Curriculum Overview

As a public charter school, Syringa Mountain School meets the Idaho Common Core Standards; however our rich and comprehensive curriculum goes well beyond the state standards. Our school is guided by the Core Principles of Public Waldorf Education. We provide an integrated, rigorous, arts-infused and relevant curriculum with these unique features:

 

 

  • Age-Appropriate Schooling: Syringa Mountain School’s developmental guidelines for when content is presented are in alignment with prevailing theories of cognitive development, capitalizing on age appropriate developmental windows.
  • Teacher Looping: A core principle of the school’s program is that a cohort of students moves through multiple grades together with the same class teacher in a process called looping. The resulting connection between student and teacher acts as a guarantor for student wellbeing, while placing an emphasis on relationships as a means for learning.
  • Consistent Daily Rhythm: The school day rhythm balances concentration and relaxation, mental and practical work, movement and stillness, listening and participation, observing and doing. The school’s master schedule engages students in most of their intellectual work in the early hours of the school day.
  • Main Lesson Block: Main lesson blocks include all traditional subjects and are typically taught in 6-week sessions, enhancing material retention, fostering interest, and providing depth of content coverage.
  • The Arts: Artistic activities such as painting, drawing, drama, singing, and instrumental music are combined with core academics to enrich and enliven learning.
  • Story and Ethics: Storytelling or the pedagogical story is used to awaken imagination, build vocabulary and oral language, retain attention and teach subjects such as math, history, geography, social studies, writing and reading.
  • Preservation of Childhood: Premature intellectual demands are avoided and skills are introduced at appropriate ages, thereby fostering a cooperative non-competitive environment.
  • Imagination and Creativity: As advocates for childhood, Syringa Mountain School works to establish a culture free from consumer-oriented messages, commercial images, and early introduction to technology.
  • Physical Activity or Eurythmy: Movement activities, dance and other forms of creative physical expression are infused into the everyday curriculum as well as meaningful work through the garden and farm lessons. Children are taught real-life tasks such as housekeeping, cooking, fiber arts and gardening.
  • Parental Involvement: Parent participation and education integrates the children’s school life into their family life and into their community. Parents organize and attend lectures, book talks, support groups, school festivals and class meetings, all of which focus on child development as well as specific aspects of the educational program.
  • High-Quality Materials & Aesthetics: Specially designed main lesson books are used to allow students to create their own thematic subject books for each unit block. In the kindergartens and lower grades, age-appropriate play materials are selected or hand-made, and include wood, silk, wool, and other natural materials. Classrooms foster beauty and simplicity with all natural furniture and materials.
  • Sustainability: Emphasis is put on nature and environmental stewardship. Children spend much time outside exploring the world around them gaining a deeper understanding of science and nature studies.
  • Practical Arts or Handwork: Children are taught real-life tasks such as housekeeping, cooking, fiber arts, woodworking, gardening, and animal husbandry in order to enhance intellectual development, concentration, coordination, perseverance, and imagination.
  • World Languages: Students begin Spanish in first grade.
  • Festivals: Seasonal studies and festivals are taught and celebrated throughout the year in order to build community and a sense of rhythm and continuity.