The education at Davis Waldorf School takes place on a human scale and this is most evident in the relationship between the students and their teacher.
In the early childhood, the children are greeted with a warm smile and hugs or other welcome from the lead teacher as well as the assistant. Their day is filled with inside and outside free play, story time with their teacher, preparing of snack and sitting together at the table for a blessing and sharing of the meal, artwork, handwork, painting and nature walks.
In the grades, the child’s day begins with a handshake as the students are greeted individually by their teacher. Next, it’s time to recite the morning verse together and talk about the intentions for the day. The inspirational verses change over the years, as the children grow older.
Then, the day enters the Main Lesson period. In Waldorf education, the teacher presents the curriculum with a focus on one subject for three-four weeks during a 2-hour morning class. This allows the students to be immersed in the subject and allows them time for deep understanding. This academic work is concentrated in the morning, and may also include singing, movement activities, flute/recorder, and mental math exercises. This is the time when the students are most alert and receptive.
During the Main Lesson time, the students will not utilize textbooks, but will develop individual Main Lesson Books for each of these blocks, essentially creating a permanent record of their interpretation of the lesson. In this way, what is learned will live in the student.
Main Lesson time requires students to concentrate for an extended period (about two hours), and this is followed by an “out breath” of recess after a break for snack. Recess takes place outside and in the natural surroundings of the school. Recess is an important part of the educational program, and always has been a part of the day at a Waldorf school.
The rest of the day is filled with our Subject lessons, such as Spanish, Eurythmy, Gardening and Strings, that are led by specially-trained subject teachers. These lessons reinforce the student’s main lesson and expand their learning about themselves and the world. The children acquire new skills and passions for working with their hands, making music, moving their body, or speaking a foreign language.
The end of the day is marked by chores, which vary depending upon the teacher and the age of the students. These activities are meant to reinforce the students sense of responsibility and the application of their will forces. After chores, the students recite a closing verse and line up for a final handshake of dismissal from their teacher.
This rhythm is repeated daily, weekly, monthly, every day of the year and each year of the grades.