Kindergarten at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

The learning before the learningLinden Tree Photography 2015-1-09 WSA_011

Reflections of the Waldorf Kindergarten

 With both of my children now in the grades at WSA, I often reflect on the kindergarten experience that both were so fortunate to receive.

In Waldorf kindergartens, there’s a conscious effort to preserve childhood for as long as possible, but preserving childhood doesn’t conflate with delayed learning. On the contrary, the Waldorf kindergartner experience reaches beyond the mainstream study of letters and numbers, and instead focuses on a far more fundamental and formative curriculum: the precursors of learning itself.

The children learn to be together, to work together. Setting the table, sweeping the floor, shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, they’re developing cooperation, appreciation, and responsibility – the values necessary for the life each child is growing into.

Handwork projects require dexterity of hand, the learning of new skills, and – increasingly rare in our world of instant gratification – the notion of “one step at a time.” Allowing children to move through each step at their own pace culminates in an accomplishment that is entirely their own. Stories, songs and rhymes encourage an awakening of children’s senses and memory to come to life as well as an appreciation for learning that will continue to flourish.

Not too long ago I was satisfied with the notion that Waldorf kindergartens offered a haven to prolong childhood, encouraged children to live into their imaginations, and crafted the space and time for them to explore the world. I didn’t query much further.

In looking backLinden Tree Photography 2015-1-09 WSA_022, I clearly see a rich multi-layered curriculum, and am deeply respectful of the meaningful activities that happily engaged the children.  The foundational aspects of working together, completing a project, taking care of a shared space – along with language acquisition, number sense, and body geography – were always there at the heart of each rhythmic yet magical day.

Now that my children have transitioned to the grades, they’ve embarked on a more intellectual journey. I may pine for the smells wafting from the kindergarten on bread day. I might miss the beeswax bunnies they once molded with little fingers. But as I watch my children embrace their learning with eagerness and delight, I am filled with gratitude knowing that they were soundly prepared for this next stage of learning.

~Brooke Fraser

This article was written for the Waldorf School of Atlanta‘s 2015 Garden Breeze Special Edition.  For more information about our school, please visit

Gardening at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

A classroom without wallsLinden Tree_WSA0316__007

The role of gardening in Waldorf education

 Through your own experience or stories told by your children, you probably know that being outside is large part of the Waldorf curriculum from Kindergarten on up. What’s not readily apparent is the significance of the children’s activities outside. From watering seeds to feeding chickens to pulling English Ivy off trees, children are moving with purpose.

A conversation with our Gardening Teacher Rebecca Johnson and Grade 4 Teacher and Grounds Committee member Jenny Dilworth revealed how engrained gardening is at WSA, and how it contributes to the children’s education. Fundamentally, gardening is one way we prepare our children for the future.

Growing cucumbers and careers

We’re in an age in which careers as we know them may well be obsolete when our students are of age to begin their own professions. The garden teaches fundamental skills that will help children navigate such uncertainty: flexibility, responsiveness, tolerance, and adaptability.

Teaching them these things through nature serves another purpose; namely, they’re a part of things – connected with the world around them. Accordingly, they gain an understanding that their decisions affect others. And they learn these lessons often without having to be expressly taught. For example, if they don’t water seedlings enough, then the seeds won’t grow so well.

On this and other levels, the children are developing their connection with the world by being in it and interacting with it. “Most fundamentally,” says Rebecca, “They’re learning that you are needed in this world. And what you do really matters.”

Grade by grade, row by row

The classroom learning throughout the WSA curriculum echoes clearly in the garden. Rebecca, working with the classes and their teachers, leads the learning through the grades.

  • Grades 1 and 2 abound in natural wonder. Stories and garden games fittingly fill gardening time as does exploration. When students are ready, they’re given jobs along with guidance on how to behave in the garden – how you walk, talk, and interact.
  • Grade 3 finds the children ready for more work-based relationships with garden. They become responsible for a majority of planting and maintenance. Connections with the natural world are strengthened by growing, harvesting, and cooking crops. “It’s very real for them,” says Jenny, “and their actions in the garden teach them what they’re capable of doing.”
  • Grades 4 and 5 cover many natural classroom connections with the garden. Through study of local geography, flora and fauna, and botany, gardening takes on an added dimension. The children expand on their jobs, taking on more responsibility and exercising greater independence through campus-wide activities like removing English Ivy and clearing space for the bees.

Linden Tree_WSA0316__009“In the world, there are vacuums,” shares Rebecca. “The students learn that they’re capable of filling them by using their skills and by simply being who they are. The sooner we can teach children the beautiful relationship we have with the natural world, the better off we’ll be.”

The bees are coming – everybody, look buzzy!

This spring, WSA will welcome bees to our community. When exactly? The bees are expected mid to late April. “It’s a matter of bringing them in when they’re ready according to their natural cycle, not unlike a pregnancy,” says Jenny with a smile. “We just have to be flexible – and that’s one of the lessons we learn from nature.”

The apiaries will strengthen kids’ connections to nature. And the new residents will provide parallels to the classroom curriculum – ancient Egypt, honey, history, and ecosystems to name a few.

~Derek Hambrick

This article was written for the Waldorf School of Atlanta‘s 2015 Garden Breeze Special Edition.  For more information about our school, please visit

Waldorf School of Atlanta Pedagogical Overviews

jim mcclurkin

Waldorf School of Atlanta teacher – Jim McClurkin

This essay was written by Jim McClurkin, a teacher at WSA since 1999.

Pedagogical Overviews

The Waldorf School of Atlanta provides a proven educational program that nurtures students along a continuous developmental path that results in young adults who are confident, poised and have a strong inner focus for life and work.

Early Childhood (Explore Early Childhood)

Our Waldorf preschool and kindergartens nurture a sense of wonder and curiosity in the young child, while encouraging reverence and joy for the goodness of life. The warmth and beauty of the classrooms and the mixed age groupings provide an opportunity for children to play and learn in a home-like atmosphere. The 3-year olds (participating in a 4 hour/day program) and the 4-year olds are engaged according to their age and abilities, while imitating the mood, gestures and work of the classroom teachers (and their older friends). The 5 and 6-year olds develop the independence and sense of responsibility necessary to become leaders in the class. In the loving and creative atmosphere of the kindergarten, these young children acquire the confidence and discipline they will need for the challenging academic work of grade school. The kindergarten experience is rich in storytelling, puppetry, song, poetry, cooking, and artistic activities. Crafts, handwork, games, and regular outdoor play encourage the healthy growth of the child’s body. Toys, art materials, and classroom aesthetics emphasize natural, simple materials, encouraging the child’s imagination. Through play, each child learns a broad range of cognitive, social, and linguistic skills. As in all Waldorf classes, parents are encouraged to minimize exposure to television, videos, and other media that might hinder the free and harmonious growth of the child.

Grade One (Explore Grade One)

First Grade is the commencement of formal schooling marked by the child’s awakening capacities of memory and thinking. The seven-year-old retains a feeling of oneness with the world, and is more able to bring broad awareness than focused concentration to learning situations. Much learning therefore involves the presentation of an image to the child, ensuring her understanding through her own mental picturing. This leads to a pictorial approach in the teaching of all subjects. The rhythm of working together as a class is established during this year, and the students are introduced to all areas of school life. The students are eager to learn together and take their place within the large whole. As new habits are formed, a foundation is being laid for healthy social interaction. Through the teacher’s authority and presence, a sense of reverence, respect, and wonder permeates the mood in the classroom. Throughout the first grade year, the academic tasks of reading, writing and arithmetic are embedded in the rich world of fairy tales. The archetypal pictures found within the fairy tales engage the child’s fantasy in the subject matter that they encounter throughout the year. Through these richly crafted stories, the children are introduced to speaking, writing, reading, and mathematics. All skills are reinforced with practice involving rhythmical movement, recitation and music. Bookwork is illustrated with pictures that reinforce the concepts being developed. Each lesson aims to incorporate a three-fold structure, which fosters the development of the children’s feelings, thinking abilities, and will forces.

Grade Two (Explore Grade Two)

In Grade Two, the familiar routines and observances of the previous year are maintained. This strengthens the rhythm of the class working together, and builds confidence and a sense of belonging in the children. The students continue to learn best when pictorial thought content is presented. Much time is spent consolidating all that was first learned in Grade One. Students continue to familiarize themselves with the fundamentals of arithmetic and language arts, and they also develop a wide range of skills in gross and fine motor movements such as jump rope, knitting, and flute playing. The children’s thinking is thus balanced and reinforced by their experience in physical and artistic activity. While in Grade One a mood of wholeness develops in the children, in Grade Two this mood can differentiate into contrasts, with a reverential mood on the one hand, and a temptation for mischief on the other. During this year, the children develop greater interest in the unique qualities of one another and become curious about individual differences. To meet this growing social awareness, teachers introduce stories where contrasting human qualities are portrayed. Wonder tales and legends of Saints from around the world show lofty striving and highlight noble human qualities, while animal fables and trickster tales satisfy the child’s interest in mischief. While the morals of these tales are never explicitly stated, the students derive direction and form from the images they are given.

Grade Three (Explore Grade Three)

Grade Three is marked by the physiological, psychological, and cognitive changes taking place during the ninth year. The child’s walk is firmer and more balanced, and the constitution is substantially stronger. Growth begins to focus more on the limbs and metabolism, and there is an increase in the breadth of the trunk. At the same time, a significant step in self-awareness occurs during this year. The children are developing a strong sense of being separate from their surroundings, perhaps for the first time. A feeling of being alone can contrast with a sense of wonder at seeing the world in a new way. These mixed feelings often lead to confusion and insecurity as questions of purpose and identity begin to emerge. There is a longing for increased independence and autonomy as the child moves into this new phase of childhood. They have a tendency to criticize and question authority as they seek to define themselves as individuals. The images from Hebrew stories, with their laws and guidance, foster inner security during this unsettled period. Practical activities such as farming and house building help ground the children in the physical world. When the whole group works together on these activities, feelings of separateness can be transformed into feelings of responsibility for the whole. With their new interest in the practical, material world, the children can now apply the skills learned in the first two grades to a wide range of everyday situations like measuring, weighing, and cooking.

Grade Four (Explore Grade Four)

In Grade Four, the transition from early childhood is complete. The children emerge with greater awareness, expressed in new confidence and great vigor. They want to experience the world from an individual standpoint, to find their particular place in the world. They develop a sense of where they are in relation to their environment, in both a social and geographical sense. The fourth grade student is eager to learn more about their world, and they embrace new challenges with curiosity and enthusiasm. During the fourth grade year, students are challenged to extend themselves in every aspect of their work. Their growing interest in concrete knowledge is met through natural science, in a study of the animal kingdom in relation to the human being. The children also take up a thorough study of their surroundings in a Local Geography block, in which mapmaking skills are developed. Norse stories, meanwhile, present the children with images of diverse, strong-willed personalities all contributing to the social whole. Throughout this year, students are encouraged to take greater responsibility for their own learning. They complete several independent projects, and give their first formal presentations to the class.

Grade Five (Explore Grade Five)

In the first four years of school there is a strong emphasis on form, both of the class as a whole, and of each child’s habits. In the next four years, there is a subtle and gradual shift in emphasis toward content, in lessons and in the world at large. This shift in emphasis, of course, follows the child’s own lead, responding to his or her changing consciousness. By age eleven, children reach a kind of balance and regular alternation between their awareness of the world and of their own inner lives. There is balance, too, in their mental, emotional, and physical growth. The fifth grade curriculum seeks to extend the children both outwardly and inwardly. Outwardly, in terms of space, they expand their horizons of the earth and the plants that cover it. In terms of time, they experience five civilizations spanning thousands of years. Inwardly, they extend their awareness of the math processes they perform, and also of the words they speak and the sentences they write. As their intellectual faculties become stronger, students are able to approach their cognitive work in a more realistic and reasoning manner. By the fifth grade, students have generally attained a certain ease and grace of physical movement intrinsic to their age. The celebration of their unique abilities at this time culminates in their participation in a Greek Olympiad, a pentathlon event with other regional Waldorf schools.

Grade Six (Explore Grade Six)

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.

Grade Seven (Explore Grade Seven)

As students move into adolescence, they need increased opportunity to feel the strength of their own initiative. The grade seven curriculum serves to ground the students, to inspire them to venture out toward the unknown, and to offer an introduction to their quest in life. Through their own engagement and striving in the world, students are able to develop strong feelings of sympathy and antipathy in relation to their surroundings. These feelings help shape their own perceptions and allow them to stand on their own with increased confidence. Through the exploration of an unknown world, the seventh grade curriculum challenges the thought process of the young adolescent, leading them to discovery, understanding, and discernment. They learn, as the explorers did, that going one’s own way means leaving behind the security and stability of familiar territory.

Grade Eight (Explore Grade Eight)

A Waldorf eighth grade experiences a gradual but significant shift from the presentation of a subject solely from the teacher to the class, to the mutual consideration of a subject by teacher and class together. A sense of community develops in which speaking becomes more thoughtful and listening more attentive. With the awakening capacity for logical thinking and free, independent judgment, the eighth grader now wants to be in the world more than ever before. They want to do, to discover, to know, and to find relevance in their studies by finding connections with the outside world. Throughout this year, the students continue to expand their sense of place in the world. They plunge into the Age of Revolution, and embark on a study of noteworthy individuals who have found the courage to follow their passions in revolt against the status quo. In addition to their continued inquiry into scientific phenomena and experimentation, students study the lives and struggles of scientists and inventors who first discovered chemical and electrical laws. These studies ground students in the human aspect of scientific thought, while providing a picture of the profound effects of modern technology upon society and culture. The eighth grade year marks the students’ final year with their Class Teacher, and culminates in the completion of their Waldorf grade school experience. Given the huge step these students are about to take in the world, the curriculum is designed to inspire passion and highlight the incredible potential of the human mind and soul. It is our hope that our students will graduate with compelling questions that will continue to fuel their love of learning for years to come.

Childhood First.


Foundation Studies at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy and the Arts

fdn studies year one

Waldorf School of Atlanta – Foundation Studies Group

We are a group of 12 Waldorf School of Atlanta parents, faculty and staff, local community members and homeschooling parents who have come together to study the work of Rudolf Steiner and experience interconnectedness through the arts. We have all enrolled in a two-year program that is organized through the Center for Anthroposophy and hosted by WSA. We typically meet two Saturday mornings a month for seminars, group work, artistic activities, and sometimes longer workshops. Our interests address the broad themes of human development and personal growth through three distinct but interrelated elements:

  • study of the basic books of Rudolf Steiner, including How to Know Higher Worlds, Theosophy, An Outline of Esoteric Science, and Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path: A Philosophy of Freedom
  • cultivation of artistic activities that are transformative in nature, such as speech, drama, music, eurythmy, painting, drawing, woodwork, sculpture, and more
  • some experience of life in a Waldorf school as well as other cultural initiatives arising from the work of Rudolf Steiner.

We are currently mid-way through the second year. If you would like more info or are interested in starting with a new Year One group, email Angela Foster:

More information about Foundation Studies can also be found at the Center for Anthroposophy.  And more information about our Atlanta Cluster can be found here.

fdn studies year one work

Waldorf School of Atlanta – Foundation Studies work, year one

Shepherd’s Play at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

Many years, the Waldorf School of Atlanta offers the Shepherd’s Play as a gift to our community.  Teachers, Parents and Friends of the school organize, rehearse and perform this play.

shepherds play image

 The Shepherd’s Play was found and written down in the middle of the 19th century from the small island of Oberufer on the Danube, close to the borders of Austria and Hungary. Some time in the early 16th or 17th century, a group of German people had migrated there from the neighborhood of Lake Constance. They had taken with them the cycle of religious plays which they had received by tradition from their ancestors. When the plays were collected the parts were still hereditary in certain families. No complete copy existed but each family treasured a manuscript of the words of one particular part. Surrounded as they were by people of a different nation, and speaking a different language, the peasants of Oberufer preserved unaltered both the text itself and the tradition of acting.

In the autumn, after harvest, the peasants who were to take part met together and rehearsals began. All parts were played by men, as in the Elizabethan theatre, and during the time of rehearsal, all members of the cast had to lead (as far as they could) a moral and respectable life, abstaining alike from visits to alehouses and from the singing of bawdy songs. Before the actual performance the whole company went in procession through the village.

The form of the play is such that the actors sing a song in procession, after which the characters concerned come forward and act what has just been sung, while the rest of the company seat themselves at the back or side of the stage.

The Shepherds Play is a beloved tradition in most Waldorf Schools, a gift from the adult community to the children. We are happy to share this play with you and wish you a joyous and blessed Christmas season.


In my heart a shepherd

In my head a king

Before the child together

They offer what they bring.

The heart will fire the head

The head will light the heart

The Spirit Child within

Will know Love’s healing art.

–From Notes by A.C. Harwood

Waldorf School of Atlanta - shepherds play  cast & crew

Handwork at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

As human beings, we use our hands regularly in our daily lives. At Waldorf, the Handwork curriculum is broad and includes skills such as knitting, crocheting, hand sewing, embroidery, felting, paper crafts, pattern design, and machine sewing.

Many of the benefits of the Handwork program are obvious: hand-eye coordination; basic math skills such as counting, the four math processes, and basic geometry; the ability to understand and follow a process from concept to completion; and the ability to focus on a project for an extended period of time.

There are also more subtle rewards that complement these obvious benefits. Students must prepare and care for materials. Many of the created items have a practical use – a case for a flute, a needle book, a pair of socks. Design and color choice allow for individual creative expression. One of the most far-reaching benefits of Handwork class is the social aspect. While there are times when quiet is needed, such as when you are learning a new stitch, most of the time the atmosphere in the classroom is social and conversational, not unlike a quilting bee. Students learn to speak politely to one another. Throughout the process, respect is fostered.

At the Waldorf School of Atlanta all first graders learn how to knit. This basic skill uses both right and left hands, and brings a steady, calming rhythm to the younger child. Crocheting, which emphasizes the right or left hand, almost always follows in the second or third grade. Cross-stitch is paramount to fourth grade as the children begin crossing over from childhood to adolescence. In fifth grade, knitting in the round, used to make hats, mittens, and socks, is a three dimensional, mathematical activity leading up to critical thinking in the middle school. Long-term hand-sewing projects involving concepts, patterns, and mathematical computations are usually found in sixth or seventh grade. The eighth grade Handwork curriculum often involves machine sewing, which perfectly integrates the student’s study of American History and the Industrial Revolution.

We hope you enjoy the Handwork series on our blog:

Grade 1 handwork

Grade 2 handwork

Grade 3 handwork

Grade 4 handwork

Grade 5 handwork

Grade 6 handwork

Grade 7 handwork

Grade 8 handwork

Our Handwork Teacher is Lisa Roggow.

lroggow photo




Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 1

The Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Catalina De Luna Garza.  A review of the Language Program can be found on our website and specific insights into teaching each grade are found in these letters to the parents.

sra de luna headshot

Dear First Grade Parents,

Teaching the first grade has been a delightful experience. Since the very first day, the children in class were waiting expectantly for their first Spanish lesson. They have two classes a week; sessions started at twenty minutes long and will gradually grow to a forty-minute lesson.  The form and content of the Spanish language class for lower grades is very similar to the morning circle in main lesson.

The class is organized in a rhythmical flow of “in-breathing” and “out-breathing”; keeping a healthy rhythm is essential for 6 and 7 year olds. In the beginning of the class the children stand up and begin to repeat verses, songs, and movements. As children’s capacity for imitation and recitation at this age is at its peak, the child can absorb the language in its totality, instinctively, by habit.

During the second phase of the lesson, the children sit down and are prepared to receive a content that requires greater concentration. We play games where some brief dialogues are practiced, or new vocabulary is introduced. In the beginning pupils respond chorally, but some individual questions would appear from time to time. They also hear stories that are familiar to them in their native language, such as “The Little Red Hen”, or “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”. This concentration time is followed by activities such as dancing or games that provide a more relaxed form. Finally we all recite our closing verse to conclude our time together.

Spanish is extremely rich in poetry, and has many examples of lively and imaginative poems. Through such offerings the child enters the soul of a culture, even though he/she may not yet understand the meaning of what he/she is repeating. The formative qualities of language enrich the child’s feelings. Little by little, all this world of songs, verses, and movement is transformed in later years into rapid learning allowing the child to have a total experience of the language.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Spanish lessons, please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail.


Catalina De Luna Garza, Spanish Teacher at WSA

sra de luna at holiday fair

Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 2

The Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Catalina De Luna Garza.  A review of the Language Program can be found on our website and specific insights into teaching each grade are found in these letters to the parents.

sra de luna headshot

Dear Second Grade Parents,

Second grade Spanish class will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays this year. We started with a brief review of the songs and some of the games from last year and pretty quickly new songs and poems had to be included.

In the first three grades the children are totally immersed in the spoken foreign language. They learn through their innate ability to imitate and memorize. At this time their speech organs are more flexible and it is possible to learn more accurate pronunciation as well as the natural cadences of the language.

Just as in every grade, rhythmical organization of the lesson is essential. Previous activities are continued and enlarged upon. Students will learn verses and songs involving movement or finger games; they also learn to follow simple commands. Vocabulary is based on learning about themselves and their immediate surroundings, such as: body parts, colors, counting, the classroom, animals in nature and pets, simple conversation about themselves and their needs. In addition to relevant songs and verses, story telling and crafts accompany the celebration of seasons and festivals to bring a sense of the culture of the country.

The children learn intuitively through the mood and the visual context of the class. They have developed strong abilities to memorize and repeat and many of the children will be ready to speak by themselves. Towards the end of second grade most of them will be able to answer questions in simple, short sentences. The main grammar concepts in the second grade are nouns, adjectives and action verbs. Perhaps the greatest change in this year lies in the child’s growing awareness that language has a social function that allows communication.  They realize that there are other people who communicate in a different way.

The world of nature reflects the mood of the second grade main lesson with nature stories. The Language class content closely follows the main lesson: fables, legends, and stories of saints. As mentioned above, children are beginning to “wake up” and notice that there are differences among human beings. Fables provide the opportunity of looking at these human characteristics embodied by animals in a humorous way. In Spanish we have important writers of fables. Outstanding ones are Iriarte, Samaniego, and Lope de Vega.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact me by e-mail.


Catalina De Luna, Spanish Teacher at WSA

sra de luna grade 2

Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 3

The Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Catalina De Luna Garza.  A review of the Language Program can be found on our website and specific insights into teaching each grade are found in these letters to the parents.

sra de luna headshot

Dear Third Grade Parents,

Since the very first day of school the third grade students have been working hard.  We have 2 Spanish lessons each week, Tuesday and Friday. We are lucky to have Ms. Dilworth bring some Spanish into her lessons; so children get dosages of Spanish here and there.

For third grade, the class continues to be mostly oral. Students are very excited because of our new element in the lesson: they will be creating their own Spanish book!  We start the class with a greeting verse, followed by songs, clapping games and speech exercises. The content that comes next requires greater concentration. We play games where dialogues are practiced, or new vocabulary is introduced. Towards the end, students work on the creation of their first Spanish Word Book.

The third grade curriculum, as for all the grades, is a reflection of the main lesson curriculum. The class content closely follows the one of main lesson: farming, trades, domestic chores, the produce of the earth, building, and time. The children learn intuitively through the mood and the visual context of the class. Towards the end of third grade most of them will be able to answer questions in simple, short sentences. The main grammar concepts in third grade are nouns, adjectives and action verbs.

Perhaps the greatest challenge in this year lies in the child’s growing awareness; children begin to feel separate from the world. Imitation begins to disappear, individuality acquires a new importance.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Spanish lessons, please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail.


Catalina De Luna, Spanish Teacher at WSA

grade 3 Spanish Book

Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 4

The Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Catalina De Luna Garza.  A review of the Language Program can be found on our website and specific insights into teaching each grade are found in these letters to the parents.

sra de luna headshot

Dear Fourth Grade Parents,

Fourth grade is a time of change for language teachers. The previous three years are completely oral, and now is the time to move on to writing, reading, and the teaching of grammar. Obviously the oral phase never ends, and from 4th grade on the oral experience expands and is joined by writing and reading. The process is very similar to the way a child learns his/her native language. First they listen, then they imitate, later they read what they have written and in older grades explore the grammar of the language they speak.

In the language class students read by writing the material they have memorized in previous years.  By reading material with which they are already familiar orally, they are able to establish a solid basis in their reading. This process facilitates good pronunciation.

Basic grammar rules will be “introduced”, as many of them were acquired unconsciously while learning all those verses, songs and poems in the previous years. We will work differentiating all the pronouns, learning the basic rules of gender and number, and we will start to explore basic conjugation of verbs.

As stated before the oral phase never ends. Recitation in this year is powerful, repetitive, and if possible should have a lot of alliteration.

The class has a similar rhythm to main lesson. We begin with a rhythmical part, where we do verses, poems, songs, and speech exercises accompanied by gestures and clapping games. This lasts around 10 minutes. (the material is repeated for a period of 4 to 6 weeks). Then comes the feeling/listening part of the lesson, where material is reviewed and new content is brought to the students through different activities. Reading out loud chorally and then individually will be done during this part of the lesson, which lasts up to 15 minutes. Finally we have the thinking part, where book work is done. Students will quietly work in their Spanish book for about 15 minutes. At the end we all say a verse together to conclude our lesson.

You can enrich your child’s Spanish experience in many different ways:

  • Look for and enjoy Hispanic festivals in town, share the information with other parents (look for Day of the Dead festival in November – a family festival)
  • Do not miss the opportunity, but do not push, of finding Spanish around. If you visit a Hispanic restaurant, take a closer look at the menu, they might have a bilingual menu. If you know some Spanish, use it, practice it, be a model for your children. If you see me, greet me in Spanish. Some grocery stores have a Hispanic or international aisle, take a look at the foods they offer, find if they have bilingual labels.
  • The most important part of all this is to have a positive and open attitude “open your windows to a new culture”; your children will notice it.

Studying languages is a window into the soul of a culture, into its genius, individuality and musicality. It is well known that learning another language expands one’s thoughts and ability to penetrate the feelings and the soul of the other culture. Through the art of communication we cultivate an interest in others.

If you have any questions or concerns about the Spanish program, please email me.


Catalina De Luna, Spanish Teacher at WSA

sra de luna working outside with grade 4

Sra de Luna working outside with Grade 4 students.