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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ about Steiner Waldorf Schools

The class teacher is not the only instructor who teaches the children. All classes have subject specific teachers in subjects such as eurythmy, crafts, foreign languages, music, etc.

However, the class teacher is responsible for the Main Lesson teaching in the first 120-minute module at the beginning of each school day. A Main Lesson period usually lasts 3-4 weeks, and the content of the teaching is described in the individual subject’s curriculum. In our time, it is a widespread belief that education primarily consists of handing over information. From a Steiner educational point of view, it is equally important that schooling also awakens and develops other aspects of the student, such as the ability to think clearly and critically, to experience and understand phenomena in the world, as well as the ability to distinguish between what is beautiful, good and true.

It is, of course, important that the individual Steiner teacher is able to teach in a competent and inspiring way throughout the subject pallet, but it is also important that the teacher is responsible for creating a good and caring class community with room for and acceptance of the individual student. The teacher’s work with his own inner values is an important prerequisite for the child to develop and grow as a human being and be ready to meet with the world outside of school.

This is a frequently asked question because this tradition is in sharp contrast to public schools more frequent replacement of class teachers. In a Steiner school, as far as possible, we try to keep the same class teacher as long as is academically and pedagogically sound. Experience shows that if the child feels comfortable with his teacher it gives a better starting point for both learning and well-being. The relationship between teacher and parents also has better conditions for developing positively over this longer period.

Because a child’s education is about developing a wide variety of competencies many of which do not immediately test and measure, Steiner Schools choose to allow time for immersion and a slower progression. Steiner School teachers have great freedom to adapt the teaching to the individual student group so that the students can develop knowledge and creativity while experiencing what it means to master something and developing a desire to learn on their own initiative. Standardized tests do not promote this kind of learning.

Steiner Schools have the freedom to plan teaching to fit the Steiner style of pedagogy, as long as the total teaching is in line with the goals of the public schools. This means that the teaching covers the same learning goals, just with another educational focus. Progress and learning goals for the first four years of Steiner School differ significantly from the goals of public schools and since the national tests are based on the goals of public schools it does not make sense for our students to take these tests in these grades.

Previous Steiner School students represent a wide range of subjects and professions, including medicine, law, science, engineering, IT, arts, social affairs, politics, and other academic disciplines. According to a study by former Steiner School students in the United States:

94% had taken a higher education

47% selected humanities or ‘fine arts’

42% chose science or mathematics

89% of respondents were very happy with their choice of business

92% of respondents emphasized the ability to think critically

One of the central goals of Steiner pedagogy is to promote a healthy development of the child’s own imagination. Creativity is an essential part of the overall thinking. Research shows that excessive consumption of screens for children impedes the development of the child’s imagination. The fact that computers and mobiles constitutes such a large and questionable influence on children’s development is supported by a great deal of research, and it is therefore important that teachers and parents work together on a sensible common position on the use of these media.

https://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/zero-to-six-electronic-media-in-the-lives-of-infants-toddlers-and-preschoolers-pdf.pdf

http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/in-our-digital-world-are-young-people-losing-the-ability-to-read-emotions

http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/is-technology-producing-a-decline-79127

The learning goals in the Steiner School do not coincide with the goals in Public School before the 9th grade. Nevertheless, children who start in a Steiner School during the first four school years usually have an easy adaptation to the teaching and daily life of Steiner School. New students will often find that there are many new things to learn, for example within artistic and social activities. Becoming more used to listening is especially important, as most of the academic content in Steiner School is presented orally by the teacher. The oral tradition emphasizes the human relationship between learner and teacher and is important for healthy learning that focuses on understanding rather than handing over information.

Children who come from, for example, Public School and are used to learning from computers and other electronic media, often have to unlearn some of the social habits that accompany these media. Not least the mentality of competition and a focus on facts. On the other hand, they must use their artistic and practical abilities to a much greater extent than they are used to, for example by making Main Lesson books with their own texts and drawings.

Children who change from Steiner School to Public School at the beginning of primary school will probably have to upgrade their skills and change their approach to the sciences, as these subjects in Steiner School are based on phenomenology, from which abstract concepts and laws are extracted. On the other hand, Steiner School students are usually well prepared for social studies, practical and artistic activities and mathematics.

Discussions about Steiner Schools attitude to vaccination often occur, because in some Steiner schools there is a somewhat lower frequency of vaccination than the national average. When the decision to vaccinate or not appears to be difficult, it is most often because some parents are concerned about the possible side effects of the vaccines. But vaccination is still a voluntary matter, and of course, we respect the choice of individual families.

As teachers, general medicine and thus vaccination lie outside our professional competence and we, therefore, encourage the individual family to seek information themselves prior to a decision on this issue.

Waldorf schools are non-sectarian and non-denominational. They educate all children, regardless of their cultural or religious backgrounds. The pedagogical method is comprehensive, and, as part of its task, seeks to bring about recognition and understanding of all the world cultures and religions. Waldorf schools are not part of any church. They espouse no particular religious doctrine but are based on a belief that there is a spiritual dimension to the human being and to all of life. Waldorf families come from a broad spectrum of religious traditions and interest.

FAQ about the education

Eurythmy is a compulsory subject in Steiner School, which through a diverse expression off movements integrates and supports the other subjects. Through eurythmy, the student learns letters, rhythms, poems and music with the whole body. By incorporating and performing choreographed forms together, both the community and the individual’s orientation are strengthened in relation to space, time and relationships.

eurythmy-001

In Steiner education, we do not use computers in the first years of school. We emphasize the work of the hand, and the students write their own texts based on the teacher’s oral presentation of the curriculum.

We believe it is important that the development of knowledge, skills and inner qualities take place in a collaborative community between pupils and teachers in creative processes, and the introduction of IT takes place first in the middle school when the student must learn techniques such as text writing.

1st grade classroom-Michaelmas

Within the Steiner pedagogy, one does not view it as problematic that for some children it takes longer to become familiar with the reading process, and therefore the children are not pressed to learn to read as quickly or early as possible although some children do.

The writing-reading lesson begins as an active imaging process related to the near and dear ones, and as such is a journey from the concrete to the abstract.

In a study conducted in New Zealand In 2009, it appeared that there was no difference in the reading performance of 10-year-old children who had received early training in reading and those who did not.

Steiner Schools aim to give the student a living interest in reading and learning, which they can bring into adulthood. Every child has their own time when it breaks the reading code, and we believe it is important not to climb this development as it can easily develop into inferiority feelings in the child if this happens. Some children will even take the initiative to learn to read at an early age, and this interest should be met as long as it comes naturally from the child. Human growth and development are not linear or measurable.

Because the teachers stay with their class for up to eight years, the teacher’s knowledge of each child becomes very extensive. Emphasis is placed on formative and summative evaluation, thus eliminating the stress factor that is often experienced in connection with tests.

Teachers and parents work closely together to build an image of the child, helping everyone understand and support the child’s development. The parents periodically receive a detailed written testimony.

The school day starts with 120 minutes of Main Lesson. In periods of 3-4 weeks, various subjects from the curriculum are taught. The class teacher strives to integrate a number of artistic activities, techniques, learning styles and resources during these hours to promote the child’s engagement and immersion in the subject.

Seasonal celebrations play an important role in the school’s life. Some seasonal parties are based on natures changes. Others celebrate the year’s festivals, but common to these parties is that they give the individual child the opportunity to experience devotion and fervour in a community with the whole school.

K's gifts to us
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