The curriculum of the sixth grade offers support and nourishment for the adolescent child in the midst of the changes and self-consciousness of puberty. Observation is emphasized as a balance to the natural pull of asserting one’s own judgment, opinion, preference and expectation of the world. The curriculum meets these pulls with the force of new challenges to students’ awakening thinking powers through all aspects of the curriculum. The teacher provides the students with varied perspectives, particularly directing their attention out into the world.

The Child

Sixth graders are on the cusp of adolescence and, as such, they bring an increased capacity for critical thinking into the classroom. These students experience rapid physical growth and psychological change and often seek rules and causality to bring order to their new experience of the world. The student has an increased interest in social relationships. Once the sixth grader becomes more comfortable with these new developments, the child is ready to look out into the world to discern his place, responsibilities, and opportunities.

The Class

The students’ interest in causality and desire for equality is met with the study of the Roman system of order and justice. 

The study of geography and history also includes the middle ages, knighthood, the Crusades, the Middle East and the rise of Islam. They continue to explore the wonder and beauty of the world through geology and through geocentric astronomical observations of the sun and planets, visible constellations and the moon faces. Strict observation in the science curriculum and exact thinking in their studies of geometric figures require the students to hone their critical thinking skills. 

Physics gives students insight into the properties of acoustics, optics, heat, magnetism and static electricity. 

Mathematics lessons are designed to give the students’ real-life experiences of the world through percentages, profit/loss calculations, ratio and proportion, and estimation. Pre-algebra lays a foundation for the middle school algebra curriculum. Through principal and interest calculations, algebra begins in sixth grade.

In world language and grammar lessons, students are introduced to business letters and more formal elements of grammar: declensions, sentence structure, punctuation, prepositions, active and passive voice, etc.

Cyber Civics classes begin in sixth grade with the study of digital citizenship. 

Music studies proceed with individual and ensemble recorder playing (soprano, alto and tenor); orchestra and ensemble work; and singing using complex harmonies and minor keys. 

Fine and practical art lessons now include making patterns and sewing stuffed animals, painting and black and white drawing. 

In physical education, the students continue working with the javelin, discus and sprinting for regional medieval games.

Middle School Faculty:

Paola Schouten
Grade 6 – Willow Trees

Paola Schouten was born, raised and educated in the Netherlands. She was exposed to the Waldorf Festivals since childhood…

…which ignited her interest in Waldorf Education. After High School, she studied at the Vrije Pedagogische Academy (Steiner Teacher Training College) in Zeist, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. She then moved to the US and began her career as a Waldorf teacher in Pasadena.Over the past 30 years she has contributed to the growth of many schools. She has carried two classes all the way through the grades and finished various classes through eighth grade. Paola likes to travel, camp, hike, read and make jewelry. She plays guitar, writes songs and enjoys singing. She also has a great appreciation for nutrition and cooking.