The Grade School Program
We offer 1st through 8th grades, for children ages 6 to 14.
Monday - Thursdays, 8:30 am - 3:20 pm, with two recess periods each day, rain or shine. The academic day for 1st graders ends a 1:35 pm; an optional supervised play time runs until 3:20 pm.
Fridays, 8:30 am - 1:45 pm (for grades 1-5); 8:30 am - 3:20 pm (for grades 6-8).
When children relate what they learn to their own experience, they are interested and alive, and what they learn becomes their own. Waldorf schools are designed to foster this kind of learning. -- Henry Barnes
Our grade school curriculum delivers a classical education, teaching the traditional academic subjects (like mathematics, language arts, science) through an interdisciplinary approach that weaves in storytelling, movement, music and the arts every day. The Waldorf curriculum consciously strives to develop the whole child, not just intellectually, but also physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. When a child graduates from Madrona School, they are well prepared for high school and beyond because they are creative, lifelong learners and they have a healthy sense of themselves in the world.
The school day begins with a two-hour main lesson of academic subjects taught in blocks, shifting focus every three to four weeks. The main lesson provides an uninterrupted period of in-depth learning in the morning when children are most alert and focused. During this main lesson, teachers do not rely on textbooks or worksheets; instead, each student creates a unique lesson book that captures the subjects covered. In 1st and 2nd grades, lesson books contain simple drawings, letters and numbers, but as the students progress through the grades the lesson books become increasingly elaborate, filled with drawings, essays, diagrams, maps and calculations. Parents and children alike treasure these lesson books for years to come.
Following main lesson, subject classes enhance and round out the academic curriculum, including Spanish, Swedish, handcrafts, cooperative outdoor games, strings ensemble (4th-8th grades) and choir (6th-8th grades). Other periods, depending on the grade, may include reading practice, gardening, language arts, math (practice, algebra, geometry), painting and music.
An overview of the curriculum by grade is available here.
Another unique aspect of a Waldorf elementary school is the strong relationship between a teacher and a class, between a teacher and each student. The class teacher stays with a class for many years, often through middle school. This long-term relationship allows teachers to know their students deeply and accommodate individual strengths and weaknesses, and it creates a close and secure environment for students. The teacher also works to cultivate a strong sense of class community where students learn to care for one another. Parents also appreciate the sense of partnership that develops when teachers remain committed to their children year after year, through many stages of development.
To find out more, or to arrange a tour of our school, fill out our inquiry form, or call the school office at (206) 855-8041.