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Elementary Program

Waldorf education offers a developmentally appropriate, experiential, and academically rigorous approach to learning. At Waldorf School of Pittsburgh, we integrate the arts in all academic disciplines for children from first through eighth grade to create a comprehensive educational experience.

When the children leave the Waldorf kindergarten and move into first grade, they carry with them a reverent and loving experience of nature and humanity. In the elementary grades, the content of the curriculum builds on what has gone before and unfolds in a way that is interesting and meaningful to the children of a particular grade because it addresses the development stages of the growing child. The children in a class form a community and travel the journey from childhood into adolescence together with their class teacher.


The Waldorf School of Pittsburgh offers a rich and diverse elementary program for grades 1 through 5. Please be sure to review the concepts and stepping stones of each grade under the Elementary Curriculum section of our site.


Special Subjects at Waldorf School of Pittsburgh

In addition to time spent with the class teacher for main lessons and other projects, the program offers the following supplemental classes:

  • Foreign languages: Spanish & Russian

  • Handwork & Woodwork

  • Music, including string instruments

  • Physical education, including eurythmy and games

Note, first grade applicants must turn 6 by June 1st of the year of intended enrollment.

Waldorf School of Pittsburgh Elementary Curriculum Matrix

Grade 1
Grade 2
Grade 3
Grade 4
Grade 5
Physical Education
circle games and singing games
circle games and singing games; jump rope, hop scotch, rhythmic games
circle games and singing games; ring games, line games, work games and songs, ball tossing games
running, jumping, and throwing games; square and folk dancing
rhythmic exercises — tumbling and building of human pyramids; Greek sports — javelin, discus, shot put, high jump, long jump, etc.; kickball and softball
pentatonic recorder; all songs in pentatonic scale; beat rhythms; seasonal & strong rhyming songs; singing and action games; discussion of musical instrument families
pentatonic recorder songs to accompany fables; art songs; folk and seasonal songs; discussion of musical instrument families
tonality through octave in song and recorder; hymns; folk and seasonal songs; begin music notation; recorder playing in parts; discussion of musical instrument families; begin instrumental music
chorus and orchestra — time values, harmony, major and minor third, rounds and canons; seasonal songs; read music from notation; musical time periods
vocal warm-ups and basic singing technique; chorus and orchestra — three-part singing, major and minor scales, playing above the octave, rounds and canons in major and minor; seasonal songs; musical time periods
Handwork & Woodworking
knitting: making own needles; using two needles and natural materials with strong true colors to make a scarf or flute bag
continued knitting, including purling increasing and decreasing; making animal puppets
handwork — crochet work making larger objects such as purses, pot holders, hats and animals; woodwork — build a small structure and a brick wall
handwork — cross stitch and other embroidery to make pin cushions and handwork bags; woodwork — forest walks and tree identification throughout the seasons of the year
handwork — knitting using four needles to make socks, mittens, and hats; woodwork-work with Sloyd knife to carve and egg and then a simple toy
Visual Arts
form drawing; water color painting; beeswax modeling
drawing — symmetry and form; painting; color theory; beeswax modeling
drawing — form drawing using pencils and crayons; painting; color theory; beeswax modeling
drawing — freehand geometric, dorm, interlocking (Nordic) forms, dynamic drawing; painting — painting becomes more expressive and defined; clay modeling
drawing — geometric and dynamic drawing; draw first in rigid Egyptian and Babylonian style; painting — shading; clay modeling
Russian & Spanish
two languages taught by ear through imitation of songs, games, poems, and plays
expanded vocabulary with focus on pronunciation; increased conversational ability
continuation of skills listed above; alphabet and beginning reading and writing; beginning grammar: genders, possession
more advanced grammar begins; simple reading and writing; first dictations; begin transition from choral speaking to individual expression
simple text; syntax; short talk and descriptions; short translations; asking and answering detailed questions
geometric forms; count to 100; rhythmic patterns; qualities of numbers; 4 mathematic processes; mental arithmetic; word problems; number sequences & relationships; Roman numerals; odds & evens
form drawings; number sequences & relationships; continue with 4 processes; borrowing and carrying; system of place value; multiplications tables through movement & recitation
form drawings; multiplication tables; larger numbers with 4 processes; beginning long division; time; money; weights; measurement with ruler; scale models for house building
weights and measurement; long division; fractions; number sequences & relationships; factoring; prime numbers; continued drill work
fractions; decimals; geometric forms; averages; metric system; continued drill work
Language Arts
letter forms & sounds; oral recitation; writing words and simple sentences; beginning reading with one’s own writing as text; word families; poetry
Letter blends & word families; writing; reading; punctuation; grammar; poetry; speech
cursive writing; reading; writing; composition; spelling; grammar; poetry; speech
reading; writing; spelling; grammar; letter writing; poetry; speech; drama; creative writing
composition; spelling; reading; grammar; poetry; speech; drama
Natural Sciences
the kingdom of nature through storytelling
the kingdom of nature through story telling; animal stories through fables
human activity in nature: farming, gardening, house building, grains, clothing around the world; cooking
human beings & animal studies
Social Studies & Literature
fairy tales from around the world
fables from around the world; saint legends
Old Testament stories; comparative cultures in studies of houses, food, clothing; Native American legends
Norse mythology; local natural resources; native peoples, early settlers
ancient mythologies & histories: India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece; North American culture
the wonder of nature through observation
environment through observation
practical studies
geography of own surroundings & state of Pennsylvania
North America

A Typical Day in 4th Grade


8:00 – 8:15 Arrivals and warm-up
8:15 – 8:30 Welcome
  • check in

  • review schedule for the day

  • singing

  • stretching

  • recorder playing

  • verse


8:30 – 8:45 Movement, speech, memorization
  • Games involving math or strategy, sequencing events, reasoning and collaboration

  • Math practice and review

  • Spelling (written and oral)

  • Speech / Recitation (both long pieces that require memorization, and/or shorter tongue twisters)


8:45 – 10:30 Main Lesson

Rotate between blocks every 3 to 4 weeks

  • Review and practice from previous lesson 

  • New material

  • Working time, writing in main lesson book

  • Storytelling


10:30 – 11:00 Recess & Snack
11:00 –11:45 Spanish or Russian
11:45 – 12:30 Reading or Math
12:30 – 1:15 Recess & Lunch
1:15 – 2:00 Games/Eurythmy
2:00  – 2:45 Instruments or Music
2:45 – 2:50 Handwork or Painting/Form Drawing/Modeling
2:50 – 3:10 Dismissal
For More Information

Please contact Interim Director of Admissions Emily Bush to schedule a tour or to learn more about our program.

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