Exploration and Discovery
Our grade school curriculum lays the foundation for academic success. It is rich in story, music, art, movement, math, science, and history—designed to develop creative thinkers with a passion for inquiry and a strong sense of self.
The grade school curriculum unfolds deliberately, each lesson building toward the next. Classes are uniquely crafted to inspire students and encourage true knowledge rather than rote learning. Under the guidance of a main class teacher, supported by many specialty teachers, students openly collaborate to solve rigorous academic and social challenges together.
Teachers become familiar with each student’s strengths and needs, helping them grow academically, socially, and emotionally. Parents are supported through each stage of grade school by an expert teacher, caring staff, and a strong community of parents.
Students explore and discover the world by:
- Engaging in thoughtfully planned lessons with teachers who generally stay with the same class from grade 1 through grade 8.
- Actively building, modeling, observing, and discussing, using all senses to support learning.
- Using school time to learn deeply and home time to absorb and assimilate their learning; beginning formal homework in grade 4 when they are ready to consciously reflect and work independently.
- Learning for the joy of it, without the pressure of testing and grades.
A day in the life of the grade school student:
- Lesson blocks in language arts, science, math, and history delivered through imaginative stories and supporting activities.
- World language study through stories, cooking, and crafts.
- Creation of useful and beautiful treasures in handwork and woodwork, building fine-motor control and learning persistence.
- Vocal and instrumental music (pentatonic flute, string instruments) in different languages and musical styles.
- Frequent movement in active lessons, recess, games, gardening, and Eurythmy.
Through a curriculum of rich storytelling, students live into the history, geography, inventions, lifestyles, and traditions of civilizations around the world. The four math processes are introduced in grade 1 through imaginative tales and natural manipulatives. By grade 4, students are comfortably working with fractions and decimals. Students actively create their own lesson books, filling them with summaries, maps, figures, and drawings.
Every lesson at SWS incorporates music, language, and visual arts. When students learn to sketch and paint, to sculpt and whittle, to knit and crochet, they are also learning about spatial relations that strengthen their study of math. They learn to play multiple instruments and read music. As a class, they sing and dance together, perform in plays, and participate in community-wide seasonal celebrations.
Children connect deeply to the natural world by spending ample time outdoors and learning about the history of the land. Our wooded campus is an extension of the classroom and students connect with the changing seasons through art, crafts, and festival celebrations. Starting in grade 2 students learn and work in our campus gardens, cultivating the soil and plants and developing a deep care for the environment.
Frequent, joyous movement supports brain development and learning. Students develop coordination by jumping rope and spatial dynamics by studying the movement art, Eurythmy. Children’s imagination and creativity is nourished by playing active games outside—building social skills and athletic stamina. By grade 4, games include a task or problem that directly supports academic work. Grade 5 students train for the Olympiad, an ancient Greek sporting event, as part of their study of ancient civilizations.