PRIMARY – CLASSES 1-6

The primary years are a vital time for nurturing the imagination, and the development of this capacity lays the groundwork for developing the skills to apply insight, innovation and creative thinking when engaging in logical and conceptual thinking in later life.

Primary school lessons in geometry

Lesson content, is delivered thematically and linked with an aspect of the creative arts and includes; story telling, creative writing, visual arts, music, drama and movement. This creates a living link between lesson content and the feeling life of the child and develops the capacity to appreciate beauty in the world. The academic, artistic, and social aspects are treated as complementary facets of a single program of learning, allowing each to inform the others.

Writing and reading are taught from Kindergarten. The child first learns pre literacy skills; developing oral language, phonological and phonemic awareness as well as knowledge of the alphabet. Self-regulation and development of working memory and sequential processing are supported through active story recall. The child first learns to write using the shape of the letters to suggest meaning; M for mountain, V for valley. In addition, they may walk the shape on the floor and draw pictures that include that shape. The children write words and read from their own writing before working with printed literature. We aim throughout the classes to share quality literature with the students. The children are nourished with the rich heritage of wise folk tales, histories, legends, myths, dreamtime stories and biographies and through these build an understanding of human civilisation and cultural history.

Numeracy concepts and skills are taught from Kindergarten. An understanding of numbers is built on the basis of concrete, real-life tasks, and by counting aloud, chanting of number patterns, musical rhythms and skipping games. As the children grow learning becomes more academic although retaining the practical focus; dividing fruit to share when learning fractions, measuring building materials to build a cubby. These learning experiences are purposeful and authentic.

MAIN LESSON

The Main Lesson is a unique feature of Steiner education. Units of work are taught in main lesson blocks every morning for approximately two hours, over a period of three to four weeks.

Each topic is taught in this way, especially when new concepts are introduced in the key learning areas of Mathematics, English, Science, History, Geography, and the Creative Arts. The topics are or painting, resulting in a thorough assimilation of knowledge.

All children have ‘main lesson books’, which are their workbooks recording their learning experiences.

ACTIVE LEARNING

Learning through movement, addressing the whole child through ‘hands, heart and head’, is a core element of the Steiner curriculum and is a key part of our Morning Circle activities.

Movement enables us to experience our own boundaries and direction in life, and helps us negotiate space in relation to others to build spatial and social awareness. When we are active in the world our physical wellbeing increases, and when we collaborate with others during sports and games our confidence and self-esteem increase.

During circle time the children; sing, dance, recite poetry with gestures, and practice literacy and numeracy activities with appropriate movements to reinforce and enliven the learning. This daily practice improves; dexterity, coordination, develops self-discipline, inner flexibility and grace.

The Steiner curriculum provides a balanced approach to gymnastics, dance, social games and team sports, continually building upon movement and physical skills learnt in previous years.

THE STAGE MODEL

Teachers are carefully selected to match each stage of learning.

At Blue Mountains Steiner School each teacher stays with a particular class group for two years. Students complete Stage 1 (Classes 1 and 2) with the same teacher, and then move up to Stage 2 (Classes 3 and 4) and remain with that teacher until they enter Stage 3(Classes 5 and 6). In the primary years children form a strong social group with their class, and having the same teacher throughout each stage strengthens the bond between the teacher and the children. This creates a positive classroom climate and a high level of parent involvement within the whole school learning community.

Teachers are specifically appointed to each stage according to areas of expertise and specialisation.

STAGE 1 – CLASS 1/ 2

Imagination is one of the most important gifts to develop within the child. Imagination helps form the brain in such a way that it becomes flexible, questioning and observant, allowing us to see opportunities throughout our lives.

The basis for literacy learning is children experiencing a language and text rich classroom, delivered through quality teacher created or retold stories, poetry and movement based learning experiences. Teacher-modelled writing is the foundation for main lesson work. Children learn to read from their own written texts.

Numeracy skills are developed through active learning of number sequences and patterns. Times tables and number facts are all taught initially through coordinated speech, image and movement. Concrete experiences precede the abstract. During Science and Geography lessons children draw on their outdoor learning experiences and learn to develop the faculty of critical thinking to organise data and information. The children learn about aspects of History through songs, poems, festivals, and from hearing the authentic stories from our local and wider communities. The curriculum areas are integrated and the Creative Arts are experienced daily, through: drawing, painting, beeswax modelling, drama, dance, music and movement. During Stage 1 the children have regular games and movement sessions, as well as bushwalks and creative play opportunities.

STAGE 2 – CLASS 3/4

Class 3

The Steiner school curriculum indicates that children should be lead gradually from their imaginative world into the world of practical life.

As they approach their ninth year they pass through an inward development. They begin to lose their feeling of union with the all-embracing world of nature and become more independent and objective. Often they become critical and sympathies and antipathies become more conscious.

They are ready to engage with the stories from the Old Testament. The leading themes of the bible make a powerful impression – Joshua and Jericho Ruth, Samson and the stories of the first judges and kings – Samuel, Gideon, Saul and David. The practical experiences of farming and building continue to build a convincing picture of the life and work of builders and farmers.

In these years children are more aware of their surroundings and their place in them. They study the human being in relation to the environment including main lessons on farming, house-building, measurement, occupations, local geography and the animal kingdom.

An Overview of the Main Lesson Curriculum Geography of Home, School & Surroundings:

  • Bible Stories from the Old Testament
  • Arithmetic: Measurement, Fractions, Long Multiplication & Division
  • English: Parts of speech, Sentence Building, Punctuation, Story-Writing, Letter-Writing, Tenses
  • Reading
  • Farming, Clothing & Shelter, House Building
  • Peoples Work in the World
  • Nordic Mythology
  • Australian Aboriginal Stories
  • Comparative Zoology (man and his relationship to animals)

“The need for imagination, a sense of truth and feeling of responsibility – these are the three forces which are the very nerve of education.” Rudolf Steiner

Class 4

Having learnt about the Hebrew creation myths, the children are ready to experience the Norse Creation Myths. A leading theme in these stories is that all progress is attained at some cost. Odin gives his eye to drink at Mimir’s well (and thus becomes all seeing); Tyr loses his right hand in capturing the wolf. A prophetic quality is also to be found in these stories. Ragnarok is foretold, but beyond the destruction of the old order a new heaven and earth will arise. The Norse tales tell of the withdrawing of powerful protective forces and the taking over of leadership by heroes whose outstanding quality is courage. A wide range of poetry is recited to reflect the Norse mood (dramatic). Action poems satisfy the childrens growing need to express themselves vigorously. Children become eager to compose their own descriptive stories- the generative forces are at work.

An Overview of the Main Lesson Curriculum Geography of Home, School & Surroundings:

  • Bible Stories from the Old Testament
  • Arithmetic: Measurement, Fractions, Long Multiplication & Division
  • English: Parts of speech, Sentence Building, Punctuation, Story-Writing, Letter-Writing, Tenses
  • Reading
  • Farming, Clothing & Shelter, House Building
  • Peoples Work in the World
  • Nordic Mythology
  • Australian Aboriginal Stories
  • Comparative Zoology (man and his relationship to animals)

“The need for imagination, a sense of truth and feeling of responsibility – these are the three forces which are the very nerve of education.” Rudolf Steiner

STAGE 3 – CLASS 5/6

Main lessons for Class 5/ 6 include: Ancient India, Persia, Egypt, Greece, Rome and China, Botany, Geology, Physics (Heat and Light, Sound, Electro- Magnetics), Astronomy, World Geography, Financial Literacy, Euclidian Geometry, Civics and Citizenship, Indigenous Australia.

Class 5 is often referred to as the golden age of childhood, as the children are becoming more self assured and capable, with one foot still in childhood and the other leading into the adult world. Class 5 children participate in an inter-school Greek Olympics, in addition to the outdoor education program.

Class 6 children have a strong orientation towards the outside world and their place in it. Their time at primary school is coming to an end, and their interests are turning outwards. Class 6 children participate in inter-school debating, inter-team sports and a School Leadership Program.

To prepare children for their time at high school there is a growing emphasis on undertaking individual research and self directed tasks, and formal teaching of digital technologies. Children make regular presentations to their peers on main lesson related topics.

Come in and see what the kids do in class.

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