The Middle School
In Waldorf education the middle school grades truly marks a mid point. The students straddle the feeling richness of the first five grades and the thought fullness of the high school years.
In the Middle School the curriculum enhances students reasoning capacities in their developmental transition from active do-ers and explorers to critical thinkers with acute skills in reasoning, dialogue and synthesizing information from multiple sources to draw reasoned conclusions. Read more
Through main lesson blocks such as physics, chemistry, astronomy, algebra, geometry, and history, Middle School students take an active role in the interpretation and translation of information. Students engage in the scientific process of exploration, logical reasoning in conceptual mathematics, and the study of codified systems of governance. They learn the physical laws of the universe and study the changes and migrations of cultural development in various historical eras. In all these, students engage in the processes of reformulating data, constructing theories, debating complex issues in light of influencing contexts and drawing conclusions based on well founded reasoning.
Students are asked to cultivate an awakened conscious understanding of the many skills that were developed through imagination and movement in earlier grades.
As these thinking capacities are awakened, the soul life of the student is nourished through the arts to strengthen feeling-thinking or the empathy of the student.
In the social realm, students' interpersonal skills and communicative abilities are bolstered by opportunities to engage in projects with practical and "real world" applications. They learn business models to apply to small class room events or larger projects, they organize fund raisers and take an active involvement in supporting humanitarian advocacy groups.
The Middle School class field trips take are more ambitious scope and include physical challenges such as extreme ropes courses and community service and travel that test students and allow them to build confidence in their capabilities as well as create memorable bonding experiences. Close
Sixth graders are becoming aware that they can stand on their own and are beginning to view the world objectively, with a dawning understanding of cause and effect. Experimental sciences are the ideal demonstration of this, as students are introduced to the physics of light, sound, and magnetism. Ancient Rome, with its law and order, engineering prowess, and mastery of the solid physical matter of the world, appeals to the sixth grader, who seeks for this concrete view of the world. Medieval history demonstrates how human beings were able to organize themselves in communities and make sense of the world as students explore the role of chivalry, guilds, and the social systems of the time. Further experiencing the solid world, students study mineralogy, which can be integrated with the geography of the Pacific Rim region, the “Ring of Fire.” Mathematics includes business math, decimals, ratios, and geometry, integrating precise geometric constructions with an understanding of geometric rules. Clear and concise writing is emphasized in writing of laboratory experiments and geometric constructions.
Students become more proficient in conversational skills in foreign language classes.
Students demonstrate physical skills as they practice archery and jousting for the Hawai‛i Waldorf schools Medieval Games.
In practical arts classes, students carve wooden spoons and bowls and hand sew stuffed animals designed by the students.
Students may choose between continuing with strings class or beginning band class.
The Renaissance and Age of Exploration represent a turning point in the consciousness of human thinking. The curriculum meets the seventh graders who experience a similar turning point in consciousness with their growing intellect, academic prowess, and active feeling life. Powerful biographies, such as those of Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Galileo demonstrate to the students the struggles and triumphs of the human spirit. Inorganic chemistry, human physiology, and physics provide a framework for understanding the physical world. Algebra, working with negative numbers, and geometry round out the math curriculum. Expository, descriptive, and narrative writing is practiced, and creative writing allows the seventh graders to express thoughts and feelings in an artistic way. Geography ties together other subjects as students begin to see how one’s physical environment effects the development of culture.
Seventh graders join with eight graders in mixed band, strings, and foreign language classes.
In eurythmy, students are given the opportunity to choreograph their own pieces.
A class trip to Camp Erdman includes a high ropes course that builds trust in one’s self and community.
Copying drawings and paintings of Old Masters, painting frescos, clay modeling, perspective drawing, and veil painting make up the content of the art curriculum.
Growing independence is a hallmark experience for the eighth grader, and the curriculum appropriately deals with the Age of Revolution, and the growing independence that human beings were longing for. Understanding of revolutions and the need of human beings for freedom grows through the biographies of notable figures such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, and others. The biographies of scientists, such as Einstein, Marie Curie, and Nikolai Tesla, whose work contributed to scientific revolutions, are explored in physics classes, which have a strong component of electricity and magnetism. Students experience the phenomenon of weather in meteorology. Continuing studies in algebra include further work with equations and formulae. The study of geometry, with includes construction of three dimensional solids, supports the development of using the power of thought to imagine and create forms in space. An overview of world geography, with a particular emphasis on the geography of Africa, brings together elements of history, science, and culture.
The Eighth Grade class play, often a production of a Shakespeare comedy, is a grand effort involving the students in set design, costumes, and stage management in addition to acting.
Opportunities to work independently in class projects and service work grow as the students begin to step away from the class teacher as they approach high school.
Spanish students take responsibility for presenting El Dia de los Muertes (Day of the Dead) at a Lower School assembly.
A week-long outer islands class trip includes community service, exploration in nature, testing of physical prowess, and growing as a class community.