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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.
At Aurora Waldorf School, the teacher who provides the daily academic core stays with the same class for multiple years. This offers the opportunity for a deep, meaningful relationship to form between teacher and students. The teachers truly know their students and can help them overcome obstacles over a longer educational span. In turn, students feel secure in their learning environment and can focus on growing their knowledge and skills rather than finding their place.
Classes develop strong social cohesion because of the consistent, supportive environment created by the class teacher.
A combined class is a group of students from two separate grades who work within one classroom setting. The teacher develops the program using the Waldorf curriculum from both grades according to the needs of the students in the class. Rather than maintaining two separate grade-level main lessons, the teacher creates one main lesson that appeals to both grades of learners. Because the Waldorf curriculum follows a continuous developmental trajectory, rather than grade-by-grade milestones, the flow of the lessons can be easily adjusted to meet the needs of students from different grade levels. The goal is for each child to receive an engaging learning experience within the context of the class functioning as a whole. Larger classes help create social richness, offer opportunities for theatrical and musical productions, and create a dynamic learning and social environment with the full spectrum of temperaments and learning styles. Combined classes have operated successfully throughout school systems, both Waldorf and mainstream, for many years.
Class Teacher Variable Cycle Teaching
For some teachers and classes, the traditional eight-year class teacher cycle may be appropriate, while for others, a shorter term focusing on lower, middle, or upper grades, is healthiest for all. Our variable cycle teaching option permits the faculty as a whole to adjust the term of each class teacher, depending upon the best interests and needs of the students, and the realm in which each teacher is best suited. In addition, we have adopted a middle-school model, in which Grades 6, 7, and 8 teachers may share block teaching of main lessons, a slightly more “high school” schedule, and a homeroom-style beginning to the day, to help prepare these older students for the transition to high school.