The children enter Class One in the year they turn seven. All academic work is taught in an artistic and holistic way. In Class One for example the children learn the alphabet through the images that arise from traditional fairytales. The story is told, the images are drawn out of the story and the children discover in the images the letters of the alphabet. For example, a mountain will unfold into the letter M, or through the image of a valley they discover the letter V. They paint the letters or draw them, model or sew them. In Class Five the children experience through drama, what it was like to be a citizen of Athens debating in the forum. In Class Six Astronomy, the children paint the different galaxies or dramatically recreate the orbit of the planets around the sun. Academic learning is rich and never dry or abstract; rather it is a living, evolving, creative process.
The children are also given a grounding in practical skills. They are involved in gardening and cooking, furniture making and building, farming, looking after animals and maintaining the school grounds. In craft lessons they make things they will need to use in their daily school life, like recorder bags, book bags and pencil cases. We undertake these activities with the aim to produce well-rounded, capable and practical adults.
All children are involved in music and the arts. They may be involved in choir, singing groups, recorder ensembles or orchestra. From Class One the children all learn recorder and in Class Three they participate in violin or cello lessons. The children are immersed in dramatic arts activities throughout their schooling and each class performs a play each year.
The sports programme in our school is often linked to other work spheres. In Class Five for example the children study Ancient India and China. During these blocks the focus of the physical education lessons may be Yoga and Tai Chi. When Ancient Greece is being studied, athletics is offered and this culminates in the children hosting and competing in a classical Olympic Games. Australian history might be linked with horse-riding or orienteering and swimming. Co-operative games and team sports are also a strong focus of the sport’s programme. Teamwork, individual effort and mate-ship are highlighted rather than the competitive aspects of sporting achievement
The school year is enriched with the celebration of various festivals. The children prepare for these and the excitement mounts as the day approaches. At Cairns Hinterland Steiner School, we celebrate the Michaelmas festival, a mid-winter Festival of Lights, music days and an annual high school drama performance, an Open Day and an annual Bush dance.
The Class Teacher
One of the cornerstones of Steiner Education is that, wherever possible, one teacher journeys with the children through the seven years of their primary school education. We believe that a deep understanding of and a meaningful relationship with each child can be developed through this journey. In a Steiner school the path to knowledge occurs through the child’s relationship with the teacher as a loving authority. Over seven years the children and the teacher develop a very deep relationship that allows the children to feel a strong sense of security, bringing stability during the periods of turmoil that occur along the path of childhood development.
All the children participate in specialist lessons, where they learn to relate to a variety of other teachers and adults, however, it is the Class Teacher that is the central figure throughout each child’s schooling. The Class Teacher also endeavours to establish strong bonds with the children’s families, so that each child’s needs may be supported by the two spheres of home and school working together in harmony and support of one another.