Nurturing connection through creative academic explorations
the waldorf difference
Everyday is an Odyssey
Green Meadow’s middle school academic curriculum engages the budding capacities and immense curiosity of the young teenager. Through practical interdisciplinary experiences, age appropriate challenges, and meaningful social interactions, students thrive academically and emotionally.
Every day, students take part in immersive, explorative inquiry, broadening and deepening their understanding of the world while engaging their capacities to create, participate, listen, observe, and think practically.
The Morning Lesson
Each day at Green Meadow begins with “morning lesson”, where an academic subject is studied intensively for three to four weeks. These morning lesson blocks will rotate over the course of the year. Studying a subject in blocks allows students the opportunity to gain a detailed understanding of the subject through a combination of college-style lecture, discussion, and hands-on work.
a unique private school
Middle School Curriculum
In Middle School, the curriculum broadens and deepens the progressive flow of knowledge, skills, and creativity begun in the earlier grades. As the learners mature, so does the nature of their work.
Coursework in middle school builds self-confidence and competence through independent projects. These final elementary grades emphasize knowledge of the modern world, its physical and social aspects. The demands of future study are in focus. Stepping up from eighth grade, students are more than ready to take on the challenges of high school. Middle school morning lessons include:
- Physics of Light
- Business Math
- Platonic Solids
- Perspective Drawing
- Ancient Empires
- History of the Middle Ages: the Rise of Islam and Christianity
In Grades 6 – 8, students are writing research papers and essays. By 8th grade, they are discussing books such as The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass and A Tale of Two Cities.
In middle school, students become comfortable with the fundamental language of algebra before entering High School. Our holistic approach extends to the math curriculum in many ways as math helps explain the world around us, an our teachers keep this connection alive for our students. Math in the middle school includes:
- Fractions, decimals and percentages in practical situations
- Business Math
Formal studies in the sciences in middle school include:
- Human Physiology
- Human Anatomy
- Organic Chemistry
- Physics of heat, light, and sound
- Electricity and Magnetism
Geography, Culture, and History
World history begins in 5th grade, when students learn about the Golden Age of Greece, the Persian Empire, and the meteoric rise of Alexander. These studies continue with the empire of Rome and its contemporaries in Africa and Asia, the Medieval period, the Renaissance and the Age of Exploration, and finally, in 8th grade, the Age of Revolutions and modern history.
The study of geography continues in 8th grade with the geography of Africa or Oceania, until students have studied all of the earth’s surface by the end of middle school.
A Well-Rounded Education
Students also develop strong, coordinated bodies and spatial awareness in movement classes like Games and Eurythmy. They learn to knit, crochet, felt, and sew in weekly Handwork classes. They will carve bowls, make wooden toys, and explore the medium of clay in middle school Practical Arts classes. All students sing and learn various instruments in Music and Orchestra classes, and also take up a string instrument beginning in 3rd grade orchestra. They may later branch out into any band or orchestral instrument in 5th grade.
Beginning in 3rd grade, each class goes on an overnight trip each year. They enjoy camping trips, where they canoe, hike, raft, stargaze, and use survival skills. Classes in the upper grades often take field trips to Boston; Washington, DC; and Philadelphia, focusing on the rich history of these cities. Teachers have the freedom to schedule trips that enrich the social fabric of the class, such as 8th and 1st graders ice skating together at Bear Mountain, or trips that deepen a class’s study of the curriculum, such as trips to observe and draw the Hudson River in a study of local geography. We are privileged to take advantage of our close proximity to New York City: classes can tour the New York Botanical Gardens, hear Gregorian chants at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, visit museums, and much more.
Alongside this rich academic curriculum, the students draw, paint, memorize poetry, and perform plays. Each class performs a play every year, culminating with a full-length play in the 8th grade. Recent plays/musicals have included “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “West Side Story,” “The Magic Flute,” and “The Lion King”. By the time a student has reached 8th grade, they will have acted in many roles and helped with set design, lighting, and costuming.
Middle-school students are adept at playing their individual musical instruments. Orchestra, band, and chorus undertake more complex compositions and perform both at school and in other venues. In their artwork, painting includes both watercolors and other media.
In addition to the creative learning taking place in the academic subject areas, subject classes, taught by a core of talented teachers, round out the curriculum. Students take classes in Spanish and German from 1st through 8th grades and continue their study in High School, where a majority also choose to go on an international exchange.
In technology, media literacy and responsibility, computer programing and coding begin the expanding use of digital equipment that continues through twelfth grade.
The study of fine arts develops each student’s ability to see and render the world truthfully in drawing or painting. Perspective drawing is studied in seventh grade and will be revisited in a 10th grade main lesson. Eurythmy explores the realm of geometry in movement. The sculptural arts enrich middle school artistic experiences by adding depth through additional three-dimensional creative work. Creating beautiful, functional art helps students ground themselves in earthly life.
Music and Drama
The middle school choral and drama enterprises are increasingly complex; requiring commitment from each member and increased awareness of one’s part in a whole orchestra, band, or play.
A Multifaceted Education
At Green Meadow, our students will become scientists and craftspeople, artists and musicians, writers and mathematicians, dancers and athletes, linguists and actors. They will receive a Renaissance education, with many skills and knowledge of a wide array of subjects. The broad and deep experiences developed at Green Meadow will give them the freedom to choose what they wish to pursue in college and beyond.
The Class Teacher
The Class Teacher often guides students through several years, this long-term relationship benefits by seeing the children through a continuity of development, creating established routines, and providing stability for the students as they develop and transform. Class Teachers are supported by a constellation of expert subject teachers who share in shepherding the class through the years.
Beginning in 3rd grade, each class will go away on an overnight trip each year. After the 3rd grade farm trip, students in subsequent years will go on camping trips, where they will canoe, hike, raft, stargaze, and use survival skills. Classes in the upper grades will often take field trips to Boston; Washington, DC; and Philadelphia, focusing on the rich history of these cities. All trips enrich the social fabric of the class, such as 8th and 1st graders ice skating together at Bear Mountain; and they also deepen a class’s study of the curriculum, such as trips to observe and draw the Hudson River in a study of local geography. We are privileged to take advantage of our close proximity to New York City: classes can tour the New York Botanical Gardens, hear Gregorian chants at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and visit many museums.
Hear From Our Alumni Families
Class of '89
As a Waldorf lifer, I ventured out into 'the real world’ with some trepidation. But I was able to tackle college and graduate work with ease. The breadth of curriculum I’d been exposed to gave me a sense of curiosity and willingness to take risks in my learning that many of my peers lacked.
Class of '89
Director at Verizon
In Waldorf Education, we were guided to solve problems creatively vs. memorizing facts. It is this curiosity, creativity, confidence, and awakeness that allows Waldorf students to excel at just about anything they choose to take on.
Class of '95
I remember painting, drawing, sculpting, book-binding, eurythmy, acting, and poetry with fondness, and math, biology, history, and orchestra with fits of frustration. My teachers supported my development, knowing full well that once a passion for learning is lit, it will burn for a lifetime.
Class of '99
Waldorf Education taught me to solve problems. I attribute that to my ability to be both analytical and compassionate. I also am so grateful for the lifelong connections I have with friends and members of the Waldorf community.
Class of '98 & '99
The Chapin Sisters (Abigail and Lily)
One of the most important things that our Waldorf Education gave us is a community of passionate, engaged people. Many of our closest friends are people we met at Green Meadow. They have careers (in the arts, sciences, academia, business, and the military) and a genuine love for their work.
Class of '01
I value so much about my Waldorf Education, it's difficult to chose one thing! The enduring friendships I made, how art was woven through every subject, the attention and care given by the teachers. I will be forever thankful for those very formative years of my life.
Class of '05
Music Producer (DJ Hardwerk)
Our beloved class teacher and friend, David Blair, taught me the value of never giving up on something because it gets difficult, you don’t like it, or it’s an inconvenience. He taught me that seeing your goals come to fruition after you have faced obstacles makes the victory that much sweeter.
Class of '12
Graduate Student in Physics
Green Meadow fosters great relationships between teachers and students and allows students to participate in so many different activities. I was able to get my first job in college, building sets for the theater department, because of the work we did on high school plays at GMWS.
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