The core curriculum and concepts in a Waldorf education are taught using literature, oral storytelling, and poetry. Books are carefully chosen to maintain the idea that our world, and citizens, are inherently good, that the world is beautiful, and to seek truth. These are the fundamental beliefs of a Waldorf education- truth, beauty, and goodness.
In the first grade, children explore nature studies and classic fairy tales. The stories play on the archetypes that dwell within us and excite the spirit of the child to be brave and bold. In fairy tales, good triumphs evil and many obstacles are overcome with effort and virtue.
In the second grade, students study the saints, fables from around the world, tall tales and legends. These stories help the students make connections between the astral world and the physical world without over-intellectualizing any concepts and allowing the child to stay in dreamworld a bit longer leading up to the nine year change. Students honor the saints throughout the year by participating in traditional Waldorf festivals and class plays.
In the third grade, the students study historical texts and ancient literature such as the old testament, mesopatmia and classic literature featuring meaningful work. This is the year of "how to", when students begin to learn, and apply, real world skills such as building shelters, farming, fiber arts, cooking, sewing, foraging, and animal care. They read about pioneer life and early settlers and the spark for adventure is ignited. Students delight in Little House on the Prairie, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and the wildness of Pippi Longstocking. They can relate to feeling independent, but unsure how to do the big things they want to do.
Fourth graders study man's relationship to animals and the interconnectedness of the universe. They study biographies, local history, zoology, the kingdoms of nature, and norse mythology. They study the myths in great detail and relate to the stories of the gods and goddesses who make their own choices and experience consequence and reward as a result. Stories of brave figures like Harriet Tubman or Anne Frank speak to the child who is undergoing the nine year change and asserting independence in full.
Here's a link to a reading list comprised by a Waldorf teacher to help support summer reading goals or give you and your child a head start to the year.
Thank you all!