SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS
Waldorf science teachers take a phenomenological approach. Rather than teaching theory first, they begin with observation and experimentation. What is experienced in the very early grades through stories and songs is directly observed in nature during the middle and upper grades, and supported with field trips to farms and outdoor centers. With the introduction of physics and chemistry for sixth through eighth grades, the teacher sets up an experiment, calls upon the students to observe carefully, ponder and discuss, and then allows them to discover the underlying scientific principles for themselves. The goal of the Waldorf approach is to develop precise observations, accurate reporting, independent thinking, and sound judgment–and to make science a relevant part of the children’s everyday lives.
Mathematics is taught in a multi-disciplinary way. Children learn to count by jumping rope, memorize times tables by stamping and clapping, study intervals while playing their recorders, become familiar with proportion and scale through drawing and woodworking, and come to understand Platonic solids by making origami-like sculptures out of paper. Creative stories told in the early grades lay the foundation for the imaginative thinking needed to search for the unknown in seventh and eighth grade algebra. Extra math skills classes in the upper grades give students an opportunity to frequently practice and apply what they have learned.