Elementary and Middle School

Pine Hill Waldorf School provides a rich variety of subjects and activities for grade school students, all taught in harmony with the different stages of child development. Our students emerge with knowledge, courage, enthusiasm, creativity and a solid sense of how to reason. They meet the world ready to face life’s challenges.

Academics

List of 6 items.

  • Geography

    Our geography curriculum begins in our own schoolyard and expands through the years to cover people and places worldwide. The depth and breadth of understanding develops as the students do, with map-making beginning in grade four and gaining complexity as they progress.
  • Language Arts

    Storytelling is at the heart of learning to understand and to love language. Through the grades, students compose stories based on their learning and read what they wrote to others – both exciting steps as they progress toward the complex expression of moods in poetry and short story plots. The study of grammar as the skeleton of language supports this writing as well as the scientific summaries and works students create for other subjects. Drama and oral recitation deepen the students’ speaking and acting skills as well as their understanding of myths and classics.
  • Math

    We take math from the written page into the physical world, teaching young students mathematical basics in part through movement of the body. Students might clap the multiplication tables, find Pythagoras’ theorem with lentils, or walk the addition of negative and positive numbers. Not only do activities strengthen number sense and confident computation, they enhance students’ performance during daily, more traditional mental and written math exercises. The combined approach helps prepare students for challenges such as algebra, geometry and business math in middle school.
  • Science

    Our approach to science is similar to the process of discovery that scientists undertake: closely observing the natural processes around us, demonstrating phenomena, asking students to explain the cause through observation, and drawing conclusions.

    Younger children learn the basics of science–primarily the quality of observation–through outdoor play and experimentation in nature. In grades three through five, plant and animal facts are connected to human activities through storytelling. Formal lab science begins in grade six.
  • World Languages

    In the words of Rudolf Steiner, “The finer qualities of a people flow out of a language. The human being becomes more of a universal being when enabled to learn different languages.” That is why, beginning in grade one, PIne Hill students have two German lessons. Coming in 2017–18, students will experience two or three weekly lessons in Spanish and German.

    Our study of world languages begins in much the same way that a child learns his mother tongue: through listening and imitation. Songs, games and stories are taught orally, with the help of pictures and gestures. Grades four and five serve as a transition to the more academic, practical work of the upper grades, where conversation, grammar, written work and reading become increasingly important.

    Learning languages from two completely different origins gives students a broader vision of the world, inspires a genuine interest in multiculturalism, and prepares them for a life where they will be better able to listen, understand and communicate with others.
  • World Mythology and History

    Just as a Waldorf education follows the pattern of a child’s developmental stages, our curriculum follows the pattern that has unfolded through the history of civilization, with an emphasis on Western civilization. We explore humankind’s development through the great stories, from fairy tales and fables to Nordic and Greek myths to medieval, Roman, Renaissance, and modern history, which the class teacher brings to life through oral storytelling. Written and artistic work follows, further deepening students’ understandings.

Arts

List of 5 items.

  • Fine Arts

    At Pine Hill Waldorf School, the arts are not extras, but an integral part of the everyday curriculum – both as individual arts classes and as part of the morning lesson. For example, first-grade students draw pictures of the stories they hear, which evolve into the forms of the letters they study. By seventh grade, students learn to draw with perspective, tying into their study of Renaissance art as well as geometry. Painting and modeling complement math study, develop dexterity and mastery of hand-tools, and engage the students in an experience of practical competency.
  • Handwork

    Every student takes part in handwork class to not only create work that is meaningful and beautiful, but because the rhythmic, purposeful movement of hands as they knit, crochet, cross-stitch, embroider, felt, and sew is a blueprint for the process of receiving, integrating, and using abstract concepts of higher learning.

    Handwork provides rich “felt experiences” through touch, smell, and movement, which also activate neural pathways in the brain. There is simply a deeper connection made when a child who is learning about wool experiences petting a sheep, washing and carding its wool, and then using that wool to felt, knit, or crochet.

    In the first three years of school, children learn to knit and crochet–the beginning of their deeper connection with the natural world and of orderly, joyful work habits. In fourth grade, students focus on cross-stitch. Fifth grade brings embroidery and knitting. In middle school, patterns are introduced as students piece together projects for felting and sewing.
  • Music

    In grades one through eight, students learn to sing and play recorders together – in unison, rounds, canons and multiple parts–led by their class teacher as part of the daily activities, and in support of the main lesson curriculum.
     
    In grade four, each student begins to play a string instrument in a twice-weekly orchestra class with our specialty strings teacher. Music reading begins, and daily home practice is expected. Choir begins in grade six with an emphasis on developing a confident voice the voice, using various vocal colors and techniques, and introducing a wide variety of musical styles.
  • Performing Arts

    When students sing, act and play instruments, they develop a deep appreciation of the arts and of their own talents and also gain confidence in public speaking and performance. Each year, every student takes part in a class play, with increasingly complex involvement in the play production and performance as they grow older.
  • Woodwork

    Pine Hill has a well-furnished Manual Arts Studio separate from the main school building. Manual arts help students continue to refine their dexterity and increase concentration. Students work with appropriate hand tools; power tools are not used.

Movement

List of 3 items.

  • Physical Education

    Games and movement are critical to shaping growth: physical, social, and emotional. That’s why physical education at Pine Hill Waldorf School is not focused only on the benefits of exercise, but is a complete program of balanced spatial education.

    In the lower grades, physical education ties into the overall focus on imagination; we strengthen the child’s spatial awareness with creative games that include string and clapping games, body geography, and bean bags, as well as circle and tag games.
    By the fourth grade, we satisfy children’s awakening intellects with games that achieve a task or solve a problem.

    Fifth-grade students practice for the regional pentathlon, a sports event that emphasizes grace, beauty and skill in the tradition of the ancient Greeks, to complement their academic study of ancient civilizations. Bothmer movement exercises are also introduced to support the students’ developing spatial awareness.
  • Eurythmy

    Throughout their education at Pine Hill, children take part in eurythmy, a unique art developed by Rudolf Steiner with his wife, Marie von Sivers, where speech and music are interpreted through movement.

    In the early grades, we channel children’s natural play into formed movement, where they learn to use and trust the movement of their own bodies by imitating eurythmy instructors. Later, we guide them toward more exact movements in rhythm with the spoken word. The movement and quality of speech is explored through letters, then carried further via poetry and verse.

    In the higher grades, students learn to move in different directions, to form moving geometrical shapes, and to shape their movements based on musical tones and the sounds of the words in poetry.

    Eurythmy is yet another means by which Waldorf educators use the body to develop neural pathways.
  • Circus Arts

    The Develpmental Circus Arts Program is built into the movement curriculum starting in Grade 5. Circus Arts provide an opportunity for each student to learn unique skills in a collaborative, non-competitive environment. The students' circus education culminates in a very popular public performance of "The Hilltop Circus" by 7th and 8th Graders. 

Learn More About Pine Hill

Follow the links below to read more about the Pine Hill experience. Please contact us with any questions!