The uniqueness of Waldorf education truly lies in how the children are taught. Whether the subject is algebra, local geography, or cursive writing, the Class Teacher brings knowledge to life through vivid characterizations and absorbing experiences that heighten students’ curiosity and engage their feelings, their motivation, and their intellect.
Each school day begins with the Class Teacher greeting every student, one by one, with a handshake, a few words and direct eye-to-eye contact. After roll call (sung in the lower grades) and recitation of a verse, the two-hour Main Lesson begins, focusing on one subject at a time for several weeks. Main Lesson topics alternate between English, Mathematics, History, and Science, and the long blocks of time given to each allow students to dive deeply into their subjects. In this way students learn to see each topic from many perspectives, and to know it through all modalities: art, music, movement, and in-depth academic exploration.
After a snack time and recess, the Special Subject classes begin, in 40-minute periods: Handwork, Music, French, Physical Education, and in the later grades, Language Arts, Math, Orchestra, Chorus and Woodworking. Children do not often use a standard textbook here; instead, they create their own “textbooks,” or main lesson books, which are a synthesis of what they have learned, presented artistically.