Grades Teacher Specialization

In the second year of study, students choose between either Early Childhood or Grades Teacher Specializations.

Program Information

Foundation Studies in Anthroposophy is a prerequisite for the course, and makes up a substantial portion of the program’s first year. In the second year, specialization in Waldorf Lower School Education is an option for those students who wish to focus on the child in the second seven years of life. Participants also explore practices for inner work that support the future teacher’s self-development, and that foster essential qualities that influence the healthy development of children. In order to receive an AWSNA approved Waldorf Grades Teacher Certificate, participants are required to complete a total of two years of Saturday courses and three summer intensive weeks, spread out over 2 or more summers.

Prior study and/or experience in Elementary Education is helpful but not required. To graduate, students will accumulate substantial hours in Waldorf Schools to observe and participate in classroom experiences. Extensive classroom experience through internships or assistant teaching is necessary to be fully prepared to be a lead teacher. This work is completed outside of the weekly, regularly scheduled Alkion classes.


Each Lower [Elementary] School Teacher Education program student is assigned a faculty mentor—a master educator who will visit the student in his/her work with children for two consecutive days each year to offer support and guidance in practical aspects of their work and in their development as an educator. These visits are accompanied by two hours of telephone conferences as a precursor and/or follow-up to the visit.

Program Content

Students will explore the following themes:

  • The image of the human being and Waldorf Education.
  • Child development and child observation.
  • The four temperaments and their interplay in human nature.
  • The child’s power of imagination.
  • The far-reaching impact of adult example.
  • The impact of environmental influences on the development of the senses.
  • Social implications of Waldorf Education.
  • The threefold social organism and its significance in Waldorf Schools.
  • The health giving significance of rhythm in each lesson and in teaching as such.
  • Daily, weekly, and seasonal rhythms.
  • Room layout.
  • Creative play and circle games.
  • Festivals and birthdays.
  • Authority, discipline, classroom management, and mediating conflicts between children.
  • Sex, drugs, and the media.
  • Parent evening (parent and teacher communication and relationships).
  • Social and organizational skills (hygienic work habits).
  • Practicum in the classroom with mentoring teacher.
  • Curriculum studies and their presentation.
  • Insuring solid grounding in the English language and math skills.
  • Watercolor painting; drawing with chalk, crayons, and colored pencils; beeswax and clay modeling.
  • Music for the young child: mood of the fifth, pentatonic flutes, listening games, and singing.
  • Music for the middle school: diatonic recorders, part singing.
  • Medical and curative perspectives.
  • Nutrition and the importance of a healthy sleeping rhythm at home.
  • Report writing.
  • Path of inner development.

For more information about the Grades Teacher Specialization, refer to our Course Catalog 2019-20 (PDF).