Class 8 children are at last able to view themselves and the world objectively. They have formed a link between their formative years and that of the development of civilization.
Class 8 Themes
Class 8 is the culmination of the past seven years of elementary education. The ascending spiral, which is the Waldorf elementary education, has reached its height. All the studies that have come before are recapitulated and deepened in this eighth year.
Now the students are at an end of their elementary journey with their class teacher. They are both inwardly and academically reaching a new age. Therefore, it is appropriate for Class 8 children that at this time their studies focus on the Age of Revolution. The American Revolution, the French and Russian Revolutions, and the Industrial Revolution all play a prominent role in the studies of a Class 8 student. Like in Class 7 the year before, students learn how historical figures colonized and conquered; how frail, powerful, and complex humans are; and how individuals shaped the history of their growing nations. Class 8 students are also able to compare and contrast past events with modern political events. Class 8 students continue to expand their consciousness of the world through their study of world geography, while also taking a closer look at the culture and geography of Africa and Asia.
Class 8 students continue their formal studies in Science, which include Organic Chemistry and Physics. As in Class 7, students describe and record the phenomena they observe. Like the inventors of the Industrial Revolution, which they also learn about, Class 8 students discover for themselves the chemical and electrical laws, which were at the heart of the dawning of a new industrial age.
Students in Class 8 also learn about phenomena that shape the geography of the world we live in. Meteorology impacts not only the form of the world we live in, but also affects where and how we as humans are able to thrive.
Class 8 students continue to study the human form through their study of Anatomy, this time looking at the bones, muscles, and skin of their own bodies. Class 8 studentents are transforming physically as well as emotionally, and now is the time for them to look at themselves more deeply and with greater appreciation.
In Mathematics, Algebra takes another step forward as quadratic equations are learned, while Solid Geometry reintroduces Class 8 students to the harmonious beauty of the Platonic solids. Students model these forms in clay, construct them out of paper, and try to visualize them in three dimensions. As in Class 7, the students continue to develop, practice, and review their Math skills in thrice-weekly classes throughout the year.
In Language Arts, students continue to broaden their repertoire of genres. They read modern literature and study the concepts, plots, characters, symbolism, etc. of the many great works by authors such as Chaucer and Shakespeare. They compose short stories and poems, and read novels and epics.
Students in Class 8 learn to free-sketch, working with various media, including chalk, pastel, watercolor, and ink.
In painting lessons, one should do nature moods—sunrise and sundown should be distinguished from one another. All these things should be distinguished from one another. The children should know the difference between elements that are explicitly attributed to painting versus sculptural elements in painting.
Students increase the depth and range of color in their paintings by using the "veil painting" method. Students also work in the polarities of dark and light by exploring black and white drawings.
In Class 8, speaking, reading, and writing continue to be practiced, but a real-life application of learning a foreign language is now applied. Students look at where in the world French is spoken and how and why languages enrich our life. French culture is studied in numerous creative ways, with the hope that the students will travel and use their French in the future.
Class 8 students begin using electric sewing machines. Machine safety, threading, tension, identifying parts, changing the needle, and winding the bobbin are all part of the discussion and practice in handwork. All students have hands-on experience with pattern layout, straight of grain binding, simple sewing pattern alteration, and proper pinning and cutting of clothing. In keeping with the theme of the Industrial Revolution studied in the fall, the students work assembly-line fashion pinning: measuring and sewing the different stages in the sewing project.
Class 8 students play many sports and practice the skills and drills associated with them. Physical fitness is emphasized.