St Mary's Abbotsford Convent 1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford Victoria | +61 3 9419 9229

The Class 1 Journey – Steiner Education – Alternative schools Melbourne

Class 1 2014   photo-23 photo-24unnamed1

“One for the golden sun, two for the night and day, three for me, for here I find strong limbs, warm heart and a clear true mind. Four for the seasons slowly turning, five for the stars so brightly burning, six for the honeycomb and for the bees who bring their sweet honey to me…” so went one of our favourite songs from Class One last year. This song formed part of our daily Morning Circle during our Quality of Numbers main lesson block. In this block, we explored qualities of each number from 1-12, experiencing and discussing how they differ. We sought to find the uniqueness of one, the duality of two, the ‘coming together’ aspect of three. This work was carried out orally and in writing and picture-making, and the children brought in objects from home or found in nature to
support their understanding. We inspected crystals and verified that each one does have six sides!

We noted the same in honeycomb and in wasp’s nests. We noticed the reliable rhythm of day becoming night and night becoming day again. These mathematical laws in nature are pure magic for the six-year-old-becoming -seven, as the child of this age still lives in a very magical realm where fact and fantasy are inextricably woven together.
We spent a lot of the year getting to know each other, learning to line up and how to raise our hands when we want to contribute, learning how to share, keep our workspace and classroom tidy, and play kindly with each other. We also, of course, learned about literacy. In Class One, we learned all 26 letters—consonants first and vowels after, through imaginative pictures. These pictures were brought through Grimm’s fairy tales, drawn and correlated with their phonetic sounds. We found the ‘W’ hidden in waveforms, the ‘N’ formed by the net and the ‘F’ of the talking fish in the story ‘The Fisherman and His Wife.’ The big brown bear of the story ‘Bearskin’ showed the children how to form a capital ‘B’ and the napping cat formed a gracefully curving ‘C’ in the story ‘Cat and Mouse in Partnership.’ This approach to bringing letters through the children’s feeling life is one of the cornerstones of Class One literacy in Steiner schools.

We did quite a lot of Form Drawing in Class One, using our eyes, elbows, belly buttons, toes, feet and whole bodies to create the forms before committing them to paper. We drew them in sand and on chalkboards. We explored the straight line and curve and (before learning the letters or numbers) discovered that every form in the world is made up of straight lines and/or curved lines.

After that initial Form Drawing main lesson block, we continued to have weekly Form Drawing practise lessons and continued exploring through the year.

We made soup in the colder months, built cubbies indoors on rainy days, put on a class play to support our Four Processes main lesson work and began to learn to play recorder. We sang and danced together, learned to knit, practiced Eurythmy, and hosted a French Café for class parents.

We visited the Collingwood Children’s Farm and took a weekend day trip to the Tesselaar Tulip Festival in Silvan in the Spring.

Closer to home, we also went for many walks around the Convent, both during Home Surroundings main lesson blocks and weekly on Friday afternoons. We noticed signs of the changing seasons—flowers budding, blooming and dying; spiders and mushrooms popping up; growing herbs and even fruiting artichokes in the Convent gardens. We rolled in the grass and built cubbies and fairy houses in the gardens too. Class One was a varied and interesting year—full of learning, love and magic found in simple things.

By Jill Casavecchia (Class 1 2014)

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