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Students begin each morning in 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.
During main lesson, the teacher has time to enter each subject in depth and to approach it in a variety of ways, enlivening each topic with poetry, drawing, painting, modeling and drama. Thus, intellectual learning is always combined with artistic, rhythmical and practical work. Once one topic has been fully explored (three to five weeks), a new main lesson block is introduced.
Every main lesson features daily work in the main lesson book, in which each student writes and illustrates the key content from each block, gaining much practice in handwriting, grammar, art and composition along the way. Creating one’s own book anchors knowledge more solidly than simply reading a textbook; the enthusiastic pride children take in creating their books demonstrates a true joy in learning.
Subjects that require regular repetition in shorter lessons and are more social in nature occupy the later part of the morning and the afternoon. World language, music, eurythmy, handwork and physical education are taught by other specially trained teachers. There is a wonderful coordination and harmony of subject material throughout the curriculum in the main lesson block and in the creative development classes.
“The main lesson block, which continues for 3-4 weeks, has become one of the most successful and distinguishing features of Waldorf education. It allows teachers to cover the curriculum intensively and economically, and provides the students with the fullest possible immersion in a subject. The main lesson block assures that students have sufficient time to experience a living process of learning.”
– Roberto Trostli, Waldorf teacher, author, lecturer