When you look into or join a Waldorf school you will hear a lot about Main Lesson. Main Lesson is the academic meat in the sandwich of the child’s day. After a hearty morning recess and the good morning class ritual, children begin the 2 hour learning period called Main Lesson, where subjects like reading, math, history and science are taught in the block method.
Teachers typically present topics in three or four week blocks to provide an in-depth learning experience of a single subject. This method also supports our multi-sensory learning approach because the time allotted allows teacher’s to engage the children with a wide variety of activities. This article at the Waldorf Library about Main Lesson says:
“Teaching in main lesson blocks has become one of the most successful and distinguishing features of Waldorf education, for it allows teachers to cover the curriculum intensively and economically, and it provides the students with the fullest possible immersion in a subject. The students’ experience of the subject is further deepened by allowing the subject to “go to sleep,” before being “reawakened” later in the year… The time between the main lesson blocks in a subject allows students’ concepts to develop gradually and to mature. Knowledge needs time to take root, blossom, and bear fruit.”
Another distinguishing feature of Main Lesson is the Main Lesson Book. Textbooks are not used in Waldorf Schools during K-8 grades. Students make their own books for each Main Lesson subject by copying the content of the teacher’s presentation and then illustrating the book with teacher guidance. The children benefit not only from the creativity allowed with this method, but also by the brain function required to carefully record the lecture material.