Waldorf School Project in Year Four

By Miss Charity Muli

One unique rite of passage in a student’s experience is working on a project at the end of at least one block. This usually starts in grade 4 depending on the culture of the school. The students can work on this kind of assignment during any of the breaks, especially during the summer or spring break. Independent projects are very special, in that each student has the chance to study more or deepen their knowledge on any topic. They have a chance to experience something of his/her own choosing. This stretches the students to plan ahead, follow individual due dates, and sharpen their executive functioning—all skills that are only just beginning to bloom in the middle grades. In fact, many aspects of the project are challenging and call upon the students’ developing faculties. The result of this work is growth and achievement in many areas.

Throughout the project, the requirement provides a beautiful opportunity for students to begin reaching out to other adults in the world. This could be other students or family members or even other special people such as artists. One of my students approached his extra curriculum Teacher to help out in painting a red panda which was his choice of animal in zoology studies.

While much of the research work takes place during school hours and during school breaks, the culmination of the student’s accomplishments are shared with the wider community during a celebratory event, at which each student displays his or her work and does a short formal presentation for a large audience. Therefore, students learn about presentation skills and how to create a display to showcase the highlights of their project experience. Students are asked to present the project as a learning experience for the audience.

While these projects are sometimes challenging to most students in many ways, the experience allows students to draw upon and further develop many skills and talents, such as aesthetic sense, creativity, organizational skills, interpersonal skills, and public speaking, to name only a few. They are proud of their accomplishments, as are we—the adults and members of the school community surrounding them. These projects are proof of the creativity, skills, enthusiasm, and care that our students bring to their work. Through the process of completing their tasks, the students learned much about themselves, gained confidence, and are now ready to move on to new challenges that await them in the next grade.

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