The effort to complement students' natural abilities begins at an early age and continues throughout their time at a Waldorf school. It is encouraged by the curriculum and supported by the fundamental understanding that a child's strength should not become their weakness because of one-sided development.
Understanding Waldorf Education
Developmental Profile of a Grade 7 Child*
In grade 7, the pupils turn 13, become teenagers and enter puberty. The visible physiological changes and rapid growth are accompanied by psychological upheaval at least as disorienting and often more so. In both realms, the child loses whatever balance and tranquility they have acquired in the heart of childhood.
An appetite for knowledge of, and about, world phenomena, mingles with an emerging capacity for reflection and the first promptings of self reflection. The physical changes which establish sexual identity and capacity begin to manifest more clearly. These physical changes tend to appear in advance of the psychological development. While a feeling and yearning for independence and solitude may be experienced, a certain anxiety, emotional sensitivity and embarrassment can run alongside. Sporadic bursts of energy and an appetite for expanding outer horizons compete with periods of lethargic heaviness and subdued introspection.
Teachers and parents come up against the limit of their abilities to directly influence the children. Much of what has been adopted in terms of behavior, attitudes or habits is lost or becomes ambivalent.
Through the exploration of an unknown world, the seventh grade curriculum challenges the thought processes of the young adolescent, leading him/her to discovery, understanding and discernment. They learn, as the Explorers did, that going one's own way means leaving behind the familiar territory of security and stability.
Grade 7 Core Subjects
* Reference: The Educational Tasks and Content of the Steiner Waldorf Curriculum,
Edited by Martyn Rawson and Tobias Ritcher