As the Freshmen plunge into the high school they are also plunging into puberty and the development of abstract thinking. There is tension in this, opposition, often struggle, sometimes revolt. The ninth grade curriculum is sensitive to these tremendous developmental changes. It allows the students to see their inner experiences reflected back to them in outer phenomena. In physics, for instance, students study the opposition of heat and cold; in chemistry, the expansion and contraction of gases; in history, world conflicts and revolutions; in geography, the continental collisions of plate tectonics.
Through the chaos and tensions of these struggles students are summoned to exercise powers of exact observation: in the sciences, to describe and draw precisely what happened in the lab experiments and demonstrations; in the humanities, to recount clearly a sequence of events or the nature of a character without getting lost in the confusion of details. The objective here is to train the powers of exact observation and reflection so that the students can experience in the storm of phenomena around them the steady ballast of their own thinking. Strong powers of perception form the basis for later years of study and growth.
Unlike other high school programs which often start at the beginning of western culture in Grade 9 and work up to modern times, the Waldorf curriculum begins in the modern world: 19th and 20th century history, contemporary short stories in literature, recent discoveries in life sciences, etc. The ninth grader hungers for experiences of the “here and now,” while the hunger for ancient beginnings has yet to emerge.
Story of Drama, Composition, Play Writing, Creative Writing and Multicultural Literature.
Conic Sections, Combinatorics and Probability, Linear Equations and Quadratic Equations.
History through Revolution, History through Art, Multicultural History and Health/Ethics.
Geology, Organic Chemistry, Thermodynamics, Anatomy and Computer Science.
Artistry: Print making, drama, perspective drawing, pottery, furniture-making, calligraphy and basketry.
Vocal and instrumental music continues.
Spanish and Russian.
Gymnastics and a variety of games; interscholastic sports as extracurricular activities after school hours.