The Arts at Kimberton Waldorf School
Our students’ musical education begins with singing as a natural joyful expression of life. In the earliest grades, music is an intimate classroom experience with recorder playing, singing, games, and movement. In the third and fourth grades children learn to read music, and by fourth and fifth grades, each student participates in a string orchestra, supported by instrument lessons offered during the school day. As students mature musically, wind instruments and percussion are added to the orchestra.
Students’ daily experience of music through singing also continues to develop as young children mature through simple songs to rounds, and then to part-singing. In the seventh and eighth grades, as the boys’ voices change, four-part choral singing is introduced.
In the High School there is a full orchestra, chamber orchestra, choir and chamber choir, and handbell and guitar ensemble. All students participate in an instrumental and choral experience.
Handwork and Woodwork
The Handwork and Woodwork curriculum is extensive and is scheduled as a weekly class in the lower school and in concentrated blocks in the high school. The work is done with an appreciation for the aesthetic quality of each piece, and encourages the student to work patiently and carefully, and develops the abilities to think in the non-verbal languages of color, form, and material.
Handworks begins in the kindergarten with finger-knitting. In the Lower School, children learn to knit, crochet, spin, cross-stitch and embroider, felt, and sew by hand and on a machine in Handwork. In the High School handwork continues as the ninth grade work with spinning and knitting, the tenth grade creates coiled baskets, the eleventh grade learns strap weaving, and the twelfth grade bookbinding.
Woodwork classes begin in fifth grade and provide lower school students the opportunity to make finely crafted toys, spoons, large bowls, wood board games, and three-legged stools. In the High School, woodwork becomes wood sculpture. The tenth grade sculpts a large candle-sconce. The eleventh grade designs and carves a relief sculpture, and the twelfth grade carves a three-dimensional cloaked human figure.
Painting and Drawing
Painting and Drawing is an integral part of the child’s experience from the early years through graduation from High School. In the Lower School, the class teacher guides the class through painting on a weekly basis, beginning with wet-on-wet watercolor paintings in the early grades. Middle School students learn new techniques of watercolor painting, use of pastels, and charcoal drawing. Students begin to be trained in drawing from observation, and learning to work with light and shadow. In the High School, students draw and paint in concentrated blocks. The ninth grader focuses on black and white drawing and observation. In tenth grade, the students are introduced to new media such as acrylics or oils, study color theory, and paint from the still life. Eleventh grade students learn landscape painting, and in the twelfth grade each student paints a self portrait.
Drawing is a daily practice, as each child creates main lesson books for each main lesson experienced. These main lesson books are richly illustrated and authored records of a student’s learning. Lessons in drawing technique are added and expanded in each grade.
Eurythmy is an art of movement developed by Rudolf Steiner that makes speech and music visible. It is taught from the early childhood years through high school. Through characteristic gestures, the sounds of language and music become visible as movement. Eurythmy requires group awareness, a kinaesthetic sense, individual co-ordination and social awareness. In our modern, hectic world, this is an art that encourages a measured pace and an awareness and sensitivity for others.
Modeling, Sculpture, Blacksmithing
Simple modeling, related to the curricular content, begins in the Lower School with the class teacher. By High School, this has developed into more formal courses in clay modeling and stone and wood sculpture. Blacksmithing is taught in the ninth grade to develop craftsmanship and for students to experience the traditional source of all metal-working. Students learn to work at a coal burning forge with hammer and anvil producing hooks, gouges, knives, and other metal projects.
Drama is an integral part the school experience. Every class performs at least one play per year. In the Lower School these plays are directed by the Class Teacher, but in the High School the Drama Department takes on the responsibility for the productions of the High School classes as well as the whole school performances and musicals.