Integration of Art and Academics

Art permeates the curriculum at San Francisco Waldorf High school, helping students become confident, creative thinkers with exceptional powers of observation.

When courses provide opportunity for artistic expression, students are challenged to look at the world from a new perspective. Even students who come into the high school with little artistic experience find that when the arts and academics are integrated, learning lasts a lifetime.

In eleventh grade, for example, students read the great medieval epic Parzival and interpret the story through drawing, composition, sculpture, or film. Students analyze and appreciate the masterwork and understand its deeper meaning in their own way.

In Projective Geometry students work with infinity, stretching their mind to understand Pascal’s line and draw it beautifully, accurately, and intelligently—the abstract becomes tangible. Through their academic studies, students are asked to present an idea or concept artistically, a process that gives them new insights and deeper understanding of subjects.

Students also take four years of art and music classes and value the balance that these classes bring to their rigorous academic schedule. Through art classes, students explore new disciplines, develop a strong aesthetic sense, and learn to work with their hands. They may build a forge for metalworking, sculpt the human hand in clay, and learn the art of stained glass. Classes are taught by professional musicians, artists, and craftspeople and include such offering as digital photography, filmmaking, cooper arts, and weaving.

I'm not the most talented artist, so I wouldn't have expected this would be the best way for me to learn. But having the opportunity to express myself creatively has truly helped me understand the material.

Isabel K. SFWHS '11
Tufts University '15

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