Sixth grade is the gateway to pre-adolescence. The curriculum offers firm academic grounding in math, composition, and science, along with memorable depictions of cultural cause and effect: Arthurian legend and the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, medieval society and the Crusades. Students begin to structure and participate in scientific experiments on light, heat, magnetism and electricity while the study of mathematics incorporates business math and the principles of economics.
As middle schoolers, students in the sixth grade join either the Strings Orchestra or the Recorder Ensemble and participate in the Middle School Choir; experiences that enrich the school year through multiple musical performances.
Strings & Recorders
Geology & Astronomy
Light, Sound & Motion
Tim Smith was born in Kentucky (in the Daniel Boone National Forest) and raised in rural Illinois and Iowa. After graduating as valedictorian of his high school class, he went on to attend Goshen College in Indiana as a religion major. Later, he earned his Waldorf teacher training certificate at the Rudolf Steiner Centre, Toronto. Tim has lived in Venezuela, Germany, and Switzerland, and spent three years working as a caregiver in a Camphill community for disabled children in eastern Pennsylvania. For ten years, Tim has taught at WSA in various roles including class teaching, music and practical arts. Tim started the basketball program at WSA, and coached for several years. Tim and his wife MJ, also a Waldorf educator, have three children; their two daughters graduated from WSA and their son is a current WSA student. Tim has a love of music, and plays the guitar and sings. He also enjoys carpentry.Grade Six Pedagogical Overview
The twelfth year is the gateway to pre-adolescence and idealism, and although the sixth grader is increasingly able to experience internal logic, their sense impressions can often be clouded by emotion and whimsy. Throughout this year, students are encouraged to develop strong powers of observation, and precision and accuracy in their thinking. As they awaken to the intricacies of human thought and action, they readily embrace the biographies of individuals from ancient Rome and the Middle Ages.
In order to ground students in the surrounding world while fostering their fascination with the unknown, sixth graders are provided with their first formal study of natural phenomena. Mineralogy, geography, and physics lessons provide opportunity for in-depth encounters with the physical world while strengthening powers of sense-observation. In addition to being grounded by the lawfulness of the earth, students are also encouraged to develop expansiveness in their imaginative thinking. Astronomy draws students towards the heavens and provides opportunities for them to explore the mysteries of the cosmos. In an effort to recreate the experience of early astronomers, Astronomy is taught exclusively through observation of the unaided eye.