Mastery in Middle School and Beyond
Do you recognize your child? An astronomer, historian, and a mathematician. A sculptor, a classical musician, and conversant in another language. Your child can recite Shakespeare, write haiku poetry, and describe the wonders of sacred geometry.
The Waldorf School of Philadelphia offers a comprehensive liberal arts education - in middle school. It's an uncompromising, yet unexpected foundation that will serve your child for the rest of their life. When students graduate from eighth grade at the Waldorf School of Philadelphia, they have developed into critical thinkers with agile penetrating minds, ready to attain new heights, and are sought after by independent schools and public magnet schools.
Sixth grade students are in the midst of change. They are embarking on the self-consciousness of puberty, which comes with an onset of new thinking. They are connecting their inner experiences and dialogue with the outer world.
Waldorf teachers present a curriculum with a focus on cause and effect, asking students to use careful observations before jumping to conclusions.
In history, we move from the grace of the ancient empires to the stories behind their demise. Students study civil engineering, through art, organization, law, city culture, invention and the technological innovations of ancient Rome and Greece. We’ll explore the causality in history and the beginning of the dialectical principle.
Sixth graders can be egotistical, so we offset these concerns by exploring the cultural geography of unfamiliar regions to focus on the lifestyles of others. We shift our inner perspectives in astronomy by learning about the Celestial Sphere. Students learn from strong individuals through the biographies of active members of society.
Main Lesson Topics
Advanced grammar, self-editing, expository, descriptive and narrative writing, conditional sentences, Latin sayings and proverbs, report writing, language and math skills, business math, percentages, exact geometry, world geography with an in-depth focus on Europe, Africa, Asia and South America.
Special Subject Lessons
Physical education including juggling and circus arts, Spanish, choral music, orchestra, handwork, gardening, eurythmy, drama, recorder, fine and practical arts including sculptural arts.
Seventh-grade students experience blooming curiosity. An intense physical and mental growth has them stretching for experience. They’re yearning for independence but still need guidance and structure.
As they build bridges using their power of judgment, we dig deeper into history and explore the cultural significance of the Renaissance – a lasting period of change that provided context for centuries to come. Students will study exploration, the invention of printing, humanism, heliocentric astronomy, Joan of Arc and the historical impact of conviction. We push further into abstract thinking with the study of al-jabr and balance while diving into human ecology in life sciences. Seventh graders will learn about their circulatory, digestive, respiration and reproductive systems, alongside hygiene and self-care to understand the responsibility for self and the respect for others. Mechanics is the topic of the seventh-grade physics curriculum, and in geography, the focus is on Africa, including climate, topography and regional culture. Seventh graders also explore the wonder of creative writing as a tool for self-expression and discovery.
main lesson topics
Renaissance, Reformation, The Age of Exploration and Discovery, chemistry, physics, physiology, geography, astronomy, algebra, creative writing and poetic structure
special subject lessons
Woodworking, Spanish, drama, handwork, fine arts, choral music, orchestra, physical education, eurythmy.
Eighth graders are experiencing the end of childhood. This is the time for the class to come together and reflect on their 8-year odyssey of education and friendship.
The history curriculum begins with the American, French and Industrial Revolution and proceeds through the American Civil War to modern times. Geometry includes Platonic solids and Euclidean geometry, while algebra focuses on quadratic equations. We challenge our students to consider modern political and scientific history. We put emphasis on biographies of influential individuals, and use them as a platform for students to consider the ways they'd like to contribute to society. To prepare students for their transition to high school, the curriculum has an orientation toward high-school skills, both academically and personally building confidence for the passage forward.
Main Lesson Topics
American, French, and Industrial Revolutions, American History, civil war to present day, Shakespeare, geography, meteorology, physiology, chemistry, geometry, physics, algebra, grammar
Special Subject Lessons
Woodworking, Spanish, drama, handwork, fine arts, choral music, orchestra, physical education, eurythmy
The Middle School Math Program
The Waldorf School of Philadelphia provides a specialist Middle School Math Program that includes weekly math skills classes to 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade students. These specialist classes help ensure that middle school students are fully prepared for the rigors of high school.
The Eighth Grade Trip
The eighth grade trip at the Waldorf School of Philadelphia is a culminating experience crafted with the unique Waldorf curriculum and child development high in mind. It brings together curriculum, community, and challenge to allow students to use their knowledge, test their abilities, overcome their limits and expand their perspective.
The class trip symbolizes, not just the transition for the students, but the inherent limits of the lessons taught within school. As a school community, we say as we send them off, “go forth beyond our walls and find your strength. Use what we have taught here in a real world application.” The class trip provides a guided and supportive first foray into their world beyond the school’s loving, protective walls, while still offering support. Read more about the eighth grade trip.