With the advent of puberty the children's capacity for logical thinking and independent judgment fully awakens. The authority of the class teacher gives way to the individual student's search for truth. Thus the eighth-grade history curriculum covers the period from the Renaissance through the Twentieth Century. Special attention is given to the emergence of the ideals of human freedom that led to the American, French, and Russian Revolutions, and the way those ideals manifested differently in each nation.
The eighth grade science curriculum seeks to give the children a picture of the human being as a microcosm of the kingdoms of nature. The teacher now talks about the human being in the terms of physical science and human physiology. The study of physics concentrates on hydraulics, aerodynamics, and meteorology. The teacher demonstrates how the discovery of mechanical principles contributed directly to the development of our modern technological society. The chemistry curriculum introduces organic chemistry, focusing on those processes by which organic substances are formed (e.g., photosynthesis) and transformed (as in digestion). The students discover how the classical substances of earth, air, fire, and water can be understood and observed in physical processes.
Algebra studies continue in the eighth grade. The children are introduced to the binary system, which made possible the development of computers. They learn the principles of solid geometry, and actually construct the five platonic solids.
At the end of eighth grade, the students have successfully achieved the poise and intellectual curiosity necessary to step out into the greater world that is offered by high school. Many move on to SFWS High School where the creative and developmentally appropriate grade school curriculum is met and transformed into an intellectually stimulating college preparatory education.