Mount Barker Waldorf School’s highest endeavour is to provide a transforming education which engenders a capacity for free ethical action, through clarity of thinking, refinement of feeling and strength of will.
Our school firmly bases its education on the body of work given by Rudolf Steiner. We seek dialogue beyond our school with educators and schools with both similar and different vision that encourages in us a healthy perspective on our work.
For our students, we work within the School’s vision to:
*enable them to become balanced adult individuals, inspired with a love of learning, a morality which strives for goodness and truth and an appreciation of beauty.
*inspire a sense of wonder and a healthy, positive connection to the world, arising from a knowledge of and responsibility toward themselves, each other and the environment.
*impart the knowledge, skills and means to work competently in the world and the values which will enable them to find meaning and purpose in their lives.
As teachers, we work within the school’s vision to:
*continually deepen our understanding of the developmental changes of the child, as described by Rudolf Steiner and strive to provide learning experiences consistent with those changes.
*strive to develop an imaginative sense for how we work with the children.
*meet the challenge of the individual child and the challenge of the times with an ever-unfolding curriculum and methodology of education.
*allow the individual destiny of each child to develop and flourish in an inclusive culture that exemplifies the connectedness of all things in the world.
*imbue all aspects of the curriculum with artistic content to engender aesthetic sensibilities which form the basis of ethical action.
*acknowledge the necessity for, and cultivate, a healthy collaboration between parents and teachers in the education of the child.
PLAYGROUP AND KINDERGARTEN
(up to 7 yrs)
Learning through imitation and play
Playgroup enables a gentle introduction to life outside of the home providing a place for children and parents to learn, grow and develop together. It supports their relationship to the environment and each other in a rhythmical and interactive way. It is an opportunity for social interaction, both for parents and children and facilitates the relationship with the natural world around us through life activities.
Playgroup sessions, which are attended by both child and parent, are available for children up to 5 years.
The Waldorf/Steiner Kindergarten provides an environment where natural beauty and reverence for life abounds. At this age, children learn to know the world through doing. They use imitation and creative play to master skills in movement, communication (verbal and non-verbal) and social interaction. The Kindergarten teacher offers a stable and harmonious routine within a warm, secure, homely environment, providing a programme which supports social and physical development and resilience through constructive activity, and exploration of the world through the senses.
A kindergarten session may include music, singing, storytelling, puppetry, cooking, dancing, painting, modelling and drawing. Self- initiated creative play occurs both inside and within enclosed kindergarten grounds which incorporate a beautiful bush garden, a hen coop, a cubby house and areas for play and exploration, such as climbing, balancing, sand and water play.
The range of activities offered through the kindergarten foster practical experience of concepts and skills foundational to later development of literacy and numeracy as well as life skills for learning. Some children will naturally begin to develop reading and maths skills earlier than others, but the kindergarten environment enables all children to develop these skills at their own pace, without formal intervention, and with the emphasis remaining on allowing the imagination to flourish through physical interaction with the environment.
Throughout the two years of the kindergarten programme, children are supported to make the step from home into the wider community, in a warm, healthy and supportive way. It is a place where children are allowed to live out their childhood.
Learning through engagement, imagination and creativity.
In the primary school, imagination is viewed as a powerful cognitive tool. Children’s learning is inspired and engaged through the imaginative and artistic presentation of lessons. An environment of visual and aural beauty is provided to support learning. Formal teaching of literacy and numeracy skills begins in the year that children turn seven. Because of the strong foundation of informal conceptual learning laid in the Kindergarten years, children generally master literacy and numeracy skills with greater speed and ease.
Thinking, feeling and doing are all incorporated into the learning process, nurturing a capacity for creative and innovative thinking, problem solving, and a gradually unfolding ability to make independent judgements.
The subject matter and teaching methodology employed in the primary school curriculum is designed to meet the developmental needs of children as these capacities develop.
The primary school curriculum includes:
• English based on world literature, myths,
• History that is chronological and inclusive of
the world's great civilizations
• Science such as geography, astronomy,
meteorology, physical and life sciences
• Mathematics that develops competence in
arithmetic, algebra and geometry
• Foreign languages, physical education,
gardening and outdoor education
• The Arts including music, drawing, painting,
modelling, drama, Eurythmy (a form of
movement) and drawing.
• Technical Studies and handwork such as
knitting, sewing, crochet, weaving, felting,
woodworking, mosaic and Japanese origami.
The Class Teacher journeys with their class through the seven years of primary school, while specialist teachers teach some subjects, such as languages, music, Eurythmy and handwork, the Class Teacher is the primary source of learning. The strength and stability of the relationship that can potentially be formed over these seven years enhances the learning experience, through the teacher’s sound grasp of each individual child’s specific needs. A strong sense of social cohesion is also fostered within the class.
HIGH SCHOOL (14+ YEARS)
Learning through inspiration and the search for truth.
High school classes are supported by a Class Guardian, who provides a pastoral care role - as advocate, guide and mentor - supporting the needs of the student. At this level, students are taught by a range of specialist teachers as they are challenged to awaken their capacity for discernment and independent judgement.
The curriculum, building on and extending the subjects covered in the primary school, unfolds a rich panorama of world and life through the sciences, arts and humanities.
While the high school curriculum is highly academic, the curriculum continues to include the balance of the creative and practical subjects.
The high school curriculum includes:
• English - writing skills and literature
(including ‘the classics’)
• History and Geography (the knowledge of
• Science - physics, biology, chemistry,
• The Arts - illustration, painting, modelling
and sculpture, drama, music - orchestra,
choir and eurythmy
• Design and Technology - woodwork,
metalwork, bookbinding, machine sewing
• Languages other than English - Japanese
• Physical Education - games, sports,
• Outdoor Education - camps programme