Special Subjects - Beyond the Morning Lesson
After the morning lesson with their main classroom teacher, students study a variety of special subjects with master teachers who bring years of experience and training to their topics.
Gym, Circus Arts, Parkour
Why is “Gym” a special subject? Movement is life, and developing brains and bodies need support to work and grow together. That’s why physical movement is a part of every school day in every grade, from jumping rope to Eurythmy (read more below), parkour, and recess. Gym classes themselves include circus arts, team sports, track & field, archery, weight training and more. Through these, students learn to follow rules, understand teamwork, and strive to reach their own potential through personal breakthroughs.
Spanish & German
World Languages begin in first grade and continue through 8th grade, with students studying both Spanish and German in alternating 6-week blocks. Learning through immersion, students become deeply engaged in both language and culture, developing a necessary awareness of themselves as a world citizen.
Entering High school, they choose either German or Spanish for further study through 12th grade. In their sophomore and junior years, they also have the option to participate in our World Language Exchange Program.
Knitting, crochet, weaving, machine sewing
Every student learns to knit in first grade, and continues with the practical arts through High School. Why? Felting, crocheting, knitting, sewing, basketry, weaving, dyeing and bookbinding…these enhance integrative capacities, as well as cognitive skills. So while first grader’s are knitting a hat, they are also practicing math! Come spring, they are warmer and wiser. Confidence is born of experience and understanding. When we are connected to the objects we use, we are empowered to confront any challenge.
As powerful as it is beautiful, and unique to Waldorf education, the art of Eurythmy allows the child to experience with her entire body the building blocks of language and of music. Practically put, it makes speech visable. Practiced from 1st through 12th grade, children learn the physical gestures for all consonants and vowels, for the notes of the musical octave, and for other musical elements. Playing a musical instrument has a similar effect but in Eurythmy, the child’s body is the instrument, making the experience much more powerful.
Orchestra, Chorus, Band, Jazz
If you walk into the front doors of Chicago Waldorf School, chances are, you will hear singing! It is part the curriculum, exploring our first musical instrument, our voice. But that is just the beginning…
First graders begin instrumental music instruction in pentatonic flute and lyre, while Fourth graders add string instruction and Grades five and up begin to sing in choral groups and participate in band or orchestra. Once they reach High school, students participate in chorus as well as an additional music elective, including string ensemble, jazz band, percussion, guitar and vocal ensemble.
Painting, drawing, sculpture
Throughout their school years, students explore a wide range of traditional art forms and media—from modeling with beeswax in the early grades, to felting, sewing and woodworking in the middle grades, to metalworking, stone sculpture and ceramics in the High School.
An integral part of the Waldorf curriculum throughout the grades, Fine and Applied Arts introduces every child to his or her own creative self while nurturing a sense of aesthetic awareness and physical aptitude in drawing, painting, and sculpture.