Rudolf Steiner. Here we present the facts about Steiner Schools so that you can decide for yourself whether or not they are right for you and your family.
Rudolf Steiner was born in 1861 and was a classical scholar, linguist, mathematician, scientist, and historian. As well as his academic studies, Steiner was a private tutor, which may well have been where he first got his ideas about the best methods for teaching children.
Steiner’s interest in spirituality saw him become involved with the Theosophical Society of London. Steiner also became involved in the founding of the Anthroposophical Society in Germany, a society for the development of spiritual science.
Steiner believed that education should meet the changing needs of a child as they developed mentally, emotionally, and physically. He believed that education should help a child fulfil their potential and that it should push children towards goals that adults or society found desirable.
Some key points of Steiner education include:
• up until the child is 7, play, drawing, storytelling, the study or nature and natural things, and being at home should be encouraged
• children younger than 7 should not be taught to read
• children should be taught to write before being taught to read
• consistency in teachers – the child should have the same teacher for seven years
• children should concentrate on one subject at a time – 2 hours per day of geography for several weeks, 2 hours per day of history for several weeks, etc
• find links between art and science
• engage with the child and ensure that they are enthusiastic in their learning
• show morality but do not encourage particular beliefs
• encourage learning for its own sake
In Steiner Schools, each day begins with a main lesson. This lasts for around 2 hours and it focuses on sciences and humanities. Each main lesson theme lasts for around three weeks and is closely tied to the other themes, either horizontally (throughout the year) or vertically (across subsequent years). The teacher aims to structure the lesson in a way that supports the child’s learning and understanding to an age-appropriate level. These lessons use activities and content that addresses the children’s intellectual-cognitive, aesthetic-affective and practical modes of learning.
There are two elements of discipline in a Steiner school – maintaining outer order while helping children to master themselves. Therefore discipline is both constructive and therapeutic and all Steiner schools have behaviour management policies that outline their discipline approach.
Class teachers can remain with their class for up to eight years, and thus they have a long term perspective. During this time the relationship between the teacher and student can change but the teacher will do all that is possible to resolve the situation.
The class teacher is the stable element in the children’s time at a Steiner school and they always teach the main lesson. However, there are also specialist teachers such as foreign language, music, craft, and physical education teachers.
Competition is not encouraged in Steiner schools. Rather than competing with others, Steiner schools encourage the student to be the best that they can be, rather than focusing on whether you are better than another person.