Our Curriculum » Specialty Subjects

Specialty Subjects

Waldorf Education weaves the arts, music and movement into the fabric of every student’s daily life. Our rich and varied curriculum includes rigorous academic work as well as engaging artistic and practical experiences, all of which are appropriate to the age of each child. Beyond the morning main lesson with their main classroom teacher, students study a variety of special subjects to engage the intellectual, physical and emotional development of every child.

Music & Orchestra

Music is deeply embedded into Waldorf education

Singing is part of every day at Juniper Ridge Community School. Simple melodies in early grades progress to learning rounds and songs with two or more parts in the older grades. The pentatonic flute is introduced in first grade and starting in third grade the soprano recorder, a choice of a stringed instrument (violin, viola or cello) as well as the teaching of music notation is introduced.

In later grades, students have the option of continuing with strings orchestra or trying new instruments in band. Choir continues and students sing increasingly complex two- and three-part choral works.

Families are asked to rent or purchase the instrument for their student. If this presents a financial hardship, please see the music teacher or administration.


Children begin learning Spanish in first grade through twice-weekly classes which include songs, verses, stories, festivals and games. This presentation mirrors the way children learn their own native language.

Throughout the eight years, the emphasis of the curriculum is on exposing the children to a different culture and on instilling a love of the language and culture.


Handwork plays an important function in helping to develop the will of the child, in fostering self-esteem and an appreciation for beauty.  It also plays a critical part in helping to establish and activate pathways in the brain that link the left and right side of the brain and also act as a general network in each hemisphere.  The hands are the primary instrument that growing children use to inform themselves about the world in which they live.  What the hand feels the brain knows.

Children explore practical arts such as knitting, crochet, hand and machine sewing and other fiber arts. Each grade’s handwork curriculum is designed to foster an aspect of development appropriate to the age of the child.

“If you’ve had the experience of binding a book, knitting a sock, playing a recorder, then you feel that you can build a rocket ship…it’s just a quiet confidence. There is nothing you can’t do.”
Peter Nitze, Waldorf and Harvard Graduate

 Games & Movement

The importance of physical activity, and its relationship to successful learning and healthy childhood development is reinforced through our unique movement program that includes games, sports and eurythmy.

Grades one through five are led through games to aid in the completion of their physical development, which will serve them well in the competitive realm of sports in the middle and high school years.

The curriculum develops individual and team skills in fine and gross motor work with throwing, catching, running, climbing, gymnastics, circus arts, and sports. Pentathlon skills are introduced in the fifth grade and medieval games are introduced in sixth. The students are encouraged to develop new games and build capacities to organize groups, cooperate with teams, and umpire activities in a fair and balanced way.


Students take a weekly Gardening class in which they participate in creating raised beds, planting, weeding, and harvesting a vegetable garden. They work with the compost created from the school’s lunch scraps to fertilize the grounds, and keep the front area of the school neat and tidy. This form of experiential learning deepens the child’s connection to nature and gives hands-on lessons in sustainability and responsibility.


In woodworking the will is put to task as arms are strengthened and hands become skilled.  In completing a woodworking project, students gain the experience that they can make things happen, that they have the power to be a creative and transformative force.

Regular woodworking classes begin with the forth grade, when the children have grown strong enough to work with a tough, dense material. Throughout all of the classes, students are taught the safe and proper use and care of tools. Social skills are also exercised when students assist each other, tending to the occasional cut finger, or cooperating in group projects.  More than anything, woodworking provides an opportunity for the students to learn to direct their incredible energy and creativity.