Academics

Education as Art

Whether the subject is arithmetic, history or physics, knowledge comes through a child’s experience, both in heart and mind.

Discover the Waldorf Difference

At the heart of Waldorf philosophy is the belief that education is an art. Mastery of traditional academic subjects is interwoven with practical and artistic activities, helping students to develop both intellectual and creative abilities.

Science

Students are exposed to the foundations of science through year-round outdoor play, the changing of the seasons and the natural processes occurring right here on our Seattle campus.

In Grades 3-5, storytelling and hands-on exploration illustrate how plant and animal facts are connected to human activities. Formal lab science starts in grade six.

THE WALDORF DIFFERENCE: We demonstrate phenomena and then ask students to make observations, explain what they witnessed, and draw their own conclusions. This recapitulates the process of discovery that scientists through the ages have experienced in exploring and explaining the natural processes around us.

Math

Daily mental and written practice prepare students for future mathematical challenges, from Algebra, Geometry and Business Math in middle school to higher math such as pre-Calculus in high school.

THE WALDORF DIFFERENCE: In part, SWS students learn mathematics through movement—with physical activity strengthening a student’s grasp of numbers and heightening his or her appreciation of math’s relevance. This includes clapping the multiplication tables, cutting shapes to represent the Pythagorean Theorem, and walking the number line to experience addition of negative and positive numbers.

Language Arts

Beginning in first grade, children discover the letters of the alphabet through stories and then abstract symbols before progressing on to writing and reading.

The study of grammar as the skeleton of language supports developing skills in exposition, scientific summary and creative writing.

THE WALDORF DIFFERENCE: Seattle Waldorf teachers seek to cultivate students’ knowledge of and love for language through storytelling. Children find a voice for increasingly complex expressions of mood and thought through poetry and short stories. Concurrently, drama and oral recitation deepen speaking and acting skills along with a fuller understanding of mythology and classic works of literature.

Geography

Curriculum starts literally in our own backyard. It then expands to include the peoples and places of the entire world, growing in depth and scope appropriate to a child’s developmental stage.

THE WALDORF DIFFERENCE: Mapmaking begins in grade four, and increases in complexity over the years.

World Mythology and History

Emphasis on the developmental stages of human growth draws parallels with the stages of human history. The greatest stories of all time—from fairy tales and fables, to Nordic and Greek myths, to tales from the Middle Ages, the Roman Empire, the Renaissance, and modern history—form the cornerstone of our curriculum.

THE WALDORF DIFFERENCE: Teachers bring global mythology and international history to life through the art of oral storytelling, furthering deepening understanding and engagement, especially when accompanied by students’ written and artistic work.

The Arts

Speech, drama, singing, drawing, painting and handwriting are woven throughout daily lessons, helping students engage in academic subjects emotionally, physically and cognitively.

THE WALDORF DIFFERENCE: Teachers in core academic subjects regularly incorporate art into their teaching, working to ensure strong engagement in the subject matter.