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Approaching Grade Eight: Inspiration and Guidance For Your Year

Sunday, July 16, 2023 - Friday, July 21, 2023

Professional development for Waldorf teachers and home school parents. Read Summer Series 2023 details here.

Taught remotely in real-time, this course offers you an invaluable opportunity to focus entirely on your upcoming eighth grade school year in five days brimming with presentations, discussions, and practical activities.

Under the guidance of an experienced class teacher, you’ll discover ways to enliven your teaching and learn how to approach the blocks so that they may meet the eighth grader in a meaningful and lively way. With the insights of anthroposophy, gleaned through a child development study focusing on your class’s age group, you will get to know the eighth grader in depth as they stand at the point of inner revolution.

Along with time and space to consider and hone your skills in such practical matters as main lesson books, block planning, projects and activities, and classroom management, your course will include such key topics for eighth graders—and their teachers—as:

  • Topics in language arts, including short story and literary analysis
  • Topics in math, including including 3D geometry and algebra
  • Topics in American history (Reconstruction to the Harlem Renaissance)
  • Topics in modern history and social justice
  • Topics in geography (Africa and the modern world)
  • Topics in science, including physics, chemistry, anatomy, and environmental studies
  • Plays, projects, community service, and trips
  • Block quizzes and assessments
  • Parent work and colleagueship

NEW This Year:

This summer, in addition to the topics listed above which all Approaching Grade Eight participants will be engaging in together, we are also offering elective classes designed to help you meet the needs of your particular set of students as some look ahead to stepping into their school’s high school, while others need appropriate preparation for moving on to a public or other non-Waldorf setting for their high school years. Elective topics (some of which will be repeated, so you’ll be able to get in all that you need) include:

  • Science lab
  • Physics lab
  • Chemistry lab
  • Math skills
  • Main lesson music
  • Main lesson book art
  • Chalkboard art
  • Geometry 3D art projects
  • Roundtable discussion for experienced teachers: Adapting Curriculum for Mainstream High School Transitions
  • Roundtable discussion for experienced teachers: Next steps in the Waldorf Eighth Grade Pedagogy
  • Roundtable discussion for experienced teachers: Adapting Curriculum for BIPOC and Gender Inclusion
  • Roundtable discussions for all teachers: Developing ELA Skills and Choosing Class Readers

In addition to all the inspiration and guidance which will support your teaching throughout the year, you’ll gain many invaluable opportunities for building connections among a community of parallel colleagues from across the country to carry with you into your teaching.

Grade-specific resource materials useful for your year, including poems, songs, stories, and main lesson book ideas, will be provided to you electronically.

NOTE: This course is taught with the expectation that you have a foundational background in Waldorf education.

Lead Instructor 

Rebecca Nelson is a middle school specialist at Waldorf School of New Orleans, where she has taught since 2014. Previously, she took a class from sixth-eighth grade at Green Meadow Waldorf School. A graduate of the College of William and Mary, Rebecca discovered Waldorf education while studying Mayan archaeology at Tulane University, from which she earned an MA in Anthropology. She also holds an MSEd in Waldorf elementary education from Sunbridge College.

Summer Series 2022 participants had this to say about their experience with Rebecca:

  • Rebecca’s passion for teaching is the most inspiring thing… and that’s saying a lot! because content was great
  • Rebecca was wonderful! So experienced, insightful and left time for comments and questions.
  • Rebecca’s recommendations were modern and deep. I really appreciated her book recommendations and how many resources she shared in the google drive. I will be using them throughout the year and they will help shape my year and make it easier.
  • Rebecca was open, honest, organized, professional. She was able to cover a wide range of topics and stayed on track and on time. I appreciated her willingness to discuss any question or topic. She balanced the time well, gave resources, gave ideas, but left space for us to figure things out on our own.
  • Rebecca offered wonderful insights and shared her experiences in an honest and authentic way 
  • The guided discussions that allowed the expertise from so many educators to be available was broader and more insightful than any one person could be. The instructor’s passion for her areas of expertise, and also for the task of teaching were inspiring. I’m super enthused to get to putting together my curriculum content and class for the year.

In addition to Rebecca, your instructors/facilitators are Kelly Beekman (art), Katey Dolezal (music), Rob Welcher (math and science), Amy Stemkowski (chemistry), Lesley Rubinstein and Meggan Gill (roundtable discussions), and Charlie Orphanides (pre-recorded movement & games).



This course takes place July 16-21 in a synchronous online classroom.


Sunday: 4:30 pm-5:00 pm: Log in for technical check-in and attendance. Your first session starts promptly at 5:00 with “The Gesture of the Eighth Grade.” There’ll be a half hour break from 6:00-6:30 and your next session runs from 6:30-8:15, followed by a Q&A from 8:30-9:00.

Monday-Thursday: Instruction takes place between 10:00 am and 4:30 pm (excluding breaks). We also encourage you to attend our elective music studio (5:15-6:15 Wednesday) and roundtable discussion with faculty (7:15-8:15 Thursday).

Friday: Instruction and wrap-up takes place from 10-3:00 (excluding breaks). We also encourage you to attend our elective art studio from 3:15-4:15.

Participants should be prepared to work on course-related assignments outside of their regularly scheduled instructional sessions (including some that may be assigned in advance).


$635 includes all resource materials, pre-recorded music and movement lessons, yearlong access to your Grade Eight Google Classroom and Kelly Beekman’s art portal, and a $60 non-refundable registration fee.

NOTE: Participants will be expected to procure some materials to use during their course. A materials list will be sent three weeks in advance of your course start date.

Available Discounts

  • Volume: $60 off each registration for schools sending 2 or more participants
  • Alumni/CAD: 25% off for Sunbridge teacher education program graduates OR for payments made in Canadian dollars
  • Current Students: 50% off for current Sunbridge teacher education students

Discounts may not be combined. Qualification for discounts will be verified by Sunbridge staff

Paid registrations must be received by Thursday, July 13th.

Please contact Barbara Vitale, admissions and summer coordinator, at [email protected] or 845-425-0055 x20

Sunbridge reserves the right to make faculty substitutions when necessary. See registration form for refund policy.


Sunbridge Institute Remotely
285 Hungry Hollow Road
Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977 United States
+ Google Map


Sunbridge Institute Remotely
285 Hungry Hollow Road
Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977 United States
+ Google Map