The School Years
Steiner Waldorf teaching methods serve the children’s intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual development in a way that best suits their age.
Pupils learn traditional subjects through the distinctive and time-tested Steiner Waldorf curriculum and teaching methods that aim to serve the children’s intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual development in ways that are suited to their age.
Distinctive features of Steiner Waldorf curriculum
- Material is presented in a way that is appropriate to the children’s stage of development and content and teaching method correspond with what comes most naturally to children of a particular age. This is based on the simple but profound insight that children learn in different ways at different stages of their development and that excellent outcomes are achieved by introducing learning at the moment of maximum pupil readiness rather than introducing learning at the earliest opportunity.
- Formal literacy and numeracy are introduced when children start Class 1 (Y2) at the age of 6/7.
- All the strands of the curriculum are interrelated. For example, in mathematics, ten year olds divide the whole and learn about fractions; in music they divide the beat and learn music notation and in English they divide the sentence and study grammar.
- There is a year on year continuity with the study of each subject building directly on the work of the previous year. This promotes long-term retention of the knowledge by engaging the long-term memory.
- Eurythmy is a form of movement that is tailored to each stage of the child’s development to enhance coordination, concentration, and spatial awareness and to harmonise thinking, feeling and willing capacities. It is a core subject taught from Kindergarten throughout the school.
Key principles that underpin the curriculum
- Every child is unique and will flourish with personalised support within a culture of collaboration, considerate engagement with others, and by undertaking tasks and activities cooperatively as a group, rather than competitively as individuals
- Academic learning is balanced with opportunities for learning through experience, through the natural world and through artistic activities
- Developing the child’s imagination develops creative thinking
- Equal attention is given to the cognitive, emotional, spiritual, moral, social, cultural and physical development to support healthy development of the whole child
- Allowing scope for the teacher to interpret and present material in an artistic way enables the teaching and learning to respond to the needs and nature of the particular group of pupils
- Each lesson is brought in a three-fold manner: through the intellectual capacities (thinking), artistic and emotional capacities (feeling), and practical skill-building capacities (willing). This “head, heart and hands” approach aims to integrate learning and to support the children to find ways of relating to the lesson that is being delivered
The delivery of Steiner curriculum relies on primary sources rather than ICT or textbooks, and pupils create individual “main lesson books” that reflect their proficiency and deepen their understanding of the subject matter for each main lesson block or subject lesson. Main lesson books reflect the breadth and depth of the curriculum through essays, scientific observations, drawings or paintings, and hand-drawn maps.
Learning Support and Additional Needs
The Learning Support Teachers regularly screen pupils for learning needs. Learning support lessons, Eurythmy therapy, a visit to the optometrist, school doctor or Local Authority educational psychologist may be recommended. Support may be short or long-term underpinned by the aim to encourage and facilitate learning and the development of each child’s potential. If needed, the school provides additional support to pupils for whom English is not their first language.
Further information about the Steiner Curriculum