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Approaching Grade Eight: Inspiration and Guidance for Your Year

Sunday, July 21, 2024 - Friday, July 26, 2024

Professional development for Waldorf teachers and home school parents. Read all about Summer Series 2024.

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 discussion of child development 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

These subjects will be supported by explorations in art and music, giving you practical tools to take into your school year.  In addition, you’ll gain many valuable opportunities for building connections among a community of parallel colleagues from across the country to carry with you throughout your teaching. And participation in an anthroposophical study, undertaken by all Grades participants, will help enable you to build bridges between colleagues and parents once you return to your school.

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 currently teaches eighth grade at the Waldorf School of New Orleans, where she has taught since 2010 and is a middle school specialist. From 2007-2010, she took a class from sixth-eighth grade at Green Meadow Waldorf School. A graduate of the College of William and Mary, where she majored in English and anthropology, 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. In spring 2024, Rebecca was selected as incoming director of Sunbridge’s Waldorf Elementary Teacher Education program. 

Participants of Summer Series 2023 Approaching Grade Eight had this to say about their experience:

  • Love Rebecca! Truly an incredible teacher and dedicated teacher of teachers!
  • Her professionalism, warmth, expertise and experience are a gift! Definitely one of the best instructors I’ve had in my years of grades intensives.
  • 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 did a beautiful job of weaving in the comments of this group, while also addressing questions and covering the topics with her own deep experience. I loved learning from her and appreciate her warm approach to the challenges of 8th grade students all over the continent and in so many different circumstances.
  • Highlights: The amount and quality of resources on Google Classroom, the knowledge, energy and generosity of the teachers, the chance to hear valuable insights from participants
  • Such a wealth of knowledge, enthusiasm and inspiration!
  • 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. I especially appreciated how the history was broken down by block as I was feeling overwhelmed about how to get through everything.
  • I found the instructors’ energy and passion for their subjects to be really valuable. It was evident they wanted to be there. There were lots of great resources shared through the Google Classroom. I will find it really helpful that it is available during the upcoming school year.
  • This is the first time I’ve attended a course that an instructor began with acknowledging the traditional people on the lands and including that as part of our introductions. There was continuous talk and acknowledgement of Indigenous people. I also appreciated the commitment to investigating how to meet the needs of students today, in North America, and asking ourselves about Eurocentric practices and the devastating effects of colonialism.
  • Rebecca’s passion for teaching is the most inspiring thing… and that’s saying a lot! because content was great.
  • Rebecca offered wonderful insights and shared her experiences in an honest and authentic way and I really appreciate her ideas, thoughts and wisdom. She is incredibly generous and forthcoming with her resources and ideas. I find it so very helpful to see the overviews and materials she provided as I plan my year!!

Your course also includes sessions in art with Kelly Beekman, music with Katey Dolezal, chemistry with Amy Stemkoski, math with Olga Domokos, and physics with Rosana Portillo.



This course takes place July 21-26 in a synchronous online classroom. ALL TIMES LISTED ARE EASTERN (NY) TIME ZONE.

4:45 pm-4:55 pm: Log-in for technical check-in and attendance
5:00 pm-8:15 pm: First session (including break)
8:15 pm-8:45 pm: (Optional) Q&A, especially for those new to Waldorf teaching

Monday – Thursday
9:45 am-9:55 am: Log-in for technical check-in and attendance
Sessions run from 10:00 am through 4:45 pm, with time for breaks and lunch
(Optional) Physics/math/chemistry labs run from 5:00 pm-6:00 pm on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday

9:45 am-9:55 am: Log-in for technical check-in and attendance
Sessions run from 10:00 am through 1:45 pm, with a mid-morning break

NOTE: Most sessions are required in order to receive a certificate of attendance. Others are optional. A complete schedule will be sent two weeks before your course start date, along with a list of materials you will need to procure for use during your course. 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).


$615 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 $55 non-refundable registration fee.

25% discount for:

  • Students currently enrolled in a Sunbridge teacher education program
  • Sunbridge program graduates
  • Payments made in Canadian dollars

Accounts must be in good standing and discounts may not be combined. Qualification for discounts will be verified by Sunbridge staff.  



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