DOES STEINER EDUCATION SUIT ALL CHILDREN?
In Steiner schools the teacher meets the child and their parents on more than one occasion before starting. This accomplishes a connection and deep understanding of the child's capacity and will help shed light onto what your goals and expectations of a Steiner education may be. The educator creates what is referred to as a "living curriculum", that is, a curriculum structured around the individual and group needs, offering a daily program that engages the child's attention, imagination and participation with excitement and joy. It is because of this that Steiner education is suitable for a wide variety of children.
The children who attend our Steiner school can expect insightful teachers, a wonderful curriculum delivery that entices self-motivated learners and a warm and friendly environment.
The success of a student is greatly enhanced by the confidence and support of parents/carers who have a good understanding of our schools aims and trust in the Steiner education.
WHY DOES THE TEACHER STAY WITH ONE CLASS COHORT FOR THE ENTIRE JOURNEY OF THEIR PRIMARY YEARS?
Deepening student/teacher relationships are essential when cultivating a learning environment. Students with consistency in their classroom environment during these critical years of learning have an evident advantage in their social, emotional and cognitive engagement at school as time and energy is spent in cultivating trust through many interactions.
This long-term relationship also offers a real-world experience of learning to be a committed member of society even during times when relationships ebb and flow between harmonious and engaged to more mellow and formal. From year to year, lesson-to-lesson the ability of a teacher to weave social elements into the classroom structure according to the needs of the children is a masterful and very beneficial experience for all. Each class receives instruction from specialists teachers throughout their week, as students move up in their primary years more instruction is shared and the class is offered many opportunities for exposure to other teachers, teaching styles and opportunities for growth outside the realm of their class teacher.
HOW IS READING TAUGHT?
Teaching and learning in all subjects in Steiner schools are based on the importance of meeting the child in a “three-fold” way. By this we mean “head, heart and hands” (also; intellectually, imaginatively and practically). By laying the foundations of literacy in a meaningful way, without abstraction students may take longer to read and write but the outcome is often very special, unique, long lasting in its impression and academically very sound after the students have accomplished their milestones.
If we present literacy and reading through creative capacities we can weave the hearts and minds of the students and inspire their joy for learning and a genuine ownership. Often we suggest to parents that staying committed to the pace of learning in grades one - three will show the fruits and outcomes of the seeds sewn for literacy and reading success, students are usually on par with their peers if not above in many aspects of age appropriate literacy by the end of class three.
WHY DO STEINER SCHOOLS SUGGEST LIMITATIONS ON SCREEN-TIME?
The philosophy of learning that we at CSS are so deeply and lovingly cultivating prioritises human development fore mostly. Therefore we believe that when students have accomplished a level of maturity and practice with their own capacities, they’re able to easily master technological tools with greater and more wholesome purpose. Introduced too early, these powerful tools can undermine important learning processes, stifle creative potential, limit cognitive growth and interfere with the quality of classroom engagement and compromise learning of a Steiner classroom setting. The learning process doesn’t end at school and we believe the pedagogical content needs adequate reflection and rest for children to be able to absorb it. Screen-free time at home provides a more neurologically restful environment for working memory refreshment and consolidation. Families and teachers continuously report that students demonstrate greater original, imaginative thought, empathetic social skills and deeper learning when screen-free environments are the norm.
HOW DO STEINER SCHOOLS ADDRESS DISCIPLINE IN THE CLASSROOM?
Children are people and people fluctuate between equilibrium and dis-equilibrium.
Discipline is handled differently at different ages. With the little child, it can usually be handled by example or by structuring space and time in an orderly rhythmic way with re-direction and sometimes saying “no” when necessary. Up until about the age of fourteen, the child finds its order and discipline in a person, an authority figure or model. While the little child imitates this adult, the middle-aged child (from 7 – 14) wants to love and respect the adult it depends on. This age expects the adult to be trustworthy and fair, as well as loving. Therefore we like to think that discipline is a combined effort, home and school should reflect the expectations of each other and consistency will help hold a child in their understanding of appropriate boundaries at school and evidently in the community.
ARE STEINER SCHOOLS RELIGIOUS?
Steiner schools present content to their classes depending on the developmental stage of the children, Rudolf Steiner recommended approaching history in an integrated way, one that develops gratitude, reverence and love for the world. Each grade hears the tales and history of times foregone and stories of the great triumphs and tragedies of Human history. In doing this, the curriculum passes through civilisations and times that are imbued with religious notions, sometimes the teachings of Buddha, Christ, Moses and Zarathustra. And while Steiner schools are non-sectarian and we visit these times and places as a historical tool, as an exploration into the developmental phases of humanity, we therefore like to leave the religious views and beliefs strictly to the family.
HOW IS DIFFERENTIATION ADDRESSED IN A STEINER CLASSROOM?
Differentiation in a Steiner classroom is intrinsic to the approach and philosophy; the development of student/teacher/family relationship over an extended period (class cycle) offers the teacher an opportunity to know each child and their needs very well. Teacher’s work to present content aligned to the needs of their class, while keeping in mind each child’s needs a teacher can create learning expectations for specific children in focus areas. Where remedial work is needed for a child, consultation, planning with parents/caregivers is part of the process and with a support team children are supported through any academic challenges.
Through the Steiner philosophy we balance all our approaches with curative measures, ensuring that a healthy social, emotional and cognitive life is fostered for children within our care.
WHEN TRANSFERRING TO A REGULAR SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT, HOW DO STEINER STUDENTS FARE?
Broadly speaking, students in a Steiner school experience success if/when they transition to a non-Steiner school setting. Alongside their academic abilities, students at a Steiner school embody a wealth of social experiences and maturity, in most cases these students are able to assimilate into educational and social settings regardless of academic level of achievement or differentiation of learning styles.One of the many benefits of having a continuous teacher is that any transition into another school can be overseen with great care, depth and a strong understanding of the child’s academic, social and emotional development.
WHAT TRAINING IS NEEDED TO BECOME A STEINER TEACHER?
At CSS we believe Steiner Teaching is more than just a profession in academic delivery, it’s a vocation that has important responsibilities. Deep and concise knowledge of philosophy and practice are important factors to success of teaching and learning. Due to the expertise needed we invest in teachers who have accredited qualifications, in Australia this is a two-year full-time study load, accomplishing an advanced Diploma in Steiner Education. Steiner training in itself is a very in-depth and contemporary methodology of teaching and learning. Teachers also undertake the state education training needed to become a qualified schoolteacher in Australia, at a bachelor level. This means that teachers are four-year trained and have a broad educational perspective in both Steiner education and the current climate of education nationwide.