The Waldorf curriculum encompasses the broad sweep of human development, culturally and historically. The study areas of each grade meet the developmental stage of the human being, and the curriculum also traces the soul-spiritual development of humanity from the archetypal fairy tale consciousness through mythology and into recorded history. The stories of each grade are lovingly and imaginatively told by the teacher, and the children develop main lesson books from that material. Main lesson book work is led by the teacher in the earlier grades, and is gradually given over to the individual children until, by fifth or sixth grade, the content of the main lesson book is primarily the child's own work. History main lesson books are filled with biographies, stories, and maps that vividly illustrate the content.
In first grade, human archetypes are explored through fairy tales. The ongoing human search for the self is represented in these stories, giving dreamy pictures of the struggle and confidence in the soul's ultimate success.
In second grade, imaginative depictions of the Golden Legends bring the picture of human striving before the children, and the stories are based on historical figures. The highest human potential is mirrored in the fables, and human foibles are given to the animals to carry.
In third grade, the child is experiencing a more distinct sense of self and the "fall" and all the commensurate needs, including learning how to live and work on the Earth, are reflected in the Biblical stories of the Old Testament. They also engage in practical activities, learning about farming, shelters, and clothing, which also connect them to a sense of history and of place.
In fourth grade, children engage for the first time in actual, recorded history in connection with their geography studies on one hand, while on the other they experience the stories of Norse mythology. These stories portray the gods as more human, more fallible, though still lofty and noble, too. The experience of Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Gods, accurately reflects the change in humanity's consciousness as well as the child's developing sense of self. Stories of the settlement of the local region and field trips expand the children's understanding of local history. Some important biographies that we include are of Father Serra or Charley Parkhurst.