Academic Program

 

The Santa Cruz Waldorf School has been offering a complete elementary education from Kindergarten through eighth grade for over 30 years. Our graduates span the globe and fill every imaginable profession, working creatively and intelligently to bring about positive change in the world. By paying close attention to the developmental needs of children at each age, Waldorf education seeks to nurture the gifts that each child brings to the world.

The Santa Cruz Waldorf School has three Kindergarten classes allowing for small class size and individual attention for each young student (children can begin at age 3). Waldorf Kindergarten teachers receive specialized training and are highly responsive to the developmental needs of the Kindergarten age child. A visit to a Waldorf Kindergarten in action is a gift to be treasured, as the true magic of childhood is sure to be witnessed. The rhythm of the Kindergarten day may appear very simple upon first glance, but a deeper look reveals children deeply immersed in creative play and imitation. The ability to play whole-heartedly and with undivided attention is a skill that will, in later life, transform into the ability to mentally focus and concentrate deeply. The healthy environment of the Waldorf Kindergarten and the skilled guidance of the Kindergarten teacher provide an excellent foundation for future success. SCWS also has various Parent/Child programs where the one- to three-year-old attends accompanied by her parent. The activities are similar to the kindergarten program yet are adapted to meet the needs of the under-3-year-old and are held for only two hours per session. There is a significant element of parent education as part of the Parent/Child programs.

One unique aspect of a Waldorf grade school is the class teacher. The class teacher ideally remains with his or her students from first through eighth grade. This system allows the teacher to grow along with the students and facilitates a strong bond of trust between students, parents and teacher. In each grade, the focal point of learning takes place during the 'Morning Lesson'. Here the class teacher presents in blocks of three to four weeks, major concepts in the various disciplines: math, science, history and literature. Work in the arts supports the academic curriculum by developing the capacity to solve problems creatively. Spanish is taught in all grades through story, song, rhyme, movement and art. Spanish grammar, reading, translation and short plays are introduced beginning in fourth grade. Music plays a major role in the development of the child and is a key element in Waldorf education. Beginning with pentatonic flute music in first grade, students are then introduced to soprano, alto, tenor, or bass recorder in addition to string instruments as the grades progress, leading to orchestra and choir in the upper grades. A host of dedicated specialty teachers work tirelessly alongside class teachers to provide students with diverse experiences in language, movement, music, arts, athletics and gardening.

“Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able, of themselves, to impart purpose and direction to their lives.”
The Santa Cruz Waldorf School offers students and their families a true sense of community through a rich variety of academic, cultural and social events. Festivals, performances and special lectures that allow the entire school community numerous opportunities to connect and be involved. They punctuate the daily, weekly and monthly rhythms of the school year.

While Waldorf education places heavy emphasis on the formation of value systems, students and parents at the Santa Cruz Waldorf School are not indoctrinated to any particular way of thinking, world-view or religion. On the contrary, a variety of perspectives are presented so each student has a basis from which to make up his or her own mind. The curriculum gives a diverse and well-rounded view of history, government models, religions, gender, and social forms.