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What is Steiner Education?

The Steiner Approach to Curriculum

The Steiner curriculum integrates English, Mathematics, Humanities and Social Sciences, The Arts and Sciences, and strives to give students a picture of the whole world. It seeks to develop all the necessary ‘academic’ and intellectual abilities (e.g. in reading, writing and arithmetic) that are required for adult life.

Steiner Education is a pedagogical and philosophical approach that incorporates a healthy balance of artistic and practical activities alongside academic activities. Resourcing involves surrounding students with natural materials and authentic learning experiences. Children develop an appreciation of the aesthetic beauty of nature and being responsible custodians.  Awareness of beauty awakens the child’s feeling life connections through artistic creation, painting and calligraphy, as well as develop musical and craft skills. So-called 'non-art' subjects such as mathematics and communication, woodwork and knitting, sports and languages other than English are taught imaginatively and artistically.

Subjects are studied in relation to each other, so that the children perceive their unity, and do not have them split into separate compartments. Music, creative arts, handiwork and languages are integrated into the lessons.

 

Every lesson involves the head, the heart and the hand, so the children can be involved in a balanced and creative learning through their own unique pathways, building on strengths and overcoming struggle so each child can flourish.

The aim is to educate not just the intellect, but the whole child.

 

Grounding children in their cultural heritage is considered essential to the full development of each individual's potential as well as an awareness of the contributions to humanity of other cultures.

"The primary aim of education is to enable students to learn how to invent themselves,
to learn how to create their own minds"
- Eisner

 

Curriculum Scope and Sequence

The focus is on the child as the source of inspiration for the curriculum and responsive to their interests, passions, priorities and concerns. Understanding what content to bring and when, are the key elements in meeting the child’s needs at any particular moment to offer meaningful, relational, multifaceted and rich experiences.

 

The curriculum content is well crafted in academic scope and includes indications as to its timely introduction in order to meet the spiritual, intellectual, social and physical needs of the child to build self-awareness, critical thinking skills and imagination, so they can be the thinker of new thoughts and creative makers of new knowledge. The curriculum is designed by the teacher to act as a bridge between the child and the wisdom of the world.

Organisation of Lessons

Lessons are timetabled to meet the levels of awareness of the child as their faculties of thinking, feeling and willing become more or less active as the day progresses. For example, the morning time is a period where the forces of thinking are the most awake, hence the placement of the ‘Main Lesson’ structure where new material is introduced. This does not preclude activities that constitute holistic learning such as The Arts.

 

In the afternoon the forces of thinking have diminished but the forces of the ‘will’ are more active, necessitating physicalised activity, giving rise to more practically based lessons, such as The Arts, Technology and Craft.

 

'Main Lesson' Teaching 

 

One distinctive feature of Steiner schools is their use of 'Main Lesson' blocks for core teaching.

These blocks run for 3-4 weeks, based on a learning area that matches the average stage of development and learning needs of the class, and constitutes the major lesson each day. 

 

Steiner teachers see the Main Lesson's great strength as providing continuity of thematic teaching over an extended period, and deep exploration of particular subject areas in an integrated way.

 

In any year there is a balance amongst the major core areas of English, Mathematics, The Arts, Sciences and Humanities and Social Science, and is sequentially based from year to year.

 

A area of interest, concept or theme is studied for 3 – 4 weeks to allow for a deep and enriching learning experience to take place. The Main Lesson endeavours to unite all the powers of the soul by engaging the child’s thinking, feeling and willing.

 

We encourage the children to present their work artistically and with care. Through the experience of intellectual and practical work, they can live major historical periods and stages in human development and engage in the natural environment.

 

Organisation of Staffing

A Steiner teacher has a particular commitment to providing learning opportunities which generate a genuine enthusiasm for learning within each student.

 

A Steiner teacher is committed to 'bring out the best' that each student is capable of achieving in each activity and subject taught. The classroom environment is therefore not one of competition between students but rather one of support and nurturing for every student and for the class as a whole. Over time each student should come to appreciate and respect the capacities and qualities of each of his or her classmates.

 

The class teacher’s purpose is to enliven all that is brought to the child with imagination and creativity. As the primary school child lives in a world of pictures, the teacher uses this medium through story-telling and description. A balance is created between intellectual work and creativity.

South East Brisbane Steiner School Primary Specialists

 

The Primary teaching staff includes specialist teachers for Handiwork of Craft and Woodwork, Music, Languages, Horticulture, Health and Physical Sporting Skills, as well as child-centred Differentiated Learning Support.

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