Throughout the year we celebrate festivals to connect us with the cycles of nature, establish a yearly rhythm for the children, and strengthen our community. Michaelmas is the first festival of our school year. Read more
The whole School was out in full celebratory force for our May Day Festival on May 1st. Kindergarten children made ‘May Crowns’ of fresh flowers (symbolising the arrival of spring and new growth) before dancing and singing around the Maypole, sharing a feast and enjoying a seasonal puppet story. Classes 1&2 and 3&4 performed and presented in the May Day Assembly, with Class 5&6 performing a joyful May Pole dance accompanied by drums and fire, dressed in their handmade medieval costumes. Read more
Class 5/6 have immersed themselves in their current History Main Lesson Block – ‘The Migration Period and Viking Age’ in the period 476-1066 CE, following the collapse of the Roman Empire in Britain.
They started by re-writing Beowulf – the Anglo-Saxon heroic poem- in their own words. They learnt about Celtic knot-work and incorporated it into their work with intricate borders. Read more
The eight to ten year olds in Class 3&4 hugely enjoyed their shelter and housebulding block in the summer term.
They started with exploring the amazing variety of homes through time and around the world. Beginning with archetypes of “man’s first home”, they saw how humans had to protect themselves from the elements and create their own sense of space.
Incorporating the study of world geography they asked how, in the past, a particular setting determined the type of homes that people built? They saw how the nomadic peoples of North America built homes for the central plains, looked at houses built of grasses and palm fronds, houses carved out of rock and gracious townhouses from local Bath stone. The children constructed models of the types of houses that they studied.
They moved on to learn about the many steps that go into modern home building in the UK (foundations, carpentry, brickwork, roofing etc). To observe local construction, they spent three days working on a building site and made a special study of wall building. The different methods and styles they saw went on to inform their own special building project – making a raised bed for the School garden.
For their project they learned about tools, how to look after them and use them safely; designed and sketched up plans with accurate measurements and scale models; practiced their brick bonds and coping styles on mini bricks in the classroom, and finally moved outside for the actual construction.
In Steiner education children study a rich and balanced range of subjects grounded in the stages of child development. These include all recognised subjects of the national curriculum as well as some specific to the Steiner curriculum. Core subjects are taught in thematic blocks (Main Lessons).
The essence of the Steiner Main Lesson is to experience a rich multisensory approach with a balance of artistic, practical and intellectual content, and engaging, real world learning experiences. Children sculpt, draw, write, move, listen, imagine and do—all ways to engage different learning styles.
07 June 2013
Class 1&2 Teacher, Mr Sulodia, looks back over what the children have been doing during ‘Main Lesson’ this first year.
The first classes, at age 6/7, are the beginning of formal schooling in Steiner Education – a stage marked by children’s new interest in learning, inspired by the awakening abilities of memory and thinking.
The core curriculum is delivered in 2 hour ‘Main Lessons’ every morning, with subjects being studied in depth for three to four weeks. Each lesson has a balance of artistic, practical and intellectual content. This approach allows children to fully immerse themselves in a subject with freshness and enthusiasm. In Class 1 and 2 the children familiarise themselves with the fundamentals of arithmetic and literacy, developing a repertoire of strong core skills.
We started the year with a week of ‘Form Drawing’ Main Lessons where we explored and experienced two magic symbols – the straight and curved line. The children loved discovering how everything around them, whether 2D or 3D, is made out of these two magic symbols, whilst developing their skills in the core shapes required for all writing.
We then looked into Arabic and Roman numerals, forward and backward counting, and even and odd numbers through a variety of games and stories
The class as a whole is becoming quicker in basic mental arithmentic and recognising and drawing basic geometrical shapes such as triangles, circles, squares, rectangles, five pointed stars, hexagons etc.
The children heard Fairy tales, drew from their imaginations, and from those drawings the letters of the alphabet emerged. The children were able to make connections between each letter of the alphabet and the story related to it. We had stories for example, about Big Brown Bears and Majestic Mountains, introducing the letters B and M.
We explored selected consonants and all the five vowels and looked very closely at the difference between vowels (singing sounds) and consonants (hard, earthly sounds). Grammar is not taught explicitly to children at this stage but rather understood through being active and creative.
Steiner Education meets the student’s innate curiosity and desire to grow with a rich multisensory experience. Students sculpt, draw, move, listen, imagine and sound out—all ways to engage different learning styles—to stimulate the young mind so that the children become motivated eager learners.
After the alphabet we were able to work on reading and writing simple words. The children enjoyed the challenge of identifying what consonant sounds they hear in the beginning or end of a word, and what vowel sounds they hear in the middle of the word. At this stage we are not doing letter names or spellings. I still say ‘What sound?’ rather than ‘How do you spell?’.
We then moved our focus back to Maths – we experienced and explored the qualities of numbers from 1-12 through an extended story of two sisters Phaedra and Adira and their adventures into the Land of Numeria. The children loved listening to the story, and couldn’t wait to open the special golden box – kept in the classroom and locked with a combination lock – which could only be opened when they had discovered the qualities of each number from 1-12.
Finally just before last half term, Cypher, the guardian of Land of Numeria (the children were convinced I was Cypher) gave the sisters (the class) a golden scroll with the code on it. One day one of the children asked me what really was in the box. I told her that there was something in the box which would stay with each of them for the rest of their lives. The response was a big smile!
The children opened the box on the first day back in the new school building after half term and inside they found gems, beads, marbles, crystals (counters for maths)… and many more things along with a tiny little felted gnome dressed all in red with white a beard and a curious symbol (division).
He was Gnome Share. The children enjoyed listening to the story of Gnome Share and learning about his task. We practiced a lot of division with the counters, around the concept of fairness’ ‘lets share 10 between 5 friends’, ‘how many groups of 2s in 6’ etc. The children didn’t quite realise they were doing ‘division’, but as they solved all the questions, worked really hard, and enjoyed the lesson, the core foundation of understanding this basic mathematical concept was laid.
After the serious business of Gnome Share they met a funny gnome dressed all in blue with a hole in his pocket, who kept on losing all the gems and stones. He was Gnome Minus Takeway. The children used their marbles as counters to do basic subtraction problems, not just ‘5 take away 3’ but using stories which really engaged the children’s interest and imagination. They also experienced the dilemma of Gnome Minus Takeaway, as they found the marbles very hard to keep in one place!
After a lot of practice with division and subtraction I decided to give Maths a little rest. The children were naturally disappointed as they really wanted to meet the other two gnomes – the generous (and rather fat ) Gnome Add and the extraordinary Gnome Times who counts in groups – but they were satisfied when I told them that we would return to the Land of Numeria after Easter.
This rhythm of immersion in a theme, such as maths, then allowing it to settle, to sink down into the background for a while, is a key feature of Steiner education. Just as experiences form the day are ‘processed’ by the mind during sleep, so too the periods between learning deepens and enhances the learning experience and helps form a different, more habitual relationships to what is learnt.
Going alongside the core curriculum delivered in the Main Lessons with the Class Teacher, the children study a variety of special subjects with specialised teachers. The special subjects in Class 1&2 are Music, French, Welsh, Handwork, Games, Outdoor Curriculum and Eurythmy (a movement art specific to Steiner Education). We hope to cover these in more detail in later news stories.
Class 1&2 Teacher