Home, preschool & kindergarten: In early childhood, the foundation of reading and writing (language arts) starts in the home. In our preschool and kindergarten classrooms, the teachers tell stories from memory. The stories are reinforced with puppet shows and plays so students can see, hear, and perform the stories themselves. This develops a love of narrative, of language, and of words and their meaning, and helps build students' imagination and interest in the written and spoken word. Brain science research supports this approach.
1st through 8th Grades
From 1st grade on, the children hear stories from their teachers, and later on lectures. When they are familiar with the letters and their sounds, the children begin to write words, sentences, and verses. The content comes directly from the stories they have heard or from experiences they have shared. Students then read aloud what they have written, together at first and later individually. Reading and writing come in an integrated way with plenty of guidance and encouragement from teachers and parents. Children learn to write and read at their own pace, and of course, each grade has curriculum standards. The goal is instilling a joy of writing and reading, and fostering excellent comprehension capacities.
During class time, advancing in each grade, students learn the basics of letters, words, spelling, parts of speech, grammar, verb tenses, cursive writing, independent composition, book reports, creative writing, poetry, and world literature. An imaginative approach is used throughout this multi-year process, engaging the students' curiosity and imaginations.
In recent years, some 8th grade students have written short fiction novels for their 8th grade projects. Last year, the entire 7th and 8th grade classes wrote short stories that were compiled into a booklet.
The time-tested Waldorf reading and writing approach of teaching students to comprehend, rather than to simply decode, leads to impressive results.
Children develop a love of reading and literature. They develop strong capacities for critical thinking and analysis, excellent oral and written communication skills, and are well prepared for high school and beyond.
Camellia Waldorf students consistently stand out in these areas in high school and college.