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The breadth and relativity of the Steiner curriculum works equally with art, science, religion through the wonder of nature and love of life and a striving towards morality. All Waldorf schools are non-sectarian and non denominational.
The curriculum is unfolded to give the children an experience of the many and varied peoples and cultures of the world. The development of a human being’s thinking throughout the ages has advanced technology and science, the wonders of the
natural world and the human being as a creative spirit.
Celebration of different cultures, a developing understanding of the many different customs and environmental challenges facing the peoples of the world all contribute towards nurturing a sense for a social nature which is so important for the future.
A guiding principle for the teachers working with the indications of a Waldorf curriculum, is to allow for the development and growth of the child to become knowledgeable of the world today; a truly modern human being, willing and able to walk through life strong in thinking, feeling and willing - head, heart and limb.
To become practical and freely creative in their thinking.
To have the strength of will to carry out their aspirations and intentions.
To be flexible and adaptable in order to meet the challenges of the world
today and the future.
Alongside such qualities stands a further endeavour of the teachers of any Waldorf school to engender the feeling for the development of a fine, moral social conscience and love for life and enthusiasm for the future.
Each subject is approached artistically and age appropriately, addressing the child’s developing faculties through an integrated willing, feeling and thinking. It is through this approach that a foundation is laid for vital, happy, well-rounded children with enquiring minds, an enthusiasm for learning, and a readiness to approach the demanding years of intellectual learning ahead in the High School.
Each class has their own teacher who ideally will remain with them throughout their primary and intermediate school years.
A brief overview of the indications worked with by the Titirangi Rudolf Steiner School teachers, classes one to eight.
During the child’s 7th year, the theme is Fairy and Folk Tales and all subjects from alphabet letters, numbers, writing, speech, music, singing, painting, drawing, languages, handwork and eurythmy are imparted to the children in an artistic way that draws on the forces of imagination of the six and seven year old.
A continuum of all practice and skills subjects introduced during class one - reading, writing and arithmetic continue with a natural progression through the years. General themes for the classes which are embraced appropriately through all the subjects are given a broad overview as follows:
As the children settle more into their limbs, the theme is the lives and deeds of the Saints coupled with animal stories, particularly wise stories such as Aesop’s Fables.
In class three the curriculum moves away from the foundation of the fairy and nature realms, into the practical activities of farming, gardening and house building. Formal grammar is introduced and music making develops from simple pentatonic tunes into diatonic recorder pieces, violin tuition and challenging rounds. The students are also taught music notation in this year.
Norse Mythology, along with some indigenous mythology, local history and geography, the differentiation between human being and the animals is taught in class four.
In Class Five the ancient cultural epochs are studied. As the great epochs develop, the subjects of greek, geometry and the science of Botany are introduced. A highlight of this year is an "Olympic Games" event attended by many other NZ Steiner School class five pupils. Circus Skills is an additional subject offered from class five upwards.
Class Six, Seven and Eight
In classes six, seven and eight the continuum of all subjects continues. Latin is introduced. History is taught in greater depth and detail, including Ancient Rome in class six, Renaisssance and the Age of Discovery in class seven culminating in modern history in class eight - covering aspects of the Industrial Revolution to topics such as China in 'our' time. Geography expands from the child’s immediate environment to encompass the world. The sciences of physics, chemistry and biology are gradually developed and arithmetic which has evolved into mathematics and algebra gives way to the theorem of Euclid and Economics.
The Visual Arts are developed from simple watercolour painting to working with perspective through colour. Drawing with coloured block crayons and coloured pencil to light and dark charcoal work and perspective drawing. Beeswax modelling to clay sculpting. Simple carpentry leads on to wood carving and later pottery is taken up.
Emphasis is placed on drama, beginning with a simple group choral play in class one and progressing with Festival and Class Plays each year.
Eurythmy, begun in Class One with movement to little fairy tales, progresses to present a major performance of a well-known fairy tale.
Handwork has equally developed from basic knitting, crochet and sewing to producing challenging and complicated handwork items.
Similarly, languages taught through rhymes, songs and conversation to become more focused on grammar and translation in the older classes. Greek is taught in Class 5 and upwards and Latin is introduced in class six.
The children are encouraged to experience respect and reverence for the earth and life as a whole, through a rhythmical celebration of seasonal and traditional festivals throughout the course of the year. These festival days are celebrations which bring the whole community together and offer much opportunity for the teachers and children to engage in drama, artistic presentations, crafts and singing.
The school is a wholly independent school and as such the teachers work colleaguially out of a republican image, meeting regularly to discuss the children's progress, engage in study and research.
In this way, the teachers are empowered to develop their capacity to research their own situations and evolve their own solutions according to the specific needs of the children in their care.
Often visiting specialists, including medical professionals, work with the teachers to further their knowledge and experience of the education, observe and offer observations and suggestions where appropriate for the wellbeing of the children.
Classes are small and individual attention can be given where needed.
Assessment is age appropriate and well supported through the class teacher's observation of and knowledge of the children and a close relationship between teacher and parents; this being one of the great advantages of a class teacher remaining with the same group of children for their eight year journey through primary and intermediate.
Supporting the child’s own class teacher, are the specialist teachers who teach the children age appropriately, weekly or through blocks of lessons. Currently the subjects taught by specialist teachers who are permanent staff members include Art, Eurythmy, Handwork, Speech, Latin and Greek. Music, Circus Skills, Woodwork and other specialist subjects are currently taught in block lessons, age appropriately, by visiting teachers.
Education Review Office (ERO) Report