Waldorf education encourages a strong scientific process that is based in strong observational abilities and is supported with a sense of responsibility to the world that we are studying. Throughout the grades, each aspect of natural science is related to the human being as a participant and as a steward. The sense for the inter‐relatedness of all life shapes the children’s attitude toward nature out of a deep ecology.
In the early years, nature study awakens children to an experience of the world about them often speaking to the children’s emotional life in a healing way. We try not to plunge children too directly into “realistic” natural science as they are not ready to adopt an impersonal scientific attitude, thus the science curriculum in grades one through three is comprised of simple stories and gentle forays into nature. In the early grades, many of the stories reflect the overall main lesson theme for the year, from fairytales in first grade to farming in third.
In fourth grade the children begin a study of comparative zoology. They look at the physical forms: the human being stands upright, walking the earth on two legs, fish and birds are likewise supported by fins and wings. Fifth graders study botany. Plants are observed over time and in relation to their natural environment through excursions into nature and imaginative descriptions.
In sixth, seventh, and eighth grades the science curriculum is synchronized with the developing capacities of the children. Direct experiences of phenomena, objectively described, allow the students to arrive at conclusions and judgments by themselves, and in this way the sciences specifically help develop their thinking. Demonstrations are written up in a scientific format which emphasizes precision and clarity in both illustrations and text.
Science topics are woven throughout the middle school years, with material deepened and refined each year as new material is introduced. The breadth of the sciences is comprehensively covered during these three years, with main lesson blocks on physics, acoustics, optics, heat, magnetism, electricity, mechanics, astronomy, geology, chemistry, and anatomy and physiology.