Project Description

The initial experiences of the 1st grade are deepened and enhanced in the 2nd grade.  This time is used primarily for practicing and developing all the new skills from the previous year. To assist the children with their growing polarity, the second graders explore the landscape of personality traits through fables and stories of noble historic figures: the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. This is a transformative year and the students should feel that they have experienced a rite of passage when graduating, having solid academic skills and a well-rounded general picture of human life and the universe.

The Child

The adolescent experiences a true birth of the intellectual consciousness. Students’ sharpened observational skills and growing critical faculties open possibilities for new ideas and perceptive questioning amid growing independence and reasoning. Eighth graders develop a sense for their emerging individuality in a world where the human experience is increasingly interconnected. Eighth grade students stand at the brink of adulthood as they prepare to graduate from Maple Village Waldorf School. Our graduates continue their education at prestigious high schools throughout the region. Teachers instill in students the knowledge and confidence to face the next level of challenges as they complete their elementary years. 

The Class

The central theme of this year is the struggle for human freedom throughout history. Students study the industrial revolution with its accompanying social changes, the Age of Reason, the French, American and Russian revolutions, modern history including the civil rights movement, and the information revolution. Studying such biographies as Napoleon, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Martin Luther King Jr brings alive the ideals for which these leaders fought and died.

Themes in geography also give a comprehensive world-view of the economic interconnectedness of human cultures through the use of plant, animal and mineral resources.

The science curriculum covers anatomy, specifically the skeletal and organ systems, and organic chemistry, with an emphasis on the processes of photosynthesis and digestion. Topics in physics include hydraulics, aerodynamics and meteorology including study of the climate, tides, and weather changes. Through the principles of mechanics in the steam engine, the students learn how modern knowledge of technology led to the industrial revolution.

In mathematics, students will continue the study of algebra, plane and solid geometry, graphic equations, the principles of the Fibonacci sequence, the golden mean and the five platonic solids. 

Literature and writing for eighth graders concentrates on the study of Shakespeare and the short story. 

In world language lessons, the students will undertake the study of poetry, verse and metric forms.

Fine and practical arts studies include portrait and landscape painting; charcoal drawing, with an emphasis on light and shadow; clay modeling; clothing construction on the sewing machine; and continued woodworking. Students will continue their instrumental music in orchestra and take up Elizabethan songs, spirituals, and other forms of American music. In physical education, students will expand on their preparation for the track and field meet.


Cori Amendt
Grade 2 – Laurel Trees
Main Lesson Co-Teacher

Cori is a Multiple Subject Credentialed Teacher, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, with a minor in Child Development.

She has studied Waldorf education at Steiner College in Fair Oaks, California. She enjoys spending time in nature with her family (hiking, biking, lounging), reading, writing, and travel. Learning is a lifelong enjoyment and pursuit for her, particularly in her journey to bilingualism of the Italian language. Her professional career began as a Counselor for young children in crisis. Eventually, this work led her to the classroom, where she felt she could be of bountiful service to the youth in her community. She has been in education for over a decade, in public, private and charter schools. After she met her husband, an Italian national, she went on to teach in Italy at Lycee Francias for 2 years, as the English Department Coordinator and Foreign Language Teacher across the grades (K-8). Upon returning to the US, she found what she considers her truest calling, that of a Waldorf teacher. Under esteemed mentorships, she took a class through grades 1-3 at Ocean Charter School in Culver City, as Lead Teacher. After two loving years’ home with her son, she is eager to return to the classroom to continue this meaningful work.

Jewel Nicholson
Grade 2 – Laurel Trees
Practice Lesson Co-Teacher

Jewel was born and raised in Long Beach, California. She has a BA in Studio Art with an emphasis in photography…

…and is currently enrolled at the Waldorf Institute of Southern California, where she is on a journey to receive her Waldorf Teaching certification. For the past three years, she has served the Maple Village community with her wisdom, love, laughter, and dedication. She has worn many hats, and taken on various roles and is now excitedly taking on the position as the Second Grade Practice Lesson Co-Teacher. As with most of her life experiences, Jewel serendipitously fell into the Waldorf community. Jewel believes that living with a keen sense of self-awareness, and walking through the journey of life with an open heart and a sound mind has the potential to lead you to the most magical and soul-rewarding places. After traveling up and down the coast – living in an old hunting lodge at the top of a mountain in Darby, Montana for a stint, then making her way to the heart of the international district of Seattle, Washington – Jewel found that she was ready to return back to Long Beach to grow roots. She was hoping to water these roots by finding a way to make a living by following her passions, utilizing her natural born gifts, and refining her mind, heart, and hands through mental, soulful, and skillful expansion. As it was written in the soul of Jewel’s journey through this lifetime, she stumbled into the doors of Maple Village as if guided by cosmic wind. Three years later, its pedagogy speaks to her moral compass and wishes for educational reformation even more with the encroachment of her fourth year held warmly by the Maple Village community. Jewel looks forward to amplifying the love and support that we all wish to provide this year’s rising second graders as they walk through this human experience, as well as the future generations and keepers of our Earth.