Our classes are divided into age groups, each group having children with birthdays within a couple of years of each other. While each class will engage in similar activities, our curriculum is structured so that each age group will be provided developmentally appropriate materials at the right time and presented in a lively way. Some of the common activities for all the grades are:
- painting with watercolor
- drawing with crayon and pencil
- learning to play recorder or other instrument in the older grades
- listening to stories and poetry and reciting it
- creating longer-term sewing, knitting and other handwork projects
- sculpture made with clay and other materials
- regular movement activities including old-fashioned playground games and large-group dances
- the older children practice geometric drawing
- a performance of a play for the community inspired by their year’s curriculum
AGES 5 AND 6 (THE WILLOWS CLASS)
In this age group we use the “Three R’s” (Reverence, Rhythm and Repetition) to give the children a sense of security and confidence to and participate in the activities around them.
The day includes plenty of time for imaginative play with simple, open-ended toys made from natural materials. The teacher provides examples of real work for imitation, such as preparing food for snacks or doing handwork such as finger-knitting and sewing.
The children will sing songs and engage in finger play and movement games. Fairy tales will be told, then retold using puppets, and finally the children retell the story as a group by imaginatively acting it out. The children also do watercolor painting and work with beeswax modeling clay and crayons. The class usually finishes the day playing outdoors.
AGES 7 AND 8
Children in this age group see the world as good vs. bad. Children are able to explore their feelings and understanding of these ideas through Fairy Tales and Nature Stories.
In class, the teacher tells a story. The children are encouraged to listen deeply, and later to integrate their thoughts with imaginative images. They then create artwork (watercolor painting, crayon drawing or beeswax modeling) based upon their understanding of the story.
AGES 9 AND 10
Children at these ages are beginning to leave the dreamy world of earlier childhood. They are learning many new skills as they engage more fully and actively in their thinking, feeling and willing.
The class works with the stories of the Hebrew people and Norse mythology. These uncompromising stories lead the children to a new understanding of their place in the world, its laws and anomalies. These tales give them guidance and hope for the challenges in their lives.
A focus at this age is productive work. The children might learn about the lives and concerns of people such as farmers, blacksmiths, and tailors; teachers may incorporate activities such as cooking and baking, sewing, gardening, and building into the class work.
AGES 11 and 12
At this age, the children’s image of the world begins to find a new balance, as reasoning begins to emerge as a complement to feeling. The class studies the culture and myths of classical Greece and other ancient Asian and Middle Eastern civilizations, as their wisdom mirrors the exponential growth in the children’s overall ability and perceptive power.
Beginning to find their own authoritative voice, the children write original story summaries in their lesson books, illustrating these in colored pencil with ever-greater confidence and skill.
AGES 13 AND 14
The “senior” class takes up studies of the Roman Empire, Middle Ages and Renaissance. Hearing biographies of such personalities as Julius Caesar, Leonardo da Vinci, and Shakespeare, the children experience the radical transformation of culture and consciousness represented by the events in these remarkable people’s lives. No less revolutionary are the changes happening in their own lives as they look toward adulthood.
The images and moods of these historical periods are explored artistically as the children are now proficient with various media and techniques. In class, they might create a model of a Roman arch bridge, draw versions of their own illustrated Book of Days, or design a Renaissance robe.
The capstone of the oldest class’ year is their senior play, which is anticipated by the community all year. Revealing their new maturity, the children’s own truest personalities begin to be recognized and appreciated as they leave Lilac Children’s Garden to go on to new beginnings.