A Developing Member in the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America
Serving Children From Early Childhood Through Eighth Grade
An important change happens to the 6th grader’s physical body—where there was natural gracefulness, there is now clumsiness. On inner level, the body is entering into the skeletal system. Externally, the curriculum matches that change with the introduction of concepts based on laws of mechanics. The study of Romans follows the 6th graders’ feeling of omnipotence: I can do anything. This time is a gateway to pre-adolescence and idealism. The curriculum is created to ground the students, to inspire them to branch out and introduces then to the quest.
History: The study block on Romans begins with Rome’s divine origin. The Roman epoch is studied chronologically, in a timeline in relation to expansion and contraction of Roman Empire and the changing map of Europe to help children understand history in relation to space. This is important as the Roman Empire most strongly dominated the physical world in the form of cities, roads, aqueducts, the Roman army, and finally the conquest of the known western world. Eventually, excesses of period led to the eradication of native cultures, the fall of the empire, the Dark Ages, illumination by the new religion of Christianity. Important people who may be studied in depth include Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Marc Antony, Caesar Augustus, and Jesus. Emphasis is placed on causal thinking. Moving out of the Roman Empire, study continues with European medieval society, focusing on the cloister, the castle, cities, Arthurian legends, monasticism, the rise of the church, the creation of feudalism, and the Crusades. Biographies of Mohammed, Islam, Charlemagne, and William the Conqueror may be read and discussed.
Literature: Recitations in Latin, debates, tales of chivalry, poetry, ballads, and scenes from medieval history support the study block on Romans and early European history. ‘Tom Sawyer,’ by Mark Twain is also read.
Geography: Students study the physical body of earth and world geography, covering configuration and contrasts, landforms and oceans. This includes the cultures of Europe and South America. Students present their work in the form of reports, compositions, creative writing and maps.
English and Grammar: Students focus on speech work, dictation, book reports, compositions and stories, and the art of discussion and debate. They review grammar work, particularly parts of speech, from previous years, adding the conditional mood, and emphasizing sentence, paragraph, and essay structures. Students end the year with a class play.
Science: Students are introduced to laboratory science, starting with physics (sound, light, heat) through art. They learn about acoustics through how music is made: the musical instrument inside us, the larynx. They are introduced to optics through qualities of color. They study astronomy, the earth, and the moon, emphasizing moon phases, solstice, eclipses, and the equinox. Other subjects included in the 6th grade curriculum are thermodynamics, electricity, magnetism, static electricity, geology (introduced in a comparative way), earthquakes, and volcanoes. Students continue their work with horticulture and the school garden.
Math: Graphs, business math, concepts of economics—interest, taxation and profit and loss—ratio, proportion, exchange, estimation, and equations.
Artistic work: The mathematical form of geometric shapes using ruler, compass, and t-square, with an emphasis on Euclidean forms, draftsmanship, exactness, and artistic composition become the focus of drawing exercises. Bas-relief in the Roman style, painting landscapes, color contrasts, woodworking, and dolls and stuffed animals that students have designed round out the artistic curriculum.
Spanish: Penpals who speak Spanish as a primary language may be used for improvement of grammar and vocabulary.
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