“Our goal is to offer an education that works in harmony with natural human development to produce the best results in the long term.”
When formal school begins in their seventh year the child enters a new stage. A whole new development takes place in the child’s physical, emotional and intellectual capacities. They step out of the dreamy bubble of early childhood and begin to forge deep social connections with their peers. They take greater control of their bodies, their limbs and their sense of balance. They begin to delight in exercising their physical coordination. They also begin to delight in using their memories and thinking imaginatively in images. They begin to feel passionately about right and wrong! Feelings now become the window of their learning.
At a Steiner school the child’s new capacities are nourished by rich imaginative, story based lessons that inspire the feelings. Children at this age need to be helped to feel the joy and sadness of life each day. The educational focus at this age is to give the child a deep sense of harmony in their feeling and intellectual life. The more academic lessons are introduced at the beginning of the day (in the Main Lesson) and interwoven with movement, music, poetry and art. Subjects such as foreign language, Mathematics, English, Music and Eurythmy are given in the middle period between morning tea and lunch. Afternoon subjects such as Games, Sport, Gardening, Cooking and Woodwork allow the child a physical experience of learning that grounds and gives balance to their school day.
Throughout their primary school journey the child is accompanied as much as possible by one class teacher. This strong and steady relationship forms the foundation of the child’s education. Over the years the child grows to love their teacher as a reliable and trustworthy figure in their lives. Parents are given the opportunity to truly enter into a real relationship with their child’s teacher and to understand and participate in their child’s educational journey more consciously and meaningfully. We place enormous consideration on finding the right teacher for a new class of students. For the class teacher, leading a group of children from Class 1 to Class 8 is a vocational responsibility that requires the deepest level of commitment, awareness, self-development and love.
Gradually the education becomes more intellectually focused. By classes 4 and 5 their literacy and numeracy skills are sophisticated and developed. Given the time to grow organically the child’s natural intellectual capacities develop at a remarkable rate in the middle years of primary school. By class 6 they are engaging in an academic curriculum that is in many respects more challenging than the mainstream curriculum. To this extent Steiner education is indeed an example of patience and trust.