Special Subject Classes (1st - 8th Grade)
Starting in the grades, Special Subject classes become an integral part of our curriculum and will support any family's homeschool program. Students meet with the special subject teachers outside of the main lesson one or more times per week. These Special Subjects are World Languages, Handwork, Music, Painting, Modeling/Sculpting, Woodworking, Nature Immersion, and Mindfulness.
Watercolor Painting, Beeswax Modeling, simple Handwork, Forest time, Music, Movement, and Introduction to World Language are incorporated into the Kindergarten Program and led by the Kindergarten teacher.
World language learning in Waldorf Schools promotes a love for other languages and develops students’ ability to communicate and become culturally sensitive to others. Lessons are built so that head, heart, and hands are integrated and engaged through songs, poems, games, and art to fully enrich their personal development.
Total Physical Response (TPR) is a great tool for teaching basic Spanish vocabulary to beginning learners, and this method is employed by our World Languages teachers. “It’s a movement-based technique for teaching new vocabulary or phrases. In fact, the TPR process mimics the way infants learn their native language.” (Homeschool Spanish Academy)
Activities, songs, stories and art projects employ visuals, gestures, body movement, modeling and repetitive language to help students comprehend the Spanish vocabulary that is introduced to them.
Our Spanish curriculum aims to develop Spanish vocabulary and language structure at the same time as exposing diverse students to a variety of cultures and experiences worldwide. Grammar is taught in the context of oral communication. In every single grade, Spring River School fosters a multicultural experience for students, by learning about Spanish-speaking countries, their traditions and major celebrations. We believe strongly that providing a positive language experience fosters openness to the sounds, culture, history, and people.
Spanish lesson second grade
Dia de los Muertos
Guatemalan "Worry Doll"
Handwork includes, but is not limited to, knitting, crocheting, hand sewing, embroidery, cross-stitch, wet felting, needle felting, and papercrafts. Students are taught a progression of developmentally appropriate skills that support and inform what they are learning in different areas of the curriculum.
A sampling of the many benefits of handwork:
Increases fine motor skills
Aides brain development
Develops math skills
Teaches the process, importance, and joy of finishing a project
Strengthens hand/eye coordination
Grade Specific handwork may follow this pattern through the years:
Knitting (bird or bunny)
Finger knit bag drawstrings and thread them through bag.
Make and polish knitting needles and polymer clay endcaps.
Knit stitch in square for body, add stuffing, basic crochet to close animal
Second project: rainbow ball. Increasing/decreasing, yarn color changes. Crochet to close, stuffing.
Hand sewing pouch for recorders: running stitch, blanket stitch. Tapestry needle & thread on wool felt bags. Felt initials/decor to appliqué.
Finger knit cord for recorder case
Second project: hand sewing dolls
Cleaning wool fleece, spinning yarn, and weaving small coaster-sized project with two colors of yarn.
Second project: braided-in rugs/mats made with scrap fabric, jumbo crochet needles.
Use yarn created last year to weave small coaster-sized project with two colors of yarn. Small individual cardboard looms, tapestry needles.
Second project: basic crochet string, then a crocheted granny square. Fast workers: multiple squares. Skilled workers: 3D flower in center of granny square: increase/decrease, counting/shaping.
Students in Grades 1-8 take handwork courses. Students in Grades 7-8 will incorporate woodworking techniques.
Woodworking requires a dedication to observing the results of your efforts. Using this basic principle, the woodworking class builds physical and mental strength through overcoming challenges with design, effort, and persistence.
At Spring River, woodworking begins in 7th grade and proper tool care is the first lesson. Students will learn how to safely and confidently use most hand tools to include gouges and chisels, planes and hand drills, and small saws. Confidence in these tools gives each student a foundation for all future work with their hands.
Through woodworking class, we teach our students pleasure in bodily labor, and respect for it, habits of independence, order, accuracy, attention and industry, an increase of physical strength, development of the power of observation in the eye, execution in the hand, and an appreciation for beauty.
Musical growth comes through experiences in listening, singing, playing, moving, creating, reading, and performing music. Spring River’s music class for first -third graders will introduce music to the young child, building upon the foundation of early childhood and the main lesson to instill a love, joy, and reverence for the art of music.
In first and second-grade classes, our music teachers will introduce the recorder, and all the children will learn to play simple melodies together by the end of their second-grade year. This instrumental work is brought through stories and pictures rather than through theory and conscious techniques. Musical concepts will be introduced through movement, and games, rhythm and singing.
The music teacher will also introduce other instruments (played by the teacher), singing games and experiences of the elements of music; recognizing light and dark, high and low, fast and slow, soft and loud.
In 3rd through 8th-grade bucket drumming lessons will be introduced that teach beat, pulse, and tempo and introduce music notations. These music lessons will be incorporated into performances at various school events such as the Michaelmas pageant or Martinmas Lantern walk.
Drumming is an ancient practice that communities have used for thousands of years as a creative outlet, social activity, and healing modality. Recent research has shown that drumming has myriad mental and physical health benefits and can help: Boost the immune system, Reduce stress and anxiety, Release negative feelings, blockages, and emotional trauma, and ease chronic pain.
Every day is Forest Day at Spring River, with daily hikes and walks through the hammock, forest, wetlands, and beaches. This place-based learning has a focus on experiential learning that will help build students' reverence for the natural world and create future stewards of the earth.
Grades 1-5 Nature Immersion
Our weekly Nature Immersion class models our one-day Forest School enrichment experience as part of the weekly school curriculum with age-appropriate lengthy hikes in all weather at least once per week.
During this class, exploration of the natural world around us will be the basis for our curriculum. The students will learn through direct discovery in firsthand experiences that engage the five senses. Observing, collecting, and categorizing natural objects, and other hands-on activities will help acquaint students with the natural world in general – and with our local landscapes in particular. We will study Physical Geography such as weather and seasons, plant and animal identification, eco-studies, trail reading and etiquette, and navigation.
Grades 6-8 Themed Nature Quest
Our class will dive deeply into the medieval world through primitive pursuits: tool crafting, shelter building, making fire, and wildcrafting while also exploring the notions of chivalry: justice, courage, generosity, integrity, honor, and hope. We will end the year with a knighting ceremony (for those who have completed the challenge) and a day of medieval games.
The unique and important nature of painting is significant for the stages of childhood development in the Waldorf Curriculum. In Grades 1 - 3, we use watercolor painting as a means to introduce to the children the qualities of color. We begin with an experience of each primary color: red, blue and yellow.
After an introduction the colors then begin to relate to one another. By Grade Three simple figures and forms out of the main lesson work are incorporated into painting. While the children learn about how people build their homes in harmony with their environment, their painting and drawing will incorporate these themes. During the study of animals in Grade Four, the teacher finds an excellent opportunity to begin mixing the browns, tans, and grays of the natural world.
Watercolor painting continues through to our middle school years, as the students learn new techniques which include painting on stretched dry paper and using thin veils to build up color and form in a composition.
Throughout the grade school years, our students will be working with modeling and sculpting forms. In the early grades, colored beeswax is molded into the many characters of fairy tales and fables to align with the stories and main lesson subjects. In the later grades, clay is introduced and used to model houses, animals, plant forms, platonic solids, and free form sculptures.
Mindfulness Classes are taught to grades first through eighth on a weekly basis. They rotate between Wednesdays and Thursdays to ensure the entire student body is reached.
Classes are taught with three components in mind. The first being a mindful curriculum geared to each grade level. This content teaches how the brain works in both calm and stressful states.
The second component focuses on Rudolf Steiner's 12 virtues by the month.
The third aspect of class teaches students breath work, meditation techniques, and tools they can use on their own. In the end students will be able use a “growth mindset” to approach life. The students have opportunities in class to put what they’ve learned into practice in ways that feel comfortable to them.