As a Waldorf inspired school, we at VJHS consider the ages 9-12 as an age of change called the “Rubicon”. Changes pertaining to what is appropriate as the child wrestles with leaps in growth and consciousness that are demanding and exhilarating are taken into consideration and the curriculum along with pedagogy are revised keeping in mind the reformation in the ages and mental development. These "Rubicon" children must cross for healthful growth and maximization of capacities require from parents and teachers alike a gentle attentiveness to be handled well. Each child is different but the symptoms tend to be the same at each important threshold the child faces at these ages. Primary subjects such as English, Mathematics, Science & SST for which foundational concepts are essential are carefully and gradually infused into children of this age.
Every main lesson throughout the elementary school begins with music. The children might sing or play the recorder. Often, they work on songs that relate to the material they will be studying in the main lesson itself. In addition, there are two or three weekly music lessons taught by the music teacher
In a Waldorf school, all students study drawing, painting, and the rudiments of clay modeling. In grades one through six, visual arts are taught by the dedicated art teachers alongside subject & block teachers. Drawing is part of the main lesson, while painting is taught in a separate period, although the themes are generally taken from main lesson subjects. The finest materials are always used, including high-quality watercolor paper, block crayons & good colored pencils. The overall purpose of the visual arts program is not only to teach students to draw and paint, but also to teach them how to see.
Handwork is a practical art that involves the senses of sight and touch as well as balance and movement. In doing handwork, fine motor skills are refined. The children learn respect for the process of making something and gain confidence in their ability to complete a task. Age appropriate projects are chosen for each grade. The children learn a variety of skills throughout the years, and a healthy respect for the natural materials used is fostered. In the fourth & fifth grade, they focus on the use of needle and thread. The children design and embroider a handwork bag that will hold their handwork for the next few years. They are taught several stitches to complete this bag, including the backstitch, invisible stitch, buttonhole stitch, and several embroidery stitches. There are many challenges, as the many-step directions are complicated and, therefore, demand children’s perseverance in the face of difficulty and complexity. Some children will go on to make mittens or try their hand at cable knitting.
Eurhythmy, developed by Rudolf Steiner, is an art of human movement set to music, poetry, or speech. It is sometimes called ―speech made visible and is intended to be a complement to intellectual learning. By studying eurhythmy, students learn dexterity of movement, grace, poise, balance, and concentration. They also develop a sense for sound and space and a feeling for social harmony. With growing self-awareness brought on by the nine-year change, children in the fourth &fifth grade have a new relationship to space. Spatial forms are now moved with a frontal orientation, which brings a greater awareness to the different directions in space. Movement forms with crossings are also a theme. The children develop a new relationship to speech and language, strengthened by practicing forms in space related to the grammatical elements of language and by working with the strong alliterative poems, connected to the Norse Myths. Main Lesson curriculum offers rich material for movement in the Eurhythmy lessons. By working with different qualities of movement, we try to capture the mood and create an experience of the ancient civilizations studied in main lesson.