What is Steiner Education?

Steiner schools educate the whole young person so they are academically prepared for a successful career, while at the same time enabled to grow into an adult ready to build a meaningful life of character and contribution. Our academic program is framed and delivered in a manner that supports the physical and emotional health of our students, ensuring that wellbeing is at the core of all that Steiner schools do. Steiner schools aim to build young people of distinction who can contribute positively to Australian and global society.

Our highest endeavour is to produce young men and women who out of themselves are able to find meaning and direction in their own lives.

The Core Purpose of a Steiner School

Wellbeing is based on educating the whole person: an academic curriculum that gives substance to educating the heart and the hands as well as the head. In addition to the academic program, students are challenged to grow in multiple ways through: * the creative arts (Aesthetics), they grow in their inner creative expression, * soft and hard crafts (Artisan), they are educated to be practical and technical, *sport and Outdoor Education (Active Wilderness), they are stretched to be strong, resilient and have grit, * relationship experiences (Altruistic), they learn to live for and with others. In this age of increasing technological intrusion into our very humanness, the goal is to educate our students to find all that is within them, to be full and successful human beings.

There is more in us than we know.

Ways of Learning

We understand that children grow into adult life through a series of meaningful stages, with each stage needing to be nurtured and encouraged to flourish as a foundation for a balanced adult life. Steiner schools deliver all the mandated curriculum outcomes required for a successful education: what  differs is our vision of the growing young person and their ways of learning at different stages. Our delivery of the curriculum is shaped by our vision of these fundamental stages.

Our characteristic ways of learning change as we mature: the young child learns predominantly through play; for the primary school child, imagination is a doorway to conceptual understanding; the adolescent grows into adult understanding though gradual development of causal thinking. An education that respects and enables each stage to flourish can produce balanced and creative adults.

Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.

Early Childhood:
Play as Learning

Play is the work of childhood” 

We are only fully a human being when we play

Our first form of learning is in early childhood when we still have a sense of being at one with the world. We learn about the world by imitating what we see, and we process our learning through play. As Piaget put it, play is the work of childhood.

Our playgroups, preschools and Kindergartens offer a warm and nurturing environment of rhythm, stories, craft and self-directed, creative play which is the “heart” of childhood, and every child’s right to live out. When playing, the child turns one thing into another (a chair becomes a fire engine or a space ship) and the world becomes open to infinite possibilities. If fostered in a rich learning environment in early childhood, self directed play can open a door to lifelong creativity.

Academic learning is informally embedded in daily activities: the child lives in a rich aural environment of spoken language and stories, songs, verses and action rhymes that stimulate phonemic awareness. Numeracy is embedded is daily actions involving counting, sharing, distributing and simple calculating. Hand crafts build fine motor control which is the basis of pencil grip for writing, while movement activities build gross motor control which is the basis for body geography and directionality (concepts about print). After a natural childhood, these implicit  learnings are then ready to flourish explicitly in the primary years.

Primary School:
Imagination as the Gateway to Academic Learning

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.

In primary school, the child’s inner cognitive development as they enter Year 1 opens new pathways for formal, explicit instruction. Literacy, numeracy and all academic subjects are initially presented through the imagination (visual learning) which is a bridge that makes deep conceptual understanding easier for children of this age. Through drawing and painting, music, theatre and practical arts, the curriculum is delivered is a child-friendly, human-centred manner that makes learning a joy.

Our primary schools deliver the full academic curriculum via the core approach of artistic presentation of material in classrooms that are both academically challenging and warm, supportive learning environments.

A rich imaginative education awakens curiosity and wonder, and a sense of the “beautiful” in life. 

High School:
Causal (Critical) Thinking

The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.

The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.

As the child grows through the primary school, thinking becomes more sophisticated and complex, leading to causal reasoning as adolescence approaches. Piaget named this new stage as a move from the “concrete operations” of the younger child to “formal operations” of the adolescent: manifesting on average around the age of 11, the young person now sees causal connections of how one thing “causes” another which is the basis for critical thinking.

In secondary school, we develop students’ awakening capacity for discernment by fostering initiative and independent, flexible thinking. The young person goes through a series of stages in their awakening intellect through high school: in each of their academic subjects they build capacity for deep analysis and finally integration and synthesis. Final year projects challenge students to be independent thinkers capable of manifesting ideas in real life practical initiatives which can be communicated to an audience, and are the skills of the entrepreneur.

Students can graduate from this rounded education with creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills: all the attributes of a 21st century education. They can have in addition, all the attributes of a warm, engaged human being, able to fulfil their purpose and make a meaningful life.