About Sophia Mundi
Sophia Mundi is an independent, non-denominational and co-educational inner city Melbourne Steiner school that offers an enriching, holistic educational pathway from Early Childhood to Senior Secondary. We are located in the beautiful grounds of the Abbotsford Convent, next door to the Collingwood Children’s Farm. We are a not-for-profit organization, a member of Steiner Education Australia and an IB World School. We are the only Steiner school in Australia to combine the creative and academic richness of Steiner education (to grade 10) with the academic rigour of the International Baccalaureate (grades 11 & 12).
Sophia Mundi is above all else a community of students, staff and parents. We welcome newcomers as part of our community. Steiner education is not exclusive. On the contrary, our curriculum and methods are highly inclusive and open to students with very different needs and cultural backgrounds. The school is supported by parents and friends who believe in sharing in the education of their children. The nourishing food and supportive home environments that parents provide are fundamental building blocks in the educational picture we are striving for. Steiner education is indeed a wonderful opportunity for parents to become involved more deeply in their child’s education.
Why Steiner Education?
In today’s world parents are faced with an ever increasing number of choices and concerns about the education of their child. It is a part of living in the 21st century. More than ever before we have easy access to different information, research findings and points of view on education. How do we make the right choice for our child amid this web of information? And how do we know that a school’s stated educational goals will be consistently upheld as fundamentals in our child’s education?
At Sophia Mundi we place consistency and integrity of educational values at the core of our practice. We have strongly defined educational ideals and they remain fundamental to our educational practice from pre-school to grade 12. Founded by Dr. Rudolf Steiner in 1918, Steiner (or Waldorf) education was from its beginning a conscious decision to create an education for the whole human being. In a Steiner school we place central importance on the student growing in their own way, understanding in their own way and feeling loved for who they are. Over the years this consistent sense of love and self-respect lays the foundation for a willing and creative sense of work. We believe the resistance to work is overcome when a young person feels a loving creative relationship with their work and with the world.
“The aim is to educate our children to be positive towards others, resolute in oneself, thoughtful in observation and self expression and to pursue all this with enthusiasm.” (Francis Edmunds, Essentials of Steiner Education)
At Sophia Mundi we are committed to the principle that nurturing a child’s creativity is the best basis for their intellectual learning and ethical decision making in later life. Most progressive educational philosophies now agree with this principle, though none have been as developed or as internationally successful as Steiner education. The curriculum we use is deeply connected with the age and development of each class of students. The different subject areas are integrated for each class. Language lessons, Mathematics, Science, Visual Arts, Theatre, Woodwork, Music, Outdoor Education and other lessons are woven into a whole picture of learning for the student, providing a stable and reassuring sense of consistency (of teachers, of lessons, of environments) that makes a deeper and more lasting form of learning possible.
Art & Beauty
Art of all kinds plays a huge role. Our school is a hive of artistic creativity. It is normal to find play rehearsals, music practice, painting lessons, knitting, woodwork, cooking, gardening, dance and storytelling all taking place around the school. For the students of Sophia Mundi such activity is a natural expression of the day. Creative expression of beauty is a part of their life. We place such emphasis on creativity not just for its own sake but because it is through creativity that the child can best begin to understand the world. Even in Mathematics, or French or Biology our students are consistently engaged in learning creatively, solving problems creatively, taking a pride in making beautiful work that deepens their understanding of the lesson’s content.
The Rhythm of the Day
We aim to give the child a sense of rhythm and harmony over the course of their day. Our lessons in body movement (Eurythmy), Craft and Woodwork are specifically designed to balance the more intellectual work done in English, Mathematics and French lessons. Particularly in the early years, we value physical (kinetic) learning and emotional learning as highly as we value intellectual learning. We see these different aspects of learning as parts of a greater picture of education. Modern research into learning is now confirming these principles upheld by Steiner education for a century. The education of the head, heart and hands is our goal.
Outdoor Education and Exchanges
Our acclaimed Outdoor Education Programme takes students from Year 3 and above to some of South-East Australia’s most remarkable locations. Most year levels go on two camps a year, while Year 9 students undertake seven camps (from bushwalking along the coast, to hiking in the mountains, to spending two-weeks on a sustainable bushland property) learning self-reliance, cooperation, commitment and a deepened love of nature. This experience lays the foundations for the seminal Year 10 exchange programme, where students spend up to a term living with a host family and attending a sister school in France, Switzerland or elsewhere.
At Sophia Mundi we are committed to a human-centred form of education. To this end we strive:
• To allow children to experience the joys and mysteries of childhood fully. This avoids a premature hastening towards adult consciousness and experience, taking time to do things well.
• To awaken the children’s thinking and imagination. Students are encouraged to find beauty and wonder in the world. Creative thinking in the sciences and humanities is enlivened by an artistic way of working and a focus on observation.
• To educate the whole human being through the harmonious working of not only the head, but also the heart and hands. The students’ capacity for clear thinking is stimulated, their life of feelings is broadened and enriched and united with their sense for doing good in the world.
• To educate the child as a being of body, soul and spirit. This is not a religious education, but neither does it espouse merely materialistic values. Education of the soul and spirit takes place through the uplifting power of beauty and the imagination and out of the content of the curriculum.
• To educate individuals who can meet the future out of a sense of inner freedom and purpose. The aim of the journey at Sophia Mundi is the formation of young adults who can think, judge and act freely and responsibly through their strength of individuality.
• To provide our students with the knowledge, skills and means to work competently in the world.