Waldorf Education at Blue Oak

Waldorf Education at Blue Oak

Educating the whole child: head, heart and hands

At the heart of the Blue Oak approach is the recognition that lessons must be presented to children in a way which fills them with wonder, enthusiasm, and meaningful understanding. How a subject is taught is equally important as to what is taught, hence the use of movement, art, and music in the curriculum. Waldorf education is a practical education engaging the child’s will, their imagination, sense of aesthetics and intellect. What engages the child needs to have meaning to the child and the ability to be applied. Thus its’ motive is to develop capacities that allow the child to build a joyful desire to learn and grow.

Here are a few key features of the education methods in a Blue Oak classroom:

Main Lesson

Blue Oak teachers focus on integrating English, math, science and social studies around a thematic unit before rotating on to the next subject. During the main lesson, teachers go in depth and approach each subject in a variety of ways, allowing students time for the information to be digested.

Looping

Blue Oak creates a strong community through "looping" the grade levels - teachers stay with the same group of students from first through eighth grade. Having the same students through the years, teachers are able to adapt lessons to the needs of interests of their students. Looping helps students, teachers and parents form a fruitful relationships and target long-term goals, and creates students who have strong interpersonal skills.

Classroom Environment

The classrooms at Blue Oak are carefully curated to create a calm yet inspiring atmosphere. Furniture made form natural materials, walls painted in soothing colors make for an ideal place for children to spend their days learning.

Field Trips

Students are able to deepen their understanding of curriculum by applying lessons to life outside the classroom. Starting in the third grade, students go on overnight field trips that strengthen relationships with peers, encourage connections to the outdoor environment, and provide real-world context for learning the curriculum.

Art as a Teaching Tool

Art is incorporated in every subject at Blue Oak in order to engage children actively in learning and to allow them to develop their own conclusions. Students create their own textbooks, in which they practice handwriting, grammar and composition. By drawing and painting their own images of the concepts they learn, students are able to better engage in their man lessons. Students also learn technical art skills, such as form drawing, mirroring and symmetry.

Spanish

Recognizing that foreign language is easier to learn when children are young, Spanish language lessons are provided frequently for students in all grades. by the time students have completed eighth grade, they will have had better exposure to the language than many of their high school peers.

Nutrition Program

Blue Oak School is currently implementing our own school lunch program. We are in the early development stages, with plans for updated menu's. We look forward to partnering with new vendors to provide locally sourced fresh fruit, vegetables, protein, dairy and non-dairy options. This will take time and willing volunteers! Our Kindergarten program already prepares daily their own wholesome snacks. These include but are not limited to, various grains, locally sourced fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese, and nuts.

Movement

Recognizing that the link between mind and body is a powerful teaching tool, Blue Oak teachers utilize movement as an essential element of the curriculum. Students express the concepts they learn through physical motion and rhythm, in age-appropriate ways. This allows children to fully engage in learning by involving multiple areas of the brain, as well as develop physical awareness and comfort in their bodies.

Musical Arts

Music plays an important role in the Waldorf curriculum. All students begin learning the recorder and practicing choral singing in the first grade. Third grade students begin to learn violin, and in the sixth grade, students are given the opportunity to continue with advanced violin or another string instrument, such as cello or viola. Blue Oak puts on many school-wide and community concerts throughout the year as well as band performances.

Practical Skills

Handwork projects help children develop hand-eye coordination and provide beneficial, therapeutic activity. In the early grades, students begin handwork, learning to knit, crochet, hand sewing, and machine sewing.

Teaching Reading

Waldorf education methods encourage students to first develop strong oral communication skills before introducing written language. Blue Oak kindergarten teachers familiarize students with language through the repetition of stories, songs and rhymes. Students are later introduced to letters and words over time. This gradual transition to understanding the written word produces children who have a greater understanding of language, an enthusiasm for reading and advanced vocabularies.

Respect for Nature

Rich, direct experiences in nature are encouraged for all students at Blue Oak. In the younger years, students create scenes with wood, stones and nuts collected on class nature walks. Older pupils take an experimental approach to studying nature. Students also participate in seasonal festivals through the year.

Excerpts above from Chico News & Review

"Waldorf education is not a pedagogical system but an art - the art of awakening what is actually there within the human being." - Rudolf Steiner

Our Programs

Waldorf at Blue Oak

Waldorf Around the World

Curriculum at a Glance

"Receive the children in reverence, educate them in love, and send them forth in freedom." - Rudolf Steiner