We are committed to developing an educational journey based on the principles of Rudolf Steiner, which will further the growth and nourishment of students and our entire community. Our Mission & Essential Purpose. To educate our children to:
Nurture and encourage a strong sense of self and sense of responsibility towards the world
Please give them the foundation to realize their destiny
Be the best adults they can be and do what they need to meet the challenges of the future.
To provide for:
Social, academic, emotional, and physical education of the children
Rounded holistic development of the children – our basis for this is the picture of development given to us by Rudolf Steiner and elaborated in Steiner schools around the world since his time
Foster a life-long love of and a learning capacity.
Our purpose is to:
Provide education of the whole child
Support development of healthy, individual, imaginative, creative, and socially responsible children and adults
Nurture families and community.
Values are the core of the school's being. They tell the "how" of what we do and underpin our policies, processes, and vision for the future. Our values also determine how we interact with each other and the broader community and environment.
We value the developmental picture of human consciousness given as a basis for this education by Rudolf Steiner. We believe children need to play, be part of nature, and enjoy a time free from childhood's early commercialization. We understand that a healthy childhood provides the foundation for ongoing well being in later life.
Steiner Playgroups aim to develop a sanctuary for safe play for children and an oasis of peace, friendship, and healthy parents' activity.
Our playgroup sessions are filled with music, movement, verse, and song. Playgroup is essentially a family experience. It provides an opportunity for parents to meet and for children to play alongside and experience being in other children's presence. The environment is prepared to meet the child's nature and needs. We offer various playgroup sessions: usually, they are in the morning between 9:30 am, and 11:30 am.
Our Playgroup offers songs, stories, natural materials, and simple toys to encourage the child's imagination. The rhythm of active and quiet play is carefully planned to create a safe and joyous environment that is enriching and nourishing.
"Our highest endeavor must be to develop free humans beings, who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives." Rudolph Steiner
In the "heart of childhood" years, each child develops his life of feelings. For this stage, Rudolf Steiner asked teachers above all to work as artists not to teach art as a subject, but to bring into the classroom all the living imagery, color, and poetry they are capable of. Classroom practice, too, should have a living organic balance between listening, speaking, and doing, between humor and seriousness, impulse and patience, taking in, transforming, and giving out.
One of the most notable ways in which the Steiner school approach to education differs from others is the response of the Curriculum to the various phases in child development. Preceding years at the Ballarat Steiner School focus on delivering high quality and rich educational experience to children. We provide a hands-on artistic approach in the teaching of literacy and numeracy. In the preceding years, developing imaginative capacities enables us to engage with academic material and forms the foundation for future creativity, problem-solving, and innovation. The timing of curriculum content and lessons is carefully matched to the children's developmental and emotional needs. The capacity to appreciate the beauty in the world is developed.
The Curriculum is designed to harmonize with the particular stage of development that the child has reached while affording a rich context to work on practical and academic skills. In this way, the development of the life of feeling is not divorced from practical learning, and the Curriculum is both integrated and genuinely child-centered.
Historically the human being drew pictures before reading and before the use of abstract symbols. There is a pictorial introduction to the alphabet, writing, reading, spelling, poetry, and drama in classes one to three.
Speech is a crucial element and precedes writing as a foundation for reading. Many aspects of schooling – form drawing, craft, foreign language, eurythmy, etc. help foster children's development for reading. The children learn the letterforms through stories and pictures given by their teachers. In our foundation years, speech and language are developed extensively through many mediums. This begins in Playgroup where they learn short poems and rhymes, listen to short stories and continue in Kindergarten and Prep, where they experience more prolonged and more complicated rhymes, songs, and stories. All this builds the foundations for reading and writing. By the time the children are in Class One, they are more than ready to explore the world of reading and writing, and all the foundation stones have been set.
In the Curriculum, writing precedes reading and is developed out of the creative experience of drawing or painting letters. The children write words and read their writing before working with printed literature.
We aim through the classes to share the finest literature with the students, appropriate to their age. Stories are told to each class, and the children are also read to. Our reading approach, which includes daily individual reading, is full of imagery, content, and the richness of language, which develops an appreciation of literature in the students.
The children's imaginative life and grasp of the language are nourished by hearing and re-telling, acting, and illustrating stories. For the 6-7-year-olds, the teacher may draw mainly on fairy tales, moving on at eight years old to fables and legends, to Old Testament stories at nine years old. The Norse stories and sagas follow at 10, Greek myths and legends at 11, and the Roman and Indian Empires at 12. In using a sequence of this kind through different qualities of imaginative experience, the teacher prepares the way for history.
Mathematics is experiential and creative. An understanding of numbers is built based on concrete, real-life tasks. Learning the concepts of fractions, for example, through the dividing of a cake to share - estimating and measuring. Counting aloud, chanting tables, musical rhythms, and skipping games all enhance and deepen the child's understanding and knowledge of numbers and systems. The four processes are introduced through stories and explored through art in such a way as to stimulate imagination and creativity as well as understanding.
Preceding years at Ballarat Steiner School concentrate on a hands-on approach to life. In modeling, painting, cooking, woodwork, gardening, or drawing, the children are happily and earnestly engaged in a rich life experience. Children nourished with fantasy and opportunity for artistic expression will have the capacities needed to meet their day's technological and social challenges.
The Australian Steiner Curriculum framework was developed in response to the Federal Government's proposal to create a mandatory Australian Curriculum for all schools. As Steiner education is internationally recognized, Steiner Education Australia was allowed to put forward an alternative curriculum framework for recognition to protect the integrity of Steiner education philosophy and pedagogy. The documents were developed from Steiner's indications to support schools and teachers and for submission to government authorities, highlighting the mandatory content, knowledge, and skills of the Australian Curriculum in a Steiner rich context. The Curriculum that is adhered to in our school was developed by Steiner Education Australia and accepted and recognized by ACARA (Australian Curriculum and Regulation Authority). It aligns with the National Curriculum and provides compliance with the VRQA (Victorian Regulatory and Qualifications Authority) requirements.
The primary lesson approach begins in Class One and extends through all classes until the school's end. It takes place first thing in the morning for 1-2hours, while the children are fresh. In it, such subjects as mathematics, English, geography, science, and history are presented imaginatively to engage the students' whole-hearted participation: physically, cognitively, and emotionally, incorporating movement, music, modeling, painting, and drawing, along with traditional skills. Each main lesson usually lasts three weeks and then is left to rest. This alternation of subject matter provides for maximum variety, concentration, and understanding. The breathing space in between-the forgetting-is part of the "digestion" of education. The class teacher taught the main lesson, who leads the students, one year after another, building on past lessons and laying the foundation for future studies. Following the main lesson, and throughout the day, subjects such as French, music, craft, painting, eurythmy, form drawing, and ongoing mathematics, reading, and grammar are provided.