The Main Lesson
The morning Main Lesson is the cornerstone of the day at Woodland Star. It is the two-hour period in the morning when children are most awake and eager for academic work. The class teacher focuses on one subject over several weeks so students have an opportunity to develop a strong relationship with every subject studied.
In each main lesson block, the teacher incorporates storytelling, movement, music, poetry, drama, drawing, painting, modeling, reading and writing, presenting vivid descriptions and experiential opportunities each day that engage the student in a harmonious and joyful way. Students record and illustrate the lesson content in their Main Lesson books, which are treasured for years to come.
The ideal is for the Class Teacher to remain with the same class throughout the eight elementary years, enabling close, secure relationships with each child and a deep appreciation of individual needs. This allows a close partnership to develop between parents and teacher as well, which fosters a much deeper understanding of the ever-changing stages of child development.
After the morning Main Lesson, the students engage in practice periods that deepen the academic skills introduced in the main lesson and attend special subject classes including Spanish, handwork, games, violin and woodworking. Most special subject classes at Woodland Star begin in the First Grade, although Spanish is introduced in Kindergarten.
Our curriculum is designed to give children meaningful experiences at every age. An approach is taken that strives to maintain the protective veil of childhood for students in the first four years of grade school. Through fairy tales, fables, legends, creation stories and Norse mythology, the teacher slowly builds a bridge that crosses from the innocent, imaginative world of childhood to the more conscious, empirical world of adolescent life.
In Grades Five through Eight, the developmental capacity for thinking radically shifts and the curriculum grows progressively more complex from year to year. The beginning of this transition is marked by the "nine year change," a time when the child's individuality becomes more pronounced and when a child first begins to view everything in his/her surroundings with a "critical eye." At this time, many children begin to question their place in the world, which was hitherto taken for granted.
With this "birth of individuality" comes a growing interest in the world around them. In their studies, the upper grades move from mythology to recorded history, the birth of logic and abstract thought. The curriculum weaves together the natural sciences, history and the arts in a much more sophisticated manner, and students begin to synthesize the application of skills learned in the early grades. Arithmetic leads to higher mathematics; form drawing leads to complex geometric and perspective drawings; poetry and singing lead to formal reading and writing with more concern for grammatical structure and composition in language and music.