Second Grade Overview

CutMyPicImage-8A second grader is “… like a butterfly who has just emerged from the hard chrysalis and sits upon the leaf waiting for those glorious wings to dry and strengthen. He is truly poised for flight for he has fully entered the second seven year life cycle of imagination and wonder that Rudolf Steiner describes as ‘the heart of childhood.’” (Waldorf Education – A Parent’s Guide.)

The first grade was a time for creating a sense of rhythm and oneness as a class. The children delighted in learning the new subjects of Math and Reading through the Fairy Tales. The second-grader is awakening; beginning to see that it isn’t always “Happily ever after.”  They are starting to experience the duality of human nature. We will be hearing stories from around the world including fables and legends from Aesop, Leonardo DaVinci, and African and American Indian folk-lore.  These stories will address the lower animalistic nature of humans, allowing children to form their own inner pictures of right and wrong. There is no need to explain the moral to the children in a conceptual or judgmental way, as they will work through the meaning themselves.

To counter these stories we will hear legends, myths, and true accounts of noble human beings from around the globe across time. We will hear stories of saints who battled dragons that terrorized towns, tamed lions, fed the poor and revered Mother Nature.  As we look at these archetypal characters, we are giving the child a picture of how we can overcome our lower tendencies to become courageous, truthful, and compassionate humans.  Although the saints historically have religious ties, much of the factual evidence behind them is elusive and enigmatic. Thus the stories are not brought as religious or historical lessons, but rather as imaginative stories of overcoming great challenges and obtaining noble qualities. In addition to the mythical and legendary stories of heroes/heroines, we will look to our own time and even community for people who have worked for a better world.

CutMyPicImage-9The second grade is about deepening the subjects learned in first grade, so we continue to switch between Math and Language brought through the stories in familiar imaginative and active ways. Concepts are brought whole to part and experiential to abstract. Main Lessons will weave movement, speech practice, mental math, writing, reading, listening, discussing, singing, drawing, modeling and collaborating into the learning. Main Lesson integrates multiple subjects into one theme, changing more or less monthly, in which children are given artistic and practical experiences of topics that address their developmental needs at a given age.  Concepts are presented from the whole to the part, from concrete and experiential to more abstract. During Main Lesson, students are engaged in activities including but not limited to recalling and reenacting stories, singing, moving, writing, building, reciting poetry, doing mental math, discussing, drawing, modeling, listening, collaborating, and performing.  It is a dynamic and rich learning model.

Science remains experiential at this stage as we observe the four elements and seasons through poems, nature stories, walks and gardening. We begin zoology as we characterize the different animals from the fables in writing, reading, and painting.  We will continue to learn about the garden and its life cycle including working with the earth sustainably. Hiking, farming, and exploration field-trips will deepen our learning.

Daily Practice periods will be used to increase fluency in previously taught skills, allowing for differentiation and individual development. Children will take part in painting, music and form drawing. Specials include knitting-Handwork, Spanish and Games.