Sophia Mundi’s Class 8 have been working all year on major, individual projects. Each student had to choose an area of interest that could be sustained for three full terms and shaped into a presentation in Term 4.
Class 8 is seen as a major staging point for Steiner students. It is the end of the class teacher period and students are preparing themselves for the next phase of their schooling. There is a major change from having a class teacher to now having a guardian and subjects are now taken by specialists, experts in their area.
As part of the change, the class is asked to think about what matters to them as individuals and choose something of interest that they can explore in the way of adult learning. Adult learning is where someone identifies a subject to focus on, a teacher who can help them learn the necessary skills and a process with an endpoint during which the exploration takes place. In class 8 the expert is called a mentor, and each student needs to find one once they have settled on a subject.
This year’s class has chosen a typically diverse range of subjects, from welded sculpture to constructing a metal forge; from writing and recording songs to creating a skincare range; from making and decorating a cushion to constructing a couture evening gown; from constructing a gaming console to exploring visual patterns in the natural world or designing and making a metal dinghy.
In many ways the Project is an entry into the upper high school. Students keep a journal and record their processes, both the practical ones and the inner challenges. They reflect on their journeys and come to a summation on the night of the presentations. They speak the story of their year’s work. They talk of the highs and lows, the challenges and achievements. Things like maintaining motivation, or working out how to stay organised can have a profound impact on the students. Having a mentor move to another state can derail a project and force a major rethink, again a painful but useful experience. Thinking of what they would have done differently can be a very useful process. These all come out on the night of the presentations.
They reflect on what they have learned along the way and come to see that they can meet difficulties and overcome them. These are real life lessons and they can be very liberating and empowering for students. They realise they have strengths that may have been hidden up until now. They learn to value expertise and the way it is acquired over time and with practice. Finally, they learn to value the support they get from family and friends and can express gratitude for these gifts in a context that allows for expression of these deep sentiments.
The projects are a fitting endpoint to the early years and look ahead to a future that is partly of their own creation. They allow for a glimpse into a productive adult life, and begin the development of the skills needed to get there. We are pleased to present the Class of 2017!