“Our highest endeavour must be to develop free humans beings, who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives.”
A Creative Education
One of the most notable ways in which the Steiner school approach to education differs from others is in the response of the curriculum to the various phases in child development.
Primary years at Ballarat Steiner School focus on delivering a high quality and rich educational experience to children. We provide a hands-on and artistic approach in the teaching of literacy and mathematics. Children are also engaged in an imaginative program that includes modeling, painting, cooking, woodwork, gardening and drawing.
Imagination is needed for creative work in adult life. Children nourished with imagination and opportunity for artistic expression will have the capacities needed to meet the technological and social challenges of their day.
Historically the human being drew pictures before reading and before the use of abstract symbols. Speech is a crucial element and precedes writing as a foundation to reading. Many aspects of Steiner schooling – form drawing, hand work, a foreign language, Eurythmy, etc., help to foster the children’s development for reading. The children learn the letter forms through stories and pictures given by their teacher. In the curriculum, writing precedes reading, and is developed out of the creative experience of drawing or painting individual letters. The children write words and read their own writing before working with printed literature.
We aim through the classes to share the finest literature with the students, appropriate to their age. Stories are told to each class and the children are also read to.
Our reading approach, which includes daily individual reading, is full of imagery, content and the richness of language, which develops an appreciation of literature in the students.
The children’s imaginative life and grasp of language is nourished by hearing and re-telling, acting and illustrating stories. For the 6-7 year olds, the teacher draws mainly on fairy tales, moving on at 8 years old to fables and legends, to Old Testament stories at 8-9 year old, Norse stories and sagas at 10, Greek myths and legends at 11 years of age and the Roman Empire at 12.
In using a sequence of this kind through different qualities of imaginative experience, the teacher prepares the way for history proper.
The curriculum is designed to harmonise with the particular stage of development that the child has reached, while affording a rich context in which to work on practical and academic skills.
In this way, the development of the life of feeling is not divorced from practical learning, and the curriculum is both integrated and truly child-centred.
Creative and experiential Mathematics, with the core focus being problem solving, to equip children for the ever-changing demands of society.
- Reading, writing, spelling and grammar.
- Storytelling and poetry enrich the imagination and provide a living history of various cultures.
- Art, clay modelling, water-colour painting, woodwork and crafts develop an appreciation of beauty.
- Music, singing, recorder, and stringed instruments(for older children).
- Dramatic arts which develop confidence and the skills to enable students to participate in a wide variety of school and community performances.
- Eurythmy, dance and movement.
- Languages such as German and Greek.
- Sports, physical education and games.
- Outdoor education, including camps and gardening.
- Cooking a variety of foods from other cultures.
- Festivals celebrate the changing seasons throughout the year.