French is taught from first grade through eighth grade. In grades one through three, language are taught using imitation and repetition. The emphasis is on conversation and learning through doing, singing songs, and reciting poems, playing games, and performing plays. In the upper elementary grades French lessons increasingly include written work, reading, grammar and vocabulary in addition to perfecting oral skills.
The purpose of the language classes, beyond the evident goal of learning, is to develop a certain flexibility of outlook. An attempt is made to foster in the students a feeling for the special character of the people who speak a specific language.
In the High School, students choose to concentrate on either French or German, and the foreign language class increases to four times a week. Seniors are offered foreign language as an elective only in the first semester.
Handwork is an integrated part of the educational program taught in all Waldorf schools. The Handwork curriculum is broad and includes but is not limited to skills such as knitting, crocheting, hand sewing, embroidery, felting, paper crafts, pattern design and machine sewing. More complex weaving and pattern design are introduced in the High School.
Many of the benefits of the Handwork program are obvious: hand-eye coordination, basic math skills, the ability to understand and follow a process from concept to completion and the ability to focus on a project for an extended period of time.
Movement Education and Games
In a culture where organized team sports hold such high status, children can sometimes think of movement only in those terms. The Movement Education curriculum gives children basic coordination and movement skills that will help them if and when they decide to play organized sports. In grades one through five, movement education is taught through various games to help develop an enhanced awareness of personal space with clearly defined boundaries. Physical activity is emphasized through games using imagery, story, rhythm and imitation. In the spring, the fifth graders participate in the Greek Olympic Games which is a gathering of fifth grade classes from several regional Waldorf schools.
From the middle grades through the high school, more conventional sports are introduced. Only now can the students have a real respect for the law of rules and understand how a team works together. At the same time, they are developing their own self-discipline and competitive natures.
Eurythmy is an artistic form unique to Waldorf education where music and speech are expressed through movement and gesture. Eurythmy enables the student to orient himself in space, develop coordination, and create forms while moving in a group.
Music is an integral part of the curriculum throughout the school. From the first grade, all the children sing and play the recorder with the music and the technique becoming more demanding as the years progress. Each fourth grader chooses a stringed instrument and group string lessons are part of the fourth grade weekly curriculum. In fifth grade, woodwinds and brass instruments are introduced allowing the children to expand their instrument range. In grade 6, the students join the School Orchestra with their instrument of choice. In the middle grades, string ensembles, recorder groups, and choirs are formed. Elements of musical theory are woven into the musical curriculum each year. Singing in a choral group and playing in the orchestra continue throughout the middle and high school years.
Woodworking and Modeling
Woodworking and clay modeling are introduced in the lower grades as part of the class curriculum. However, in the middle grades they are given more emphasis as separate subjects. Students benefit greatly from learning to shape wood or clay into intentional form while honing skills of observation and design. The also learn the use and care of tools.