The uniqueness of the Waldorf curriculum lies primarily in how and when the children are taught, rather than in what is taught. In presenting material, the encounter comes first; then encounter becomes experience; and out of experience crystallizes the concept.
A distinctive aspect of Waldorf education is the class teacher, who typically leads the daily Main Lesson instruction for all blocks, and across all subjects. She or he will also often hold parts of the creative development for the class, including art, music, and drama.
Each morning the children start with the two-hour Main Lesson with their class teacher. During this time when young minds are freshest, they intensively study a block from one of the core academic subjects. In this way, the rhythm of the day begins with the work that requires the most attention, and each academic subject can receive special focus during the course of the year.
Rather than being forced to rely on testing to measure their students' success, our faculty are free to take in the bigger picture of learning development and track progress as a whole. This means they can provide a continuous, grounded assessment of every child as they grow through their strengths and struggles, and introduce new skills only when the student is ready to receive them.
In a truly balanced educational program, each student will find many ways for his or her gifts and talents to shine. And even a very bright child who can zoom through "reading, writing and arithmetic" needs a school that provides real challenges for growth in other dimensions.
Throughout the regular program of Main Lessons and Subject Lessons, all students are provided an education that is rich in developmental movement, music and art, literacy and numeracy foundations, and health-strengthening rhythms. For those who need more support, the Educational Support Team provides an intermediate level of intervention.
Aurora Waldorf School believes that interscholastic athletic activities have an important place in the overall development of students, starting in grades seven and eight. Because we encourage all parents of children in the lower grades to choose age-appropriate play, rather than team sports, the AWS Eagles are often a student's first experience with team sports.