Core Principles for Australian Steiner Schools 2021

1.  THE RECOGNITION OF THE UNFOLDING SPIRIT OF EACH INDIVIDUAL INFORMS ALL ASPECTS OF THE SCHOOL.

 Steiner/Waldorf schools engage with contemporary insights emerging from Rudolf Steiner’s indications about the unfolding human individuality.

One core insight is that the individual is a threefold being of body, soul, and spirit.

Steiner education seeks to enliven the life of feeling and thinking as well as physical, social, artistic, and spiritual capacities.

As the individual evolves, they are able to impart meaning and purpose to their lives and creatively fulfil their unique potential.

2.  STEINER/WALDORF EDUCATION FOSTERS SOCIAL RENEWAL BY CULTIVATING INDIVIDUALS WHO SERVE AN ETHICAL WORLD FUTURE.

 Steiner education is a world movement which promotes a spirit of universal endeavour and cooperation among all nations, cultures and identity groups.

The schools strive to develop each individual’s potential as a resilient, ethical human being who cares for the environment and has reverence for all life.

Students learn from life and are enabled to contribute towards a world ethos upholding cultural diversity, equality of rights and economic sustainability.

3.  ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSIGHTS INTO CHILD DEVELOPMENT GUIDE THE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM AND PRACTICE.

 Steiner/Waldorf schools work with three developmental phases during which the physical, soul and spiritual aspects progressively integrate.

Each phase has characteristic physical dimensions as well as a metamorphosis of capacities of will, feeling and thinking.

The educational program is inspired by this living understanding and the collegial commitment to the role of teaching as an art in itself.

Aspects of Core Methodology

  • Direct experience informs the development of living concepts, particularly as part of the phenomenological approach to scientific
  • Teachers give an overview of the whole, then move to the
  • Early childhood teachers enact play-based learning, the class teachers extend learning artistically and imaginatively and the secondary teachers cultivate aesthetic and ethical
  • Goodness, Beauty and Truth are ideals that are embedded within the
  • Imagination and creativity are nurtured through music, the arts and
  • Rhythm and repetition applied within the day, week and year are enhanced by a creative breathing dynamic within
  • A focus on development of healthy life habits
  • Main lesson structure is employed over several weeks to facilitate deep
  • Observation is a key foundation for
  • Individual ‘Child Study’ is a collegiate form of supporting each
  • Being in Nature and using natural materials are valued

Staff creatively strive towards ongoing deepening of Steiner pedagogy

4.  STEINER/WALDORF SCHOOLS SUPPORT CREATIVE FREEDOM TO TEACH WITHIN THE SHARED AGREEMENTS OF THE SCHOOLS’ COLLEGIATE.

 The collegiate of teachers works collaboratively to develop, refine, and review the delivery of the educational program as the insights of the pedagogy are purposefully adapted to time and place.

Individual teachers work perceptively and creatively with curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment.

The teachers’ spiritually reflective freedom guides their responsibility to each student, the class as a whole, and the school community.

5.  THE CONSCIOUS ESTABLISHMENT OF HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS FOSTERS INDIVIDUAL AND COMMUNITY HEALTH.

 The teacher’s task is to develop a deep interest in the children, their colleagues, the school community and the world.

Enduring relationships between students and teachers and among the students themselves are at the heart of Steiner/Waldorf education.

The teacher’s task is to strive with openness and fresh perspectives with each student and school community member.

These relationships deepen and stabilise when they are cultivated over multiple years.

Healthy relationships and communication with parents and colleagues, local communities and Indigenous cultures are encouraged for the well-being of the school.

6.  SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT FOR SUSTAINING PROFESSIONAL GROWTH IS AN ONGOING ACTIVITY FOR THE COLLEGIATE OF TEACHERS AND STAFF AND IS SUPPORTED BY THE BOARD.

 School staff cultivate their professional learning, including inner personal and spiritual development, drawing on anthroposophical and other relevant contemporary study and research.

The shared agreements within the faculty around educational study, artistic activity, mentoring, research and reflective practice, are a source of insight and renewal which further personal and professional growth in service to the students.

This collaboration extends to professional sharing among teachers and staff from all schools.

The Board supports the provision of professional learning for staff. The Board also undertakes its own professional learning to maintain its alignment with the school ethos and vision.

7.  COLLABORATION AND SHARED RESPONSIBILITY PROVIDE THE FOUNDATIONS OF  SCHOOL LEADERSHIP AND GOVERNANCE.

 While Australian Steiner/Waldorf schools are linked through an association of schools and their recognised Steiner Curriculum Framework, the governance, administration and decision-making processes of each school are independent.

Schools cultivate a shared anthroposophical understanding of organisational principles for guiding the school in the following areas:

  1. The educational program is adapted by the collegiate of teachers to meet the needs of their school community in consultation with the pedagogical leadership of the school.
  2. Administrative activities serve the educational program and its
  3. The Board has a guardianship role to support the mission and vision of the school, working strategically to enable the school’s legal and financial health. Well-informed and effective governance is structured and implemented in a manner that cultivates collaboration among the organisational functions and

Steiner/ Waldorf Education 

The first Steiner/Waldorf School was founded by Rudohttp Steiner for children of factory employees in Stuttgart (Germany) in 1919.

The Steiner/Waldorf school movement is a highly respected international educational movement with over 1020 schools in over 65 countries and nearly 2000 Steiner Waldorf early childhood centres. Steiner education is future-orientated, and the holistic style underpinning this unique pedagogy supports the healthy well-being of children around the world.

Steiner education is an integrated and holistic education, designed to provide for the balanced development of human intellectual and cognitive faculties, artistic and imaginative capacities and practical life skills. The contribution of Steiner education is recognised by national and international bodies.

Integrated curriculum

The main lessons incorporate different learning styles and disciplines, with the aim of balancing cognitive, aesthetic and experiential learning and embedding values. Specialist subject lessons in the arts, languages and practical crafts, and Practice Lessons which build on literacy and numeracy skills, and other aspects of the content and skills covered in the morning classes, supplement the main lesson.

Holistic Education

The prime purpose of Steiner Education is to support and educate children such that their own innate and unique human qualities may come to greater fulfilment.

Students are encouraged to find an identity, meaning and purpose in life by forming connections with the community, the natural world and with values such as compassion and peace. The holistic approach includes the nurturing of a sense of reverence for life, feelings of wonder and awe and a passionate love of learning.

To raise student awareness of the greater rhythms in nature, society and the world, the seasons and cultural festivals are celebrated. Teaching methods favour multi-modal arts learning, real-life experiences, and ‘lively sources of knowledge’ that include gymnastics, dance-movement, and the dramatic arts.

The continuing relationship between the child and the Class teacher, as well as the regular communications with parents, enables the teacher to continuously assess the child’s work in a discreet and accurate way and to understand individual strengths and weaknesses. The teacher is able to monitor the child’s progress along a continuum, covering academic, developmental and social aspects, rather than relying heavily on formal testing.

Developmental approach

Preschool  (0-7 years) is characterised by children actively learning through imitation and their own creative experience, in a safe, natural and loving environment. The child’s imagination and sense of wonder are fostered, without intellectual abstraction, through stories, songs, creative play, interaction with nature and involvement in the everyday human activity.

Childhood (7-14) is the optimal stage for nurturing imagination. Curriculum content, cognitive development and skill-building are approached through a pictorial and imaginative presentation, embodying narrative, creative writing, the visual arts, music, drama and movement. This fostering of the feeling life enables the students to live into and engage more fully with the academic material. The timing of curriculum content and lessons are carefully matched to meet the children’s developmental and emotional needs. (Steiner Education Australia SEA 2010)

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