Curriculum OverviewThe Waldorf School offers a broad, comprehensive survey of the knowledge that mankind has gained throughout history. The curriculum is designed to give the child a secure basis in the liberal arts, mathematics, sciences and foreign languages. The fine arts are considered equally essential and are used to bring the student into direct, personal relationship with the subject content. The distinguishing characteristic of the Waldorf curriculum lies in the intent and in the manner of its presentation.
The curriculum is used consciously to address the differing and changing phases that occur in the developing child between the ages of seven and fourteen years. Subjects are introduced at a time and in a way to best facilitate a healthy growth and balance in the child's physical, emotional and intellectual development, and between a growing individualism and a sense for community. For these reasons a firm structure of clear rhythms is provided.
The children learn their main subjects in three to six week blocks which rotate throughout the year. They engage in activities as members of a group, but they are responsible as individuals for their own created textbook for each subject. The teacher strives to relate each subject to the human being so that the children understand intimately the interconnectedness of the subjects as well as their relationship to them. Thus the curriculum is intended as an instrument of inspiration as well as instruction. The approach and indications for what is taught are based on Rudolf Steiner's research which challenges the individual teacher to work out the specifics.
KindergartenActivities in imitation of life such as baking, cleaning, sewing, woodworking and gardening. Games, songs, rhythm and music, movement, story telling, puppetry, dramatic play, creative/free play, painting, coloring, beeswax modeling, and seasonal crafts. Development of social skills, readiness to participate in group learning, celebration of festivals and awareness of the changing seasons of nature.
First GradeLetters are learned thoroughly as forms and sounds. Reading is approached as a by-product of writing. Writing evolves from painting and drawing. Numbers from 1 to 100. Elements of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Fairy tales and nature stories, cultivating imagination and awareness of environment. Choral recitation, speech development.
Second GradeReading and writing drawn primarily from content of fables, nature stories, saint stories and legends. First elements of composition. Speech development. Dramatic arts. Arithmetic, including basic operations with expanded application and larger numbers, multiplication tables.
Third GradeReading, spelling, composition and grammar. Studies of practical activities, emphasizing farming, house building and clothing, as the basis for geography and science. Dramatic arts. Beginning of history through stories from the Old Testament. Arithmetic, including advanced application of basic operations, measurements, multiplication tables mastered.
Fourth GradeReading, writing, spelling, composition and grammar. Letter writing. History through Norse mythology. California studies, including geography of the state, and map-making. Arithmetic, including fractions. Introduction to zoology. Dramatic arts.
Fifth GradeReading, writing, spelling, composition and grammar. Studies of ancient civilizations from India through Greece. Greek language (when feasible). Arithmetic, through decimal fractions and calculations of area. U. S. geography. Introduction to botany, in relation to environment. Dramatic arts.
Sixth GradeReading, writing, spelling, composition and grammar. History from Rome through the Middle Ages. Latin language (when feasible). Mathematics, including practical business mathematics, interest, percentages and discount. Geometry. World geography Introduction to physics. Mineralogy. Astronomy. Dramatic arts.
Seventh GradeReading, writing, spelling, composition (including poetry), grammar and syntax. Literature. Arithmetic, algebra, and plane geometry. Perspective drawing. History of the Renaissance, Reformation and Age of Discovery. World geography. Physics continued. Introduction to chemistry via the phenomenon of combustion. Health, nutrition, introduction to physiology. Meteorology. Dramatic arts.
Eighth GradeReading, writing, spelling, grammar, composition including business English. Literature. Arithmetic, algebra, geometry of solids. World geography and current issues. History from 17th century to the present, including American history. Chemistry continued. Physics continued. Anatomy of the skeleton and muscles. Dramatic arts.
Handwork ProgramKnitting and other handwork projects play an important role in the development of fine motor skills, inner calm, and intellectual clarity. Handwork offers many opportunities for reinforcing math skills in practical, challenging, and enjoyable ways. In an article originally printed in Head, Heart, and Hands: A Waldorf Family Newsletter published by the Green Mountain Waldorf School, author and Waldorf teacher Eugene Schwartz points out an even more valuable result: “We cannot underestimate the self-esteem and joy that arises in the child as the result of having made something practical and beautiful – something which has arisen as the result of a skill that has been learned. In an age when children are often passive consumers, who as Oscar Wilde once said ‘know the price of everything and the value of nothing,’ learning to knit can be a powerful way of bringing meaning into a child’s life.”
Gardening ProgramThe gardening program is a “hands on” experience that brings the children closer to the earth as they explore themes and practical work related to the curriculum. Through shared contributions and work toward a common goal, the children also become closer to each other.
Working in harmony with the seasonal cycles, the children learn to become stewards of the earth. Gardening gives children the skills and tools to transform their environment. They learn the value of creating and maintaining a healthy, living soil. Rainy days are spent writing in garden journals and doing garden crafts such as wheat weaving.
Foreign LanguageThe spoken word is the key to learning languages in the early grades. In our foreign language curriculum, Spanish is taught with songs, poems, rhymes, tongue-twisters, counting, and group games to foster group knowledge and appreciation of this language. In the middle grades keeping a written record of the oral written work brings an awareness of spelling and basic grammar in the language. In the upper grades, the geography of Spanish speaking countries is taught along with the history, literature, tradition, and music. This further develops the understanding of these cultures.
EurythmyEurythmy translates the sounds, phrases, and rhythms of speech, or the dynamic elements of music into movement and gesture. The result has been described as visible speech and visible music. In the art of eurythmy, that which you would normally hear, you see in the movements of the eurythmist. Through eurythmy the children learn to listen carefully and to express, through appropriate movement, what they hear.
Therapeutic EurythmyTherapeutic eurythmy is based upon the gestures, rhythms, and movements of artistic and pedagogical eurythmy. To achieve therapeutic results, these basic elements are repeated and intensified over a period of months. Instead of being directed at creating outwardly artistic expression, they invigorate the body, stimulating upbuilding, creative forces in a specific way. By the repetitive use of exercises specifically directed at the need of the child, gradual improvement is often observed.
Educational Support ProgramThe goal of the Educational Support Program is to assist teachers in removing any hindrances that prevent children from developing to their full potential. The lessons themselves include movement work, form drawing and painting exercises. All exercises chosen are intended to work in very specific areas of the child's' sensory-motor system.
The class teacher refers children to the Educational Support Program. The class teacher makes a recommendation to the Care Group and the Care Group is responsible for selecting which children will receive Educational Support lessons with parental consent. Once lessons have begun the parents will be contacted to set up a conference to go over the work that is being done and what they can do at home or through other services to help the child. A written report is given to the parents at the end of the year.
We are Proud of Our Results!
“By the time Waldorf students reach us at the university and college level, they are grounded broadly and deeply and have a remarkable enthusiasm for learning. Such students possess the eye of the discoverer and the compassionate heart of the reformer which, when joined to a task, can change the planet.” --Arthur Zojonc, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics, Amherst College
We are frequently asked, “What happens to your students when they graduate?” Since 1990 we have graduated 36 students from four classes. (Some were combined classes.) Of these graduates, 20 are still in high school. Following are the high schools our former students have attended, or are currently attending. To date we have tracked 12 of the 16 alumni of college age. Every one of these former students are enrolled in one of the following colleges or universities.
HIGH SCHOOLS COLLEGES/UNIVERSITIES Fremont High School Brown University Gunn High School California Institute of Technology High Mowing Waldorf High School Humbolt State Los Altos High School Santa Clara University Los Gatos High School Southern Oregon University Menlo/Atherton High School Spring Valley Eurythmy Institute Mid Peninsula High School Stanford University Mountain View High School University of California at Davis Palo Alto High School University of California at Santa Cruz Sacramento Waldorf High School Sacred Heart High School, Guadalajara Sacred Heart Preparatory High School San Francisco Waldorf High School Wherry Academy Woodside High School
Carolyn Armstrong, Grade 8 Teacher
Carolyn earned a BA in psychology from UCLA and a state of California elementary credential from College of Notre Dame, Belmont. She first encountered Waldorf education while assisting in her son's Waldorf-inspired public school kindergarten in 1984 and joined our faculty as first grade teacher in September 1991.
Brenda Aronow, Grade 6 Teacher
Brenda earned her BFA from the University of Rhode Island. Brenda discovered Waldorf education while looking for a kindergarten for her daughter. In October 1992, she joined our office staff as a business manager. Two years later, she began the San Francisco Teacher Training Program of Rudolf Steiner College. Brenda later became one of our kindergarten assistants and continued to work in the office as publications editor. In September of 1996, she joined our faculty as a kindergarten teacher and then became our sixth grade teacher in the fall of 1998.
Zoe Avalon, Lavender Kindergarten Teacher
Zoe studied at St. Nicholas Montessori College in London, England where she received her Montessori training in early childhood education. She moved to California in 1975 where she deepened her studies in Waldorf education at Rudolf Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California. She has been working in the field of Waldorf education since that time as a teacher, volunteer, and parent. She is now studying therapeutic education with Gradalis Seminars in Boulder, CO. and is delighted to have the opportunity to teach kindergarten.
Cindy Bajema, Educational Support
Cindy attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco where she studied painting, photography, and graphic design. Cindy has worked professionally with children as a childcare provider, assistant teacher in a daycare facility, and head of her own Waldorf-inspired preschool. Caring for many children with special needs awoke an interest in joining the Remedial Education Program, a three year intensive course of study, focused on helping children with learning differences within a Waldorf environment. Cindy will graduate from this program in June of 1999.
Brenda Bean, Grade 7 Teacher
Brenda earned a BFA in interior design from East Carolina University and received her teacher's certificate in early childhood education from San Jose City College. Brenda first found Waldorf education for her son. She then enrolled in the first class of the San Francisco Teacher Training Program of Rudolf Steiner College. She became our first grade teacher in September 1993.
Carolyn Brown, Gardening Teacher
Carolyn earned her BS in plant science and nursery management from the University of California at Davis. She farmed in Yolo County until moving here in 1991. Carolyn worked with seven other rural families in Capay Valley to create a Waldorf-inspired play group/kindergarten for nine children over a three- year period. She joined our faculty as a gardening teacher in September 1991. Carolyn says, "I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with the school community and students in the garden. Sharing my love of gardening has strengthened my personal commitment to the ideal of being good stewards of the earth."
Mary Jane Di Piero, Grade 2 Teacher
Mary Jane attended the University of Kansas. Shortly after graduation, she spent a year at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland on a Rotary scholarship. She then worked as a reports writer in the American Embassy in Seoul, Korea. She received an M.A. and secondary teaching credential from San Francisco State, then taught high school English and journalism for several years in Maryland, Vermont, and Italy. Mary Jane discovered the Chicago Waldorf School when her husband was teaching at Northwestern. When her family moved to Palo Alto, she carried the idea of starting a Waldorf school to bridge the gap between the Santa Cruz and San Francisco schools. She worked with a group of parents to bring that dream to fruition. She managed the office the year the school opened, and her daughter, now in college, was in the first grade. She says, "As I return to the school as a neophyte teacher, the second grade curriculum strikes me as perfect for both myself and the children – working through the lower animal qualities as represented by Aesop's fables, to something akin to sainthood. I expect us to have fun in our striving!"
Dana Jain, Grade 5 Teacher
Dana attended Dickenson College, Marietta College, and the University of Massachusetts, where she majored in drama and continued her study of French and German. While living in an ashram in 1974, Dana heard about Waldorf education from three housemates who were leaving to take the Waldorf teacher training in Detroit. Dana's continued contact with these three led her to take courses and workshops in Sacramento and eventually to enroll her daughter at Waldorf School of the Peninsula. Dana taught the second grade class at Waldorf School of the Peninsula in 1991-92. In 1994, she became the first grade teacher.
Kris Keckley-Stauffer, Handwork Teacher
Kris earned her BS in home economics with a minor in child development from California Polytechnic College, San Luis Obispo. She worked for seven years as a counselor at Hillcrest Juvenile Hall. In 1996, she joined the faculty as a handwork teacher. Her youngest child is currently enrolled in the fifth grade, and the eldest, an alumnus of our school, is a senior at Stanford University.
Carole Kowalski, Rose Kindergarten Teacher
Carole earned a BS in early childhood education from the University of Delaware. She continued teaching kindergarten in both public and private schools to culturally diverse populations in Delaware, Texas, and California where she earned teaching credentials. She also administered childcare services for three years and was a board member of the Houston Association for the Education of Young Children. Carole received her Waldorf teaching certification from Rudolf Steiner College, specializing in kindergarten. She has been the Rose kindergarten teacher at Waldorf School of the Peninsula since 1990. She is a member of the First Class of the Anthroposophical Society. She helped to initiate the Ombudsman Committee, and has served as a board member.
Karen Latimer, Grade 4 Teacher
Karen earned a BA in English literature from San Francisco State College. She studied childhood education at Canada College in Redwood City and earned enough credits to direct the offsite licensed preschool program that our school once operated. Karen began her experience with Waldorf education as an untrained kindergarten assistant in 1984, the year the school opened. After teaching in our preschool and kindergartens, she began her grades teaching journey in 1988 with a fifth grade. She graduated that class and then took a combined fifth/sixth grade, which she graduated in 1995. In September 1995, she became our first grade teacher.
Carmina Luce, Spanish Teacher
Carmina earned a BA in Spanish language and education from the National Catholic College of Cochabamba, Bolivia. After two years of teaching Spanish in the same school she attended during her elementary and secondary years, Carmina moved to La Crosse, Wisconsin, and earned teaching credentials for teaching Spanish as a foreign language. Her first encounter with Waldorf education came when she talked to one of the founders of the Waldorf School of the Peninsula. Carmina felt drawn to this unique educational approach and became a member of our first faculty. "Having been the Spanish teacher at the Waldorf School of the Peninsula for the past fifteen years has been a delightful experience for me," she says. "Seeing delight in the eyes of the children, watching them grow in the nurturing environment, building the foundation for fluency, and sharing with them another culture has been very rewarding."
Bonnie Maffei, Therapeutic Eurythmist
Bonnie studied painting at San Jose State University. From 1972 to 1991, she traveled, studied, and worked in England, Germany, and South Africa, gaining 14 years of experience in the field of therapeutic eurythmy in Waldorf schools and Camphill special schools. Bonnie received a eurythmy diploma from the eurythmy school in Berlin. She studied therapeutic eurythmy in London and received her diploma through the Goetheanum in Switzerland. She looks forward to offering eurythmy to both the Santa Cruz Waldorf School and Waldorf School of the Peninsula weekly.
Scott Merrall, Grade 3 Teacher
Scott took the foundation year at Rudolf Steiner College and completed his training at the Bothmer Schule fur Gymnastik in Stuttgart, Germany. Scott taught movement and physical education at the Rudolf Steiner School in Norheide, Germany. His extensive background in movement training includes coaching track and field and basketball. Scott has also worked with severely handicapped children and young adults as a care provider. Scott became our first grade teacher in the fall of 1996.
Njeri McGillicuddy, Morning Glory Kindergarten Teacher
Njeri completed her kindergarten training with Margaret Meyercort in England and therapeutic education in Aberdeen, Scotland. She came to our faculty in September 1995 from Canada, where she had been a Waldorf kindergarten teacher for fourteen years. Njeri has also taught mentally handicapped children, specializing in puppetry. She has traveled extensively across Europe and Africa. "I really enjoy teaching kindergarten," she says. "The very positive situation with this work is that I meet so many children who become very dear to me and, above all, their parents, who support and work together with me to create a happy environment for all of us."
Elen Sargisian, Kindergarten Assistant
Elen earned her B.A. in music from Yerevan State Musical-Pedagogical College. During the next two years she taught music to young children. She continued her education at the Yerevan State Conservatory, where she received her M.A. in music. She worked as a piano soloist in a chamber orchestra, as concertmaster and as a teacher. Elen first heard about anthroposophy at the conservatory from a group of students interested in Waldorf education. She began assisting in the Rose Kindergarten in 1997.
Andrea Walker, Grade 1 Teacher
Andrea received a B.A. in French literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz. She studied dance for many years, as well as drama, languages, and creative writing. Introduced to Waldorf education at an early age through family friends, Andrea studied anthroposophy, attended eurhythmy performances in high school and college. After graduating from the San Francisco Waldorf Teacher Training Program, she taught first and second grade at the Monterey Waldorf School. Andrea became our first grade teacher in the fall of 1998.