Grades 1–5

Entering grade school as a child is like walking though a new door into an unexplored world. The rhythm of the day now centers on the Main Lesson period taught by the Class Teacher. This is when one subject is taught for the first extended morning period for three to four weeks. During each Main Lesson block the children create their own textbooks, full of illustrations, from elements presented by the Class Teacher. This Main Lesson time is filled with movement, recitation, reading, writing and artistic work and each day is thoughtfully prepared to work harmoniously. The day continues with track classes that are taught by the Class Teacher but also specialist teachers that are designed to broaden the students’ practical, cultural, academic, and social skills.

As a student travels through the grades we see that capacities develop over time and consciousness changes slowly. There is no switch to flick; rather, the child unfolds new abilities and understanding as a plant unfolds shoot, stem, leaf, flower and fruit. The teacher’s task is to support and guide this development, to uncover latent talents in a healthy and balanced way. We believe that the path to an active will, a rich and sensitive feeling life, and an enlivened and flexible thinking lies through our arts-infused education.

In these early grades, a child enters into a world rich in movement, numbers, imagination, language and art. Numbers and letters are discovered through drawing and story. Scientific observation and knowledge is woven into each grade level. The telling and recalling of stories, legends and fables develop memory and imagination. Waldorf schools are well known for their language-rich environment, which promotes language usage and comprehension in English as well as Spanish. A deep foundation in math skills is developed and constantly reinforced. Students approach the processes and concepts of mathematics through blocks devoted to math but also through math track classes each week. Motor skills and spatial orientation are developed with the class teacher through rhythmic activities as well as work with the handwork and games teachers. All learning is developed through artistic practice in painting, drawing, modeling, recorder playing, singing, poetry and drama.

Grades 6–8

Teaching methods utilized in Grades 6-8 are similar to those used in the lower grades, yet topics and methods are tailored toward the emerging adolescent capable of more abstract thinking.

During these years, students become more self-conscious and inquisitive and the teachers offer new boundaries, rules, and expectations as well as a stimulating experiential curriculum. Our approach based on the Waldorf curriculum help us to meet the needs of young adolescents.

Enhanced programs of arts and academics bring the outside world into the classroom, and outdoor experiences become more challenging. In eighth grade, all students complete a comprehensive research project, complete with written report, display, and oral presentation. Throughout the middle school years there are opportunities for outdoor education, participating in our Environmental science curriculum and blocks of electives. The students are busy and engaged.

The balanced middle school program at SNH fosters confident students well-prepared for the challenges of high school, through academics, the arts, outdoor education, research projects and extra-curricular activities. Social relationships bloom as students refine their ability to work together as a collaborative team, and to respect each other’s individuality and diversity.

Agriculture and Sustainability

SNH has an organic vegetable gardens and their own greenhouse. Early Childhood students work their own herb garden. Grade school students have agriculture class once a week as part of their curriculum which includes growing their vegetable gardens, creating the compost and sprouting. The students enjoy cooking with their harvest and eating a community vegetarian lunches together.