The 15-year-old adolescent is now entering a time of turmoil when values and role models are questioned and emotions fluctuate between extremes, with the learner feeling powerless to control them. Throughout the chaos, however, comes a strong sense of identity when the learner starts to question the various connections of their world and a strong quest for truth and deep understanding is undertaken.

The soul question of the Class 9 child is “what?” and the Waldorf curriculum is designed to answer this with all the subjects and themes that feed a striving for truth, self-knowledge and deep understanding.

Themes, emotions and rationalism explored in language

English lessons make use of biographies which help the learner connect with their own personal destiny. In a previous year, the Class 9s worked with Eskia Mphahlele’s “Down 2nd Avenue”. Literary aspects of romanticism, rationalism and sentimentalism in poetry are deeply explored, and opportunities for presentations and public speaking are given. Film studies allows the learner to experience mood within a film and exposes them to the different aspects that make up a movie.

History mirrored by geography

In geography, the movement of the tectonic plates are studied and focus is placed on how these strong forces shape and mould the world that we live in. Social unrest takes centre stage in history with the themes of facism and ethnic nationalism explained in the context of World War Two as well as within our own South African history.

The theory of probability

Mathematics continues with algebra and, by connecting it to geometry, allows the learner to work with angles and parallel lines. The main focus, however, is probability which works together with data handling and offers the learner good experience and practical skills in the forming of logical thinking.

Human anatomy and physiology are further explored during the science lessons with the focus now shifting to the systems of the human body such as respiratory and reproductive systems. Ninth-grade physics expands the learner’s knowledge into electricity and magnetism as well as an introduction to Newtonian Physics. Chemistry answers the question of “what?” by allowing each learner to observe various chemical reactions and explore the main reason behind the outcome.

The creativity within the child

Creative art gives the learner the freedom to explore their own inner creative being and use the techniques taught so far to create interesting pieces. Perspective drawing encourages the learner to create landscapes and still-life pictures, and a 3-D art collage tests their inner design skills. All this while also learning about the history of art.

Craft and handwork activities allow the learner to explore technology as they partake in various craft techniques which include sewing on a machine and a handmade clock. However, the real highlight is the woodwork where they may make a spoon and candle holder.

The task of the adults is to work with the adolescents in such a way that they become familiar with the world and the tasks it sets them. We need to help them develop a range of skills that will equip them with the ability to be creative and adaptable in any field beyond what they have learned. It remains our perogative to ensure that the adolescent learner not only discovers their own individuality but is able to develop a moral and ethical will, based on insight.

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