Curriculum Pictures Examples of previous years
What follows is a snapshot of the child in Class 1 as described in “The Education of the Child” and “Teaching from a Foundation of Spiritual Insight” by Rudolf Steiner. In Class 1 children are still primarily working out of imitation and example from what they observe in the physical environment. This includes moral or immoral actions, wise and foolish actions, while their physical body is in a rapid state of development (up to the age of seven). After this time, meaning is what speaks to the children most. Beautiful imaginative stories, aesthetic artwork, songs, tones and rhythms and a reverent connection with nature make valuable impressions on students.
Pupils at this age cherish discipleship and authority and relish the opportunity to find inspiring beings worthy of honour and respect that they can look up to. A focus is now on the feeling life of the child, which develops through internal relationships of mental picturing. With this is mind, the child is ready for more “formal” learning that includes forming new habits and strengthening their memory.
“The first thing we need to consider when we welcome children in to the first grade is to find appropriate stories to tell them and for them to tell back to us” (Steiner, Australian Steiner Curriculum Framework, Dec 2014). By focusing on correct and wondrous oral language through stories, children develop concrete guidelines for creating written texts. If you can’t say it, you can’t write it. All children are expected to meet academic outcomes, however the focus is not on attaining these in the quickest possible way. Each Main Lesson is designed to be a value rich experience that stimulates the child in multitudinous ways, simply summarised as engaging the head, heart and hands (thinking, feeling, and willing).
The child in Class One needs:
1. Security & support – for their emerging independence as they move a little away from home life and into a formal school environment;
2. Connectedness – to experience themselves within a sense of wholeness – as individuals upon the earth, relating to nature and other human beings – to be able to relate to the world with wonder and reverence;
3. Meaning – to relate abstract symbols (letters and numbers) to their worldly experience.
In Class 1, the most important way of meeting the children’s needs is in the way the content is introduced. The gradual change from activity and imitation in the Kindergarten to more formal learning in Class 1 is facilitated by involving the feeling life – through stories, rhythm, pictures, and songs. These help to connect the new concepts to the child’s own experience.
In Semester 1 the following Main Lessons will be delivered:
Form Drawing: the straight and curved line – to introduce the straight and the curved line as the foundation for language and mathematical skills; Consonant and Vowel Letters – Fairy Stories (with a focus on Grimm’s Fairy Tales) to introduce the upper case consonants: includes song, movement, picture and poem, giving each letter an individual experience and introducing upper case vowels through feelings that their sounds evoke; Easter Stories: listen and form inner connection to traditional stories of the ways of the distant past in different cultures; Numbers – Roman and Hindu-Arabic Numerals – to introduce the numbers 1-12 from a qualitative as well as quantitative perspective. The story of King Maximo and the Number Knights will be used.
Ribbon Form Drawing – to develop spatial orientation, body geography and inner visualization, refine student’s observational skills and further refine fine motor skills; Lower Case Alphabet and Words – using stories from cultures around the world – begin writing words using conventions of Standard Australian English; Numbers – Roman/Hindu- Arabic Numerals – to introduce the numbers 12 – 20 from a qualitative as well as quantitative perspective. To introduce the four processes.
Much of Class 2 work this term is based on ancient Celtic tales. Like the Celts, nature impresses itself deeply on the Class 2 child. The Form Drawing Main Lesson is based on the story of the Lambton Worm and aims to develop the children’s motor skills, spatial awareness and lead them towards cursive script. The Celtic Dragon Myth will be the foundation of a Main Lesson which explores breaking words into their phonemes. In our Maths Main Lessons we will look at visual and rhythmic representations of number patterns as an aspect of the multiplication tables, with the aid of a spider, weaving all sorts of beautiful patterns.
Term 2 will include an English Main Lesson focusing on Aesop’s fables. The fables are moral messages which are humorous, innocent and will help the children recognize human weakness. Students will have the opportunity to really live into these simple yet meaningful stories in a rich way. This will be balanced with Stories of the Saints later in the year. Place value will be introduced through a story which draws on the number gnomes introduced in last year’s four processes Main Lesson. The children will explore grouping through hands on activities and concrete materials including Base Ten blocks and icy-pole stick bundles. We will also enjoy a Main Lesson in Nature Studies and create a class reader.
The child in Class 3 can experience a sense of separation from the people and the world around. This can bring a sense of confusion and doubt. As the child asks questions such as ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Where am I?’, a sense of individuality emerges.
The curriculum meets the children at this stage of their development through stories of Hebrew mythology. These stories are meant to give them a feeling of protection, of knowing that someone strong and sure is leading them through this stage of their lives. Shelter building, farming, working with trading, money and time are tools needed to successfully live on this earth.
The year starts with an English Main Lesson, The Creation, followed by a Math Main Lesson in which the magic of numbers is rediscovered. The last Main Lesson of the term is English Grammar. In Term 2 we will start with an English Main Lesson where more stories of Hebrew mythology are heard. These will be used to practice writing, reading and grammar. The second Main Lesson of that term will be Math and the introduction of Measurement (length and capacity). The term will finish with our Farming Main Lesson, where the children will hear stories about farming, visit a farm and do gardening at the school.
Around the age of 10 the child confronts the world as a more confident self, in a newly established relationship with the surrounding world. Physical development brings a new strength and agility. The myths of the Norsemen provide a literature that meets this new found confidence: the robust resilience of these sea-faring peoples in their journeys was fired by the imagery of their mythological world. The child of this age is equally inspired by the range of emotion, by the sophistication of the narratives, the alliterative verse and by the strength of purpose of the characters. Thus we begin our year with the Main Lesson on NORSE MYTHOLOGY, followed by MATHS: factors, prime numbers, long multiplication, long division and tables, all in preparation for FRACTIONS next term. Our third Main Lesson is LITERACY: exploring grammar through poetry and story writing. We will perform our CLASS PLAY and create FREEHAND GEOMETRY next term to finish off the first half of the year.
The ages 10 and 11 have sometimes been described as ‘The Heart of Childhood’ in Waldorf circles. Imagination, artistic ability and a lively curiosity often come together in a deeply satisfying way. The early years of planting and sowing are over; the time for tending and reaping has begun.
In the first Semester we look back to the ancient cultures of India, Persia, Babylon and Egypt, imaginatively tracing the development of human consciousness through myth, music and cultural activities. Closer to home we become explorers of this vast state with the early settlers. Early next term we head off to the much-anticipated camp to Rottnest to see it from the perspective of early explorers. There’ll be the odd bit of cycling, fishing, swimming and spotlight of course. Weaving through every subject is the mysterious and marvelous world of plants and the special focus on Botany.
New specialist subjects capture the growing spirit and growing prowess. We are all one ‘musical family’ in the Class 5 orchestra. And lunchtimes can find many children working in the woodwork area fashioning their mallets.
The heart of childhood is a wonderful time indeed!
“Ancient feet upon this land
Walk the tracks of life
In wisdom’s toil,
Of stars and soil
Entwined with spirit
With the land.”
For many tens of thousands of years the Aboriginal peoples of this land lived with the rhythms of sun and earth and all that the plants and creatures could provide. Then the sails came carrying people from faraway lands.
Class 6 has sailed with the mapping Europeans and the British First Fleet as new people with new ways of seeing life, traditions and culture supplanted the old ways and expanded evermore. We journeyed into Australian History and learnt about the extremes of heat and sometimes rain, the deserts, the tropical forests, the vastness as European explorers looked for new pathways and bountiful resources. Pioneers followed with livestock and when “Gold! Gold! Gold!” was discovered, Australia became known throughout the world.
We measured and we compared, using graphs and percentages, the ‘Great Nuggets’ of Australia. In the Maths lesson we also used line and column graphs to compare the high mountain peaks of each state. We may have 32% of the Australian land mass here in WA but Mt Meharry is the smallest of the high peaks – half the size of Mt Kosciusko.
Class 6 discovered that 50 years ago we had 160 million sheep in Australia. Wow! Warm woolly jumpers! This has now dropped to 72 million but we are still number 1 in wool production.
Anyway, graphs and percentages are handy pictorial tools to compare changes, that’s for sure.
Just as certain, will be the relentless march of Rome. We will go back more than two and a half thousand years to its very beginnings. The wolf-reared twins, Romulus and Remus, will battle their way to the very founding of Rome. The rule of kings, and further expansion on the Italian peninsular will culminate with Rome realizing itself as a Republic upon which many great leaders’ stars will rise: Sulla, Pompeii, Crassus and Caesar to name some of the most memorable.
Stars too will shine on our pages of Creative Geometry. Starry octagons, hexagons and pentagons housed in 3-dimensional dodecahedrons will shine light on the year’s darkest night, journeying along geometric spirals to bring a warm end to the first Semester.
Now our 12 and 13 year olds are really starting to think more deeply about the world and they have an enormous appetite for knowledge of the world. As they come to the final stage of their second seven year phase, symptoms we label ‘puberty’ emerge. Physically and mentally, rapid changes cause upheaval, which can disorientate and create havoc. An exciting time for all! This year we have two Class 7’s – 7N with Nicole as the main teacher, and 7B with Barbara as the main teacher.
CLASS 7 Studies Middle Ages. This is a time of great change, turmoil, dilemmas, decisions, actions and consequences – am I talking about the Middle Ages for Class 7? Both. The children have begun to look at why things happened – historical thinking involves the ability to recognise the point of view of others.
Usually starts with Geometry in Nature Main Lesson. Making connections with thoughts and learning about the world with the world they actually experience, such as finding Fibonacci numbers in celery.
Both classes undertake sailing lessons and each class will head down to Albany for their sailing camps. Other Main Lesson topics for this semester are: King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table; Pythagoras and Algebra; Physics, as in levers and pulleys; and finally, Chemistry – combustion. In the sciences we learn to control things or ‘rule’ them in the world through understandings. Students are encouraged to make accurate observations and to produce accurate reports. The quality of imagination is still an important ingredient in the students’ reception of intellectual material. They are increasingly given opportunities for independent thought, to research and discuss topics more independently.