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"Eighth graders have arrived in modern times; they have become contemporaries with others of their age. As they come into the ninth grade there is a strong feeling of the present. They want to be citizens of the modem world, but as of yet they do not have much understanding of it. They are fascinated with power and strength. The curriculum is woven around these themes."
- Betty Staley in "Waldorf High School"

We tend to use the expression, “Children grow up.” However, in a very real sense the progress is in the opposite direction. The inner being of a child, in developing from infant to toddler to pre-schooler and beyond, in taking hold of and developing mastery of the inherited parental substance, descends ever deeper into physical substance – grows downward, as it were.

The Class 8 student, in undergoing this journey, has reached the innermost and most dense aspect of his or her physical being, namely the skeletal framework at the core. Hence, the biology main lesson block explores this realm and does so in two areas. On one level, the purely physiological aspect, being the names, function and structure of the bones as they appear in axial and appendicular parts of the skeleton, while on the other level, the skeleton as an expression of the three-fold human being – the realms of thinking, feeling and willing – is explored.

 Geography studies and chemistry build on a growing sense of connectedness to the world out there; geography looks at the various natural regions and how they influence our living circumstances and daily choices, while the chemistry main lesson is based upon how human metabolism and the food chain have a direct relationship with nature and the seasons, emphasizing this connectedness to the world, as is appropriate for this year. 

An emphasis in Class 8 is on the experience of the individual in a rapidly changing world. We endeavour to bring history to the present time with this emphasis on how human life has been changed by the industrial revolution and technology. The physics block focuses on this topic, while the history block is a study of the Anglo-Boer war. Increasing self-awareness and the desire for self-determination on the part of the emerging teen, along with a strong sense of right and wrong, underlie the choice of these topics for this age.

In addition, the Class 8 year commences with a poetry block, where the work of consummate wordsmiths is shared and students are encouraged to explore their own creative potential in developing various poetic forms.

 Class 8 is also an incredibly important year socially, and the class spends much time bonding as they begin their journey through high school together. One such occasion is the camp, where time is spent relaxing and getting to know each other, and their guardians.

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