Frequently Asked Questions

The Casuarina Steiner School is a member school of Steiner Education Australia
and is founded on the educational philosophy of Rudolf Steiner
and his picture of human growth and development.

Questions frequently asked:

Children learn to ‘read’ in many stages and based on a range of prerequisites. Before children learn to decipher the relatively abstract symbols of letters they need to develop phonemic awareness (the ability to hear different sounds in spoken language and use them for example for rhyming) and an ability to interpret or ‘read’ pictures. In Kindergarten these prerequisites are a focus area of teaching children how to read. The formal introduction of letters and letter – sound correspondence takes place in class one. With the ability to recognise this correspondence between sounds and letters the children start to read first their own writing and then gradually other texts.

The Steiner approach to teaching and learning is based on an integrated curriculum. Therefore reading and writing take place in a context of broader learning involving a child’s academic, artistic and social faculties. This allows a child who excels in one of these areas to expand in another without losing interest in the work. Every teacher also differentiates the learning experiences so that all learners are met.

Steiner schools traditionally don’t have school uniforms. The origin of Steiner Education lies in Europe where many countries don’t use school uniforms. This stands out more in Anglo-Saxon countries with a strong tradition in this area. Casuarina has a dress code of course, the main aim of which is for children to be dressed in a way they can comfortably and safely participate in all learning activities. We encourage the use of natural fibres and avoid branding. For more information, view School Guidelines.

All schools, including Steiner schools, need to meet the NSW Education Standard Authority (NESA) outcomes. The difference in learning is not so much in what your child will learn but in how and when. All students learn at their own pace and are encouraged to strive towards their personal best in all areas of learning. While it is difficult to answer this question for individual students we can confidently say that our students’ academic achievements compare favourably with students in other schools. By the end of primary school our students often not only excel in academic, but also in the artistic and social realm. Our students develop a love for learning, which is most important in the long run.

The key to this question lies in an understanding of child development. Children in the early years learn through play based explorations and sense experiences in the ‘unplugged’ world. These early experiences lay a firm, healthy foundation for physical development, academic growth, the development of social skills and problem solving skills. Preparing children for the high tech world they will undoubtedly grow into is making sure that they have the time to build these age appropriate foundations. A play based approach to learning in the early years are critical for the development of these abilities.

Being able to navigate the high tech world requires a skill set that goes beyond using an appliance. Children need to develop the necessary abilities to problem solve, to be critical thinkers who have the ability to make choices that are ethical and safe. These can only be developed in line with the developmental stages a child goes through.

For more information on this topic follow the link to The Casuarina Chronicle – a child’s right to play OR the article ‘It’s just a game: Technology play by children and young people.’ CLICK HERE for the Casuarina Chronicle.

Steiner education builds capacities, keeps the mind and imagination fresh, and awakens life interests. The children take these qualities with them into future educational settings and are generally perceived as self-motivated and engaged students. Feedback from students and parents confirm that their children transition well to their new high school setting.

Coming from a small school where everybody knows each other and where students have a good relationship with their teacher, it can be confronting for children to witness rude behaviour towards teachers or others by peers.

The transition from Casuarina to local high schools is a change for our students as they move form a small school where everybody knows each other, to a school setting of often over 1000 students. This applies to all students coming from a small school.

Dr. Rudolf Steiner was a highly respected and well-published scientific, literary and philosophical scholar who was particularly known for his work on Goethe’s scientific writings. He later came to incorporate his scientific investigations with his interest in spiritual development. He became a forerunner in the field of spiritual-scientific investigation for the modern 20th century individual.

Festivals and ceremonies are part of every culture. They mark the passing of time, celebrate the related changes and so provide an opportunity to divide the passing of time into meaningful sequences. Ceremonies also mark significant achievements or important transitions and are so a crucial part of celebrating ends and beginnings.  Celebrating is an art. There is joy in the anticipation, the preparation, the celebration itself, and the memories.

Steiner schools encourage self-directed creative play, explorations in nature that involve all senses, activities that invite problem solving, skill and perseverance. Steiner schools encourage a positive social and moral development, active participation in the community and an age appropriate sense of responsibility. We encourage activity rather than consumption.

There is an increasing amount of evidence from various bodies that the passivity inherent in watching television and using other electronic media is counterproductive to learning and healthy development in the young child.

Without exposure to these media, children benefit greatly both in the short and long term. In the classroom these children tend to exhibit a wholesome interest in their work, show considerable will to engage in all activities and most importantly of all, retain that most vital power of childhood.
The educational ramifications are enormous and pronounced: regained childhood, improved ability to concentrate at will, to participate in lessons, creative imagination, penetrative thinking and improve sociability.

We encourage you to find out for yourself. Turn the TV off for three weeks and observe the changes in your children (and you).

As a rule, class teachers will have both their usual university teaching qualification, as well as training from a recognised Steiner teacher training college or institute. Typically, the course of study for teachers is one year full time, or two to three years part-time. This includes practice teaching in a Steiner school under the supervision of experienced Steiner teachers. All teachers receive continuing professional development which generally takes place during the school term breaks. All new teachers have a mentor.

Rudolf Steiner, speaking in Oxford in 1922, defined “three golden rules” for teachers: “… to receive the child in gratitude from the world it comes from; to educate the child with love; and to lead the child into the true freedom which belongs to man.”

Between the ages of seven and fourteen, children learn best through acceptance and emulation of authority, just as in their earlier years they learned through imitation. In primary school, particularly in the lower grades, the child is just beginning to expand his or her experience beyond home and family. The class becomes a type of ‘family’ as well, with its own authority figure ‘the teacher’ in a role analogous to parent.

With this approach, the students and teachers come to know each other very well, and the teacher is able to find over the years the best ways of helping individual children in their schooling. The class teacher also works closely with the family and so the education of a child is held in a continuous dialogue between school and home.

Discipline in a Steiner school is neither rigid in the traditional sense nor free in the progressive sense.

The discipline aimed at is one which arises out of the human understanding between teacher and student – a caring concern met by affectionate regard. The ongoing Class Teacher relationship allows time for this understanding to develop. Discipline has two elements – the maintenance of outer order whilst helping the children to master themselves.

Therefore, ideally any discipline should be both constructive and therapeutic. All Steiner schools have Behaviour Management Policies which clearly state their approach to discipline and outline the steps involved in finding the balance.

Steiner schools are non-sectarian and work to inspire a true morality through the development of gratitude, reverence and love for the world. While the study of the history of civilisations acquaints the children with spiritual leaders of humanity such as Buddha, Christ, Moses and Zarathustra, the school leaves the question of religion strictly to the family.

The historic festivals of Easter and Christmas as well as seasonal festivals are celebrated, and children of all religious backgrounds attend Steiner schools.

Class teachers know their student well and differentiate their program to accommodate all learners. All children have strength and challenges and one child’s strength may be another’s challenge. Children learn to acknowledge this and work collaboratively. At Casuarina our Learning support team supports learning needs where this is indicated.

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Visit us and you will begin to see what makes Casuarina Steiner School different from all other schools. You will start to see and feel all the reasons to choose a Steiner education when you meet our talented and dedicated teachers, talk to our active and involved parent community, and meet our wonderful students. We can’t wait to welcome you!

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