A Broad Understanding of the World
Each morning the children start with the Main Lesson (first two hours in the Lower School and first 1 and a half hours in the Upper School). Unique to Steiner Schools, Main Lessons are themed teaching blocks that are studied in Classes 1 through 12. The Main Lessons approach allows each academic subject to receive special focus for four to six weeks during the course of the year. Subject matter is linked to the phases of child development and are explored using a variety of approaches, such as poetry, drawing, clay modelling and drama. This way of teaching motivates and inspires a love of learning, whilst enabling our pupils to develop a broader and deeper understanding of the topic.
Subjects that require regular repetition are taught in shorter lessons and occupy the latter part of the morning and the afternoon. These Subjects Lessons such as foreign languages, music, eurythmy, handwork and gym are taught by other specially trained teachers. Throughout the curriculum, there is coordination and harmony between the subject material of the Main Lesson block and the subject lessons.
Shifting Emphasis with Age
The curriculum in the Early Years is primarily play-based. In the early Lower School years the emphasis shifts to vocal and pictorial learning. The children being immersed in the rhythm and rhyme of language, including verse, song, and stories. There is a strong emphasis colourful and carefully illustrated workbooks. These activities in the Lower school are intended to form a firm foundation for reading and writing which is introduced later than in most mainstream schools. formal tuition in information technology is intentionally only introduced in Class 8, at which point the children have a foundation to apply themselves imaginatively to digital technology; using it as a creative tool rather than a substitute genuine creativity.
Narrative themes Across the Curriculum
Subjects unfold sequentially according to child development from Classes 1 through 12 and support a child’s journey of self-discovery and learning about the world. For example, children initially experience the archetypal world of fairy tales. This leads on to creation stories from different cultures, and the myths of ancient civilisations. Myth leads on to history which in turn progresses modern history and the present day. This recapitulation of the journey that humanity itself has evolved along is deeply reassuring for the developing child fostering a sense of belonging within a wider human context. The introduction of scientific observation on the other hand, develops the capacity of objectivity, rigorous cognitive application and formal causal thinking. The significance of rhythm, proportion and composition is developed through form-drawing, geometry, visual arts.
If you are seeking even more information you can read our Prospectus from 2014, while written a few years ago it brings to life many of these aspects.
“The curriculum is outstanding, particularly in the breadth and depth of subjects which are studied throughout the school. Pupils enjoy coming to school and grow into articulate, confident young people, who say that they feel safe, secure and happy.“Michael Hall School Inspection Service Report, October 2018