“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders,
but they have never failed to imitate them.”

James Baldwin

Middle School Grades 6-8

Exploration and Expansion

We teach for today’s students. Middle school students enter a new developmental phase ready to engage in the world around them and explore who they are. Our curriculum supports early adolescents on their path to global citizenship by encouraging independence of thought, accountability, and a sense of moral responsibility. Integral in our program is the development of self-motivation, critical reasoning, and sound judgment.
Woven into all curriculum is the study of individuals who changed the world through exploration, innovation, deep reasoning, revolution, determination, and creativity – inspiring students to think out of the box and imagine possibilities for themselves and their community. Much time is spent out of the classroom – on our farm, in the beautiful natural world of the Pioneer Valley, on local trips and traveling as a class.

A rich Waldorf curriculum blends challenging academics a breadth of skills and experience including, world languages, practical arts, movement, land stewardship, fine arts, and athletics – supporting each student finding their path in the world

Developmentally Appropriate Learning for Every Age

6th Grade

Distant Thunder, Rising Sun

6th grade, the start of the roiling passage into adolescence, is when glimmers of each child’s emerging powers begin to shine!

The middle school years have arrived – the start of the roiling passage into adolescence. Turbulent emotional forces are balanced by emerging powers of cause and effect thinking. The epic journey of the sixth grader is reflected in the curriculum: from first tribes to the rule of law in the Roman Empire, from precision to beauty in geometric drawing, from keen observation to clear concepts in physics. The practical nature of business math and the order of grammar all serve to ground and balance the sixth grader. Their journey takes them from the depths of the earth in Geology to the heights of the universe in astronomy.

7th Grade

Truth Seekers, Fire Eaters

Seventh graders thrive on rejecting assumed visions of the world and proposing brave, new ideas. It’s a year of adventures and explorations.

From the faith and superstitions of the Middle Ages to the scientific discoveries and explorations of the Renaissance, the developmental drive of the seventh grader to chart their own path is mirrored.  Seventh graders learn the biographies of those who rebelled against the prevailing views of their day in their search for truth. They learn modern scientific methods and its principle of learning through observation an approach heralded in during the Age of Discovery. They learn perspective drawing, introduction to algebra, and chemistry all bringing new ways of seeing the world.

8th Grade

Revolutionaries, Purpose Seekers

The crowning year – maturing eighth grader has a rapidly evolving capacity for logical thinking and independent judgment. They have a strong sense of purpose, creative capacity and a deep need for authentic engagement

Embracing challenges, exuding confidence, the eighth grader is at home in the modern world. The classroom culture shifts to student-driven dialogue, civil debate, and increased accountability for work and deed. Revolutions from the 18th to 20th centuries, and the biographies of the people who lived them, teach lessons about freedom, conscience, and responsibility. Algebra trains the mind. Science reveals the natural world. Writing, drama, and song allow them to express and share their humanity. Accompanying their first grade buddy into grade school, the eighth grader looks back from where they came, while looking forward to their future.

Middle School Curriculum By Grade

Experiential Learning
The 6th grade spends time exploring the flora, fauna, and geography of our region. This includes a caving trip and a camping trip on cape cod that explores coastal botany and marine life. The 6th graders also spend several days in NYC exploring history.

Language Arts
Students continue to develop writing and reading skills as well as to build up vocabulary and spelling words. Cursive is used for all written work.

Literature
Stories from Rome and the Romans’ great capacity to impact their environment through the rule of law and technological advances speak to the sixth graders’ need to understand practical matters. Stories from the Middle Ages and the emerging nation states help sixth graders explore balancing working with their communities while developing themselves as individuals.

History
Exploration of cultural evolution towards government and laws during Roman times and the emergence of feudalism and guilds in the Middle Ages. The lives of Buddha, Christ and Mohammed, and the following rise of Buddhism, Christianity and Islam are studied.

Geography
South American continent – and how geographical conditions shape the political, social, and economic life of regions.

Land Stewardship
The 6th grade is responsible for the care, feeding, and milking of the cows as well as learning about the process of making compost.

Math
Introduction of business math and continued use of all four processes using fractions and whole numbers.

Geometry
Compass work, the nomenclature of shapes.

Sciences
Earth sciences, Geology and Astronomy.

Geology
Geology focusing on the skeleton of the earth and the forces that shape it- tectonic plates, mountain-building and erosion, as well as the differences between igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks.

World Languages
Students are immersed in Spanish and German, developing their literacy and writing skills with short compositions and readings. Cross-cultural and geographical exploration continues, and holidays and festivals are celebrated and investigated through crafts, songs, and culinary traditions.

Practical Arts
Alongside their study of geology, sixth graders learn to pinch, burnish and barrel fire their own bowls and vases. They dig a small amount of Hartsbrook clay, clean and process it for use. In woodwork, students gouge a wooden spoon, or set of salad spoon and fork by hand.

Handwork
Students create a three-dimensional object – a stuffed animal – from a pattern they create. Felting may also be introduced.

Fine Arts
As a part of the study of the Renaissance, students consider the basic laws of perspective drawing and explore the renaissance masters. Practice with pastels and black and whites.

Drama
Class play

Music
In lieu of attending a general Music class, sixth grade students sing in their own choral ensemble and play in a combined 6th and 7th grade orchestra. They perform at least twice a year at seasonal concerts.

Movement
Two recesses daily and two Games classes per week focusing this year on individual sports- archery, discus, javelin- in preparation for the Medieval Games.

Experiential Learning
Ropes courses, farmers market management and progressive backpack treks on the white mountain AMC trails are part of the Seventh Grader’s journey.

Language Arts
Creative writing – composing poetry and prose on the theme of wish, wonder, and surprise. Parts of speech, spelling, verb tenses and agreement, writing mechanics.

Literature
Biographies of seminal figures who rebelled against prevailing views in order to bring new perspectives. Through looking at the lives of scientists, explorers, and reformers seventh graders experience that the struggle to find oneself and the desire to change the world can coexist.

History
Exploration of science, art, and religion from the late middle ages through the Renaissance.

Geography
European continent – and how geographical conditions shape the political, social, and economic life of regions.

Land Stewardship
Planting, maintaining and harvesting the kitchen garden. Composting and market sales.

World Languages
PStudents choose one language to focus on in-depth this year- Spanish or German. Students focus commonly used phrases in the classroom to be able to communicate with the teacher in the target language. Students broaden their written and spoken vocabulary through projects and oral exercises.

Sciences
Refraction and electricity.Physics – mechanics, simple machines. Refraction and electricity. Physiology – Circulatory and digestive systems, sense organs.  Adolescence studies. Health and nutrition. Chemistry – Laboratory work with organic substances.

Math
Algebra, positive/negatives, ratios/ proportions, exponents and equations. Compass work, the nomenclature of shapes.

Geometry
Compass work, the nomenclature of shapes.

Practical Arts
Seventh grade offers students the challenge of making a wooden bowl by hand. Other projects could include a spinning top (finding the balance) or the challenge of working with the precision needed to follow a pattern and build a wooden toy.

Fine Arts
As a part of the study of the Renaissance, students consider the basic laws of perspective drawing and explore the renaissance masters. Practice with pastels and black and whites.

Drama
Class play

Handwork
Dolls- using geometry and math to make patterns, students create their own dolls and doll clothing from a region of the world.

Music
Seventh grade students sing in a combined seventh and eighth grade chorus and play in a combined sixth and seventh grade orchestra. They perform at least twice a year at seasonal concerts.

Movement
Seventh grade focuses on strengthening and conditioning as well as learning social dance. Sports offered include soccer, basketball, and ultimate Frisbee. Games focus on Running, gymnastics, catching/throwing- develop speed, endurance, quick reflexes.

Experiential Learning
School leadership, buddy responsibilities for younger students, community volunteer work, exploration of  Plymouth and Boston, intensive geometry and mathematics through stained glass work, business management and fundraising, and a culminating Eighth Grade trip are all part of the 8th Grade year.

Language Arts
Business and practical writing.  Oral presentations, playwriting. Research and biography work.

Literature
Exploration of leadership, self-determination, and heroism through biography.

History
Enlightenment and the American, French, and Russian revolutions. Current events.

Geography
Asia and Africa – and how geographical conditions shape the political, social, and economic life of regions.

Land Stewardship
Beekeeping and Hive Management. Campus leadership of farm chores.

Sciences
Mechanical principals, hydraulics and pneumatics, electricity and magnetism, aerodynamics and meteorology.

Chemistry
Laboratory work with organic substances.

Math
Algebra, beginning calculus and binary systems. Measurement and quadratic equation.

Geometry
Solid geometry- platonic solids, the spiral, and the golden mean.  Euclidean geometry.

World Languages
Students continue intensive focus on their chosen language – Spanish or German. Students deepen their abilities to communicate in their target language through projects, written assignments, reading, and quizzes.

Practical Arts
In eighth grade students handcraft a three-legged stool out of a greenwood log.

Fine Arts
Charcoal, pastels, calligraphy.  Strings orchestra, band, and chorus.

Drama
Class play

Handwork
With sewing machines, eighth grade students make pajama pants for themselves and for their first grade buddies.

Music
Eighth grade students sing in a combined seventh and eighth grade chorus and choose from two high school music electives which are music appreciation and orchestra. They perform at least two times throughout the year at seasonal concerts.

Movement
Sports offered include soccer, basketball, and ultimate Frisbee. Advanced games for body awareness and teamwork- Medusa’s Raft, Evolution, Traffic Jam.