Lower School - the Class Teacher years (Ages 7 - 14 years)
There are many subtle transformations that will have taken place which together indicate your child's readiness for Class One. Changes in the way they communicate, play, move and work with their hands show they are ready for the more formalised learning processes of reading and writing that will reveal the world to them. And because they are developmentally ready your child will learn naturally and rapidly, soon reaching the same standards as their peers in state or independent schools. In Class
One your child will meet their class teacher who will accompany them on their journey through the eight years of Lower School. The relationship between the children in the class and their teacher is one of the strengths of a Steiner Waldorf school. Like any social group the class will face challenges but they find ways to work through differences, share achievements and support each other under the steady guidance of their class teacher.
The structure of the day changes considerably in Lower School. In comes Main Lesson – a daily session presented by the class teacher where a topic is explored for up to four weeks and from many aspects. The topic and the way in which it is presented will have been carefully chosen to resonate with your child's age and developmental stage. As your child progresses through the school they will revisit these topics in greater depth and with an increasingly mature approach. Thus your child will have a sense of continuity and purpose in what they are learning rather than jumping about from subject to subject with no real sense of context or meaning.
Main Lessons are presented by the Class Teacher and continue through to Class 12 (age 7 - 18). It is one of the key methods of delivering our curriculum and you can read more about Main lesson on our FAQs page. Subject lessons are introduced from Class One including languages, music, handwork and crafts, gym and games, religion, painting, farming and much more.
Your child will learn by such a variety of methods and activities that it may not seem like learning at all! Recitation, singing, rythmical movement, writing, enacting through class plays and carefully selected trips all help to reinforce your child's learning experience. The structure of the day allows time for your child to reflect on and process information in a meaningful way.
Class trips are a real feature of the Lower School and are seen as a vital part of your child’s life experience. From Class 4 (age 10) your child will venture further afield with increasing independence and self-confidence. You will begin to see this independence increase apace as your child reaches this pivotal stage of their development.
At a point somewhere around age 9/10 the class teacher may begin to introduce small homework tasks for your child. These will be followed a year or two later by more formalised homework from both the class and subject teachers. You will watch as your child grows in confidence in dealing with these tasks on his or her own.
The culmination of this self-directed work in the Lower School is the Class 8 project – a portfolio of work resulting from your child’s research into a subject chosen by them and taking place throughout that year. This marks a fitting end to your child’s Lower School career and perfect transition into the Upper School life with its reliance on a student’s ability to work more independently.