Primary School

“Developing creative young people with a passion for life-long learning,
an understanding of the unique contribution they can make to the world
and a holistic sense of care for the environment and people.”
Casuarina Steiner School’s vision statement

Cornerstones of primary education

  • Head, Heart and Hand. In order to develop the potential of each student, Steiner education advocates as broad an education as possible, educating the whole human being. Through our integrated approach to teaching and learning children are encouraged to be inquisitive thinkers, responsible members of our school and wider community and resilient achievers.
  • Age of imagination. The years of primary school are the time to work from and nurture imagination. Curriculum content, cognitive and emotional development and skill building are approached through pictorial and imaginative representation. Hands on experiences, storytelling, creative writing, visual arts, music, drama and movement all contribute to the development of imaginative capacities. These imaginative capacities are the foundations for students to engage with academic material, for future complex problem solving, innovation and creativity.
  • Based on child development. Our curriculum is informed by child development and the timing of curriculum content is matched to developmental stages and emotional needs of that age. Through a teaching approach that is arts based the children learn to appreciate beauty and the interconnectedness of all things.
  • Yearlong connection with the class teacher. Children often are taught by the same teacher through all the primary years. A deep connection is built between the children, their families and the class teacher, which helps build string communities.
  • Main Lesson. The Main Lesson is a unique feature of Steiner Education. Over the course of 3-4 weeks a topic or unit of work is explored deeply every day during the first two hours of the day. Teachers develop a wide range of integrated activities around a theme allowing for a deep and connected learning experience across all aspects of academic, artistic and social learning. The Main Lessons relate to the students’ stage of development for that year.

Class 1

Ages 6 – 7

Developmental overview

Physically, children are experiencing the change of teeth, in particular the arrival of their first molars. Head to body size ratio changes and limbs grow longer. There is often a loss of ‘baby fat’.

Emotionally, children still possess a level of dreaminess but are becoming more connected with the world around them, especially with nature and others.

Cognitively, the ability to focus is improving but concentration is still limited. The child is full of imagination and lives in a world of colour and pictorial thinking. The child responds to learning through pictorial and rhythmic activities.

Socially, the child has a greater wish to perform independent action rather than imitation. This is a gradual change in their development over time.

Needs of this age

At this age children need to feel secure and supported in their emerging independence as they move into a more formal school environment.

Connectedness is important as children experience themselves within a sense of wholeness – as individuals upon the earth, relating to nature and other human beings, to be able to relate to the world with wonder and reverence.

They need to gain meaning, to relate abstract symbols (letters and numbers) to their worldly experience.

OR

Security and Support for their emerging independence as the children move from home life in to a formal school environment.

Connectedness to experience themselves within a sense of wholeness – as individuals upon the earth, relating to nature and other human beings, and to be able to relate to the world with wonder and reverence.

Meaning to relate abstract symbols such as letters and numbers meaningfully to their worldly experiences.

Class 1 Curriculum – themes to meet the needs of this age:

In Class 1, the most important way of meeting a child’s needs is in the way content is introduced. The gradual change from activity and imitation in the Kindergarten, to more formal learning in Class 1 is facilitated by involving the feeling life – through stories, rhythm, pictures and songs. These help to connect the new concepts to the child’s own experience.
The fairy tale is the fundamental picture for the children of Class 1 as the children listen to fairy tales from around the world on the one hand and stories of the natural and dreamtime world on the other. In essence, the fairy story is a soul journey that speaks to the inner life of the child, who instinctively understands the trials undergone by the hero or heroine. Listening to and retelling such stories is the foundation for literacy, numeracy and science main lessons throughout the year.

Class 1 Main Lesson Topics:

  • The Alphabet/Letters
  • From Letters to Text
  • Stories of the Dreaming/Writing
  • Ancient World Tales
  • Local Surrounding: World of Nature 1
  • Local Surrounding: World of Nature 2
  • Numbers
  • Counting and Informal Processes: Grouping
  • Number Processes 1
  • Number Processes 2
  • Form Drawing 2

Practice and subject lessons:

  • Games, activities and creative tasks to help social interaction and forming of a
    cohesive social group
  • Games and activities to embed literacy, numeracy and concentration skills
  • Artistic work, (painting, modelling etc.) based on main lesson themes to reinforce the
    beauty of nature.
  • Meaningful craft activities to embed a sense of purpose, beauty and perseverance.

Teaching styles:

  • The teacher maintains strong leadership and consistency, as the children become more individualistic.
  • Continuation of group activities including singing, verses, games, movement.
  • Work with quality of social interaction and peer support within the class to foster harmonious work and play environment.

– Class 1 –

Class 2

Ages 7 – 8

Developmental overview

Physically, the lengthening of the child’s limbs continues from Class 1 and the child is more dexterous and physically confident.

Emotionally, the child of eight still lives in a vivid world of pictorial imagination, but with an alertness and keenness for challenge and adventure.

Cognitively children have greatly extended their periods of concentration by class 2 and are now capable of remembering greater amounts and in sequential order. They are capable of developing their own images and so rise from perception to concepts. Now is the time for extending the amounts of writing and reading and more complex mathematical work. The intellect is further engaged through an artistic approach that builds on the love of pictures, colour and music.

Individual differences are becoming more apparent both academically and socially. Socially the children learn to recognise these differences and value them.

Needs of this age:

  • At this age children need to feel secure and supported in their emerging individuality, with the ups and downs that social interactions can bring
  • Challenges become an important need for their emerging intellect, brought to them through imaginative activities

Class 2 Curriculum – themes and methods to meet the needs of this age:

Whereas in Class 1, stories reflected the wholeness of the human, animal and natural worlds and the heavens, in Class 2 the stories are chosen to reflect a differentiation between these kingdoms. Fairy tales gradually give way to myths and legends. Animal fables portray individual differences and characteristics and provide an opportunity to explore differences and practise inclusiveness. Stories showing the ennoblement of moral, emotional, and personality characteristics illustrate goodness and courage, and often a caring and respectful relationship between the human and animal worlds. Stories of challenges and striving, like the Irish folk tale of The King of Ireland’s Son, engage the children in their expanding connection to the world around them.

Class 2 Main Lesson Topics

  • Celtic Narratives
  • Animal Fables
  • Saintly Lives
  • World legends
  • Local Surroundings – The world around us 1
  • Local Surroundings – The world around us 2
  • Times tables and number patterns
  • Place value
  • Magic numbers
  • Layout of sums – a pictorial introduction
  • From drawing

Practice and subject lessons:

  • Games, activities and creative tasks to support social interaction
  • Games and activities to embed literacy, numeracy and concentration skills
  • Artistic work, (painting, modelling, music, dance etc.) based on main lesson themes
    and in celebration of festivals and rhythm of the year
  • Meaningful hand craft activities to embed a sense of purpose, beauty and perseverance.
  • Form drawing exercises to develop spatial awareness and thinking capacities
  • Outdoor play, bush walking and gardening

Camp and excursions

  • Local excursions based on Main lessons
  • Two night camp with a focus on local history

– Class 2 –

Class 3

Ages 8 – 9

Developmental overview

This year is usually the year of the nine-and-a-half-year threshold, sometimes called the ‘rubicon’, where the children experience a change in the relationship between themselves and others. There is an emergence of individuality, separation between self and the world of nature.

Physically, the children develop their coordination skills further and include their gained fine and gross motor skills in executing more challenging undertakings.

Emotionally, a growing sense of self and awareness of the wider world outside family enriches the children’s realm of experiences. Tensions between the inner and outer world can lead to contrasting emotions and insecurity. Questions about their origin and destiny, about birth and death are not uncommon at this age.

Cognitively children are capable of sustained concentration over a longer period of time. Learnt concepts are embedded and applied to new situations, while new and more complex concepts are introduced and explored. Self-directed explorations and problem solving are integral parts of their learning. The integration of the arts further deepens their experience and engages the intellect.

The social dynamics in this age group can undergo changes as perceptions of self and others shift. New friendships may emerge and a strong sense of fairness and justice develops.

Needs of this age:

At this age the children need opportunities to expand their connection between the outer and the inner world. Room to expand their sense of self and the need to experiment is held by a clear outer order, consistency and rhythm in routine. A clear sense of right and wrong, consistent boundaries for social interactions, and trust and confidence in the authority of the adults around them allows for a positive expansion.

Class 3 Curriculum – themes to meet the needs of this age:

Creation myths from a range of cultures instil a sense of time and origin. A general sense of belonging to human kind is further deepened through exploration of family lineage.

Cultural stories illustrating a moving from a group consciousness towards the threshold of a more individual consciousness provide pictures for the children in their ninth year of the changes they are experiencing. Stories of clear moral guidance, right and wrong and unwavering leadership provide the pictures for the inner strength the children are developing.
Explorations of the development from personalised to standardised measurements and the exploration of grammar, the structure in language, are two examples of how the need of this age is reflected in the curriculum.

Farming and building explore the essential needs of human kind for food and shelter and how the earth provides both. The transition from a hunting and gathering society to a farming one is another illustration of the changes in this age group.

Class 3 Main Lesson Topics:

  • Literature of Creation and Tradition
  • Ancient literature of authority and rulership
  • Grammar
  • Reading
  • Framing and gardening
  • Building
  • Processes and strategies
  • Measurement – length, weight and capacity
  • Measurement – money
  • Measurement – time
  • Form drawing
  • Music – introduction to notation, beginning of strings tuition

Practice and subject lessons:

  • Consolidation and extension of numeracy and literacy concepts
  • Music practice of notation and performance
  • Language – composition of own texts, exploring text types
  • Games allowing physical extension, obstacle games; introduction to gymnastics
  • Games and activities to help social interaction

Camp and excursions:

  • Local excursions based on Main lessons
  • Three night farming camp

– Class 3 –

Class 4

Ages 9 – 10

Developmental overview

This is the midway point in the class teacher period as Steiner defined it and the seven-year cycle of the middle years – the ‘heart of childhood’. The developmental transition from early primary to the middle years continues. Asking critical questions, reasoning and an increased awareness of their own individuality are some of the characteristics of this age.
Physically, a harmonising of the relationship between blood circulation and breathing takes place. Children further develop their physical skill levels and increased stamina and determination. They are energetic and keen for physical challenges and explorations.

Emotionally, the continued experience and deepening of a contrast between the inner and outer world leads to an increased awareness of their own individuality. This new won awareness also draws attention to differences within the class both socially and academically. Children may start comparing themselves more with others. Juggling this sense of individuality on one side and the need to develop strong friendships or to belong to a peer group can cause emotional and social tensions.

Cognitively, thinking and reasoning becomes more active. As they look outside and approach the world with a new eagerness to understand, children start to develop a more objective perception of their surroundings. More abstract concepts capture the children’s interest although the pictorial aspect is still prevalent.

Socially, class 3 and 4 can be dominated by the developing self-awareness, a strong sense for fairness and the related tensions. The children experience a new sense of externally imposed authority being supplemented with an inner authority, based on developing moral strength, courage and responsibility.

Needs of this age:

At this age children need and enjoy challenges: lots of work; physical and mental challenges; more independent explorations and inquiries.

Knowledge and an understanding of the physical world is still taught imaginatively.
A picture of the world showing increased complexity, interdependence and relations between individuals, contrasts of the individual working against or for the community are all aspects supporting the developing new sense of self. Consistency of expectations and clear boundaries remain very important.

Class 4 Curriculum – themes to meet the needs of this age:

Norse myths, such as the Icelandic epic Edda, the Finnish epic Kalevala draw pictures of a multiplicity of deities. Good-natured challenging of the gods’ authority and themes of adventure, darkness and evil, courage overcoming adversity meet the needs of this age group.

Animals, their three fold nature and their relationship to human beings are explored in a more concrete (scientific) way than the fables of Class 2.

Local, regional, state and national studies reflect the child’s expanding interest. Local history including aboriginal history and culture is explored. Drawing maps of the local region explores a transition from pictorial to conceptual symbolic representation.

Fractions and the relationship between a whole and its parts is a mathematical expression of the themes of this age.

Through the History of Writing main lesson the development of written symbols to communicate meaning is explored.

Class 4 Main Lesson Topics:

  • Myths of Northern Europe
  • The Art, Science and History of Writing
  • The Art of Language and Literacy
  • Spirituality of the Dreaming
  • Local Area: Mapping
  • Local Region: History, Geography, Science
  • Fractions 1
  • Fractions 2
  • Freehand Geometry
  • Form drawing
  • Number Processes: Factors, Multiples, Long Multiplication and Division
    Measurement and Area
  • Form drawing

Practice and subject lessons:

  • Games, activities and creative tasks to support social interaction
  • Consolidation and extension of numeracy and literacy concepts,
  • Artistic work, (painting, modelling, music, dance etc.) based on main lesson themes
    and in celebration of festivals and rhythm of the year
  • Meaningful hand craft activities to embed a sense of purpose, beauty and perseverance.
  • Form drawing exercises to develop spatial awareness and thinking capacities
  • Outdoor play, bush walking and gardening
  • Weekly specialist music lesson; practice of music notation; continuing practice routine with strings instrument
  • Weekly specialist lesson – language other than English
  • Games allowing physical extension, obstacle games; Games and activities for social
    interaction

Camp and excursions:

  • Local excursions based on Main lessons
  • Four night camp – Australian History

– Class 4 –

Class 5

Ages 10 -11

Developmental overview

The children at this age have grown more accustomed to an increased sense of self and are seeing the world in a new perspective. A conscious engagement with history deepens and the students come to a picture and experience of the stream of time of ancient worlds, their mythologies and cultures. Immersion in the artistic, artisan and literary impulses allow for a deep emotional connection with the topics. In links to other learning areas, study of ancient cultures affords an opportunity to integrate mathematical learning through the experience of number, geometry and measurement in Ancient India, Persia, Babylon, Egypt and Greece.

Physically, the children develop and increased sense of balance and coordination as well as strength and endurance. The Olympic ideals of excellence, respect and friendship are guiding principles.

Emotionally, often connected to their experience of increased physical ability and skill, is an increased growing sense of self and confidence in their own capacities.

Cognitively, thinking and reasoning becomes more active and the children develop the ability to think and develop more complex concepts. In a reflection of the time of the Greek philosophers, questioning and scrutinising are now starting to be combined with and based on a more realistic and rational understanding of the world.

Socially, concern with fairness deepens into a greater use of conscience and sense of responsibility. Sense of self is combined with an increasing appreciation of others’ selves. Class five is often called the ‘golden year of primary’ in reflection of the ideals of Classical Greece this age responds to so well.

Needs of this age:

At this age children are ready for new intellectual, moral and social challenges. The thirst for knowledge of a wider world, chronologically, geographically and culturally, is met by a pictorial approach to mythology gradually leading to history and the inter-relatedness of human cultures and their environment. The children develop their observation and reasoning capabilities .

Class 5 Curriculum – themes to meet the needs of this age:

In class five a move from mythology to history takes place. Pictures of early civilisations and the gradual change from one civilisation to another, with each civilisation having a different relationship with their gods, the world and each other meet the children’s need to learn more about aspects of the ancient world and its cultural, religious and social development.

A main theme comes out of Ancient Greece – a new power of thinking, the new concept of ‘conscience’ and self-responsibility. The birth of philosophy and scientific thought, a new artistic impulse marrying beauty and form, new social and political structures all are reflections of topics critical for this age. The development of democracy has a bearing on the social stage of the class.

Class 5 Main Lesson Topics:

  • Ancient Cultures: Ancient India, Persia and Egypt
  • Ancient Cultures: Ancient Greece
  • English Language and Literacy
  • Geography and history: Local region/state
  • Botany
  • Decimals
  • Decimals ad Fractions
  • The world of Mathematics
  • Geometry
  • Form drawing

Practice and subject lessons:

  • Games, activities and creative tasks to support social interaction
  • Consolidation and extension of numeracy and literacy concepts,
  • Artistic work, (painting, modelling, music, dance etc.) based on main lesson themes
    and in celebration of festivals and rhythm of the year
  • Meaningful hand craft activities to embed a sense of purpose, beauty and perseverance.
  • Form drawing exercises to develop spatial awareness and thinking capacities
  • Weekly specialist music lesson; practice of music notation; continuing practice routine with strings instrument
  • Weekly specialist lesson – language other than English
  • Games allowing physical extension, Greek Olympic disciplines

Camps and excursions:

  • Local excursions based on Main Lesson
  • Two night camp – Greek Olympics
  • Four night camp – Bush skills

– Class 5 –

Class 6

Ages 11 – 12

Developmental overview

This age is a changing time, where the 12-year old can experience 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. A hunger to understand the world around them based on phenomena and tangible facts is the driving force behind explorations of the word at large. The gradual shift in geographical studies throughout the primary years finally culminates in in a global perspective in class six.

In History the children leave the dynamic age of Greek times and move to the time of the Romans as part of which structural forms, debating and political structures are studied. A developing ability to see cause and effect is at the base of growing scientific inquiry that is still phenomenological and imaginative.

Physically the striving towards uprightness and balance is significant during this rapid phase of growth. The play element employed in some lessons gives way to order and structure in exercises. At a time where the students are feeling uncomfortable and unsure in their bodies, and can tend to be lethargic, learning experiences are offered where the students are engaged through physical activity.

Emotionally there is a growing sense of self that can be paired with an increasing tendency to question and challenge. Being self-conscious of bodily changes can be emotionally challenging.

Cognitively this age group is developing new faculties of intellectual thought and growing confidence in causative thinking. It is still too early though for the too formal development of deductive thinking and the analytical-critical function.

Socially, students at twelve years of age begin to understand the concept of causality in connection with their behaviour. They can increasingly take responsibility for their actions by considering the implications and consequences of rules in the home, classroom and society. Increased student interest in the world is extended to include ecological awareness and respect for different cultures.

Needs of this age:

The expansion into the world of science and history captures the interest of this age group. The children are ready for a deepening of intellectual, moral and social challenges. The thirst for knowledge of a wider world, chronologically, geographically and culturally is met through an imaginative and phenomenological approach to scientific subjects, explorations of the development of self-governing societies and leadership programs.

They explore ways to increased independence while securely anchored in a picture of the world that shows goodness, truth and beauty. Strong personal role models, biographies and examples of people overcoming obstacles and bringing goodness into the world all provide pictures and guidance for their increasing break away from outer authority and towards an inner moral compass.

Class 6 Curriculum – themes to meet the needs of this age:

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 – provides 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 and engineering.

Physics is introduced, with an emphasis on an experiential and phenomenological approach: dynamics of cause and effect are investigated in acoustics, optics, heat, magnetism, electricity.

Astronomy – including the rhythms of the cosmos, their effect on weather, seasons, tides, animals, plants and the human being – expands the scientific explorations from the directly observable phenomenon to a more abstract science.

The Birthing Main Lesson provides the opportunity for students to explore their own birth story from conception to birth and beyond and so learn about their own sexual development in a personal context. This main lesson is co-taught by a mid-wife and the class teacher.

Class 6 Main Lesson Topics:

  • History of Ancient Rome
  • The Wonder and Wisdom of Words
  • Australian History
  • Geology
  • Astronomy
  • Introduction to Physics 1 – Acoustics, Optics and Warmth
  • Introduction to Physics 2 – Electrostatics and Magnetism
  • Business mathematics – Entrepreneurship and business plans
  • Geometry and Measurement
  • Birthing Main Lesson – Human reproduction and Personal development
  • World geography
  • Number and Algebra

Practice and subject lessons:

  • Games, activities and creative tasks to support social interaction
  • Consolidation and extension of numeracy and literacy concepts,
  • Artistic work, (painting, modelling, music, dance etc.) based on main lesson themes and in celebration of festivals and rhythm of the year
  • Meaningful hand craft activities to embed a sense of purpose, beauty and perseverance.
  • Form drawing exercises to develop spatial awareness and thinking capacities
  • Weekly specialist music lesson; practice of music notation; continuing practice routine with strings instrument
  • Weekly specialist lesson – language other than English
  • Gardening/Horticulture

Camp and excursions:

  • Local excursions based on Main Lesson
  • Four to six night camp to either Warrumbungle and Lightning Ridge (focus area Astronomy and Geology) OR Canberra (focus area Australian history, citizenship)

– Class 6 –

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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