Here is an overview of the major math themes through the grades in our Waldorf math curriculum:
Grades 1-4: Developing a sense of number
These early grades within the Waldorf math curriculum are not about the mastery of written procedural skills (e.g., vertical arithmetic and calculations with fractions), even though these procedures were introduced in grades three to four. First through fourth grade is about developing number sense. Written procedural skills can be firmed up starting with fifth grade.
Grades 5-6: Consolidating skills
In fifth and sixth grade in the Waldorf math curriculum, we consolidate skills that were introduced in earlier grades and develop mastery with written procedural skills such as doing arithmetic problems in vertical form (i.e., carrying, borrowing, long multiplication, and long division) and doing arithmetic with fractions. Sixth grade is also about seeing the interconnectedness in math (e.g., the relationship between fractions, decimals, percents and division).
Grades 7-9: Developing abstract thinking
This is also the time to develop the student’s confidence in their own thinking. Seventh grade is the “eye of the needle” – it is often then that the student’s relationship to math is determined for high school and beyond.
Grades 10-12: Developing logical, analytical, synthetic thinking
If all of the groundwork has been properly laid, then this is when we truly see the fruits of all the earlier hard work that has been put into the child’s Waldorf education. Academics, “real math,” and independent thinking can all really “take off” at the end of high school as the student begins to find his own identity and destiny.