Primary School – Classes 1 to 6
Class 1 for children turning 7
Class 2 for children turning 8
Class 3 for children turning 9
Class 4 for children turning 10
Class 5 for children turning 11
Class 6 for children turning 12
Class Teachers in 2012
Class 1: Heather Peri
Class 1: Julie-Anne Ralph
Class 2: Michael Lester
Class 2: Harry Brown
Class 3: Sally Davison
Class 3: Lynne Beclu
Class 4: Joseph Kecskemeti
Class 5: Liz Korobacz
Class 5: Cherie Kendall
Class 6: Rosemary White
Class 6: Alex Korobacz
Just as Kindergarten children learn through imitation, Primary School children learn best through the authority of a person whom they know and trust.
Each Class Teacher stays with his or her Class right through the Primary grades. The continuity of this important personal relationship provides a secure basis for the children to mature in later years, confident in their own independent judgement and action.
The Class Teacher is responsible for the Main Lesson period each day, with specialist teachers giving instruction in areas such as languages, crafts, music and Eurythmy. The Main Lesson stays with the same subject for a few weeks, allowing the children to explore issues in depth and from many different angles.
The teacher works creatively, always seeking to find a fresh connection with his or her subject matter and to recognise readiness for learning.
The background to the lessons’ themes is drawn from the major epochs of History, and through the medium of stories the children experience the development of mankind.
All subjects in the ‘Class Teacher period’ are approached through the realm of art and imagination as the primary school child lives and thinks in a world of pictures.
An artistic, imaginative approach is the teachers’ key to giving ‘bread’ instead of dry abstract stones. No conventional textbooks are used until High School, and then very few. Instead, students make their own, and exercise books become an artistic record of what they have learnt.
The study of human nature is of paramount importance in the preparation of Steiner Teachers. Knowledge of human temperament, personality formation, physiognomy and child development based on soul/spiritual knowledge help the teacher understand the most profound mystery of creation – the human being.
Except where enforced by circumstance such as small schools, the vocation and the art of class teaching is unique to the primary classes of Steiner Schools.
To accompany a class of 30 pupils through seven years of Primary School is a challenging, adventurous, sometimes daunting but always inspiring journey through the educationally important years of childhood. In today’s fragmented world of specialisation, high employee turnover, employer opportunism and the self-interest of personal advancement, the Steiner School Class Teacher has become a rare vocational survivor.
The challenge of teaching the same children over a seven-year learning program requires a serious commitment to a vocation with a reputation for conservatism and mediocrity: “Those that can, do; those that can’t, teach!” In Steiner Schools teachers are encouraged to take initiative and assume responsibility for their teaching.
A prescriptive syllabus and teaching from the text book in the Primary School is a wooden and dusty process that has no appeal to the child who wants to experience everything that comes to it through inner measure and rhythm which corresponds with the activity of its heart and breathing – instrumental in the growth of its muscles and bones. Then its whole body vibrates in harmony. If what is given to the child from without cannot be assimilated by its inner organic vital forces, there is a danger of the child becoming crippled in its soul life, though this may not be apparent physically at the time. Steiner Education is an art and the teacher is required to be an artist who appreciates and understands the artistic instrument of the body.
A violin vibrates to the waves of the melody. A strummer ruins a violin. An inartistic teacher without insight can implant false principles in his/her pupils that become part of their growth and have harmful results in their development. Creativity inspires enthusiasm, ownership and commitment. Following the imitative processes of early childhood, the child experiences a new faculty of soul that leads to belief in adults, a susceptibility to guidance and a recognition of the educator for what he/she should be, namely an authority. This acceptance of authority is accompanied by the love of the children for their teacher.
To maintain the integrity of this process, the teacher accompanies the Class from dentition (Class 1) to puberty (Class 7). The continuity of this important relationship provides security for the children to confidently mature in later years in their own independent judgement and action and is also a wonderful opportunity for personal growth and professional development for the teacher. In fact a Primary Steiner Teacher is not regarded as being fully experienced until he has taken through such a Class. This long-term relationship also allows the teacher to be introduced as an intimate third party to the child’s family.
And at the end of seven years together, the Teacher and the Class truly experience a sense of completion and fulfilment.
Over the seven-year cycle, the teacher is able to artistically sequence the children’s learning program and weave through it recognisable themes, images and stories. For example, the geophysical inspired Class 1 story of “Mother Magma and her Fiery, Rambunctious Sons” becomes the basis of the Geology lesson in Year 6. Continuity also allows the teacher to monitor the development and progress of the children and for economy of teaching – no unnecessary repetition and re-establishment of relationships with children and their parents. Morality in children is part of their instinctive process of growth, development and unfoldment. As the child grows, together with their maturing physicality, the extraordinary wisdom of their development is externalised and unfolds into moral tendencies. Through appropriate content, sensitive and artistic teaching responses, the teacher will fortify and nourish the child’s natural development. In this process he/she will bring to consciousness and externalise this indwelling morality of the child that they may choose to work with as independent adults in later life. The stories that we bring to the children will be explored in the next section.