Science

 

The Santa Cruz Waldorf School strives to bring the sciences to life in much the same way that the whole curriculum is presented at the school. Students are encouraged to experience the beauty and mystery of the natural world, the human and animal bodies, the sky and heavens above and the wonders of physics and chemistry. These studies and experiences are documented in both artistic and traditional scientific notation.

The overall science program in the Waldorf School is based on the Goethean model of observation. The foundation for the middle grade classes in chemistry, physics, physiology, botany, astronomy and biology is laid down in the lower grades through direct observation and experience.

In early childhood, the task is to keep the children's natural sense of wonder and reverence alive. The children's interest in the world around them is the foundation for later scientific study. In first and second grades nature stories and hikes through the beautiful redwood forest surrounding our campus bring a gentle introduction to scientific studies.

Third grade science includes the study of farming, eco-systems, plant cycles, weather cycles, composting, and animal life. Beginning in the fourth grade, while studying human beings and their relationship to animals, the study of science becomes increasingly rigorous and thorough. Botany is introduced in fifth grade, physics in sixth grade, more physics and the addition of chemistry, physiology and nutrition in seventh grade and basic chemistry, physics and biology in grade eight all provide a solid foundation for high school level science instruction.

By eighth grade it is our goal that the student will have the capacity to observe with a completely open mind, will have the language at his or her disposal to describe precisely what happens in an experiment and will be able to come to a conclusion about the concepts working behind the phenomenon.  Rather than encouraging encyclopedic memorization of scientific facts, our curriculum fosters the development of scientific observation and inquisitive thinking.