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Elementary Education

Waldorf 3rd Grade Main Lesson in progress teacher coaching for playThe Waldorf Elementary curriculum prepares children to think outside the box and work creatively across the disciplines. Our experienced Elementary Faculty stay with one class from Grades 1 to 5. Each class develops an enduring relationship with its teacher. Our elementary curriculum will meet your child wherever she or he is academically, artistically and physically.

Our culture applauds critical and creative thinking and strong social skills. A Waldorf Education will prepare our next generation to excel in each of these areas. As a result, a Waldorf graduate will be a leader in whatever discipline he or she pursues. Waldorf graduates often pursue careers in the humanities, social sciences, medicine, science and technology, visual and performing arts and education.

In the elementary years, Waldorf students work in teams on a regular basis and combine their strengths to solve problems. Perhaps this is why Waldorf Middle School students beat Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering Students in an engineering competition.

Main Lesson

Potomac Crescent Waldorf School fifth grade teacher singing with students

Elementary students start the day with a Main Lesson that centers on one subject for blocks of three or four weeks. Intensive, uninterrupted study of one subject allows students to explore an area such as botany in depth from many angles. When the block concludes another block takes its places.

St. Francis and the Wolf of Gubio 2nd grade main lesson bookStudents write and illustrate their own workbooks to bring an imaginative and individualized approach to their academic work.

To see a Waldorf Main Lesson in practice, come visit us. In addition to all-school tours, observations in our grades classes may be scheduled by contacting our Admissions and Enrollment Coordinator, Torie Gorges, at tgorges@potomacwaldorf.org. Please read on for more specific information about what elementary students learn at PCWS.

Language Arts

Potomac Crescent Waldorf School 5th grade students on stage during play

Waldorf students learn the sounds and shapes of the letters of the alphabet through stories, poetry and drama. Writing comes before reading, and reading begins when a child is ready. First graders create their own readers. Starting in second grade, well-selected books serve as readers along with other materials supplied by the teachers. 

Arithmetic

Potomac Crescent Waldorf School 4th grade math fractions lesson chalkboard drawing visual spatial creativeGrades students learn about numbers through stories and games, and learn to count by ones, fives, tens, etc. The four arithmetic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) are introduced pictorially and in relationship to one another in first grade.

Our students recite number rhymes, look for number patterns, learn times tables by heart, and flex their mental math skills on a regular basis.

Waldorf 1st grade form drawingForm Drawing

Grades students learn to draw straight lines and curves and move on to running forms and freehand geometric designs. Created by Rudolf Steiner, form drawing strengthens manual dexterity and trains a child’s sense for form.

Potomac Crescent Waldorf School nature walk 1st 2nd grade woods girls balancing on a fallen treeOutdoor Time and Science

Our elementary students go outside each day during recess and take a nature walk every week. Seasonal observations, gardening, and stories explain the natural world in a way that unites different threads of their academic lives. Our elementary Faculty teach children through example to observe and respect the world around them.

Specialty Classes

Music & Strings

Music fills our school throughout the day. Waldorf elementary students sing daily, play pentatonic flutes until third grade, and then learn to play diatonic recorders. Musical notation is learned after students switch from the pentatonic to the diatonic scale. In 4th and 5th grades, our students learn the violin. We have separate teachers and class periods for music and strings.

Foreign Language


We offer Spanish at PCWS twice per week and teach the language through artistic activities, listening, and repetition in a lively and conversational approach.

Potomac Crescent Waldorf School handwork dolls wet felted dolls on a tableHandwork & Woodwork

First graders learn to knit flute bags and scarves on wooden needles they make themselves. In 2nd grade they learn to purl and projects become more challenging. In the early grades, the children occasionally sand, drill, saw, and hammer simple items for gifts.

potomac crescent waldorf school 1st 2nd grade flax watercolor paintings red blue yellow green Drawing, Painting, Modeling Beeswax and Clay


Main Lesson integrates drawing, painting, beeswax modeling as much as possible. The children draw on a daily basis and paint once a week. Modeling classes vary in relationship to what is being studied.

Games & Movement/Physical Educationpotomac crescent waldorf school 5th grade olympics javelin throwing

Our grades students have games class once or twice a week. They learn to cooperate with each other while developing balance, dexterity, and coordination.

Gardening & Crafts


Grades students dig and plant in the school garden when the weather allows. In winter, children work on seasonal projects indoors. Each grade creates a craft based on the needs of the class and the talents of the teachers. Baking, cooking, and indoor gardening may be included in these activities.

 

Seasonal Festivals

Potomac Crescent Waldorf School 2nd 3rd grade students Michaelmas apple bobbing festival At PCWS, we establish meaningful rhythms in the classroom and with the natural world. We celebrate simple and beautiful seasonal festivals in Early Childhood and in our Elementary program. Please click here to learn more about the festival life at PCWS.

For more information about Waldorf Elementary Curriculum, please click here.

Age Guidelines

Grade 1 – 6 years old by June 1st of the summer before the school year.

Grade 2- 7 years old by June 1st of the summer before the school year.

Grade 3- 8 years old by June 1st of the summer before the school year.

Grade 4- 9 years old by June 1st of the summer before the school year.

Grade 5- 10 years old by June 1st of the summer before the school year.

Parent Testimonials

We are so grateful to have children in the Early Childhood and Grades Programs at PCWS, where the magic of childhood is revered. My children love their teachers, the generous outdoor time, playing in the rain, wholesome snacks, and long nature walks. Handwork, art, and daily rhythms help support well-rounded, healthy, happy children!

My Grades child thrives in an environment that is attuned and complimentary to her physical and mental development. She is learning classical and challenging subjects – writing, math, handwork, Spanish, and playing the flute. This school relies on creative and hands-on learn by doing methods and, as a result, my Grades child absolutely loves learning.

Current PCWS Parent

One of the things I love most about PCWS is that when my son needs extra movement, his teacher will have him carry something heavy or run around the playground a couple times to get that extra energy out. I love that my two grades students have two outdoor recess periods every day. They also take a nature walk once per week, and have an extended walk and time at a park on Friday afternoons. They may come home with rocks in their pockets, dirt on their hands and an occasional bruise on their knees, but they are getting fresh air and exercise and they have wonderful stories to tell about their adventures in nature.

Current PCWS Parent


About Waldorf Education

Potomac Crescent Waldorf School 4th grade chalkboard drawing octopus red orange white dark blue

Waldorf schools offer a developmentally appropriate, experiential approach to education. They integrate the arts and academics for children from preschool through twelfth grade. The aim of the education is to inspire life-long learning in each student and enable them to fully develop their unique capacities.

Founded in Germany in the early 20th century, Waldorf Education is an independent and inclusive form of education based on the insights and teaching of the renowned anthroposophist, artist, and scientist, Rudolf Steiner. Evolving from a profound understanding of the human spirit and human development, Waldorf Education is regionally adaptive and has grown to include hundreds of schools worldwide.

Apply

Please note: we require a non-refundable $100 application fee for all new students. Payment can be made by cash, check or credit card.

Completed applications may be emailed to admissions@potomacwaldorf.org.


To truly know the world, look deeply within your own being; to truly know yourself, take real interest in the world.

Rudolf Steiner

Science arose from poetry. When times change the two can meet again on a higher level as friends.

Goethe