Our Waldorf Curriculum

At A Glance

At the Santa Cruz Waldorf School we are committed to provide an education that supports the child holistically in their development and individuality. We strive to bring forth qualities that enable them to meet the challenges of an ever more globalized world. A class teacher takes the responsibility of being the main instructor of a class for their student’s entire school period, from first to eighth grade. The teaching of all subjects is enlivened through incorporating a curriculum and methodology that integrates academics, arts, and practical skills into the instruction, thus educating the principal faculties commonly known as the Head, Heart, and Hands – or Thinking, Feeling, and Doing. This is the basis out of which our teachers work to nurture and engage each child. Subjects are taught in blocks for a period of 3 to 4 weeks, allowing the children to have a deep experience and living process of the topics being taught.

Parent Child

Our Parent-Child program is a wonderful way to introduce you and your young child, walking to 3 years old, to the rich, developmental approach of Waldorf Education.

These classes model home and family life and provide an atmosphere of warmth, support and ease to explore the world together in a community. Using song, movement, and play, the parents observe their child in the company of other adults and children. Parents learn, too, through readings and discussions of the many elements of raising young children, with themes of nourishment, cleaning, play, sleep, and discipline among them.

Register for the Spring Parent Child Session

Early Childhood

Our Preschool and Kindergarten program allows children to come to self-awareness at their own pace, building a solid foundation for their physical and emotional development. Nurturing this process, our early childhood programs focus on movement, crafts, and domestic activities rather than a formal academic curriculum.

Our Preschool program is for children preparing for Kindergarten, beginning at age 2 years 9 months, once potty trained. Rather than instructing, the teacher guides the children by their own deeds and gestures and encourages children to learn out of their own initiative and doing. Throughout the daily activities in Preschool, our children are supported in growing into their own individual bodies and minds with thoughtfulness and self-expression.

Basic Information

The Preschool class is a mixed-age group, ranging in age from potty-trained 2-year-9 month-olds to Kindergarten entrance.

Preschool days/hours:

Monday–Friday 8:30 am–12:45 pm

Aftercare options until 3pm & 5pm

Our Kindergarten program is centered around play and imaginative exploration both through indoor and outdoor time and the sharing of stories, poems, and songs led by our teachers. Through a consistent daily schedule, fluctuating between individual and group activities, our children develop their social and motor skills. Playing outdoors and immersed in nature, our kindergarteners explore the Redwood groves, forage for fruit in our gardens, and create community amongst each other.

Basic Information

The Kindergarten classes serve children from 4 years 9 months to 6 years of age.

Kindergarten days/hours:

Monday–Friday: 8:30 am–1 pm

Aftercare available until 5pm

Grades 1 – 3

Grades first through third grade marks the beginning of a new journey, the second stage of unfolding in child development. As children seek to understand the world and find their way, they begin to ask the why and ‘How’ questions about the world around them. We teach through wonder and imagination to help them form and transform their inner pictures so that they can make sense of the world around them.

Activities & Learning Milestones

Language Arts: Artistic rendering of the alphabet by use of fairy tales and other stories to highlight the shapes and sounds of letters. Out of these tales, the writing of simple verses and poetry begins. These simple verses and poems are then used to develop reading.

Social Studies: Fairy tale stories from around the world.

Math: Counting 1-100, introduction to addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division and number groupings.

Science: Nature walks and stories that depict different aspects of nature.

Spanish: Oral mimicry through general introductory phrases, numbers 1-50, basic human body parts, colors, animals, and learning about Mexican folk dancing.

Art: Wet on wet watercolor painting, wax crayon drawings, and form drawing.

Handwork: Needle and finger knitting to develop manual dexterity, sequencing, color knowledge, counting, and left-right awareness.

Eurythmy: Introduction to the basic movements of eurythmy.

Movement: Games and activities that develop spatial orientation and body awareness including circle and singing games.

Music: Pentatonic flute and pentatonic mood songs.

Activities &  Learning Milestones

Language Arts: Reading and grammar derived from fables, legends, folklore, and nature stories concerned mainly with animals and the local environment. A study of lowercase letters and joint patterns that create the basis of cursive writing.

Social Studies: Introduction to fables from around the world.

Math: Additive number families, multiplicative number families, and simple mathematical word problems.

Science: Nature walks, stories, songs, poetry, and other activities that cover seasons. Weather and the elements, simple botany, and zoology including taking care of animals.

Spanish: Oral mimicry and memorization of numbers 1-100, descriptive information of the self, seasons, and introductory phrases.

Art: Wet on Wet watercolor painting, beeswax sculpting, and symmetrical-form drawing.

Handwork: Knitting continues with the addition of the purl stitch, increasing and decreasing. Projects may include flute cases and various knitted animals.

Eurythmy: Circling and crossing over forms connected to seasons, festivals, and main Lesson material

Movement: Games that provide opportunities for rhythm and sequencing. (eg. skipping, clapping games, beanbag games involving passing and throwing)

Music: Seasonal songs, playing the descant recorder in a group with no sheet music.

Gardening: Familiarization of Marisol Garden through learning how to use small hand tools and learn how to plant bulbs, potatoes, and winter wheat.

Activities & Learning Milestones

Language Arts: Composition and grammar including the application of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and basic punctuation.

Social Studies: The study and history of ancient Hebrew culture, derived from the Old Testament, including the study of traditional crafts and professions.

Math: Measurement, longer processes with numbers, and the four processes. Multiplication tables, simple puzzles, magic squares, number patterns, and sequences, money math.

Science: Study of farming, agriculture, including cultivation of grain, cycles of composting, crop rotation, and animal husbandry.

Spanish: Oral mimicry into the memorization of simple, easy sentences. Vocabulary includes numbers 1-1000, clothing, musical instruments, nature, and the environment.

Practical Life Arts: Gardening, cooking, shelter making, and making clothes.

Art: Wet on Wet Watercolor, beeswax sculpting, and asymmetrical form drawing.

Handwork: Crochet: projects may include potholders and drawstring bags. Fiber arts: carding fleece, spinning with drop spindles, and exploring plant-based dyes.

Eurythmy: Spirals, triangles, squares, and question and answer forms.

Movement: Obstacle courses, chase and catch games, and activities that develop uprightness and spatial dynamics.

Music: Round songs and the recorder.

Gardening: Learning how to tend to the animals in Marisol Garden, understanding the seasonal harvests of the garden, cooking from what’s grown in the garden, and pressing apple juice.

Grades 4 – 5

This period is known as the “Crossing of the Rubicon” and entry into the “Golden Age of Childhood”. Developmentally, fourth through fifth grade marks the final move from early childhood. As a child begins to experience a separation of self from the external world, they begin to question authority and relationships. Learning is still approached through the use of rich imagination, depth of feeling, and wonder. Through lessons in biology and studies such as the larger animal kingdom, fourth and fifth graders begin to see how our own human biology and selves are mirrored in the world around us.

Activities & Learning Milestones

Language Arts: Book reports and research projects that strengthen reading fluency, spelling, grammar, punctuation, dictation clauses, and comprehension. Speech exercises include tongue twisters and alliteration. 

Social Studies: Norse mythology, local & regional California history and geography.

Math:  Long Form, multiplication tables through 12 and factoring, the expansion, reduction, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of like and unlike fractions. 

Science: Study of animal, plant, and human physiology.

Spanish: Learning how to write basic sentences in Spanish that display knowledge of basic grammatical structures. Vocabulary includes daily routines, professions, and the weather. Cultural studies of Latin American geographies. 

Art: Drawing of animals, Celtic knots and braided designs, clay modeling, and the drawing and painting of maps. 

Handwork: Embroidery and cross-stitch. Projects include felt needlebook, cross-stitch pincushion, embroidered felt animal.

Eurythmy: More individual forward-facing movements and rod exercises.

Movement: Obstacle exercises, contraction, and expansion/breath exercises.

Music: Introduction to string instruments including the cello, violin, and viola, musical notation, singing with accompaniments.

Gardening: The planting, study, and harvesting of beans and other legumes, including the origins and history of crops like lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, and soybeans. Local California history is supported through harvesting and processing acorns and discussing the indigenous technologies involved in this labor.

Activities & Learning Milestones

Language Arts: Book reports and research projects that strengthen reading fluency, spelling, dictation, and comprehension. Syntax, active and passive voice, direct speech, and punctuation.

Social Studies: Ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, India, and Greece including cultural and geographical information. North American geography. 

Math: Freehand Geometry, fractions, the decimal system, and the metric system. 

Science: Botany includes scientific observations and poetic and artistic interpretations. 

Spanish: Reading in Spanish and an understanding of basic grammatical structures through a deepening of vocabulary. Learning about pre-Columbian cultures. 

Art: Form drawing of geometric figures, drawing from observation in botany, shaded drawing. 

Handwork: Intermediate knitting using circular and double-pointed needles. Maintaining a pattern book. Yarn dyeing. Projects: socks and/or hats.

Woodworking: Students gain skills with the whittling knife, the rasp, sandpaper, and wood finish by making a butter knife.

Eurythmy: Five-pointed star and jumping exercises. 

Movement: Olympic games derived from ancient Greece including the marathon, discus, javelin, and the long jump. 

Music: Choral singing, string instruments including the cello, violin, and viola.

Gardening: Becoming the flower farmers of Marisol Garden, tending to the garden strawberry patch. Learning English, Spanish, Latin, and when possible, the indigenous names of the trees in the garden.

Grades 6 – 8

Sixth through eighth grade is a time of searching and intense inner experiences. This phase also marks the beginning of analytical thinking and students’ interests are directed to the physical world and its laws.  Guiding them through a process of observation, this period aims at developing our student’s independent thinking and their ability to make judgments on what they observe and learn.

Activities & Learning Milestones

Language Arts: Rhetoric and the subjunctive mood through speech and poetry. Reports, essays, letters, and oral speeches. 

Social Studies: Histories of ancient civilizations: Rome, Central & South America, 

Math: Decimal system, descriptive geometry, and business math.

Science: Geology, physics, astronomy, mineralogy, and botany. 

Spanish: Individual expression in Spanish, building on grammatical structure through letter-writing, descriptions of peoples, places, and things in the present and future tense. Learning about Latin American poets and proverbs. 

Fine Arts: Black and white charcoal drawing, pastel drawing, collage, mosaic, and introduction to veil painting.

Handwork: Simple pattern design for small hand-sewn animals.  

Woodworking:  The main project is to carve a spoon out of a piece of hardwood, this project expands their tool vocabulary to include the spoke-shave, the gouge, the mallet, and the coping saw. 

Eurythmy: Movements similar to chladni plate figures in physics, rod, and jumping exercises.

Movement: Gymnastics

Music: String instruments including the cello, violin, and viola, choral singing in parts. 

Gardening: Cultivation of tool maintenance and care, with the assembly of handmade brooms. In support of the history curriculum, Grade 6 grows crops of South American ancient grains like quinoa and amaranth. 

Activities & Learning Milestones

Language Arts: Creative writing through autobiographical expressions, poetry, and playwriting. Conditional clauses and expressions of mood. 

Social Studies: “Age of Discovery” combines history and geography through the study of Africa, Latin America, and Europe. This includes looking through the lenses of the land, culture, animal and plant life, religions, tradition, and modern fashion and foods. Additionally, the “Age of Discovery” considers how humans have adapted, culturally, socially, and politically to the particular surroundings in which they live.

Math: Introduction to Algebra, integers, deductive geometry, and how to solve a multi-step equation

Science: Introduction to chemistry, physics, and physiology.

Spanish: Deepening a sense of pronunciation through conversations, debates, dialogues, and facilitating the forming of conclusions using the past, present, and future tenses. 

Fine Arts: Still life drawing, black and white ink drawing, comic book making, mosaic veil painting, and introduction to block printing. 

Handwork: Soft sculpture dolls and simple hand-sewn clothing from patterns the students design themselves.

Woodworking: The main project is a carved bowl, this project expands their tool vocabulary to include the chisel and various hand saws.

Eurythmy: Head foot and arm gestures of the soul mood. 

Movement: Rhythmical swings and jumps, softball, tennis, cricket, athletics, basketball, hockey, netball, volleyball, and swimming. 

Music: String instruments including the cello, violin, and viola. Multilingual songs from around the world.

Gardening: Studying herbs and their uses, through the crafting of salve, soap, tinctures, bath bombs, tooth powder, facial toner, lip balm, and/or other home health care products using garden ingredients. 

Activities & Learning Milestones

Language Arts: Shakespeare, creative writing using figurative and descriptive language. 

Social Studies: Study of revolutionary histories from the American Revolution to the Civil Rights movement including historical biographies.

Math: Algebra: ratios and proportions, positive & negative integers, plane geometry. 

Science: Organic chemistry, physics, and physiology. 

Spanish: Reading texts including biographies and adventure stories. A proficiency of verb use including regular, irregulars, reflexives, reciprocal, moods including the Indicative, imperative, infinitive, progressive, potential, or conditional.

Woodworking: Making a stool that implements the use of making a jig for the drill press, coping saw, spoke-shave as well as the addition of the drawknife and tenon cutter.

Fine Arts: Life drawing, 3-tone pencil drawing, acrylic painting, block-printing, mosaic, portraits, and introduction to ceramics. History and evolution of art including folk art traditions, modern and contemporary art movements are woven into the introduction of each medium.

Handwork:  Making simple clothing from a purchased pattern. Mending, ironing, and studying qualities of different fabrics.

Eurythmy: Strong bending and stretching movements.

Movement: Apparatus exercises. (eg. somersaults, rock climbing, discus, and shot put)

Music: String instruments including the cello, violin, and viola, solo singing, biographies of composers, improvisation, and innovation. 

Gardening: Students are also allowed the freedom to use everything they’ve experienced in the garden to give something back to the school through a class project. 

Specialty Classes

From the earliest grades on, outdoor activity and games play an important daily role in our children’s school lives. Movement activities correspond developmentally with the main lesson material for each grade. In grades 1-5, the children build a solid foundation in balance, dexterity, coordination, strength, and spatial body awareness As children enter middle school, active and refined movement continues to be a vital part of the curriculum. Sixth graders begin to develop a relationship with strength training as well as delving more deeply into competitive play. Seventh and Eighth graders are more deeply shaping the body that they will wear into adulthood. They are challenged and supported in pushing the edges of their endurance through the annual track meet and in such events as the discus, the javelin, and short and long-distance running. In all grades, movement provides important aspects of competitive and cooperative play.

From the earliest grades on, outdoor activity and games play an important daily role in our children’s school lives. Movement activities correspond developmentally with the main lesson material for each grade. In grades 1-5, the children build a solid foundation in balance, dexterity, coordination, strength, and spatial body awareness As children enter middle school, active and refined movement continues to be a vital part of the curriculum. Sixth graders begin to develop a relationship with strength training as well as delving more deeply into competitive play. Seventh and Eighth graders are more deeply shaping the body that they will wear into adulthood. They are challenged and supported in pushing the edges of their endurance through the annual track meet and in such events as the discus, the javelin, and short and long-distance running. In all grades, movement provides important aspects of competitive and cooperative play.

“I love how Santa Cruz Waldorf School creates a joyful, engaging learning environment where children can thrive, develop a deep love of learning, and reach their full potential.”

Daniel Yum

Parent and Board Member