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.
School Music Program
Music is an essential element of the curriculum offered in Steiner education. Music deeply nurtures the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of the growing child. It enriches the learning process of each individual, enlivens the family home, enhances the atmosphere of the classroom and draws together the whole school community. Acquiring the skills and tools for artistic expression offers an opportunity to explore and experience the highest qualities of what it is to be human. Music is interwoven into the daily flow of each class. From Class 3 all students learn a stringed instrument. Choir is optional from Class 3.
Children participate in at least 2 hours of physical activity each week. As well as an organised program of skills, games and sport, we have extensive grounds that offer space for ball games, a bush playground, along with sandpits and play equipment, within the natural environment. Our multipurpose playing fields are used for sports such as basketball, soccer and cricket. Skipping, hopscotch, handball and other traditional games are actively encouraged.
The class teacher leads games in classes 1-2 which includes circle time and games and sport. Class 3 upwards are specifically taught skills to play a wide range of team and individual sports.
In Class 5 we participate in the ‘Greek Olympics’ down in the Brundabellas along with many other Steiner schools.
We offer Drama as part of the curriculum from kindergarten all through to Class 6. From watching simple puppet plays in Kinder to Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ in Class 6. It is both integrated in classroom life and brought to life through plays and festivals throughout the school year.
The drama program works in context of the Main Lesson program, and the yearly Class play is a highlight in the school year.
The cornerstone of the Blue Mountains Steiner School learning community is the promotion of health and well-being in the context of positive, respectful and meaningful relationships. It is the school’s endeavour to be very mindful of the social and emotional competence of our students and to make this fundament to all of the schools pedagogical practices and programs. The incorporation of general well-being as a whole school endeavour augments benefit to our students in the realms of resilience, academic quality, general health and social capital. Student welfare is integrated into the entire life of the school as a collaborative community process.
In essence the Blue Mountains Steiner School aims to gently meet the child, explore the potential of the child’s abilities, encourage personal problem solving, develop and enhance relationships and monitor the personal growth of every child in the cognitive, affective and kinaesthetic domains of learning. The Blue Mountains Steiner School offers an environment which is safe, supportive and caring and embraces inclusivity.
It is the intention of the Blue Mountains Education experience to promote and support a deep understanding of self, to build confidence and self-efficacy, offer opportunities for healthy risk taking, develop the capacity to make informed decisions, learn skills to contribute effectively in citizenship, develop the ability to set goals, practice negotiation and communication, participate in reflection, enhance the capacity for empowerment and connectedness.
Students participate in Peer Support Programs, Restorative Practice Work, Circles and Discussions, Self-esteem and confidence building in the natural environment, Adventure and Wilderness Education, Mindfulness training, Living History and Positive Education programs.
We strive to work together in close partnership with students and families to ensure the best outcomes for the students.
Formal lessons instructing in the use, processes, and information systems relating to digital technologies properly commence in early Stage 3 (Classes 5 and 6). Steiner primary education is a human centred and integrated experience involving ‘head, heart and hands’ in a natural environment where children develop a love of learning through use of the imagination, and creative thinking. There is a large focus on interpersonal and intrapersonal learning. The children are supported to become ecologically and environmentally receptive, and to build a sensitive, ethical and holistic understanding of the world around them. In Stage 3, the children become adept at using Word, PowerPoint, setting up templates, graphics and researching.
Children engage with formal learning in the areas of Information and Communication Technology from Class 5 onwards, to assist in developing the knowledge, skills, and understanding to live and work in the 21st century.
From classes 1-3 science, while not treated as a separate subject, is woven into the curriculum. In the early elementary years, teachers focus on the natural environment the children experience every day. First through stories, and then through daily discussion of the weather, close observation of animals, and the study of farming and gardening, the child’s sense of belonging in nature and a reverent responsibility toward the natural world are nurtured. Before a child’s ninth year, the teaching of science would be of little significance inasmuch as the child has not yet developed objectivity. Only when she or he begins to separate from the world does this ability emerge. Thus, the first block in natural science is taught in the fourth grade. The science curriculum begins with the animal kingdom and moves to the study of plant life and the earth itself in the fifth and sixth grades. Laboratory sciences are not introduced until sixth grade, when the child is able to grasp causal relationships. In the upper elementary grades, the emphasis remains holistic and experiential, and avoids a reductionist or analytical approach.
History and geography are woven into daily life at a Steiner school. Through Main Lesson content the studies from Classes 1-6 cover local geography and history. The children start making maps of their classroom that extends to the school and in Class 6 the students work on a project with National Parks to make a map of the Blue Mountains tourist bushwalk to be used by tourists visiting the Greater Blue Mountains National Park.
History meets with geography, numeracy, science, literacy, music and the arts to bring each subject alive.
From class 1-6 epochs that are covered include: Aboriginal dreamtime, Australian History, Norse Mythology, Ancient India, Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, Greece and Rome.
The study of each region begins with its geography and includes its mythology and literature. Students also learn about the people’s practical achievements and the reason for their decline.
Craft including; knitting, sewing, clay-work, crochet and woodwork, is an integral part of the curriculum.
Teaching handcrafts is seen as a way of engaging children in the current topic and also assists in the early years with developing fine motor skills, hand eye coordination and spatial skills.
Enriching learning through individual and group craft projects promotes multiple skills and abilities and nurtures the development of cognitive, social and personal competencies. For example, in a Class 4 history main lesson the children may learn Nordic dancing, construct a Nordic ship and make and paint a shield. In every classroom, children design and make useful objects using natural materials, and this provides a foundation for innovation and practical activity in later life. Creating practical and useful objects can have the effect of stimulating the will, encouraging the child to develop the intrinsic motivation and self-regulation to complete a project.
Our craft program uses quality natural materials in the making of a wide variety of beautiful and useful things. Our students know the satisfaction of developing a growing base of traditional skills, and appreciate the opportunity to express individuality and creativity. Benefits flow through to the academic sphere; these include improved design and technology skills, and beautiful handwriting.
Each week the students from K-6 have a language lesson which includes games, cooking and cultural activities.
“On these feast days we feel ourselves impelled to realise our union with earlier humanity, to sink ourselves a little into that which led men of past time out of fullness of heart and soul to place these sign-marks in the course of time which come down to us as the ‘Festivals of the Year’.”
– Rudolf Steiner
A spiritual orientation is at the core of the curriculum and provides a strong foundation to the rhythm of the school year.
We celebrate each of the seasons at one of our quarterly festivals, held towards the end of each term. The festivals aim to awaken the child’s natural reverence for the wonder and beauty of life as well as establishing inner pictures of the seasonal changes throughout the year. * Part of the bigger world!
We celebrate Christmas and Easter, as well as other cultural festivals throughout the year, which are relevant to main lesson themes such as; Diwali the Indian Festival of Lights or Hanukah the Hebrew Festival of Lights. The festivals throughout the year provide the opportunity for participation by the whole school community. There is joy in the preparation, the anticipation and in the celebration itself. The activities, songs and rhymes used in class also relate to the seasonal themes. Festivals at our school are now part of the annual tradition and are looked forward to by the children and parents every year.
The Steiner curriculum is non-denominational and respects the individual beliefs of families. Students from any cultural or religious background are welcomed.