks; and making clothing by hand.

 

Grade 4

The curriculum of Grade 4 meets the needs of children who have experienced the 9-10 year change as well as those who undergo the change during this school year.  The main stories of the year are from Norse mythology and the Finnish Saga, the Kalevala.  These stories meet the soul development of the children; they take the children through scenes of creation and the powers of creation to the earthly struggles against inhumanity and selfishness, to redemption and a new world arising out of destruction.  Each of the characters in both of these sagas embody strong personalities with qualities the children are beginning to experience in themselves and in each other.  By the end of Grade 4 we hope the children feel secure and confident as learners, eager to develop their skills and learn more about the world.

Movement:

Games class in grade 4 is a mixture of large and small group activities that are focused on individuality, collaboration, aiming, precision, and judging. The group games are building skills as precursors to sports (such as volleyball, basketball, baseball, track and field). We spent blocks of time focusing on particular skills such as throwing and catching, strategizing, basic tumbling, juggling, skipping, memory, rhythm, hand-eye coordination, ball kicking, folk dancing, healthy rough-housing (a form of wrestling) and pyramid building. These skills help to master the left/right spatial planes and midline crossing. An important element of this class is learning good sportsmanship, following the rules and forms of a games class, developing physical aptitude, graciously winning and losing, and enjoying the spirit of playing games with one another.

The grade four Eurythmy lesson material is taken from the Norse myths and the seasons. It includes the moving of geometrical forms, alliteration, grammar and continued rhythm work in both speech and music. The music includes strong major and minor experiences, scales, beat and rhythm. The rod and concentration exercises are more challenging. We begin to move in all directions while facing forward, no longer held by the circle.

The individual student should become comfortable in this new orientation to space and be able to follow the forms facing forward. They should be able to walk lemniscate with the proper spacing. They should be able to find their place in any of the forms without difficulty.

They should be able to accurately step rhythms on forms independent of the activity of the hands.   Concentration exercises in movement should be remembered and executed correctly.  This includes the mastery of rod skills.

The individual student should be able to move the gestures for sounds and tones without help. Things like the C-scale and the alphabet should be familiar.

They should be able to recognize when something is done beautifully. Being able to make some of their own forms begins to be exciting.

Form Drawing:

The Form Drawing curriculum focuses on braiding and weaving.  These forms, so much a part of Nordic decoration, help the children take hold of their soul-bodily nature with artistry and precision.  It also helps to awaken their thinking as they must be conscious as each strand they draw passes “over “or “under” the previous one.  This same consciousness and observation are required in the Handwork lessons in cross-stitch and in Eurythmy forms, and in the Maypole dances the Grade 4 class performs at the annual Mayfest.

The sense of individuality, of separateness, developing in the children allows them to work with fractions in a way that would not have been possible earlier.  At this age children have an inner experience of how the whole can be divided into ever smaller pieces.  They now experience themselves at once a whole and as a fraction of the societies in which they live.  Fractions are the new topic in mathematics in Grade 4.  The growing individuality is also explored in the first project in the Handwork curriculum. Each child makes a design from her/his initials, chooses from a wide variety of colours and embroiders the design on fabric which will be sewn into a bag to hold future handwork projects.

Math:

The sense of individuality, of separateness, developing in the children allows them to work with fractions in a way that would not have been possible earlier.  At this age children have an inner experience of how the whole can be divided into ever smaller pieces.  They now experience themselves at once a whole and as a fraction of the societies in which they live.  Fractions are the new topic in mathematics in Grade 4.  The growing individuality is also explored in the first project in the Handwork curriculum. Each child makes a design from her/his initials, chooses from a wide variety of colours and embroiders the design on fabric which will be sewn into a bag to hold future handwork projects.

English Language:

Grammar and composition in Grade 4 also draw on the children’s ability to experience and work with the parts that make up a greater whole, and their inner need to find a way to again feel at one with the world.  Working with spelling rules is one part of this work.  Work with sentences and their component parts of speech is also important in this regard.  Special emphasis is placed on verbs as they are the part of speech that expresses time.  The 9-10 year old change brings about a new ability to experience time.  In Grammar and Composition, an explicit study of time expressed through verbs is made.

Throughout the year the children have 2 hours per week dedicated to reading.  The aim of this work is to develop skill in all areas of reading, to develop a love of reading and to introduce reading to learn, not only learning to read.

Social Studies:

Local History and Geography bring another experience of time.  Changes in local landscapes and populations over time help children at this time of a new consciousness awakening, to orient themselves both in time and space.  This work, especially drawing maps, also demands the ability to see the world with some objectivity.

Science:

The children at this age are developing the ability to look at the world around them with objectivity.  This new capacity is put to work in the first objective Science block, comparing and contrasting human beings with animals.  Like the Local History and Geography blocks the Human and Animal blocks help students gain a stronger sense of themselves and themselves in relation to the world.

French:

The written language is introduced through familiar verses, songs and vocabulary previously learned orally. These are written into and read from a workbook created by the students. The verses and songs are read from the board, then transcribed into their workbooks. Eventually, a short story is copied from the board for a total of around 5 stories each one longer than the previous one.  From these texts a wide range of oral and written activities are drawn.  When the class has grown confident in their reading skills, a simple printed story is brought and read by the students.  The discovery of grammatical rules is brought through lively examples.

The language lesson has become a balance of both oral and written work.  An awareness of the beautiful sound and melody of the language is cultivated. The frequent use of tongue twisters helps with the pronunciation of specific sounds.

Painting:

Grade 4 continues to work with wet-on-wet watercolour painting. Content references Main Lesson subjects such as Norse Myths and Animals. Nature and Festival themes also provide inspiration. Mixing colours is now common as well as more a more vibrant palette.

 

Grade 5

Fifth grade students attain a certain ease and grace of physical movement characteristic of their age; their awareness of self is strengthening.  The curriculum endeavours to broaden their experiences. The celebration of their unique abilities at this time culminates in their participation in the spring in the Greek Olympics, a pentathlon event with other Waldorf schools.   Cognitively, children approach things in a more realistic and reasoning manner as emergent intellectual faculties are ready to be used more consciously.

Botany:

In this study the children use their senses to see and understand real life phenomena; plants and insects presents a range of phenomena to study, challenge and understand. They consider the plant’s connections with earth, water and heat in various climactic zones; plants categorized by reproductive method; flowering plants; the role of plants in an ecosystem; and insects’ relationship with plants.

Ancient Civilizations:

Studies of ancient civilizations (Ancient India; Persia; Mesopotamia; Egypt; Greek history and mythology) help students deepen their understanding of the passage of time. Emphasis is on understanding changes in human consciousness each culture represents by telling the great epic adventures that characterize the culture. Many classes will take a trip to the Royal Ontario Museum.                                                                                                                                                             

Canadian and North American Geography:

Geographic horizons broaden from the local area to the many contrasts in North America. Physical and cultural geography are considered; for example, we look at mountains, rivers and plains and how Native American tribes lived so harmoniously with their varied environments. The study is enriched by regional poetry, tall tales and songs; sometimes small group projects are undertaken to learn research skills. A study of Canada is undertaken, from modern political geography to economic activity and First Nations peoples in various Canadian regions.

Language Arts:

Language arts permeate almost every Main Lesson.  We encourage children to write to their heart’s content, using their prodigious memories. The expectation is that writing is done in complete sentences, with a sense of paragraphing. In Language Arts blocks grammar is a focus, reviewing past topics and adding direct and indirect speech and active and passive voices. The business letter is studied.

Classes typically read two or three novels together.  Some teachers assign individual reading and book reports. Novels in the TWS library for Grade 5 are: My Side of the Mountain; Lost in the Barrens; The Golden Goblet; The Wanderings of Odysseus; and The Door in the Wall.

Mathematics:

This study sometimes begins with a historical journey to ancient Babylon where our numbers, using a base of 10, began.  Money is often a good jumping off point for the work with decimal fractions.  From there students learn about place value and working with decimals and the four processes. The study includes whole numbers; rounding off; order of operations; word problems using money and time; reducing and expanding fractions; common denominators; mixed numbers/improper fractions; multiplying and dividing simple fractions and mixed numbers; decimals; and converting to simple fractions. Solving problems involving addition, subtraction and multiplication with decimal fractions rounds out the study.

Geometry and Measurement:

This geometry block links to the ancient cultures study; in Mesopotamia the circle was first described as having 360 degrees.  Basic language of geometry is introduced and visually depicted; geometric forms are rendered freely, without the use of instruments. Skills involve drawing freehand polygons (triangles and quadrilaterals); circles and the freehand division of the circle; calculating perimeter and practising accurate measurement; solving problems using length and weight; money word problems to calculate change; number patterns; and identifying the missing number or operation in an equation.

Greek Olympics:

A Greek Pentathlon event is often the highlight of the year. Students train all year in the five disciplines: running; long jump; discus; javelin; and wrestling.  They prepare a Greek cultural activity to share at the event with other Waldorf schools. Students from all schools are divided into groups named after Greek city states; they compete in the pentathlon disciplines in these groups.  Emphasis is on beauty, grace, skill and good sportsmanship.

Movement:

The Grade 5 class has Movement (Gym) class three times a week. Students are required to change into gym attire for this class: athletic shoes with non-marking soles, and the school’s shirt and shorts or appropriate athletic pants. Emphasis is placed on the importance of being prepared for class.

The class opens with the following Spacial Dynamics exercises:

  • Opening exercise
  • The Javelin
  • The Discus

Running games are used to warm up, fortify stamina and to encourage the students’ natural love of energetic movement. Laps and sprinting is introduced during the year. Games are chosen to practice foundational skills for team sports, such as ball throwing and catching, and goal oriented teamwork.

Main games played:

  • Octopus
  • Island ball
  • Spaceball
  • Down basketball
  • Battlefield

A circus bloc (re)introduces juggling and balancing equipment listed below, with which the students will create individual and small group acts. Safety and spotting techniques are taught.

  • Rolla bola
  • Spinning plates
  • Diabolo
  • Juggling with scarves and balls

To align with their studies of Ancient Greece, the students prepare, instructed by their teacher, the pentathlon skills of running, wrestling, long jump, discus and javelin throw.  They display their year’s preparations at an annual Grade 5 Waldorf Olympics, mixed together with other Waldorf school’s from near and far.

The Grade Five student is in transition between childhood and the beginnings of puberty.  The goal in Eurythmy for this year is to become harmonious in oneself and as a group.

  • create regular geometric forms
  • explore the mood and movement of ancient cultures (ancient India to Greece)
  • convert images on the blackboard into spatial forms, or vice versa
  • review gestures for speech and tone as individual building blocks
  • perform the verses alone in front of the class
  • work on musical round to introduce multi-part choreography

French:

As the students study the geography of Canada as one of their main lesson block, grade 5 is the year to do the geography of Canada in French. Names of the provinces with a special emphasis on Québec, northern Ontario, the Acadian culture and the general francophonie in Canada. It is brought throughout the year through songs, cultural anecdotes, stories and poems. Weekly dictations are given to reinforce vocabulary. Reading of printed text continues. It is important to be aware of what different students will experience in a text. Some may be able to make active use of it but it is not expected that what is read will necessarily become part of their active abilities. We still want the students to experience at this age. However, questions are being asked about what was read and this is done in both written and oral forms. Verb conjugation in the present tense of regular and irregular verbs is practiced throughout the year.

Painting:

In grade 5 a pointed watercolour brush is introduced to meet the students desire for greater detail in their work. Transition of colours are observed and worked with – the emphasis is from red to blue and the subtle changes in between. Veil painting and working on stretched, dry paper over a number of days with thin colours is explored.

Class Play:

Most classes produce a play related to the curriculum; they present to the Lower School and parents of the class.  The plays are often historically based, presented in the outdoor amphitheatre or Lower Gym.

Class Trip:

Many classes begin the year with a camping trip in a provincial park or national historic site; the trip usually focuses on Botany studies and introduces some children to camping.

 

Grade 6

The Grade 6 child takes a major step into adolescence.  His emotional life begins to emerge in full force. She becomes more self-conscious about her appearance.  He has strong opinions about what he likes and dislikes.  She has a strong desire to be free and independent.  He can be very critical of the adults around him, pointing out every failing and foible. Children this age are curious about how the world around them works.  They want to know what is important to adults, what adults truly believe.  They enjoy “testing” adults, pushing buttons and seeing what they can get away with.  They exercise their growing reasoning powers by arguing with parents, teachers and friends. At the same time their bodies are growing and changing. They want to be free and held at the same time.  They are sensually more aware and crave sensory encounters. The curriculum meets this age with its focus on power, law, precision, complexity, challenges and sensory experiences.

Geometry:        

The compass and straight edge are introduced; exact measurement and precision drawing are required to construct several types of polygons.  Students measure perimeter and area of several polygons and build the foundation for discovering pi in Grade 7.  They work with parallel lines, bisectors, angles and perpendicular lines. They explore the division of the circle by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 12 and 24.

Geology:

Geology lessons in Grade 6 represent a third step in science education in Lower School, a third step toward ever greater distance and objectivity.  The “bones” of the earth are taken up just at the time when the students’ bones are becoming larger and denser. This block typically begins with a trip to Bancroft, Ontario’s capital for rare minerals and gems.  This block of study involves: the inner make-up of the earth; the crust of the earth and its evolution; examining internal and external forces that shape the earth’s surface; different types of rock, igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic; crystalline structure in several minerals and gems; and properties of several metals that have played significant roles in human history.

History:

Classes explore Roman civilization and Europe in the Middle Ages. These studies address the students’ inner life with the Roman laws, government and debate, their mastery of technology, their use of force in expanding the empire as well as the order and chivalry of the Middle Ages. This block often culminates in a day of Medieval Games shared with other schools in the area.

Business Math and Math Skills lessons:    

The children continue to work on skills with fractions and decimals. They are introduced to percentages and ratios. In Business Math they learn principal and interest calculations, discount and commission and applying tax.  Many classes also work with bookkeeping and the double entry system as they create a small business they often run throughout Grades 7 and 8 to raise money for trips, special projects in the school and charity.

Geography:

Many classes study the geography of Europe and the area around the Mediterranean Sea, connecting this study with the study of Rome and the Middle Ages.  The children continue to study differentiation in the earth’s land formations, climates and biotic zones.  Map making and project work is often emphasized. Some teachers connect this study with Business Math and teach a block of world economic geography.  From Grade 6 onward each class teacher decides on the Geography focus for the year taking care that the whole earth and its economic links have been studied by the end of Grade 8.

Physics:

The study of physics begins by experimenting with substances to explore the worlds of sound, light, heat, static electricity and magnetism.  Starting with phenomena familiar to them, children begin the journey towards understanding technology that surrounds us as modern people. Emphasis is placed on careful observation, articulating what was observed and thinking through the observations to come to general statements.

Astronomy:

When students can feel somewhat lost in their inner life, astronomy can give them a strong anchor, helping them to understand their place on earth and their experience of the sky. We look at the solar system from a geocentric perspective, looking at the earth as if other bodies of the solar system revolved around it; the horizon forms a circle, with the observer at the centre.  We observe the movement of the stars, planets, and the moon.  We began to learn the map of the sky which helped ancient peoples locate themselves on the earth and in time (seasonally).  By the end of this block students have the ability to imagine the sky and the seasons anywhere on earth.

English Language:

All Main Lessons require the children to write, as well as in English skills lessons. In the latter the focus is on strengthening the foundations of the children’s writing; classes focus on the form of the paragraph.   Children work on different writing styles and sentence types, and simple and complex sentence formation.  Many teachers introduce formal debate in the Roman History block; students practise in the Language Arts lessons.   Classes typically read two or three novels; some teachers assign individual book reports.  Novels for Grade 6 held in the school library are: The Eagle of the Ninth, There will be Wolves, Jeremy Visick, Feathers, and Robin Hood.

Movement:

The Grade 6 class has Movement (Gym) class three times a week. Students are required to change into gym attire for this class: athletic shoes with non-marking soles, and the school’s shirt and shorts or appropriate athletic pants.  Emphasis is placed on the importance of being prepared for class with a uniform and the reasons for changing hygienic purposes and to allow safe and full movement in all activities.

Classes begin with a full running warm-up and stretching activity for endurance and flexibility and conclude with conditioning exercises.  The Spacial Dynamics exercises: the Triangle, the Strong Triangle and the Archer are used as opening and closing exercises.  Students are encouraged to challenge their own personal endurance in running and/or brisk walking, push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, and skipping.  Emphasis is placed on proper technique to avoid injury.

Grade 6 is the introduction of traditional sports through the introduction of rules, scorekeeping, competition and strategy, emphasizing elements of inclusiveness and fair play.  Specific instruction is given in the form of simple drills, and direction to individuals and small groups.  Skill development is encouraged through games and play.  Several games and sports are introduced in blocks, including:

Cross-Country Running, Skipping, Flag Football, Ultimate Frisbee, Spaceball, Basketball, Volleyball, European Handball, Ball Hockey, Badminton, Soccer, Kickball, Rounders, Speedball, Softball/Tball.

Grade 6 has one large block of Circus Arts.  They continue to master skills in juggling (balls, clubs, Diablo, devil sticks), acrobatics (tumbling, hand to hand balancing, trapeze, silks) and balance (unicycling, tightwire, globewalking).

Along with circus, activities such as yoga that teach body management, rhythm, flexibility, strength, stability and awareness of breathing are introduced. Activities that can become part of an active lifestyle are also introduced and can include, but may not be limited to yoga, curling, swimming, ropes courses, rock climbing.

Throughout the year, many of their favorite lower school games (as interactive/cooperative blocks) are played including Island Ball, Battlefield, Capture the Flag and Octopus.  Rod and staff exercises, and folk dancing may be introduced as part of a support to the Grade 6 medieval games.

The theme in Grade Six Eurythmy is: practice until technical precision is achieved.

  • Rods: 6 classical exercises - accuracy is clear to observe and to experience
  • Forms emphasising the necessity for whole group to move as one; the individual is striving for teamwork.
  • Rapid forms with brisk changes, necessitating quick wits.
  • Challenging exercises, differentiating the activity of the limbs.
  • Finding the underlying rules and principles behind geometric patterns and exercises.
  • Body and spatial movements now talked about in abstract terms rather than metaphoric imagery.
  • Solidifying the knowledge of gestures of speech sound and musical tone; being able to ‘spell’ anyone’s name on the spot.
  • Verses performed individually with content specific character, including pauses, soft/strong gestures, etc.
  • Having a strong presence in their gestures.
  • Improvisation to explore expressing different musical styles with differentiated movement quality.

French:

In grade 6 there is an increased emphasis on reading and writing.  Grammar provides a basis for order and clarity of thought while lively examples aid in the process of deduction. This is the year where we start to make the students conscious of grammatical rules and concepts. Through the year several texts are studied to build reading and comprehension skills. Question and answer sessions and summaries are all means of engaging the students.   To further connect with the language’s folk soul, idiomatic expressions, social customs, culinary delights and the geography of France are all part of the grade 6 experience.

Visual Arts:

In Grade 6 the students are introduced to black and white drawing in the weekly art lesson. Shading exercises lead to a sense of dark and light and all that is in between. Students continue to paint with watercolour related to Main lesson themes and seasonal images. Pen and Ink is introduced and Medieval illustrations are created. The proportions of the human figure is studied and applied through various projects.

Curriculum Content:

  • Breathing tone shading exercise
  • Shaded sphere
  • Human proportions
  • Facial proportions
  • Pencil drawing of Caesar Augustus
  • Introduction to symbols (Zodiac)
  • Designing and painting a shield with personal and traditional symbols
  • Castle, pen and ink drawing
  • Design your own Dragon
  • Shaded landscapes
  • Coloured pastel drawings

Class Play:

Most Grade 6 classes prepare a play to perform for the Lower School and parents; plays are often from the history curriculum.  Emphasis is placed on personal responsibility, clear speech, characterization and teamwork.

Class Trip:

In the fall of Grade 6 classes travel to Bancroft to explore an old mine site and other sites where minerals are easily found.  These explorations typically are led by a geologist.  The one-day visit to Bancroft is followed with an introduction to canoeing and wilderness camping in Algonquin Park.  On this trip the students learn water and canoeing safety, basic canoeing and camping skills.

 

Grade 7

Grade 7 students range from 12 to 14, a time of life with great change. All students experience some aspect of puberty during the year, marking the beginning of adolescence. Changes in their physical bodies accompany changes in feeling lives and intellectual abilities. A new consciousness of the individual inner life leads to questioning of authority, need for approval, search for independence, intense interest in the world and how it works and a desire to be unique while needing to be like everyone else.  The curriculum meets these aspects of early adolescence in many ways.

Grade 7 begins with a wilderness canoe trip in Temagami.  The class is on the water, portaging and setting up and taking down camp daily for 4 days.   This trip is often a challenge to individual skills and group process.  The students learn to know themselves and each other at a deeper level and to know and appreciate wilderness.

Perspective Drawing:

Perspective drawing adds a new element to geometry skills, how to convey three dimensions using only two.  Finding the horizon line and one or two vanishing points, students must work with great precision.  Drawings are made from many different perspectives, allowing the students to begin seeing the world from multiple perspectives.   Topics range from interpolation to perspective trisection to arches in perspective.

History – Age of Exploration:

The first history block usually begins with a review of the Medieval time period and the events leading up to the Renaissance:  changes in Europe; the decline of feudalism; Crusades; growth of cities; and the Magna Carta.  The European age of exploration is often taught through biographies, quotations and discussions about exploration. Topics range from Marco Polo to Amerigo Vespucci to Cartier and de Champlain.

Physics:

Demonstrations and experiments extend the work begun in Grade 6.  Mechanics is added this year: simple machines. Other topics range from sound and vibration to thermal mediators to the expansion and contraction of solids and liquids and electromagnetism.

Chemistry:

Simple demonstrations and experiments help students develop their observation skills and reasoning abilities and to begin to understand the nature of chemical change.  Topics include combustion, acids and bases and the salt process.

Creative Writing:

Grade 7 is the first year in which truly creative writing is taught and practised.  Observation skills are used to help students become more precise and descriptive in their compositions.  Through guided exercises, students explore the world of images, sounds and poetry.  Students’ work can be shared many ways, including readings and publishing a collection.

History – Renaissance:

The Renaissance in Europe is a second history block, viewed through the lens of people of the time. Students might experience what it was like to draw lying down, like Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel, and they copy at least one Renaissance artwork using a squared page.  People studied range from Joan of Arc to Martin Luther to Tycho Brahe to Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain.

Human Physiology:

Students look closely at the human body and the changes it undergoes during puberty.  Using interviews with adults, students discover common themes of human development; one of the intentions of this block is to cultivate wonder and respect for the human body.  Students participate in mediated discussions on love, sexuality and body image. Topics include systems in the body (digestive, circulatory, respiratory, reproductive); male and female reproductive organs; nutrition; and body image.

Mathematics:

At this time of change and searching for balance within oneself and in community, signed numbers and algebra are introduced. The examination of how negative and positive numbers interact in the operations of arithmetic can lead to interesting observations of inner life and social life.  Balance is always sought when solving equations. Skills include understanding signed numbers and their relationships; 4 operations with signed numbers; solving equations with whole numbers for 1 unknown; and solving equations with fractions and signed numbers.

Geography:

The study of the era of explorations often leads classes to study the geography of the places to which European explorers travelled, Central and South America, Africa, and Asia; usually only one or two of these continents can be studied in Grade 7.  Those continents not examined in Grade 7 are taken up in Grade 8.  Often students work individually or in groups doing research projects on various aspects of the chosen area.  These projects are presented to the class. Aspects typically researched are physical geography; climate; flora and fauna; traditional lifestyles and aspects of culture; land use; economic activity; and political organization.

English skills lessons:

Main Lesson content, class trips, novels, short stories, poems and non-fiction articles provide springboards for discussion and a wide variety of written work, as well as providing raw material for the study of spelling, grammar, sentence structure, word choice and organization of thoughts.  Students begin exploring conventions in grammar, sentence structure and composition, analyzing sentences and texts to encourage careful reading, develop critical thinking skills and build a foundation for effective writing.  Through the writing process (brainstorming, planning, writing, revising and polishing) students play with language, recognizing its challenges and limitations while experiencing its beauty and power. Titles in the TWS library often used for Grade 7 novel studies include: Freedom Train, I Juan de Pareja, Sketches, Witch of Blackbird Pond, True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Zahra the Windseeker, Romeo and Juliet, and Feathers.

Movement:

The Grade 7 class has movement (gym) classes three times a week.  Students are required to change into gym attire for this class: athletic shoes with non-marking soles, and the school’s shirt and shorts or appropriate athletic pants.  Emphasis is placed on the importance of being prepared for class with a uniform and the reasons for changing: hygienic purposes and to allow safe and full movement in all activities.

Classes begin with a full running warm-up and stretching activity for endurance and flexibility and conclude with conditioning exercises.  The Spacial Dynamics exercises the Strong Triangle, Jump to the Middle Point and Movement Towards the Goal are used as opening and closing exercises.  Students are encouraged to challenge their own personal endurance in running and/or brisk walking, push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, and skipping.  Emphasis is placed on proper technique to avoid injury.

With the continuation of more traditional sports and athletics, a greater emphasis is placed on rules, scorekeeping, competition and strategy, inclusiveness and fair play.  Specific instruction is directed to individuals and small groups.  Skill development is encouraged through more complicated drills, games and playing sports.  Several games and sports are introduced in blocks, including:

Cross-Country Running, Skipping, Co-operative Games, Flag Football, Ultimate Frisbee, Spaceball, Basketball, Volleyball, European Handball, Badminton, Ball Hockey, Soccer, Kickball, Rounders, Speedball, Softball/Tball.

Grade 7 has one long block of Circus Arts.  They continue to master skills in juggling (balls, clubs, Diablo, devil sticks), acrobatics (tumbling, hand to hand balancing, vault, balance beam, trapeze, silks) and balance (unicycling, tightwire, globewalking).

Grade 7 has a block of personal physical fitness to develop an understanding of the components of health-related fitness (cardiorespiratory, muscle strength, endurance, flexibility and agility) through engagement in a variety of fitness activities.

Grade 7 experiences a block of Ballroom Dancing, with an introduction to the Waltz, Swing and some Latin dance.  This provides them with opportunities for physical fitness through activities that teach body management, movement and rhythm along with applying movement principles that refine spatial and body awareness and relationships with people.  They also experienced a block of yoga to practice flexibility, strength, stability and awareness of breathing.  Activities that promote an active lifestyle are also introduced such as, but not limited to curling, swimming, rock climbing, ropes course.

Throughout the year, many of their favorite lower school games are played (Island Ball, King’s Court, Dodgeball, Battlefield, Capture the Flag) to foster cooperation.

Students in Grade 7 are eligible to participate in the After-School sports Program.

The eurythmy choreographies go from geometrically oriented to focussing more on elements of pitch and phrasing. More complexities are considered, and the group is subdivided to perform different simultaneous aspects of the music – like soprano and bass voices. A major musical piece is used for a large project on which the students will work most of the year.

Emotions are introduced into the work indirectly through gestures for the different psychological expressions. Humour is important, and the musical realms of major and minor are explored. Renditions of poetry are to be performed expressively and dramatically. The cultivation of an emotional buoyancy acts as a counterbalance to the tendency towards heaviness and lethargy that the young adolescents now have to contend with in their physical bodies.

Dexterity exercises are very complicated and demand a high degree of exactness. The students are expected to be able to create independently using their knowledge of the eurythmic gestural and movement vocabulary. They will, e.g., find their own arm gestures for poems, create rod exercise sequences, etc.

French:

The structure of the lessons changes as more time is devoted to the written work and the rhythmical part becomes smaller.  However, the oral part continues to emphasize the power of the language. Grammar and good pronunciation are prominent themes. The object is to bring the beauty of the language and its functions to the students’ consciousness. To this end epic and dramatic texts and poems are used in order to turn the students’ attention away from themselves and towards the world.

Over the year several texts are used to further build reading and comprehension skills.  The texts provide material for questions and answers, summaries, spelling words and translations.

Weekly homework includes preparation for tests and writing of short summaries and translations, Students are assigned projects to deepen their connection to the French culture: culinary, historical biographical or geographic.

Visual Arts:

The art curriculum enhances and develops the main themes of the Grade 7 year. The year is launched by a creating seascape water colour. Nature d’ Morte (still life) paintings appeared as a new genre due to the cataloguing of objects collected abroad as the Age of Exploration flourished. Drawing from observation is introduced by working on light and shadow studies, both in black and white and in colour. Focus is on developing skills to render the human figure and produce a self-portrait. Students partake in the study of perspective and creating 3 dimensional images on a 2-dimensional plane. They practice this through exercises and by drawing architectural forms from observation. Rendering an early Renaissance book illustration taught the students of the costume and activities of those times.

Curriculum Content:

  • Basic Shapes (Sphere, Pyramid, Cube, Cylinders and Cone)
  • Trees in perspective
  • Perspective Trisection
  • Fence Line
  • Extrapolation
  • Seascape Picture
  • Boxes in one point perspective
  • City view
  • Bedroom
  • Two-point perspective
  • Stack of Boxes
  • Bookshelf
  • Stack of Books
  • Staircase
  • House Drawing
  • Castle Drawing
  • Shadows
  • Arches in perspective
  • Reflections
  • Self Portrait
  • Still life studies
  • Early Renaissance Illustration
  • Prepare for presentations which includes Grade 8 project.

Field Day:

Field Day provides an opportunity for the Grade 7 class to work together and be of service to the school; the students plan a series of events, collect the materials needed, set them up, and lead the younger grades through the day.

 

Grade 8

The young adolescents in Grade 8 are beginning to seek a dialogue between themselves and the world. The needs of the adolescent can be said to move between needs relating to the world (physical activity, intensity, affecting the world, belonging, being needed, needing facts) and the needs of the self (stillness, routine, rhythm, introspection, separateness, community, imagination). The curriculum works to create a balance in meeting these needs.

Geometry:

Students explore the world of solid geometry, specifically platonic solids. Students consider and build the cube, octahedron, tetrahedron, dodecahedron and icosahedron. They investigate the mathematical laws inherent in each, including: the Pythagorean Theorem; properties and nets of the cube, octahedron, tetrahedron, dodecahedron and icosahedrons; and the square root algorithm.

History: The Age of Revolutions:

Many teachers review the European explorations, looking at conditions in Europe and North America that set the stage for the American and French revolutions.   In the study of the Industrial Revolution, students investigate key points in history that help them understand how we arrived where we are today.

Meteorology:

Students keep weather journals, observe weather conditions and study basic weather phenomena such as cloud birth and cloud classification, wind and air currents, the hydrologic cycle, warm and cold fronts, hurricanes and tornadoes.

Physics:

This block challenges students to observe phenomena closely, accurately record what they experienced, then work toward understanding the physical laws of the universe at work.  Topics include:  acoustics; optics; thermal dynamics; fluid mechanics; aeromechanic; and electricity.

Human Anatomy:

Considering skeletal and muscular systems, students look at structures of bones and muscles and how they are connected by tendons, cartilage and ligaments. Students write about parts of the skeletal and muscular systems and make detailed drawings from observations of human skeletons. The eye and the ear may also be studied.

Movement:

The Grade 8 class has movement (gym) classes three times a week.  Students are required to change into gym attire for this class: athletic shoes with non-marking soles, and the school’s shirt and shorts or appropriate athletic pants.  Emphasis is placed on the importance of being prepared for class with a uniform and the reasons for changing: hygienic purposes and to allow safe and full movement in all activities.

Classes begin with a full running warm-up and stretching activity for endurance and flexibility and conclude with conditioning exercises. The Spacial Dynamics exercises the Fall into Space, Jump to the Middle Point and Movement Towards the Goal and often The Traveller are used as opening and closing exercises.  Students are encouraged to challenge their own personal endurance in running and/or brisk walking, push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, and skipping.  Emphasis is placed on proper technique to avoid injury.

With the continuation of more traditional sports and athletics, a greater emphasis is placed on a measured graduation of competition and a continuation of instruction of rules, scorekeeping, competition and strategy, inclusiveness and fair play.  Specific instruction is directed to individuals and small groups.  Skill development is encouraged through more complicated drills, games and playing sports.  Several games and sports are introduced in blocks, including:

Cross-Country Running, Skipping, Co-operative Games, Flag Football, Ultimate Frisbee, Spaceball, Basketball, Volleyball, European Handball, Badminton, Ball Hockey, Soccer, Kickball, Rounders, Speedball, Softball/Tball.

Grade 8 has one long block of Circus Arts.  They continue to master skills in juggling (balls, clubs, Diablo, devil sticks), acrobatics (tumbling, hand to hand balancing, vault, balance beam, trapeze, silks) and balance (unicycling, tightwire, globewalking).

Grade 8 has a block of personal physical fitness to develop an understanding of the components of health-related fitness (cardiorespiratory, muscle strength, endurance, flexibility and agility) through engagement in a variety of fitness activities.

Grade 8 experiences a block of Ballroom Dancing, with an introduction to the Waltz, Swing and some Latin dance.  This provides them with opportunities for physical fitness through activities that teach body management, movement and rhythm along with applying movement principles that refine spatial and body awareness and relationships with people.  They also experienced a block of yoga to practice flexibility, strength, stability and awareness of breathing.  Activities that promote an active lifestyle are also introduced such as, but not limited to curling, swimming, rock climbing, ropes course and orienteering.

Throughout the year, many of their favorite lower school games are played (Island Ball, King’s Court, Dodgeball, Battlefield, Capture the Flag) to foster cooperation.

Students in Grade 8 are eligible to participate in the After-School sports program.

As the last year before the jump into high school, a review is done in grade eight of the eurythmy skills the students now possess. Depending on the needs and inclinations of the class, specific areas will be deepened and brought to a new artistic level. Rhythms and counter-rhythms, opposites are studied as an invitation to go beyond comfort zones, status quo and passivity. The students should be able to understand the essence of the gestures and start moving beyond the classical archetypes.

The students will be asked to perform challenging and ‘unforgiving’ material in front of the whole school. For instance, should a mistake occur during a technically complex rod-tossing exercise, the clanging noise of a falling copper rod will be impossible to hide. The motto is: practice to do your very best, because you only get one chance at the performance... and at life.

Eurythmy is taught to combined Grade 7 and 8 groups. These classes incorporate elements from the eurythmy curriculum of both grades described here above. The important aspects from both grades are worked on over the course of two subsequent years, so that every student is exposed to them.

French:

The Grade 8 year starts with a review of grammatical rules learnt previously.

There are 3 lessons in the week. The first lesson starts with oral exercise, review and new grammatical rules are introduced. In the second lesson of the week, the students work with the biography of Marie Curie. All strands of language are exercised through the study of this Biography. The dramatic nature of it draws students’ attention away from themselves. Emphasis is put on the proper use of Present and past tenses. articles, negatifs, adjectifs , then subject and object pronouns are practiced, their place and their effect on the past participle are worked with. The third lesson of the week introduces the vocabulary words of the next week’s story part as well as seasonal or useful vocabulary, and a quiz of the previous week’s words is conducted including sentence making with one of the words. Every Friday the quiz of the previous week is corrected and returned to the students. Poems by Jacques Prevert are practiced.

Mathematical games and tongue twisters help them learn their basic and more complicated numbers, in order to use them with ease.  Questions in the context of Scenarios are practiced.

Ex- “We are lost in an aeroport”

What questions will be useful? Students make up the questions and work on answering them.

Some vocabulary is picked up in class situations to address the living matters in the classroom. Weekly vocabulary tests together with some conjugation consolidate their knowledge and provide rhythm.

Humour is an important component in this grade.

Every class starts with an oral exercise, alternating between prefixes, poems, numbers, sounds or tongue twisters, followed by review and new material.

Visual Art:

The Grade 8 Visual art curriculum has been developed to meet the students as they enter the Study of Revolutions and Contemporary culture. This is accomplished by introducing the students to various forms of visual art, such as printmaking and acrylic paint. The question is asked, how do these forms of media affect the design and message we are expressing?  Observational drawing is practiced to heighten co-ordination skills and to express nature moods.  The students contribute their skills in visual arts to contribute to the Grade 8 play as they paint sets or create artworks for it. The visual art curriculum aims to support the work in Main lesson and enhances skill development.

English Skills lessons:

Some Grade 8 classes have one literature main lesson block. The focus of this block is short stories or a novel study. In these lessons the literature is analyzed in a variety of ways, personal responses are discussed and often, especially when short stories have been studied, the students turn their hands to writing.  Every main lesson includes recitation, discussion, and composition, some also include oral presentations.  In most main lesson blocks the teacher requires that students compose notes in a variety of styles giving instruction as necessary for forms that the students have not used extensively previously. These include lab reports, narrative, descriptive, and expository notes, poetry, and journal entries. Classes have two English practice lesson per week. Grammar lessons include a review and practice of topics taught in other grades and lessons dedicated to recognizing and correcting common errors in the students’ writing.  Classes often study one or two novels together in these lessons. Some work with short stories during these lessons rather than in a main lesson. Some teachers require several book reports throughout the year.   Throughout the year the class practices clear speech and dramatic speech through conversations in class, presentation of projects, recitation of poetry, production of the class play and writing and speaking a short speech (about 5 minutes in length). Some of the novels often studied in Grade 8 include The Book Thief

Curriculum Content:

  • In Grade 8, students further develop their skills in drawing and painting, using themes which support the main lesson curriculum.
  • Observational work is woven throughout the studies as well as imaginative exploration.
  • Students refine their skills in painting, with the introduction this year of several exercises using acrylic paint.
  • Students work on exploring the Platonic solids through clay and acrylic paintings.
  • Skills are developed for blending and shaping forms through shading in painting.
  • Working with textures and blocking images are reworked in black and white projects as well as printmaking.
  • Portraiture develops skills in observation and rendering as well fostering a feeling of empathy or the other.
  • Students develop a sense of time and eras through looking at style
  • Nature studies include cloud forms and meteorological phenomena.
  • Prepare for presentations which includes Grade 8 project.