Class 3 is a very practical year at Mumbulla School. The theme could be “teach me how to work in the world.” The programme includes gardening, cooking, farming, building and camping. Additions to the curriculum for Class 3 children include work in the school garden, build cubbies, care for the school poultry, visit local farms and study the history of agriculture.
Steiner saw this as a significant year for children as there is a change in their relationship with the outer world. Now as their individuality begins to emerge more strongly they are leaving the early childhood inner world of imaginative play; they are beginning to differentiate between nature, other people and themselves. They need to feel secure so it is essential that they have clear boundaries and strong routines. They need to undertake activities which connect them to the natural world in practical ways, which develop skills, build a growing sense of independence and which help them to feel physically capable and competent.
At this stage, the children appreciate the strength portrayed in Old Testament stories. Eden’s ‘paradise lost’ and Israelites searching the wilderness for ‘The Promised Land’ resonate with the children’s own loss as they transition from an earlier stage of childhood. Exposure to Old Testament stories builds a cultural bridge to concepts and language which continue to underpin an understanding of the Western world today. To complement these stories our programme includes Jewish dancing, culture and songs.
The first school camp takes place in Class 3, usually in one of the nearby local National Parks.
Class 3 is a big year musically as an important Main Lesson continues which involves the study of musical notation. Shortly after this, each child is measured up for a stringed instrument (violin, viola or cello) and begins to learn how to play it. The children will study this instrument until Class 5, when they may choose to continue or to change to a brass, woodwind or tuned percussion instrument.
Steiner gave indications of how children develop spiritually and emotionally and used this to guide his curriculum and teaching methodology.
These teacher notes on the Class 3 Child offer more insight into these.