The Waldorf curriculum includes the teaching of foreign language — presently German at Pine Hill. The young child is a natural imitator, and has an aptitude to take in language that does not recur in any other stage of development.
The study of other languages cultivates a flexibility of thinking that is as deep as the differences in grammatical structures of languages. This acts to maximize the neuroplasticity of the young child's language centers. Research has shown that this early exposure to foreign language provides the individual with a lifelong advantage in language acquisition over those without early foreign language exposure. We have traditionally taught two very different languages, which in combination allows for breadth in developing a plasticity that serves as a life-long capacity with in the young child.
In the early grades, children are immersed in verses, songs, stories and games. This oral tradition becomes the basis for their introduction to the written word in fourth grade. Stories, puppetry, and drama provide the context to learn to read, while grammar is gradually woven into the lessons. In the middle school years, the language and the rules of grammar become more conscious.
The analytical aspect of language increases as the student progresses to eighth grade. At an age that is inwardly questioning boundaries, the student meets the inarguable authority imposed by the structure of the language. The emphasis is always on a living experience of the language. Pine Hill students are well prepared for further language study at the high school level.