Tamarack is a Waldorf School which integrates the arts – music, drama, storytelling, movement, handwork, painting, drawing and sculpture – as part of lessons in math, science, language arts, history and other academic subjects. In the elementary grades, children remain with the same class teacher from first through eighth grade. All grade children learn two languages (Spanish and German), learn to play pentatonic and diatonic flute, and have vocal and instrumental specialists beginning in grade four. Subjects are taught in intensive ‘blocks’ of three to four weeks in duration. During a block, the class studies a single subject for a two hour morning lesson each day.
Kindergarden: A bridge from Home to School
Since young children learn from the world through imitation and play, Waldorf teachers consciously serve as role models, creating a warm and caring atmosphere that fosters mutual regard and respect.
Visitors to our kindergartens are charmed by the magic that pervades these rooms. Natural toys and materials and the soft colors of the warm, homelike atmosphere encourages imaginative play as the work of the young child. Here, the child’s imagination and sense of joy can find expression.
The Kindergarten Way
Kindergarten children experience the rhythm of the day while alternating between imaginative free play and planned group activities. On any given day in the classroom, groups of children may be found ‘fishing’ from a ‘dock’ in the loft, building castles toward the sky or tending to ‘hearth and home’ in our child-sized kitchen play area.
An array of materials is always on hand as resources for creative play. These include silk and cotton fabrics for dress up and house building, unpainted wooden blocks, natural logs, and simple handmade dolls.
Daily activities such as watercolor painting, baking, storytelling, and beeswax modeling provide the child with opportunities to be immersed in the imaginative world.
Morning circle may include seasonal songs, finger plays and rhythmic games which will challenge the children with speech work, movement and rhythm; all precursors to healthy development in writing, reading and math at the grade school level.
The grade school classes at Tamarack gradually develop in a manner that matches the growth of the child from dreamy first grader to awake and aware, truth-seeking eighth grader. Each phase of childhood contains an overarching theme that is reflected in the curriculum of that year. For example, in first grade, fairy tales are used as a way to introduce writing, reading, mathematics and early science study.
Curriculum builds from year to year moving through subjects such as saints and fables; Old Testament, farming and house building; Norse mythology and fractions; ancient civilizations and botany; Roman history and astronomy; the Renaissance and physics.
The subjects culminate in eighth grade with the presentation of 19th and 20th century history, chemistry and algebra.
The Grade School Day
The day begins with a two hour Main Lesson. During this learning period, purposely set at the time of day when children are at their most alert and receptive, one subject is studied in depth for three to four weeks. An imaginative presentation is given by the teacher and reviewed the following day.
Subject matter is then brought out again through writing, drawing and other projects. Subjects covered in the lesson block correspond to the physical, emotional and spiritual capacities of the child at each stage in their development.
Eight Years – One Teacher
Waldorf class teachers receive extensive specialized training in the Waldorf curriculum and the Waldorf understanding of child development. The teacher joins the class in first grade and travels with the students as they progress through the eight grades. This helps forge a bond of familiarity and respect between students and teacher that supports learning.
Tamarack Waldorf High School
All HS students have year-long weekly classes in Math Skills, English Skills, Social Studies, Foreign Language(s), Gym/Movement, Instrumental & Choral Music and Service Learning. Electives are offered in 11th and 12th Grades. Extra-curricular activities: sports, journalism, debate, theater, urban ecology, etc. Seniors are required to complete a year-long independent project, including a research paper, artistic component and public presentation.
Grade 6 Student Quotes: What I Enjoy About The School Garden
In the garden I like to walk,
While with my friends I quietly talk.
The plants peaceful and overgrown
While the bright fall sun shone.
Eating wild chives, with flowers blooming everywhere.
Balancing on the edge of the garden boxes and one time we even saw a rabbit run by.
The garden is also a very peaceful and cool place.
~Grade 6 student
I love watching all the beautiful plants grow like, strawberries, and raspberries, their all such pretty colors like violet, red, green, gold, blue, etc. I get very sad for winter because they all have to go away, but when they come back in spring I’m very happy again.
~Grade 6 student
I like to sit in the garden and draw. I liked when we went in and got to try everything edible and I like walking around in the garden.
What I enjoy about the school’s garden is that there’s lots of plants and it grows yummy things like strawberries, chives and mint leaves. It’s a great place to walk or sit with a friend and I like when we occasionally get to eat lunch there. I also like that if strangers come to the park they can see that we have a respect for the plants and like to keep our park growing. It’s nice when you can work in the garden by doing things like pulling weeds, planting and watering. It was fun we got to choose a plant in the garden and draw it while sitting in the sun with a friend. It’s really fun in the spring when you can see all the plants sprouting and blooming, then in summer when the plants are to their fullest.
~Grade 6 student
I enjoy looking at all of the flowers and other plants. I liked when we picked a plan to draw on the cover of our botany book. It was fun when we learned about the plants during our botany studies. It’s really fun to work in the garden. I hope to work in there again soon.
I enjoy the roof the now 4th graders built. I also enjoy the pleasant scenery around the garden. The scenery inside the garden is nice too.
In the spring I really enjoy helping Ms. Martha water and plant the flowers, and in early summer doing some botany and also helping to weed the garden. When I was in third grade, my class helped build a fence around the garden. We also built a shed for the gardening tools. I really enjoy working in the garden.
I enjoyed drawing the flowers that we did for Botany. I saw bees on flowers and spider webs in between flowers, even a big spider on the web. I enjoy seeing the plants grow one day another. I like the plans and bugs that roam around the garden feel like nature.
What I like about the school garden is all the beautiful flowers. My class built the garden we were in 3rd I had fun building the fence around the boxes we put the flowers in. But I only built a little bit of the shed.
I enjoyed looking at flowers. I liked eating lunch in the garden after doing botany work. I like walking in the garden and looking at plants.
~Grade 6 student
I enjoy sitting on the grass an walking along feeling the cool breeze. It’s so hot in there that water tastes like a piece of heaven.
What I enjoy about the school’s garden is that the flowers smell nice and I can help the garden grow as in watering it and pulling out weeds. I also love that it is a great place to learn and study botany.
I enjoy all the beautiful plans in the school garden, the smells are nice too. It was cool each day seeing a new part of the shed getting put up. The garden makes me feel really peaceful at the park.
I enjoy the little red tomato because they are very red. I also like how it is arranged. I like the big wooden shed.