Introspection and Responsibility
Middle school students are learning to think for themselves, accept more responsibility, and be accountable for their choices. We recognize and celebrate the changes taking place in a middle schooler’s mind and body, and give them the space they need to inquire, express, and come into their own.
Middle School at SWS
Middle school is a time to integrate knowledge from grade school and take it to the next level in preparation for high school. Research projects and reports, executive functioning, social impact, and the role of technology are explored. Students also start choosing among elective options as their interests become more clearly defined.
Our middle school curriculum is designed to support and challenge students through the rapid change that accompanies the transition into the teenage years. Dedicated class and specialty teachers deliver morning lessons, math, and science, creating a welcome balance between familiar instruction that meets students’ unique social, emotional, and academic needs and new ideas from subject experts.
Our middle schoolers feel known and supported as individuals. They also support one another by connecting and collaborating inside and outside the classroom. Whether in a group project or team sport, they are challenged to work together through disputes and differences, finding their voice and learning to respect the needs of others. A strong community, continuity of educators and peers, and small classes give them a safe place to explore their emerging sense of self.
Students work toward high school by:
- Honing their observational skills and concentration for longer periods with increasingly complex assignments.
- Exploring digital technology through our Cyber Civics curriculum; learning about its healthy use while considering social and philosophical impacts.
- Mentoring younger students and working with adult mentors on special projects.
- Taking academic tests, receiving grades on their work, and experiencing feedback through periodic academic reports detailing strengths and challenges.
A day in the life of the middle school student:
- Thoughtful, in-depth morning lesson blocks spanning three to four weeks at a time.
- Immersive study of Spanish or Mandarin language and culture.
- Additional lessons in gardening, orchestra, portraiture, sewing, and woodworking.
- Structured and unstructured time in nature on our wooded campus and at local parks.
- Team sports encourage practice of healthy cooperation and competition.
- Social settings give space to practice respect for peers as diverse individuals.
Courses like Business Math and Modern History offer opportunities to analyze and observe, debate, and draw conclusions. Students work independently and in groups, developing self-discipline and exploring interdependence. Middle school years culminate with a year-long study of a chosen topic which is presented to the community.
Art is part of every class, whether a detailed drawing in a lab notebook, a perspective drawing, or a dramatic performance of a historical character. Woodwork and sewing support project planning, three-dimensional thinking, creativity, and patience. String orchestra and choir immerse students in different musical styles and help them learn to perform with confidence.
Students play and work on our wooded campus, cultivating a love of the outdoors and a solid understanding of their place in it. Gardening, biodynamic farming, and camping reinforce classroom learning and teach environmental stewardship, along with practical outdoor and wilderness skills.
Athletic games teach focus and teamwork, while Eurythmy and dance teach social interaction and grace. In grades 7 and 8, students compete in a regional track meet with other Waldorf schools. Fall cross country, spring Ultimate Frisbee, and additional basketball and volleyball teams offer a variety of options to move and build skills.