A Deeper Perspective on Lower School

At Toronto Waldorf School, we provide an education for life; we work to inspire our students to evolve into creative thinkers who are personally centred and strongly connected to humanity and the environment. We achieve these goals through our unique approach - education from a deeper perspective™.

This deeper perspective is founded on seven basic principles that underpin the TWS experience:


Academic Integration

  • Content and themes are integrated through a range of subjects across the grades.
  • Toronto Waldorf School Grade 1students learning about the plants in our gardenFor example, in Grades 1 and 2, children have a wide range of experience with nature, plants and flowers on our playground and in planting bulbs at festivals. Many teachers have children bring their own plant to school in Grade 1.
  • In Grade 3, the children take on a more formal work with plants through raising plants in the garden, harvesting and feasting on the fruits of their labour in Grade 4. Through painting and art they capture the relationship of the plants to the seasons and with the earth and sun.
  • These early experiences contribute to a deeper understanding of plants which the children have as a reference in more formals studies later on:
    • Zoology and Botany (Grades 4-12);
    • The study of indigenous peoples living in close relationship to the land (Grades 3-4);
    • Geography (Grades 4-10);
    • Commerce and Trade (grades 6-12),
    • Mathematical logarithms seen in leaf development (Grade 7);
    • Eco-systems and Life systems (grade 8-12); and
    • Nutrition and Health (Grade 7).
  • Throughout the grades, observation skills are honed by working on true artisitic renderings of plans in their environments.

 

The Right Thing at the Right Time

  • The curriculum is carefully timed to present material when students are able to understand and work with the specified ideas.
  • Rather than pushing academics as early as possible, an education from a deeper perspective™ respects the child’s biological and psychological development by presenting material and activities at the time they are most apt to learn and benefit.


How to Think, Not What to Think

  • Toronto Waldorf School Lower School students playing string instrumentsChildren have a natural curiosity and interest in the world. Building the capacity to learn, while retaining this keen interest, is a core tenet of the philosophy at Toronto Waldorf School.
  • Our unique pedagogical techniques strongly engage and exercise the child’s capacity to think, assess, form opinions, articulate and express their thoughts.
  • This approach builds a capacity for creative thinking that will enrich your child’s academic, professional, and personal life.


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Appreciation of Individuality

  • Recognizing all students and their unique gifts and contributions is important at TWS. Typically moving from one grade to the next grade with the students, the teacher gets to know each student very well, and works to build social harmony in the class.
  • The wide range of the curriculum provides a platform for all students to demonstrate their best work, to excel, and to be recognized and appreciated by peers.
  • Methodologies used address a range of learning styles so all children can relate to the material using their strongest styles; auditory, visual and kinaesthetic learners all benefit from the range of approaches. Each class encompasses listening, doing, thinking and speaking to build understanding and retention of the material. This approach enhances the capacity for ‘learning to learn’, an important skill for both school and life.
  • Student reports offer students significant feedback on how they can develop their abilities. Reports chart progress and growth, as well as how children can improve their work. This allow s each child to progress, developing skills and abilities with confidence and support.


Environmental Stewardship

  • Building a shelter at Toronto Waldorf SchoolCaring for the environment and building sustainability have been tenets of Waldorf education since its inception more than 90 years ago; in an increasing fragile global environment, these tenets are more valid than ever.
  • From our organic farm and garden to TWS’ private grey water recycling system, the importance of sustainability is deeply integrated into our campus and curriculum. Grade 3 students collect compost daily throughout the school; Lower School students work in the farm and garden throughout the year; in the winter months plants are started in the greenhouse, later to move to the garden.
  • Watch the video on our environmental initiatives produced by the Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce after we won their Conservation and Environmental Sustainability Award in 2012.

 

Experiential Learning

  • Education from a deeper perspective™ is a journey of discovery, rather than a path to acquire information.
  • Understanding becomes more highly integrated into the child’s mind when gained from doing, rather than merely watching or reading about the activity.
  • Methodologies that involve all the senses deepen and extend the learning for each student. Our classrooms tend to be full of movement and action, as the students ‘do’ rather than ‘watch’.
  • For example, the annual Grade 3 building project, such as the bicycle shed, involves planning, math, measurement, physical labour and cooperation with peers.


Commitment to Culture & Community

  • Halloween at Toronto Waldorf SchoolTWS is not just a school for students, but a community for families of all cultures. We embrace and learn from our cultural mosaic reflecting traditions from around the world.
  • We honour the human experience through traditions and celebrate festivals through the year to encourage us to reflect and celebrate the connection of our lives to a deeper purpose. We focus on universal human experiences, and encourage a celebration of our multi-cultural mosaic.

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