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, and Nature Immersion. 

 

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:

SPANISH

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 drama to fully enrich their personal development. During class, the teacher speaks in Spanish 90% of the time.

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. 
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“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. To boost language and vocabulary learning, Total Physical Response aims to create a brain link between speech and action.” (Homeschool Spanish Academy)

All games, activities, songs, stories and art projects employ visuals, props, gestures, body movement, modeling and repetitive language to help students comprehend the Spanish vocabulary that is introduced to them. Translation is not used as a form of communicating and 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. This is a critical key to second language acquisition.

 

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Spanish lesson second grade

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Dia de los Muertos

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Guatemalan "Worry Doll"

HANDWORK 

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.

 

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

  • Unleashes creativity

  • Strengthens hand/eye coordination

  • Improves concentration

Grade Specific handwork may follow this pattern through the years:

First Grade: 

Knitting (bird or bunny)

  • Finger knit bag drawstrings and thread them through bag. 

  • Make and polish knitting needles and polymer clay endcaps. 

  • Casting on

  • 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.

Second Grade:

  • 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

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Third Grade:

  • 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.

Fourth Grade:

  • 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
Grades 7-8

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.

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MUSIC
Grades 1-8

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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.

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NATURE IMMERSION

Nature immersion children

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 1-6 Nature Immersion

Our weekly Nature Immersion class models on 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 7-8 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.

PAINTING, MODELING/SCULPTING

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.

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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. 

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