Practices are a huge part of the Waldorf curriculum. They usually are introduced in the 6th grade and continue up to the 12th grade which is the last.
Practical activity is one of the main principals of Waldorf education. It’s obvious that one can’t teach a person to grow wheat for bread only by reading it in a textbook. The same is with teaching to builda house using only chalkboard drawings, choosing a projjession basing on a test or survey etc.
The general goal of the internships is to give the children an opportunity to get an idea of what it’s like to work in different fields of our lives and to put on different social roles.
So what practices do we have for each of the grades?
In the 7th grade the students go through the gardening practice.
They plant and weed different kinds of plants and harvest them.
The 8th grade: the forestry work experience
A class works in a forestry. The kids do forest planting, clear trails clear trails from old trees, уход за саженцами деревьев, зарисовки растений.taking care of saplings and sketching. During the practice, the students observe the interaction between the world of plants and the word of animals.
The 9th grade: work experience at a farm
For completing this internship, the class is divided into small groups. Each of them is sent to a farm (regular or biodynamic) where the adolescents work in the vegetable garden, in a field, take care of the animals, such as cows, goats, sheep), get familiarized with the devices used in husbandry, harvest etc. Moreover, they learn how a farm lives.
In the 10th grade we have several kinds of work experience and practice.
The work experience at different workshops. The students fulfill some tasks there and observe the process of creating some product from the beginning to the end.
The geodesy practice usually takes place in the city. The goal is to draw a map of some rather small piece of land. The class is divided into several groups which is responsible for its own part. The parts may cross and, if the work was accurate enough, they coinside.
This kind of work requires a lot of accuracy. During the practice, the adolescents learn how to work with the geodesical devices.
Every year a class from a German partner Waldorf School comes to our school. Then our 10th grade goes to Freiburg, a town in the south of Germany. This practice is called linguacultural.
The 11th grade is the time for one of the most difficult practices, the social work experience.
This work experience involves help in different kinds of social services. It can be an interaction with the pupils of curative education institutions. It also can be done in hospitals, orphanages and homes for the elderly.
The last work experience takes place in the 12th grade.
If the work experience in the 10th grade involved observing the making of a product from the beginning to the end, this time it’s working in a large manufacturing company and being responsible only for one part of the process.
Based on the article «Practice in the Waldorf School»
magazine «Coast», 2008