Arts & Humanities
Humanities (History and English)
One of the pillars of a liberal arts curriculum is the study of the humanities. By studying the exemplary products of those who have lived before us we gain an insight into our own nature. Adolescence is a powerful time of transition and discovery, in which each student begins to unveil his/her true human identity. By studying the pivotal events of history, as well as delving into the great spiritual struggles and triumphs expressed by the writers of the world’s greatest literature, students find a living reflection of their own inner growth and transformation. The humanities courses ask each student to engage in lively, meaningful learning experiences with peers and instructors, as they experience the universal nature of the human being through the study of the great personalities, stories, and events of the past and present. Students consciously express themselves by learning many forms of writing, including essays, stories, poems, and research papers. Through this curriculum, each student will develop critical thinking and study skills, as well as a living, heartfelt connection to our collective human striving.
Evolution of Consciousness
The history curriculum is expanded culturally to include the languages of artistic form – visual, tonal, and linguistic. In the ninth grade, for instance, students learn to trace picture-making from Neolithic Venus figures and cave painting, to the chiaroscuro of Rembrandt and the exuberance of the Baroque. Thus, from the religious totem to the pure aestheticism of modernity, a vast tapestry of images reveals an evolution of consciousness. Then in the tenth grade, like an archaeologist of language, students unearth syntax and meaning in the way words have been used throughout history, gestural sounds and rhythms often giving ground to the abstract reasoning of today. Musical notation only begins in the West in the late Medieval world. However, through insightful extrapolations, the students in the eleventh grade experience a similar development: a stream flowing from the ancient experience of the octave to the classical formality of the fifth to the later romanticism of the third and on into modern atonality, dissonance and syncopation. Finally, in the twelfth grade, student explore the way humanity, east and west, has experienced architectural space, both numinous and bodily. Nowhere is the educational richness of the curriculum more apparent than in the cultural history as taught in the Waldorf high school: History through Art in the ninth grade; History through Language in the tenth grade; History through Music in the eleventh grade; History through Architecture in the twelfth grade.
All students participate in four years of music courses. Students and teachers work together in seminar and chamber ensemble formats to intensively study, create, and perform music, building on each students’ strengths and stretching his or her limits. Singing, instrumental music, genre study, listening lessons, music theory and history, and concert attendance are intended to create a breadth and depth of experiences through which students can develop their skills and expand their musical horizons.
Fine, Applied and Performing Arts
The rigorous art curriculum gives students a solid background in both the techniques and the concepts of visual art making. The classes are designed to impart a masterful competence in the practice of each art. Artistic classes also relate to and enhance other lessons—language arts, sciences, mathematics. Over four years of study students work to master a range of fine, applied, and performing arts, to include drawing, painting, sculpture, fine metal-working, fiber arts, photography, woodworking, film-making, and eurythmy. Every other year (in 10th and 12th grades) the whole class participates in staging a dramatic production; in 2013 the 10th grade is producing Sophocles’ Antigone. Transferable skills developed in art classes include self-discipline, creative problem-solving, persistence, exactitude, and self-reflection.
World Languages: Mandarin or Spanish
Entering 9th graders are required to take four years of one language. Mandarin and Spanish courses are designed to develop in-language communication skills in the areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Teachers use a diverse range of techniques and resources, including poems, songs, and short stories, to assist students in learning and practicing the language.
Both languages also contain a cultural learning component, with students in Mandarin learning Chinese culture and students in Spanish learning of the diverse cultures that speak Spanish, with an emphasis on the abundant local resources available to our community. Both languages focus both on real life functionality as well as acquiring an appreciation for the unique character and beauty of the language.