Little Yarra Steiner School: Artisan’s Week

Little Yarra Steiner School

Hands on Learning in the Artisan’s Week

In recent years, our school has been putting much time, thought and effort into developing an innovative program that we call the ‘Outdoor Classroom’. This concept more broadly extends to all those experiences that students engage in outside of the traditional picture of learning that takes place seated indoors at a desk.

Utilising the natural environment and materials in activities that engage the hands and limbs as a pathway or mechanism for learning has been gaining increasing focus and acclaim both in Australia and internationally. It is also an indispensable element of our educational approach that seeks to address the whole human being, rather than to simply educate the intellect.

Our school already has a proud tradition of working in this way, with Julie Sale’s Tobias programme having successfully supported students who learn differently for quite some years now. Her revegetation work spanning our whole school property over the years have also left a tremendous legacy for future students.

More recently, our high school students have made use of our environmentally significant wetlands in their VCE study of Biology and Environmental Science.
John Elliott has brought our younger children from Kindergarten to Class 4 developmentally invaluable experiences through whittling and shaping wood that stimulate the fine motor skills and develop the will.

We also have an excellent outdoor education programme in place from Class 3 onwards, and many opportunities for children to access the farm and food gardens in the capable hands of our wonderful Gardening teacher, Claire.

Our Class 7 and 8 students are currently experiencing our school’s annual Artisan’s Week, in which each child selects a workshop that they will remain immersed in for the duration of the week. We are indebted to both our staff and visiting artisans for sharing their time, knowledge and skills. Many thanks to: Kate Bills (bookbinding), Lucy Pierce (clay), Tom Neill (green woodworking), Yvette Simpson and Claire Gilbert (cooking), Tom Hungerford (forging) and Rachel Mager (fibre and fleece).

– John Stewart, Principal