"The need for imagination, a sense of truth and a feeling of responsibility – these are the three forces which are the very nerve of education." Rudolph Steiner
Rudolf Steiner’s Philosophy of Education
Child Development – the stages of growth and age-appropriate education
The growing Human Being: Stages of Development
One of Rudolf Steiner’s most powerful and important insights was that a human child passes through separate and distinct stages of development, marked by noticeable changes. Parents and teachers had long observed these changes, but it was Rudolf Steiner who first pointed out what they indicated – that the full and complex consciousness of the adult human being does not arrive all at once at birth, but grows gradually, in stages.
Education to suit development
Steiner curriculum is thus designed to work with the child through these stages of development as follows:
+ Early Childhood (0-7) - Realm of willing - educate the body intelligence through senses.
+ Middle childhood (7-14) - Realm of feeling - educate the emotional intelligence through feeling
+ Adolescence (14-18) - Realm of abstract thinking - educate the mind.
Out of Steiner’s insights about the human being, he offered an education method emphasizing balanced development of Hands, Heart & Head. Education to suit, rather than force these developmental phases, works with children and their development and not against it.
The Steiner curriculum is designed to be responsive to the various phases of child development. The relationship between student and teacher is, likewise, recognized to be both crucial and changing throughout the course of childhood and early adolescence. The total Steiner curriculum has been likened to an ascending spiral: subjects are revisited several times, but each new exposure affords greater depth and new insights.
A unique aspect of the Steiner school is also the Class Teacher Period, which runs for a period of 7-8 years, where one Class Teacher takes a group of children through from Class 1 – 8. This continuity of relationship places the responsibility on the teacher to watch a student over a long period of time and ensure their continued progress over that period. It allows a long-term student-teacher relationship, wherein, the unfolding of a child’s individual talents and potential can be observed by the teacher.
At Bangalore Steiner School, we follow this age-appropriate curriculum, adapted for the Indian context, for the Class Teacher period of Grade 1-8. Each academic subject like English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Hindi, Kannada etc. is taught with a creative & artistic approach in a block of 3-4 weeks to facilitate in-depth learning. The ‘Main Lesson’, for the first 2 hours of the day, covers every aspect of the academic subject through a teaching methodology that uses movement, art, music and story along with reading and writing. Children’s Main Lesson book then becomes their ‘text book’ for future reference.
The culture of the land and natural materials available in the immediate environment are emphasized to make the learning process relevant and engaging for the child. Local festivals provide a rhythm and community context to the school year. There is outdoor free play as well as organized games. Nature walks enable them to see the changes in the seasons. Gestures and body movements express the sounds of the spoken language and is a part of the morning circle. Movement, games and Eurythmy have a great importance in the curriculum. In addition to the subjects described, Gardening and Swimming are also part of the weekly rhythm. Songs in Indian languages and Indian Folk dance are also taught, usually in relation to the festival celebrations each term.
|The Rhythm of the day|
|+||08.30-08.45||Free Play for children / Teachers’ circle|
|+||08.45-14.45||School work including a 2-hour Main Lesson,
2 Subject lessons, Lunch and Activity time
|+||14.45-15.00||Snack Time & Free Play|