A Day at School… begins and ends with a handshake.
Education at EBWS takes place on a human scale. Each child’s day begins with a handshake as students are greeted individually by their teacher.
Next it’s time to recite the morning verse together and set intentions for the day. The inspirational verse changes as the children grow older.
Then Main Lesson begins. In Waldorf education, students focus on one subject for several weeks during an 2-hour morning class which allows time for understanding to merge with experience. Academic work is concentrated in the morning when students are most alert and receptive. Waldorf students develop individual “textbooks” called main lesson books for these blocks. In this way, what is learned will live in the student.
Main Lesson requires students to concentrate for an extended period (up to two hours). This is followed by an “out breath” of recess, in the pristine outdoors surrounding the classrooms. Waldorf schools have always maintained that recess is an important part of the educational program even though many schools have done away with this long-standing tradition. But science is proving its worth: NYTimes article on Recess
The rest of the day is filled with lessons on special subjects, led by specially-trained subject teachers, that reinforce the children’s main lesson and expand their learning about themselves and the world. In these areas, children acquire new skills and passions for working with their hands, making music, moving their body, or speaking foreign languages.
Children close their day with old-fashioned chores – sweeping, gardening, tidying–that support their classroom and develop the children’s sense of responsibility and will.
The day ends with a closing verse, and another handshake and personal farewell from the teacher.
This rhythm is repeated daily, weekly, monthly, as the year goes by.
- Movement & Games
- Music (vocal, with string instruments beginning in fourth grade)
- Handwork with natural fibers
“The most important thing is to establish an education through which human beings learn once again how to live with one another.” — Rudolf Steiner
The Sun with loving light
Makes bright for me each day,
The soul with spirit power
Gives strength unto my limbs,
In sunlight shining clear
I revere, Oh God,
The strength of humankind,
Which Thou so graciously
Has planted in my soul,
That I with all my might,
May love to work and learn.
From Thee stream light and strength
To Thee rise love and thanks.