Grade Eight has a special quality as a culmination of the grade school years.
Many students have spent eight or more years together and see this year as the pinnacle of their school experience to date.
History lessons focus on Revolutions (French, American, and Industrial), mirroring the turmoil and yearning for independence students are experiencing as they enter adolescence.
The Grade Eight Project, a year-long independent study on a topic of the student’s choice, reflects the students’ status. Students are given a clearly-defined process to conduct research and present it in correct academic form. They also present a model or visual presentation of the theme, make an oral presentation to the parents and other classes, and answer questions posed by classmates, teachers, and parents.
“Waldorf graduates are taught to question, not to accept ideas and conventions based solely on authority, but to think for themselves.”
From Learning to Learn
Interviews with Waldorf graduates
The Grade Eight Class Play challenges the students in their speech, acting, and teamwork and is another key marker of this year. The production is enjoyed by other students, teachers, parents, and community members. Recent Grade Eight Plays include “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Lark.”
The Grade Eight Class Trip is a key event. Many destinations involve nature activities, some with accompanying cultural experiences.
The final event of the year is the Grade Eight Graduation. Students, teachers, parents and board members present a program; the teacher presents diplomas with a word about each student. The graduation is attended by many family and friends and other community members.
Main Lesson Subjects:
English composition, grammar, and literature; Geography (parts of the world not covered in previous years); Canadian and American history, French and Industrial Revolution to modern history; algebra, analytic geometry; meteorology, climatology, physics, organic chemistry, anatomy; special Grade Eight Play production.
French, music, choir, eurythmy (a movement art) when possible, handwork (machine-sewn garments), physical education, gardening, visual arts.