Language Arts

 

The Santa Cruz Waldorf School faculty delivers a well-developed language arts curriculum to help students develop confidence, creativity and skill in reading, writing and speaking. By making use of collegial interaction, current research and continuing educational resources, teachers bring depth and breadth to their lessons in language arts and humanities.

The young child learns by imitation, so the kindergarten teachers give attention to the example of their own enunciation and articulation during all parts of the kindergarten day. Through listening to stories, the children develop listening comprehension, build vocabulary and practice following a sequential story line. Mental picturing is a foundation for later reading comprehension.

In the lower grades, stories expose children to the technical aspects of writing, reading, grammar and spelling, and also develop listening comprehension and memory. The children learn poetry and verses by heart and usually present a play each year to the community that is related to the curriculum. The children also create their own morning lesson books, which include dictations, material copied from the board, original writings, artistic work and skills practice.

Language arts in the grade school are taught in both morning lesson blocks and weekly skills practice lessons. Students begin reading and writing at varying skill levels between the first and third grade. The language arts curriculum in the Waldorf school emphasizes taking the right amount of time in the early grades to develop both the technical reading and writing skills and a love of language which can be cultivated in later years to foster both technique and creativity.

By the fourth grade, students are reading and writing independently with a focus on sentence structure, spelling and paragraph development. Beginning in fourth grade and continuing throughout the upper elementary grades, students are asked to produce reports on topics related to the curriculum. Geography, history and literature are combined with the language arts in the production of these reports, and students are expected to hand in work that is complete, accurate, and artistically pleasing.

The use of library resources, dictionaries and encyclopedias become more and more a part of required research in report writing. Limited use of media resources does enter into the upper elementary grades where it is deemed appropriate by the class teacher. As students enter grades seven and eight, self-expression is encouraged in the language arts through poetry and creative writing as a precursor to the critical thinking work that will be required in high school.