High School | 9-12
Waldorf graduates share qualities like intellectual flexibility, motivation, initiative, critical thinking, a global consciousness and limitless curiosity, all supported by a solid foundation of academic excellence. In other words, Waldorf graduates are ready to contribute meaningfully to tomorrow's world.
The Santa Fe Waldorf High School guides students through an experiential curriculum organized around themes. It is an education that encourages real perception, honors the creative arts, and challenges students to consider their gifts in the context of the greater world.
Get a glimpse into our High School program below, or schedule a visit with Admissions Coordinator, Brent Poole.
The Waldorf High School Day - A Three Part Structure
The academic focal point of a Waldorf High School is the main lesson, a two-hour class that begins each day. Each main lesson block lasts three to four weeks and focuses on a major academic subject, including literature, mathematics, history, or the sciences. In the course of a main lesson block each student creates a personal portfolio, that includes essays, drawings, maps, poetry, and lab experiments. Main lesson books are crafted with an eye for beauty and excellence.
Skills lessons follow the main lesson. Skills requiring ongoing practice and development, such as mathematics, language arts, world languages or science.
THE ARTS, ENVIRONMENT & MOVEMENT
Artistic and movement lessons include practical and studio arts, and physical and outdoor education classes. These lessons are offered in single or double 45-minute periods, usually after lunch, and are led by experts in each respective field. Painting, choral and instrumental music, gardening, physical education, woodworking, ceramics, and forestry have all been a part of the SFWS high school experience—each one creating a holistic synergy with the Main Lesson.
In emphasizing the powers of observation and description, ninth-grade courses seek to answer questions that focus on what: “What is the world like?” As ninth graders begin to experience their own thinking and individuality, and as their former certainties are called into question by the chaotic buffeting of puberty, they need confidence in the physical grounding of their existence. Ninth grade studies include organic chemistry, geometry, and earth science. Students also study history through art, becoming aware of evolutions in architecture, depictions of nature, and portrayals of the human form over the centuries.
Tenth-grade courses emphasize the powers of comparison, discrimination, and judgment. By tenth grade, adolescents attain a more harmonious inner life, and are better suited to ask how: "How do the processes of the world bring contrasts into balance?" Tenth-graders study mechanics, with its laws of balanced forces and motions. They also study Euclidian proofs and the elements of poetry that have evolved in the English language. In history, tenth-graders turn their attention to ancient cultures and an appreciation for the evolution of consciousness that began in ancient times and culminated in the epitome of harmony and form represented by ancient Greece.
An important change occurs between tenth and eleventh grades as adolescents turn to their individual internal worlds. Eleventh grade courses emphasize the powers of analysis and the ability to discern meaning and purpose. The student now embarks on a lifelong quest for knowledge of self and others. The central question that underlies the offerings this year is why? This year introduces the stories of Parsival and Hamlet and examines the philosophy of Descartes. In the sciences, the physics of electromagnetic fields exemplify the possibility of knowing that which cannot be perceived directly. Students choose work internships to reflect their emerging interests as they begin to experience the adult working world.
Twelfth grade nurtures the powers of synthesis and a capacity for comprehending the evolution of the human being and the natural world. The twelfth grade confronts questions of who: “Who am I?” and “Who are you?” Twelfth-graders explore a range of ontological concerns through studies of American transcendentalism, Goethe's Faust, evolutionary theory, and modern economic history. Independent senior projects reflect the emerging individuality of each student and incorporate personal research and service, culminating in an artistic, oral and written presentation.