Welcome to the Middle School community
“A healthy social life is found only, when in the mirror of each soul the whole community finds in its reflection, and when in the whole community the virtue of each one is living.”
Shearwater has a strong, cohesive, social and learning environment in which the Pastoral Care/Mentorship program is an integral part of our holistic approach to Middle School. At its foundation rest the following values areas, which we address:
A responsive and inclusive community
• Being valued and feeling safe
• Working towards, defining and identifying common values – creating a sense of empowerment
• Listening and sharing: bringing knowledge and personal experience (wisdom) to establish meaning
• Valuing self – identity within a culturally diverse community
• A nurturing community environment where student, teacher and parent relationships are cultivated
A human centric learning program underpinned by Anthroposophy and an understanding of the evolving stages of adolescent development:
• The unfolding of the sentient body (the body of the senses) and its awakening to the world of emotions
• Emphasis on pastoral care, where through empathy, teachers offer friendship and mentorship
• Students learn through the activities of self expression and self realization
• Students build meaning by combining new experiences (subjects taught) with personal knowledge (what they bring to the lesson).
• Learning that has the human being as the measure of all things
The environment: the local and global approach
“Sustainability does not simply mean whether something can last. It addresses how particular initiatives can be developed without compromising the development of others in the surrounding environment, now and in the future.” Andy Hargreaves
• Creating a space conducive to study and learning
• Class room management
• Clean & environmentally conscious community
• Address local and global issues
• Priority given to creating ‘values’
• Culture building initiatives: ownership & responsibility
A strong content focus: Art & Humanities, Science and Technological Literacy catered to in an Across-the- Curriculum learning program
• Meeting Board of Studies requirements
• Identifying Shearwater’s commitment to Steiner Education and aesthetics through the arts
• Working towards an enhanced science program
• Developing a ‘constructivist’ approach to technological literacy
Literacy & Numeracy
• Shearwater acknowledges the importance of foundation literacy and numeracy as fundamental skills required for living in the 21st century.
• Target and identify literacy and numeracy levels of each student.
• Provide individual & small group assistance for students requiring literacy and numeracy remediation via the government funded programs.
• Provide opportunity for after hours private tuition outside government funding parameters.
Year 7 and the transition from Primary to Secondary School
In Steiner schools, primary education takes place over seven years, the Class Teacher staying with his or her class right through the Primary grades.
Although the Board of Studies regards year 7 as the beginning of secondary school, most Steiner schools in Australia consider year 7 as the completion of Primary School. With the onset of puberty, students not only look back over their years in Primary School, but also ahead to the future as they tumble and launch themselves into adolescence. From this perspective Class 7 is seen as a year of transition. The Class Teacher, who has played such an important pastoral and authoritative role with the children, begins a gradual withdrawal, in favour of specialist teachers, one of who would have already been selected as the new Class Guardian.
From the classroom to the world
In adolescence the student develops rational thinking in the face of a rising tide of emotions and personal feelings. The student’s healthy idealism needs to be nurtured and directed, allowing intelligent and sensitive inner feelings and experiences to unfold. Teachers become respected as friends for their love of their subject and the integrity with which they present it.
As they find personal expression through art, music and drama and confidence by relating to the ‘real’ world, the students are encouraged to connect with their studies through artistic activity and worldly experience.
Shearwater also seeks to break down the barrier between the classroom and the workplace. Professionals from the community are encouraged to bring their expertise to the classroom so the students experience the specialisation and the professional demands of a self-sustaining studio, shop or factory.
The Class Guardian
As the Class Teacher directs his Class from Year 1 to Year 7, the Class Guardian guides the same Class group from Year 8 to Year 12. This continuity of the teacher’s involvement within the same group is where the similarity ends. Whereas the Primary School children are happy to be authoritatively guided and directed, young adolescents need the assistance of worldly experienced teachers who can answer their concerns with clarity and assurance.
The role of the Class Guardian is as strongly pastoral as it is content based. The Guardian Teacher may only teach the class for part of the year, but he or she is the one who attends to the students personal learning needs, organises excursions, camps, fieldtrips, arranges their learning program, attends to personal problems (if required), co-ordinates parent liaison and monitors the individual student’s progress and coordinates the bi-annual reporting of student progress.
The Middle School Program (7 – 10)
Middle School comprises Classes 7 – 10 at the end of which students achieve their School Certificate. In 2011 students study the following courses:
|Years 7 – 10 (mandatory courses)||School developed electives|
Languages – Japanese & French (year 7 only)
Personal Development, Health and Physical Education
Woodwork & machining
Students also participate in an Outdoor Education program and at least one Class Camp or Field Trip each year.
Camps & Outdoor Education
Camps & Outdoor Education opportunities are an integral component of the learning program. They can vary from formal yearly class camps, team building & rescue training activities to spontaneous field trips that enliven the learning experience.
Class Camps arise out of the impulse & initiative of the class teacher and class itself that reflect the needs of the students at each particular year level, this can vary from year to year. In planning camps the teachers take into account the social & developmental needs of the class, curriculum content, class learning programs and the development of knowledge, skills & values within the context of Steiner Education
The Daily Program
In Steiner schools, the day is usually divided into three parts – addressing in turn the head – thinking, heart – feeling and hands – will.
A day in the Shearwater Secondary Middle school program is divided into four main parts:
Monday – Thursday
|8.50 – 9.05 am||Home room
|8.50 – 9.05 am|
|9.05 – 10.35 am||Main Lesson
|HEAD||Main lesson 1
|9.05 – 10.35 am|
|Main Lesson 2||9.05 – 10.35 am|
|11.05 – 11.55||Middle Lessons 1||HEART||Middle Lessons 1||11.05 – 11.55|
|11.55 – 12.45 pm||Middle Lessons 2
|Middle Lessons 2||11.55 -12.45 pm|
|1.30 – 3.00 pm||Afternoon block Lessons||HANDS||Afternoon Sport||1.30 – 3.00 pm|
Home Room Time
Classes meet with their Class Guardians at the beginning of each day for 15 minutes and at other times as necessary.
Each week students in Classes 7 – 10 spend a designated time with their class guardians. This time is spent working on lesson related content or extra curricula activities. During this time there is a focus on pastoral care, teamwork & leadership within the group. Activities will vary depending on the year level. Activities include – Main lesson support work, camp preparation, PIP (personal interest projects), class play rehearsal, work experience organisation.
Main Lesson (Thinking development)
Main Lessons are an integrated ‘block of lessons’. Each main lesson is 1 – 1.5 hours per day (M-Th). A Main Lesson block is run over three or four weeks, totalling either 18 or 24 hours for each Main Lesson respectively. There are three main lessons per term (12 per year).
Main lessons are ‘thematic’ and provide an opportunity for students and teachers to imaginatively, creatively and artistically explore a subject in depth and to integrate aspects from different KLAs. This is the time when students are ‘most alert’ and in Steiner schools, traditionally areas requiring focus and thought are presented during this time.
Students use a ‘Main Lesson Journal’, in which they record all their main lesson work. Students are encouraged to take pride in the quality of both the content and presentation of their main lesson work, and to record their learning imaginatively, creatively and artistically. Each KLA (English, Maths, Science & HSIE) use the same Main Lesson Journal.
Teachers are consciously teaching and providing more opportunities for students to use and demonstrate critically reflective thinking in their teaching/learning programs. Students are also asked to regularly critically reflect on their learning or on other aspects of their life at school in their main lesson journal.
Each Main lesson has a particular KLA focus, cross-curriculum links are woven into lessons where appropriate to give a deeper more relevant view of educational content. These links are noted in many programs, however subject hours are allocated to the focus KLA of that lesson.
Middle Lessons (Feeling development)
Each day there are two 50 minute middle lesson periods.
Steiner schools traditionally present ‘heart-centred’ areas such as Art and Music during this part of the day, however at Shearwater middle lessons also used to enable students to engage with additional content in a more structured and rhythmical way – necessary for acquisition of knowledge, understanding and skills, especially in Maths English, Science. Textbooks are more often used in middle lessons in these subjects to enable students to ‘practice’ what they are learning. Additional Technology, Art, Music, Geography, History and PDHPE classes are also programmed in this time.
Afternoon Block Lessons (Will development)
Like main lessons, these are ‘block’ lessons and run over three or four weeks. Afternoon Block Lessons are 1.5 hours long for four afternoons each week (Monday to Thursday), with sport held on Friday afternoons. There are three block lessons per term (12 per year) and they can be ‘thematic’ and similar to a main lesson or KLA specific.
Traditionally in Steiner schools this is the time for ‘will-oriented’ activity, when craft and manual skills are developed. As much as possible TAS, Art, Music PDHPE and Sport – activities that require specific physical skill and application of will are programmed into this time.