Mathematics

platonic solidesThe subject of mathematics occupies an important place in the Waldorf curriculum. Mathematics arises from the universality of the human being containing both practical as well as eternal significance. The child entering first grade begins with a sense of awe for the connection to all human experience that comes through mathematics, and this wholeness is emphasized throughout the grades as cosmic and earthly rhythms are considered for their mathematical significance.

In first grade, the children learn to write the both Roman Numerals and Hindu‐Arabic numerals. The four processes are also introduced, with continued practice in second and third grade. Second graders learn the concept of place value: units, tens, and hundreds and about "borrowing.” In third grade, the children are able to deal with bigger numbers as they expand their use of place value. Third graders are interested in really big numbers, even beyond billions. Weights and measures, distance, time, and money are also subjects for the third grade.

In fourth grade, the child begins to see the divisions of the world beyond the previous feeling for unity in all things; in mathematics this leads to the study of fractions, beginning from the whole
to the parts. Decimals are introduced in fifth grade exploring different ancient mathematic systems. An attempt to multiply with Roman numerals always brings a quick appreciation of our current numeral system!  Fifth grade is usually the final year for regular form drawing, and its connection to geometry becomes very apparent as the foundation for geometric drawing in sixth grade.

In sixth grade, the child’s mind begins to function on a new intellectual level where it is possible to do things which are not immediately perceptible. Students are introduced to percentages, graphing, and business math. Algebra is introduced in seventh grade, when abstract formulations are becoming possible. Algebra continues intensively into eighth grade. In geometry, the students explore the construction of the five regular solids.

In the early grades there are a minimum of two math practice periods every week during non-math blocks. In grades six through eight, the practice periods become a math track class that meets throughout the year in addition to the math blocks. In all grades, daily practice in mental math during the morning main lesson helps to maintain fluency in mathematics throughout the year.