Middle School at Cedarwood: The Age of Discovery


At Cedarwood, we facilitate discovery rather than filling our students' heads with book knowledge that is often detached from real meaning and not grounded in direct experience.

Every year, teachers in the Waldorf school bring new tasks and challenges to meet students at each new stage of development. The maturation process of their early school years enables their capacity to take up academic, social, and artistic work with greater skill, accuracy, and depth of soul.

This refinement of their thinking & doing enables them to engage in each new subject they meet more deeply.

In recognition of this progressive development, their teachers will expect more and greater things of them in the middle school years. This, of course, is generally true in any educational setting -- however, the guiding principles of our pedagogy are fundamentally unique.

In the area of scientific inquiry, for example, the Waldorf approach is phenomenological; it places the pure phenomena of nature at the center of the investigation. A stepwise progression leads from a schooling of the faculties of sensory observation in 6th grade, expanding and deepening to consider the conclusions that can be drawn and their wider ramifications in the 7th and 8th grades.

At Cedarwood, we facilitate discovery rather than filling our students' heads with book knowledge that is often detached from real meaning and not grounded in direct experience.

The breadth of subjects and topics that are covered in the Waldorf curriculum widens and deepens throughout the middle school years. As a result, Waldorf students develop a depth and scope of understanding and a love of learning that is brought to each new undertaking -- in the classroom and beyond.

As our students continue on to high schools all over the Portland area, we as teachers take great care in preparing them not just academically, but also help them develop the social and technical skills that will enable them to meet this next step in their journey with resilience and an openness to possibility.

The beauty of the Cedarwood experience is that it does this work remarkably well.

The vast majority of our graduates take on the transition to high school with confidence and grace, and go on to thrive in their high school years and beyond. Waldorf education is a schooling of the whole person, and, as such, a schooling for life.

Peter Hayes is Cedarwood Waldorf School's current 5th grade teacher. This is his second time journeying through grades 1-8 with a class at Cedarwood.