With sixth grade the content and quantity of subjects expand significantly to meet the needs of the pre-adolescent. In addition to deepening the work with previously encountered material, many new subjects are introduced, all with the goal of helping the student maintain a healthy interest in the world. The curriculum encourages pre-adolescents to direct their gaze enthusiastically and sympathetically out into the world and thereby come to a deeper understanding of self.
Dramatic inner changes are set in motion during this period. Biographies of men and women who struggled with the challenges of their times provide the perspective from which history is viewed. Over the course of sixth, seventh and eighth grades, the history of European and American civilization is surveyed from ancient to modern times. In seventh grade, students are able to see a reflection of their struggle for individual identity in Renaissance studies, from Italian artists capturing new visions to scientists and religious reformers grappling with the constrictions of long held beliefs, to bold explorers venturing into the unknown.
A new capacity for exact observation is cultivated through the physics lessons, in which students move from the mystery of phenomena to its exact measurement. Inorganic chemistry is a highlight of seventh grade as is the chemistry of foods in eighth.
The physical changes of this age lead naturally to a study of human physiology, which is taught from the hygienic perspective of responsibility for the integrity and health of our bodies. Earth science supports the ever-expanding geographic studies of Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and the planet as a whole.
Business arithmetic, algebra and geometry become formal disciplines and are studied over the course of all middle school grades. The language arts curriculum expands into the interweaving branches of literature, grammar and composition and along with mathematics, occupies both main lesson and ongoing skills classes.
Thank you to The Austin Waldorf School for their Middle School description.