Class 6

Age 11–12

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A changing time, less settled than Class 5. The twelve-year old experiences what Martyn Rawson describes as “the death of childhood, with the birth-pangs of the individual”.

Children experience stronger orientation to the outer world, and seek to find their place in it. This can express itself in interest and compassion for those less fortunate in the world, and for animals, on the one hand, and on the other, in a more cynical, materialistic attitude that draws them to popular idols and what is ‘cool’.


  • Increased growth in the limbs can make Class 6 children less graceful and more awkward than Class 5
  • Onset of puberty


  • Causative thinking, actively seeking explanations
  • Developing critical abilities


  • Growing sense of self, but also self-conscious of bodily changes
  • Challenging the authority of adults
  • Passionate acceptance or rejection
  • Social relationships characterised by strong friendships in small groups, leaders and “bush lawyers” emerge

Needs of this age:

  • A picture of the world that shows goodness and beauty
  • Insight into how they can manage their own increasing break away from authority:
    • Models of self-governing societies, to meet their interest in laws, rules and leadership
    • Strong personal role models, biographies and examples of people overcoming obstacles and bringing goodness into the world
  • A teaching style allowing more expression of student views and participation in decisions, but maintaining consistency of expectations and boundaries
  • Studies and activities, which allow expression of their growing critical abilities
  • Thirst for knowledge of a wider world, both geographically and over time
  • An understanding of the inter-relatedness of human cultures and their environment

Steiner Curriculum themes to meet the needs of this age:

Main Lessons

Main Lessons start to cover sequential, recorded history to meet the child’s new capacity for causative thinking. The main themes all provide an appreciation for structure and order, whether it be in society, geology, or grammar. They also focus on bringing a strong connection with the larger world they are starting to experience, and what is right in that world, so that students will learn to work in service for the sake of the world.

  • Ancient Rome – aspects of Roman culture – a picture of a civilisation developing its own governance and laws, having gained independence from the gods. The sense of order of the Roman world particularly addresses the class 6 child – the sense of justice and law, Roman architecture
  • World geography – starting with Australia, particularly including social and economic aspects. Botany continues as part of geography – contrasting vegetation and ecologies, environmental protection issues
  • The mineral world – its relationship to geography and to geometry
  • Astronomy – including the rhythms of the cosmos, their effect on weather, seasons, tides, animals, plants and the human being, thus linking with the other scientific subjects and geography
  • Physics is introduced, with an emphasis on an experiential approach: cause and effect in acoustics, optics, heat, magnetism, electricity
  • Geometry – in 2 and 3 dimensions, linking with geology; metamorphosis of form, linking with botany

Practice & subject lessons related to these themes:

  • Music structure -“the grammar of music”, and music aesthetics – harmony
  • Eurythmy – geometric formations
  • Art – projective geometry and perspective related to physics, astronomy
  • Gardening – tends to have a stabilising effect during this period of turmoil; also caring for nature, physical exercise, sense of responsibility

Class 6 Main Lessons

  • Writing – Planning, Essay Writing, timed writing tasks
  • Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (can be incorporated into other main lessons)
  • Decimals, Percentages and Fractions
  • Geometry – 2D and 3D Platonic Solids
  • Problem Solving and Ratio, index notation – power numbers
  • Physics – Acoustics, Optics and Heat
  • Human Reproduction and Personal Development
  • Astronomy
  • Geology – mineral world and its relationship to geography and geometry
  • World Geography – oceans and continents
  • Ancient Rome
  • Middle Ages: Soldiers, Scholars and Saints
  • Birthing Main Lesson
  • Surfing

Teaching styles:

  • Teaching needs to show strong interest and engagement with the subjects
  • Imaginative and experiential approaches to scientific subjects,
  • Children respond to and respect specialist knowledge brought by subject teachers
  • Order and planning, visible structure, consistency and fairness are important in Class 6.
  • Children will respond to exercising their increased independence by being involved in planning
  • Their new individuality allows for more ambitious special projects related to main lesson themes eg designing and making a musical instrument (physics-sound), a Roman-style mosaic project
  • Social skills development continues – orientation to high ideals, charity work
  • Peer support activities, especially assisting younger children