The Bay School

Blue Hill, ME

Specialty Class Program

From first through eighth grade, Bay School students benefit from a well thought-out and developmentally sequenced program in the areas of the arts, music, movement, and foreign language. Students have two periods of instruction in each specialty subject per week. Each Specialty subject has its own Grade 1-8 scope and sequence, with both content and method of instruction changing over time to meet the children as they go through the grades.

Specialty Classes

ArtAll Bay School students spend at least part of the day drawing -- not under the supervision of an art teacher but with their class teacher, within the context of the core academic classes. Illustrating their understanding of lessons in history, science, geography, and other main lesson subjects is integral to the main lesson experience. Creative expression in any form (drawing, painting, clay, drama, creative writing) invests the learner in the subject and allows a connection to form between the student and the material that he/she might not otherwise experience. Thus, at every opportunity we seek to have the children develop their ability for creative expression and nurture the artist within. While not all Bay School students think of themselves as artists, every graduate has a well-developed aesthetic sense, ease with artistic expression, and an appreciation for beauty and form.

Foreign LanguageForeign language study is an integral part of the Bay School curriculum from grades 1-8. The objectives of the Waldorf foreign language program are to open the children’s minds and hearts to other cultures, to reveal to them the accessibility of other languages, to develop in them auditory and linguistic flexibility, and to cultivate in them a sense of how language is structured. Students receive consistent twice-weekly instruction in Spanish. The youngest children learn entirely by ear, through songs, poems, word games, small stories. In later grades, reading, writing, is gently introduced, followed by grammar. Foreign language instruction in Grades Seven and Eight is specifically designed to reinforce students’ understanding of their own native English grammar by comparing different approaches to language formation.

LibraryThe Library occupies a stand-alone building renovated to encourage browsing and quiet reading, and currently home to more than 6,000 volumes.  Throughout the year the Library hosts author visits, book clubs, and participates in community workshops with local schools as well as collaborates with the faculty on curriculum.  Each class meets weekly with the librarian and hears stories, browses the collection, chooses books to take home, and learns library skills. Upper grades use the nonfiction collection to research and enhance the curriculum of the classroom. The librarian is an active member of the specialty teacher faculty and works with parent volunteers to make the Library a vibrant place for learning and simply enjoying a good book.

Mathematics (Grades 4 through 8)In the middle and upper grades we seek to instill a genuine love of math through a practical approach. Beginning in third grade, children meet 4 days a week in a single grade setting for forty minutes. The curriculum components allow children to experience numbers through their relationships to their bodies, to nature, to geometry and numerical sequences.   We work to instill within the child an enthusiasm for learning math, an imagination for using numbers, and a desire to think with clarity and resilience.

MusicThe Bay School sings. Singing is part of Morning Circle in every class, and the entire school gathers each Friday morning to sing together at the start of the school day. It is a large component of our twice per week music classes as well as all our seasonal festivals. By the time Bay School students graduate, they have a broad repertoire of songs and are comfortable with a cappella singing. Another important component of the music program is recorder playing. Beginning in First Grade, when students take up pentatonic flute, which leads to recorder playing in the upper grades, these instruments are part of morning circle activities in all the grades. The Spring Recital celebrates the musicianship of the students who take lessons outside of school on a wide variety of instruments from a range of talented and experienced local teachers.

TheaterThe Bay School Theatrical Arts program is an extension of the Main Lesson work.  It is a scheduled three to four week block that includes play rehearsal, theatrical warm-ups and exercises, and set building and painting. The play is chosen to reflect and complement the Main lesson curriculum.  Thus Grade 2 may put on a play that tells the story of the life of one of the saints, while Grades 7 and 8 will take on a Shakespearean play as they study the Renaissance during Main Lesson.  Each play typically includes music and dancing. In the lower grades, the play is performed in the classroom for the parents and siblings. In the upper grades, the students have three performances in Emlen Hall, two evening performances for the public as well as a morning performance for the student body. Multiple performances allow students to experience how the play evolves and changes through performances with different audiences.

Living Arts Classes He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”  St. Francis of Assisi

Beginning in Grade 5, the Living Arts curriculum involves sectional teaching in gardening and nature studies, handworks and the practical arts of ironwork, pottery and woodworking. Working artists are on faculty to teach these specific disciplines. In the younger grades, handworks is taught as its own class throughout the school year by teachers trained in the Waldorf handwork method.

AgriculturalArtsThe primary goal of the Agricultural Arts program is to teach sustainable interdependence with the natural world through the areas of horticulture, natural history and collaboration with the practical arts.  The children work on a wide variety of projects during their twice-weekly class periods, which vary with the grade and the season.  Past and ongoing projects include greenhouse work, fence building, gardening, harvesting, food preparation and preservation, tree and shrub planting and nature journaling. It is our aim that every child graduates with this natural will-based work as a part of their life experience, and that each be given a chance to feel respect and understanding for the earth.  In this specialty class Nature is given a voice as one of the children’s teachers.

HandworksIn Handworks, students make beautiful things of practical, everyday use: a knitted case for their new recorder, a woolen hat or mittens for warmth in winter, a stuffed animal or puppet to keep or give. Over the course of eight years, the children all learn to knit, crochet, sew, and embroider. In the upper grades, children are introduced to basketry and machine sewing. Children gain a sense of accomplishment from discovering their ability to create objects of use and beauty carries over into all aspects of their home and school life. Developing manual dexterity supports the unfolding of cognitive ability, and handworks projects are timed to support that development.

Practical Arts The Practical Arts program follows the block-teaching model with experienced artists working with small groups of students on projects in ironwork, clay and wood. The school maintains a fully equipped forge as well as a complete woodworking and pottery studio for handwork projects.

Movement Education

EurythmySometimes characterized as “visible song” or “visible speech,” eurythmy is an art of movement in which music and speech are expressed through gesture and by moving in a circle in geometric forms, spirals, and figure 8’s. Developed by Rudolf Steiner, the practice of eurythmy helps strengthen and harmonize the body and develop social awareness through group movement. Eurythmy is taught on a block basis for Grades 1 and 2.

Games and Movement Class You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Plato

It is the games and movement program’s mission for the children to move with ease, beauty and lightness of being, to experience to world and the space around them, to win with humility and lose with grace, to have strength and balance not simply based on size and muscle but on relationship and attention. In all that they do, students learn to carry themselves upright in posture possessing and revealing a balanced connectedness, poised and able to give and receive with equal abundance. To move and play in the natural environment is healthy and an important part of the Bay School’s heritage.

Games are designed and chosen for the children to challenge themselves and others in a multitude of forms and contexts. These games give an outer expression for the children’s inner changes and are chosen and timed to nourish their growth and development. The overall curricula can include, for the younger grades, cooperative games, circle games, handclapping and string games, sledding, group movement exercises, jump rope, folk dances and tag games; and for the older grades, Frisbee, volleyball, lacrosse, the Olympiad (an ancient Greek-style pentathlon), kickball, four-square and beginning circus arts.

Exercises have physical, energizing, and aesthetic effects on the children. They provide movement habits and capacities for the children to shape and express themselves with strength, beauty, and vitality.  In all activities, principles of good citizenship and sportsmanship are practiced and emphasized.

Bay School
P.O. Box 950 • 17 Bay School Drive
Blue Hill, Maine 04614
207.374.2187 •