Unique Aspects of the Blue Oak School Educational Program
- Commitment to Developing the Whole Child
Developmentally Based Curriculum
Blue Oak’s curriculum is founded on the understanding that there are distinct developmental stages during childhood. Our curriculum is carefully designed to honor these developmental stages and ensure that students can achieve healthy emotional and intellectual growth through the
Active and Ethical Citizenship
A classical approach to world history gives students a broad overview of world through cultures of the past by using legends, myths and multicultural stories. This perspective helps students learn and appreciate the diversity of humankind and develops the understanding of gratitude, empathy and respect.
Encouraging students to move beyond the ego of the individual and expanding their perspective to the community around them is emphasized in many aspects of our school. The teacher forms a strong classroom community where students work together for the positive growth of all. Primary-grade students deliver May Day flowers to the homes in the neighboring community while upper grade students participate in meaningful community service projects.
Blue Oak is committed to providing students to a broad array of specialty subjects including music, art, movement and foreign language. These subjects help develop the diversity of skills necessary for a well-rounded education. Recently, U.S Secretary of Education, Arnie Duncan stated, “The arts, perhaps more than any other subject, prepare young people with creativity and innovative thinking”
- Stories and Oral Tradition
In each grade, stories form the foundation for academic work at Blue Oak School. From Kindergarten fairy tales to the stories of the Renaissance and the American Revolution in the upper grades, a rich oral tradition is central component of the Waldorf-inspired classroom.
Blue Oak teachers deliver oral narratives describing of the lives of important individuals who have defined the spirit of their time. Biographies of luminaries from Euclid to Michelangelo and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., deepen students understanding of history, social change and science.
Imagination, imagery and metaphor
At a time when visual electronic media dominates the attention of most children, Blue Oak’s emphasis on stories, language rich literature and imaginative cognition provides a healthy foundation for emotional and intellectual development in young children.
- The Blue Oak Teacher- Long Term Commitment to Students
Blue Oak teachers may have the opportunity to follow their class from first through eighth grades. This instructional continuity helps form stable classes and forges strong student-teacher relationships.
Blue Oak teachers offer to visit the homes of each child in their class to better understand the student’s home life and to develop collaborative relationships with parents.
Parent Enrichment Seminars
Several times a year, Blue Oak teachers, parents and luminaries in Waldorf education provide educational seminars that are open both to Blue Oak parents and the general community.
- Main Lesson In Rotating Lesson Blocks
Two Hour Main Lesson
Daily two-hour lessons comprise the core curriculum and allow for in-depth study and understanding of subjects. The main lesson includes rigorous academic activities infused with art, music and movement activities.
Main Lesson Book
Students create their own journal of main lesson topics through written and artistic representation. The evaluation of the main lesson book is one of the multiple measures of student achievement and high standards require a student’s full engagement in this meaningful work.
- Art and Music Embedded In Curricular Activities
All Students Participate
Art and music are embedded into each day’s activities. All students participate in visual and performing arts each day.
Songs and Chorus
Beginning in Kindergarten and continuing through the grades, students sing songs to deepen the emotional literary connection to their teacher, their classmates and to curricular subject matter. Choral skills increase in complexity with each grade.
Beginning with the pentatonic flute in 1st grade, continuing with the violin and recorder in grades 4 & 5, then having their own choice in middle school to play a new strings instrument, like the cello or upright bass, or join the middle school band. All Blue Oak students play instruments thereby developing patience and perseverance and educating the will of the child.
Practical work, crafts, and handwork are an integral part of the curriculum. In the early grades, knitting and crocheting help develop motor skills and enhance intellectual development. In the middle and upper grades, advanced knitting, cross stitch, and sewing mirror the complex problem-solving capacities developing in the adolescent child.
Each year all students in grades 2-8 perform in our annual winter and spring concerts and perform in an end-of-year class play.
- Experientially Based Kindergarten Curriculum
Artistic pursuits such as watercolor painting, beeswax modeling, drawing and participating in seasonal crafts, along with the practical activities of chopping vegetables, shaping dough and washing dishes enhance a child’s ability to focus and concentrate, while fostering hand-eye coordination.
Physical Movement Activities
Play is an essential part of Kindergartener’s physical development. Copious research by prominent educational researchers such as David Elkind, Howard Gardner, and Jane Healy confirm that healthy play is necessary for the future academic success of young children. The development of the young child’s physical body, including fine and gross motor skills, prepares them for the physical skills necessary to read, write and perform academically in future grades.
- Rhythm Guides Instruction and School Activities
Teachers craft their lessons to complement the natural attention span of students. Alternating between stillness and activity, seriousness and laughter, imagination and practical application, recitation and silence. Teachers guide the child seamlessly through the day in a way that allows them to experience academic rigor with joy.
Creating a connection to natural seasonal rhythms is integral to our educational program. Daily lesson plans reflect seasonal variations and honor the multicultural significance of seasonal celebrations. In addition to traditional holidays, our school community comes together annually for an autumn Harvest Festival, a multicultural celebration of light in December and the May Faire in spring.