Waldorf education has reverence for nature at its core. Our campus is located in a city of exceptional biodiversity and natural wonders, allowing for a curriculum integrated with field trips and outdoor education.
Because Waldorf education works carefully with the developmental stages of the children, the approach to nature and outdoor education shifts and matures throughout the grades. During the early childhood years, the children regularly spend time outside. In the Nursery Program, the children start out the school year with a Forest Block, spending most of their time in the woods. In Kindergarten, the children walk to the Presidio weekly for full days outside, rain or shine. The emphasis is on the physical experience of walking, playing, running, and building in the elements. They begin gardening in the second year of Kindergarten.
In the early grades, the children continue to experience nature through active participation in our local surroundings as well as through longer field trips. Nature education is primarily through simple nature stories that help the children gain awareness of their surroundings. As the children grow, the teaching becomes more precise, for example, in 3rd grade we teach a full block on farming, culminating in a week-long trip to Covelo, a biodynamic farm.
In the middle grades, the subjects of botany and zoology are complemented by extended field trips to many of the surrounding areas, including Pt. Reyes, Pinnacles, Big Sur, and the Sierra. In the upper grades, the science blocks of geology, astronomy and physics are enhanced through field trips to a variety of California locations. The study of the Age of Exploration in seventh grade is an opportunity for challenging backpacking, sailing or kayaking trips. The outdoor curriculum also begins to address some of the social questions of preadolescence through group activities like ropes courses as well as solo experiences.
Elements of our nature-rich curriculum are also supported by the Outdoor Classroom Initiative.