Seacoast Waldorf School curriculum follows the practices of Waldorf education. Waldorf Education is a pedagogy based on developmentally appropriate learning that incorporates a balance of academic, arts and experiential learning into all lessons. Such a multi-modal learning approach prepares students for rigorous academics, develops creativity and critical thinking, as well as exposing students to a depth of experience in music, performance, and visual arts. Waldorf Education is also a social education which actively promotes healthy social emotional learning.
Here are a few highlights:
Developmentally appropriate educational practices are based on child development principles and scientific evidence regarding brain development and the growth of neural and cognitive structures. Its primary goals include:
(1) develop skills and competence in all areas (intellectual, social / emotional, and physical);
(2) develop self-esteem and positive feelings about learning; and
(3) be responsive to individual differences in developmental stage, ability, and interests.
A developmentally appropriate curriculum simultaneously attends to children’s intellectual, physical, social, and ethical development because it recognizes that a child’s thoughts, emotions, imagination, and predisposition are interrelated and operate concurrently. Seacoast Waldorf School’s curricular content is chosen to mirror the child’s developmental stage, which engages the child and creates a learning environment where knowledge, skills, disposition and feelings are integrated within each child in a holistic and balanced way.
Research findings demonstrate students learn better, retain more knowledge, and enjoy school more when this approach is utilized during learning. Likewise, teachers find greater success covering required subject material through integrated curriculum. Revealing the connections that exist across disciplines allows students to experience the world around them as an integrated whole. It facilitates active, engaged learning, and encourages children to bring multiple intelligences and experiences to the learning activity. Academic main lesson blocks are scheduled for 2 hours each morning, when children are most ready to learn, for 3 to 4 weeks per unit.
This approach recognizes the direct link between art, music and movement and high academic achievement. The arts play an important role and provide highly effective tools for learning, exploring and mastering material. Woven throughout the curriculum, the arts support children’s deep understanding and academic success in unique and developmentally appropriate ways. This multifaceted approach allows information to be presented in a variety of ways, including: verbal/linguistic, mathematical/logical, visual/spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, as well as musical/rhythmic.
Experiential Learning, Immersion, and Mastery
Children are engaged in the content of learning through direct-instruction, as well as project based learning. The Immersion – Mastery approach to academics is the experiential learning component of our education model. It is readily employed with the arts based and integrated curricula. Meaningful projects are encouraged throughout the main lesson blocks, as well as during elective offerings at the middle school level. Immersion is an experiential process that gives each child the time to discover, integrate and experiment with new information and ideas before the teacher expects mastery. Mastery of skills is supported by our team of interventionists that join with class teachers to ensure that all students are learning at their instructional levels in math, reading and writing. Students are asked to create lesson books, portfolios, projects, artwork, as well as other formal and informal assessments as demonstrations of mastery.
Seacoast Waldorf School students experience the value and beauty of different cultures in ways that expand their academic capacity and deepen their appreciation for diversity. In this way, the school community guides students towards a sense of equality among all human beings and foster acceptance, respect, understanding and social tolerance. In addition, students learn both Spanish and German languages starting in first grade.
In Waldorf Education students stay with the same teacher for a period of several years (ideally grade 1-8), this provides all the benefits of continuity for both teacher and student and also contributes to the secure a nurturing learning environment because it promotes the development of community building skills and attitudes.
Preparation for High School
The Seacoast Waldorf School pedagogical Scope and Sequences for each subject area keeps an active eye on academic standards so that students are well prepared for entrance into high school. In fact, most of our graduates perform at honors or high honors levels at their chosen high schools. Waldorf education prepares students to be flexible thinkers who are able to apply what they have learned to other situations. Assessments in reading and math are done on an ongoing basis. Such results are used by teachers to gauge a student’s needs and/or place students in skills groups where they are met where they are, so that all students grow academically.