Waldorf High School of Massachusetts Bay
 
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An Independent Waldorf High School For Grades 9-12
 
Curriculum

A challenging high school education

THOUGHTS_3.jpg Grounded in the classics, academic courses at Waldorf High School expose students to the great ideas of mankind, the events that shaped civilizations, the beauty of mathematics, the power of the arts, and the phenomena of the natural world. Waldorf graduates benefit from a base of interdisciplinary knowledge from which they may pursue any passion in any direction.

An integrated curriculum
Our faculty fine tunes the curriculum so that it has a rhythm and harmony as it builds year by year through the high school. Teachers meet frequently to discuss what is being taught in each class, so that references and connections can be made between subjects. This integration of courses fosters students' appreciation that true understanding is reached by many roads.

An approach grounded in adolescent development
The curriculum reflects awareness of the developmental journey of adolescents and their quests for identity, independence, and purpose. Each year, our students study themes that resonate with their individual growth; each year's focus building on previous years. With a curriculum designed around students' developing consciousness, we feed and balance their intellectual, social, physical, and spiritual growth.

Track Classes

All students attend nineteen 40-minute skill classes per week, covering English and mathematics, American studies, global studies, foreign languages, laboratory science (Grade 11), music, and physical education. Also, each student takes two 1½ hour classes per week, covering the fine arts, practical arts/electives, and physical education. These classes ensure that upon graduation, students have the knowledge and skills to succeed in college and other post-secondary pursuits.

Main Lesson Block Classes

The heart of the Waldorf approach is the main lesson block class, an uninterrupted one and one-half hour concentrated class at the beginning of each school day. Specialist teachers lead the students through a rich array of main lesson block class subjects in the various academic disciplines. With three to four weeks dedicated to each main lesson block class, our students take time to explore every subject in the context of its history, culture, and impact. Primary source materials, rather than textbooks, bring students directly to the great and enduring ideas of mankind. Field trips deepen students' understanding with firsthand experience. Independent research extends classroom discussions.

For homework, students return to their main lesson block class topics as they amplify, condense, restate, transcribe, and illustrate their reading and reflections in main lesson books. The books may include references, research, essays, creative writing, scientific observations, charts, maps, and artistic work, and are both a record and a culmination of their study. These books become valuable resources and cherished creations, kept and referenced by students for years.

Education in and through the Arts

THOUGHTS_4.jpg Waldorf education is built on the principle that everyone has artistic capacities and imagination, even though not everyone is an "artist." Learning at Waldorf, therefore, is a multi-sensory experience, engaged through drawing and reading, through music and discussion. Our curriculum is infused with the arts because we believe that when the arts are integrated into learning, learning becomes more meaningful and enduring. Our students become flexible, confident thinkers. They set about solving problems with creativity and optimism.

"Waldorf schools include powerfully the arts as a teaching tool. Art as it helps to reveal the use of language, art as it can be revealed in numbers, and certainly in nature."- Ernest Boyer, former president, Carnegie Institute for the Advancement of Teaching

While the arts are integrated into every course at Waldorf, we also devote classes to the fine arts, practical arts, and music. We explore fine art through critical analysis, dialogue, research, technique, and of course, the making of art. Our practical arts courses develop students' skill in basketry, bookbinding, woodworking, and metalworking. All students are required to participate in the music program. Most students play a musical instrument and sing in the school chorus. For students not yet proficient in an instrument, we study the fundamentals and teach sight reading as they discover the pleasure of playing music.

Many of our students become accomplished artists and musicians, and many do not. All wake to the interplay of color, shape, sound, texture, perception, and emotion, and how these elements enrich our daily lives. All respect the work of the imagination and the power of creativity.
 
'Waldorf gave me a love of rich colors, energetic movement, and a passion for music. While I have not always been a creator of this kind of beauty, I have always found friends and environments that keep this part of my soul alive.' 
-Waldorf alumnus

The strengths of Waldorf High School are many. One is the acceptance of all students and the welcoming, nonjudgmental atmosphere. Another is capturing the interest of students; it is real experiential learning.
Waldorf High School Parent
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