• What is Steiner Education?
• What is the difference between a Steiner School and other primary schools? What is unique about Steiner education?
• Why are some schools called Steiner schools and some Waldorf schools? How did Steiner/Waldorf schools get
• What is the philosophy behind Steiner education?
• What is the curriculum at a Steiner school?
• Why is the curriculum delivered through stories?
• What is a Main Lesson?
• How is Literacy taught?
• How is Numeracy taught?
• Why do Steiner Schools discourage TV watching and other forms of electronic media?
• Why celebrate seasonal festivals?
• What role does imagination play in the development of children?
• What role does Craft play in your curriculum?
• Do you do sport?
• Why do the children call teachers by their first name?
• Why don’t the children wear a uniform?
• My Kinder aged child is already reading/writing/counting. Will h/she get bored in Kinder?
• Why do two years of Kinder? Is it the same program in both years of Kinder?
• Why does the teacher stay with the same class through the six years of primary school?
• What happens if the teacher and child are incompatible?
• My child is very gifted academically? What would you do for him/her?
• Do students do homework?
• Does Mumbulla School do standardized testing in Years 3 & 5?
• Are Steiner Schools religious?
• What do you do about discipline in the school?
• Where do the children go after Mumbulla School?
• Does the school have any plans for going on to High School?
• How will my child go moving from a Steiner School to a school in another system, either government or independent?
• How will my child go moving from a school in another system, either government or independent to a Steiner School?
• As a parent, how can I be more involved in the school?
• What is anthroposophy?
• Recommended Reading List
What is Steiner Education?
The prime purpose of Steiner Education is to support and educate children so that their own innate and unique human qualities may be fulfilled. This is the task of the educator in each Steiner school (SEA (Steiner Education Australia) website Home page www.steineroz.com)
We aim to nurture and help children become:
• naturally curious
• flexible thinkers
• well rounded
• able to rise to challenges
• in love with learning
Our approach is formed out of a developmental approach to pedagogy. Steiner education is an integrated and holistic education, designed to provide for the balanced development of human intellectual and cognitive faculties, artistic and imaginative capacities and practical life skills. It is a worldwide movement that complies with the requirements of relevant education authorities around the world. Most Steiner schools are independent.
The goal of Steiner schooling is “to produce individuals who are able, in and of themselves, to impart meaning to their lives.” We aim to educate the whole child, “head, heart and hands”. The curriculum places specific emphasis on the need to balance academic subjects with artistic and practical activities. The use of artistic activities within the syllabus supports children’s engagement with their work.
Some distinctive features of Steiner education include:
• An emphasis on imaginative play in the early years of schooling
• The curriculum content , cognitive development and skill building are approached in a pictorial and imaginative way
• Teachers use narrative, creative writing, visual arts, music ,drama and movement to foster their students feeling life allowing them to engage fully in academic content.
• Class teachers stay with their students throughout the primary years.
• Certain activities which are considered extras at mainstream schools are central to Steiner schools: Visual Arts, singing, Music, drama, dance, gardening and foreign language learning (French at Mumbulla School) to name a few.
• All children learn practical skills in Craft, including knitting, sewing, crocheting, copper work and woodwork.
• Steiner Schools usually have a strong Music programme. Children play the recorder from Class 1 and learn violin or cello in Class 3.
• Students are taught a Main Lesson which is an integrated, thematic block of work taking up the morning lesson of each day for a 2-4 week period. The Main Lesson allows children to study a subject in depth but also provides a fresh start several times a term.
• All children have Main Lesson books which become their workbooks, filling them in during the course of each Main Lesson. They essentially produce their own textbooks which record their experiences and what they’ve learned in class.
• Learning in a Steiner school is a non-competitive activity. There are no grades given in the younger years and the teachers write a detailed assessment for the children at the end of each school year.
• The use of electronic media by younger children is strongly discouraged. The focus in a Steiner School is on direct experience and the transmission of knowledge from one human being to another. Parents at Steiner schools may be asked to limit their children’s screen time.
• There is an emphasis on beautiful surroundings at Steiner Schools which enrich the children’s experience and support their learning. Landscaped and ecologically sustainable gardens, the rich cultural and aesthetic nature of the built environment, and the natural fibres and handmade toys in the Kindergarten are all a reflection of what is embedded within the education system.
Specifically, at Mumbulla School we:
• teach French from Kinder to Class 6 with a rich cultural programme complementing the French language learning.
• have a strong Music programme which includes:
• ensemble work from Class 4;
• the option for children to play brass, woodwind or percussion in Classes 5 & 6 or to continue with their stringed instrument (violin, viola or cello);
• weekly Music lessons with a strong emphasis on rhythm.
• use commercially produced textbooks for Maths and Spelling in Classes 5 & 6 to supplement their Main Lesson work.
• ask that parents limit their children’s screen time during their time at
Why are some schools called Steiner schools and some Waldorf schools? How did Steiner/Waldorf schools get started?
In 1919, Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher, scientist and artist, was invited to give a series of lectures to the workers of the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory in Stuttgart, Germany. As a result, the factory’s owner, Emil Molt, asked Steiner to establish and lead a school for the children of the factory’s employees. Steiner agreed to do so on four conditions, which were that the school should be open to all children, co-educational, a unified twelve-year school and that the teachers, those who would be working directly with the children, should take the leading role in the running of the school, with a minimum of interference from governmental or economic concerns.
Molt agreed to the conditions and, after a training period for the prospective teachers, Die Freie Waldorfschule (the Free Waldorf School) was opened on September 7, 1919.
In America the successors to this school are known as Waldorf school. In Australia most are known as Steiner Schools, but not all. The first Steiner School in Australia was Gleaneon School which opened in Sydney in 1957.
In the case of Mumbulla School, the decision was made to call it a Steiner rather than Waldorf school to reflect the fact that it was the philosophy that was important rather than the emulation of a particular model.
What is the philosophy behind Steiner education?
Consistent with his philosophy called anthroposophy (translatable as the “wisdom of humanity”), Rudolf Steiner designed a form of schooling that nurtures children’s imaginations and is responsive to what he identified as the developmental phases in childhood. He thought that schools should cater to the needs of children rather than to the demands of government or economic forces, so he developed a style of education that encourages creativity, practicality and free-thinking.
What is the curriculum at a Steiner school?
The Steiner curriculum is both comprehensive and integrated. It is designed to be responsive to the various phases of a child’s development. The main subjects, such as Maths, Science, Language and History, are taught in Main Lesson blocks (see paragraph on Main Lessons). The total Steiner curriculum has been likened to an ascending spiral: subjects are revisited several times over the course of the primary years, but each new exposure affords greater depth and new insights into the subject at hand. A typical curriculum would look something like the following:
- Pictorial introduction to the alphabet, writing, reading, spelling, poetry and drama
- Folk and fairy tales, fables, legends, Old Testament stories
- Numbers, basic mathematical processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division (the Four Processes)
- Nature stories
- Building and gardening
- Writing, reading, spelling, grammar, poetry and drama
- Norse myths, history and stories of Ancient civilizations, the Roman world, biography
- Review of the four mathematical processes, fractions, percentages and geometry, business Maths
- Local and world geography, botany and elementary physics (heat, light and sound)
- Craft: knitting, crochet, sewing, cross stitch, basic weaving, toy making and woodwork.
- Music: singing, recorder, string instruments (from Class 3), wind, brass and percussion instruments (Class 5 & 6)
- Foreign Languages: at Mumbulla School this is French language (written and spoken) and cultural activities (Festivals,Tour de Bega, projects, performances and assemblies)
- Movement: Gym, Bothmer gym, dance
Special subjects taught include:
Curriculum News Update
Steiner Education Australia (SEA) is currently developing a National Steiner curriculum for Australian Steiner schools while the government-funded Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is working on a National Australian curriculum. This has come about because Julia Gillard, when Minister for Education, promised “that diversity in education would not be squashed” and has permitted recognized international systems Steiner, Montessori and International Baccalaureate to create their own curriculum in parallel with the Australian National Curriculum.
Why is the curriculum delivered through stories?
When children listen to stories they engage with the human voice. They learn to listen and concentrate. Primary aged children think in pictures, and hearing stories develops this image-making power. Children respond emotionally to stories and it is this emotional response that the children remember, and it is this that makes the lesson content memorable.
During their time at a Steiner Kindergarten and primary school children receive an immense gift in the form of many of the great stories from human civilization. These stories are the more vivid for being told by their teachers rather than read. The stories in some way recapitulate the development of mankind. In Kindergarten children listen to Fairy stories where good overcomes evil and magical events are the norm. In Class Three they hear stories from Biblical times where right and wrong are clearly defined, but by Class 4 they are told stories of the Norse gods and goddesses who are only too human in their desires and foibles. Class 5 stories cover the stirring epics of the Ramayana and Gilgamesh and the lives of world religious leaders, Buddha, Christ and Mohammad. With the study of the Greeks a more historical perspective arises which is followed in Class 6 by stories of Roman conquest and the inspiring biographies of more recent heroes and heroines such as Gandhi, Shackleton, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Helen Keller, David Unaipon.
What is a Main Lesson?
The first daily period of concentrated study every morning is known as the Main Lesson. This is an integrated thematic topic that is studied for 3-4 weeks. This system of study has many advantages. Children are able to study the subject in some depth.
Within the Main Lesson period there will be a variety of experiences - recapitulation of previous work, oral, dramatized or written recounts of stories, skills practice, illustration and new material to absorb. Much attention is paid to oral work and collaborative learning.
How is Literacy taught?
Steiner education is deeply bound up with the oral tradition, typically beginning with the teacher telling the children fairy tales throughout Kinder and Class 1. The oral approach is used all through Steiner education: mastery of oral communication is seen as being integral to all learning. Direct reading instruction follows the teaching of writing. During Class 1, the children explore how our alphabet came about, discovering how a letter form can evolve out of a pictograph. Writing thus evolves out of the children’s art, and their ability to read evolves from the daily re reading of their written work.
By the end of Class 1 children will be ready to bring readers home. Points of grammar, genres and spelling are introduced in an imaginative way. Punctuation for example is introduced in Class 2 in a Main Lesson devised 10 years ago now by a current member of staff called “The Circus comes to Punctuation Point.” During their 7-8 years at Mumbulla School children are immersed in stories taken not only from around the world but from throughout human history. They listen to the folk wisdom in fairy tales, the human qualities in animal fables, the deeds of great people and their connection with nature. They hear the great legends of the Old Testament and wonderful mythologies, including those of the Norse and the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome. These stories give the child a meaningful picture of what it is to be human.
Class teachers are focused on the elements that form the building blocks of reading:
• phonic awareness, the ability to discriminate between and manipulate the sounds of our language;
• phonological awareness, the ability to understand and break the code of reading;
• semantic knowledge, the understanding of the world which gives reading its meaning
• and fluency, the ability to read at a rate that allows for comprehension.
Children learn to read at different rates, and with varying needs for support. Mumbulla School provides for a range of modes of Literacy support, so that children see the development of reading as an individual process in which they are well-supported but never pressured.
Language, the medium through which learning is communicated and expressed in all Key Learning Areas, is central to children’s intellectual, social and emotional growth. Experiences in speaking, listening, writing and reading in a wide range of contexts are integral to this development. All Main lessons (whatever the subject) contribute to the enhancement of literacy skills and an appreciation of the qualities of language which we hope will become a source of lifelong enjoyment.
How is Numeracy taught?
The capacity for abstract thinking is nurtured by introducing mathematical concepts through the imagination and in a concrete way, then by developing skills and knowledge through the written word, problem solving, analyzing and synthesising.
Throughout the year, at each class level, there are Main Lessons which predominantly contribute to the development of mathematics outcomes. These Main Lessons are used as a vehicle for introducing and deepening mathematical skills, knowledge and understandings.
Mathematical skills are further consolidated through regular daily Practice lessons. Mumbulla School is currently using the Origo Maths scheme in the upper classes.
Where children are deemed in need of extra support our Numeracy teacher withdraws small groups to assist with this.
Why do Steiner Schools discourage TV watching and other forms of electronic media?
The reasons for this have as much to do with the physical effects of the medium on the developing child as with the (to say the least) questionable content of much of the programming. Electronic media are believed by Steiner teachers and supported in current research to hamper seriously the development of the child’s imagination – a faculty which is central to the healthy development of the individual. Computer use by young children is also discouraged. The presentation of many rapidly changing images on screen can affect the child’s ability to concentrate. Most importantly, when a child is spending hours sitting in front of a screen, he or she is not being active, playing, engaging with others or exploring the world for themselves.
Steiner teachers are not alone in this belief. Several books and many articles have been written in recent years expressing concern with the effect of television on young children. See Endangered Minds by Jane Healy, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (1978) by Jerry Mander, The Plug-In Drug (1985) by Marie Winn. Useful websites can be found at www.allianceforchildhood.org/search/node/television and www.youngmedia.org.au.
Why celebrate seasonal festivals?
Seasonal festivals serve to connect humanity with the rhythms of nature and of the cosmos. The festivals originated in ancient cultures, yet have been adapted over time. To join the seasonal moods of the year, in a festive way, is believed to benefit the inner life of human beings. Celebrating is an art. There is joy in the anticipation, the preparation, the celebration itself, and the memories.
Typically, Mumbulla School has the following seasonal festivals:
• Autumn or Harvest class-based festival in Term 1
• Winter Festival in Term 2 (alternating between a Spiral Walk and a Class 1-6 play). This is a whole school festival.
• Spring Festival in Term 3, sometimes a Kite festival or a class-based picnic at a nearby river or lake
• Summer Festival is our whole school End of Year Festival where we present a play performed by either parents or children and farewell our graduating Class 6 children.
What role does imagination play in the development of children?
Einstein stated that “Reason is an experiment carried out in the imagination.” Imagination is the ability to think in pictures. While this is the primary mode of thinking for primary aged children, it forms the basis of abstract thought in the high school years and beyond. The ability to empathise with others is a faculty of the imagination, as is the ability to visualize in order to be creative on every level, whether it be the creation of a work of art, or the creation of new ideas or social structures.
What role does Craft play in your curriculum?
“Children who learn while they are young to make practical things by hand in an artistic way, for the benefit of themselves and for others, will not be strangers to life or to other people when they are older. They will be able to form their lives and their relationships in a social and artistic way, so that their lives will be enriched. Out of their ranks can come technicians and artists who will know how to solve the problems and tasks”
“Biologists have discovered that when we are born the brain has billions of active neural passageways. These passageways have a correlation with our ability to think when we reach adolescence, if they are correctly exercised during early and middle childhood years. If they are not used, they simply atrophy. We keep them active through the use of our hands in handwork craft and woodwork.”
David Mitchell 1999
At Mumbulla School, children are exposed to many different craft activities.
Through Craft lessons there is an acquisition of lifelong useful and practical skills such as hemming, knitting, crocheting, sewing, woodwork, toy making. Age-old traditional and “time-binding” skills are kept alive by teaching and practice.
Craft is as much about cultivating a sense of beauty as it is about acquiring different skills. Craft projects should be useful as well as beautiful and all should have a purpose. This encourages the attitude that human endeavor is significant and can make a difference in this world. Enthusiasm and joy in the creative practical process is encouraged. Individual abilities are appreciated and accommodated, even celebrated.
There is an appreciation for handmade articles as opposed to mass produced items, an ability to value and feel the difference of using an object that the children have imbued with their own creative spirit and love.
The completion of tasks, sometimes after many hours of effort, builds the self esteem of our students, while everything that a child makes in Craft has a purpose and so is a worthwhile task. The children look forward to what they will make as they watch older students proudly display their handiwork at school assemblies or wear the garments they have made to school.
“You will, I think, be (able) to appreciate in a new way the significance of lessons that demand manual or bodily skill. For it is no whim that has led us to desire boys as well as girls to learn knitting etc. Activities of this kind performed by the hand lead to an enhancement of the facility of judgment. This faculty is actually developed least of all by exercises in logic.”
Rudolf Steiner, Lecture 3
Supplementary Course 1921
Mumbulla School has a specialist Craft teacher. There is also input by the class teachers in selection and form of the design of projects for individual classes.
Each class has a minimum of 60 minutes of Craft timetabled every week taught by the Specialist Craft teacher. Large classes are split into two groups, each group having a Craft session of 30 to 45 minutes. Some classes receive support or extra Craft classes. Ideally Craft is taught in the afternoons in sympathy with the observations made by Rudolf Steiner of the rhythm of the three-fold nature of the human being.
Through our PDHPE programme, we provide the child with experiences that will contribute to a healthy body, strong self esteem, positive relationships, the ability to make appropriate choices and a sense of connection to their world.
The climate and open spaces in our area and at school encourages our children to be physically active with the delivery of outdoor games, sport, swimming and camp programs on a weekly, termly or yearly basis, depending on the activity.
A child’s relationship to games and play is important. Children need to become ‘lost’ in the joy of the game. This inward activity gives meaning to the vast array of important physical skills that are needed for successful learning and for balanced physical development.
At Mumbulla School, each day starts with physical activity in the form of the Morning Circle.
• In the younger classes the children play weekly outside games with their teacher. These are of a collaborative nature and are designed to build social skills as well as physical stamina and gross motor skills.
• In Class 1 & 2 the children also take part in a weekly obstacle course and, in the warmer months, go swimming.
• By Class 5 & 6 play the children play sport every Friday afternoon, either amongst themselves or with other local schools. These sports include netball, soccer, cricket, tag football and tennis.
• All classes have structured swimming and water activities at the local pool in Term 1. Class 2 also has an intensive swimming program conducted by registered swimming instructors in Term 4.
Why do the children call teachers by their first name?
Last century when students were first invited to call their teachers by their first name this must have seemed a radical departure from the norm. By doing this however we acknowledge that the authority of the teacher does not rely on the distance between the teacher and the class but rather on the relationship of mutual respect between them.
Do the children wear a uniform?
Traditionally Steiner Schools in Australia do not have a uniform but they do have a dress code so that children will be suitably dressed for school. We ask that parents and carers support the dress code by making sure that their children come to school with:
• Plain brightly-coloured clothing made of natural fibres. Black clothing is discouraged for primary aged children.
• Minimal use of printed slogans or pictures
• Sturdy footwear that enables your child to run (no Crocs or thongs)
• Name tags on all garments
• No singlet tops (for sun protection)
• It is school policy that children wear a broad -brimmed hat - 10cm minimum width.
Jewellery should be discreet and simple and should not impede work or play. It should not be used as a status symbol or for trading. Therefore, ‘fad’ jewellery is not acceptable, as are excessive numbers of bracelets, dangling belts, etc.
My Kinder aged child is already reading/writing/counting. Will s/he get bored in Kinder?
Our experience is that this isn't the case. Although there is no formal academic work in
Kindergarten, it is a very busy and structured place with a predictable routine or rhythm to each day. Learning takes place through self directed play and teacher lead activities. Children are engaged in creative play, cooking the morning tea, singing, listening to stories, learning to finger knit or French knit, digging in the sandpit, learning to work cooperatively and much more.
Some children in the Kindergarten on occasion have already spontaneously learned to read or to count. This is generally not an issue and they may well continue to practice these skills in an informal way at home. Next year in Class 1 they will enjoy the pictorial introduction of what to them are familiar letters because it is done in such an artistic way that it feels like something new.
Why do two years of Kinder? Is it the same program in both years ?
Children usually begin our Kinder on a part time basis and gradually build up to five days a week by the end of their second year of Kinder. This means that each Kindergarten class will have a mixed aged group with some children turning 5 years during the year and others turning 6 years. While the programme for the two age groups is essentially the same, children participate in the programme according to their interests, needs and skill level and consequently have a different learning experience. The role of the teachers is to be aware of the children in their care and have appropriate expectations thus programming experiences or activities to meet children’s individual differences.
Why does the teacher stay with the same class through the 6 years of primary school?
Children are at the forefront in Steiner education and the teacher needs to become an expert on each child. In the same way that a parent needs to be with a child for many years, children benefit from the consistency that comes with a teacher who knows them well and is able to adapt their teaching to the child’s changing needs.
The Kinder teacher does not move with their children into Class 1. The class teacher starts with their class in Class 1 and follows them through (ideally) until Class 6.
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 years, 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 becomes like an additional family member for most of the families in her/his class.
The relationship between student and teacher is, likewise, recognized to be both crucial and changing throughout the course of childhood and early adolescence.
The teachers themselves welcome the opportunity to stay with the same class. They are able to watch their children grow, continually being re-inspired through the challenges of a new curriculum each year and their understanding of teaching and child development is deepened by the experience of following the children through their 6 years in primary school.
What happens if the teacher and child are incompatible?
This is a very common concern among parents when they first hear about the “Class Teacher” method. However, in practice, the situation seems to arise very rarely, especially so when the teacher has been able to establish a relationship with the class and their parents, right from Class 1. Incompatibility with a child is a very rare issue - understanding the child’s needs and temperament is central to the teacher’s role and training.
Working in close partnership with parents is equally important. The relationship between the teacher and parents is vital in fostering a positive relationship in the classroom as parents views expressed at home will have a bearing on the child in the classroom.
If problems of incompatibility should occur, the College of Teachers as a whole would work with the teacher and the family to determine whatever corrective action would be in the best interests of the child and of the class.
My child is very gifted academically? What would you do for him/her?
An all-round, harmonious development for all children is our first aim.
Classes are arranged according to age. There is no streaming in our school according to ability. The reason for this is that growth and mental development go hand in hand. The basic pattern of human growth is fairly constant – nine months pregnancy, walking at about twelve months, followed by talking, etc. This is true of all children and it is therefore sensible to give the same pedagogical material to all children in the same age group. Naturally, some will have a greater mastery than others in certain subjects. The teachers can accommodate this so while children receive the same basic concepts, the form that work takes can vary within the class. For instance, at ten we teach fractions. A child that masters the processes quickly can be given more challenging problems, but all are doing fractions. A good teacher will provide each child with the necessary stimulation even within the one subject, expecting from each child what each is capable of.
Do you give homework?
Yes, but the nature of homework changes throughout the Primary years:
• In Class 2 parents are encouraged to hear their children read every night.
• In Class 3 parents are asked to support regular violin/cello practise.
• After Class 4 there is much routine work which can be practiced at home - Spelling and Maths as well as learning times tables are obvious examples.
• In Class 5 and 6, homework, in the form of projects, allows for guided research work and gives the children extra practise at research skills in readiness for High School.
Homework can give parents a better understanding of what their child is experiencing at school.
Does Mumbulla School do standardised testing in Years 3 & 5?
All schools must provide standardized testing for children in Years 3, 5 & 7. These are the annual NAPLAN tests held in Term 2. Parents are able to withdraw their children from these tests if they wish.
• Most Steiner teachers Australia-wide question the merits of standardised National testing. Steiner education is based on a particular understanding of child development, in which the introduction of skills and knowledge is based on a concept of child readiness. In the younger years, the introduction of formal literacy/numeracy skills is delayed to allow for the fuller development of physical faculties, eg. eye-hand coordination, gross/fine motor skills.
• A great deal of the State curriculum is being introduced much earlier than in a Steiner curriculum and is often more complex, conflicting with the Steiner approach of natural progression and child readiness. An over-emphasis on the assessment of intellectual skills at Class 3 level is considered contrary to the developmental needs of the children.
• Pressure on children to acquire complex reading and writing skills and to push numeric skills in an intellectual way has been known to cause distress in children and may become a barrier to learning at a later date.
• At Mumbulla School, nearly 100% of Class 5 children undertake the standardized testing. At this stage, the children are able to deal more maturely with the pressures of testing and most of our children do well in the tests.
• As a diagnostic tool, the standardized testing required by the government provides teachers with little new information about the children in their care.
Are Steiner Schools religious?
Classes in religious doctrine are not part of the Steiner curriculum, and children of all religious backgrounds attend Steiner Schools. Steiner schools, however, tend to be spiritually oriented and historically are based out of a Christian perspective. The historic festivals of Christianity and of other major religions may be observed in the classrooms and in school assemblies and inspiring stories from all major religions are shared with the children .
In Kindergarten, the routine of the day provides a predictable structure for children. This routine provides children with security and clear expectations of behaviour. The Kindergarten programme focuses on the development of children’s social skills through play and as such provides for much social learning, influencing behaviour. The older children in the group act as a role model for the younger ones providing an example for behaviour and social expectations.
As the children get older, the respect with which the teachers treat the children engenders respect and respectful behaviour is returned. Where there is respect, social behavior problems are less in evidence.
Facilitating successful social interactions is seen as a very important part of a teacher's job, to the extent that several Main Lessons are dedicated to "The Way We Care".
Misdemeanours are addressed with appropriate consequences. Teachers will often seek a second opinion from the College of Teachers or individual colleagues about how to best go about this.
Older children are often given some form of community service to make amends.
All discipline at Mumbulla School follows the Social Behaviour policy and procedures.
Where do the children go after Mumbulla School and how do they go?
Most children still go on to the local high school, Bega High School. Other high schools in the area are Lumen Christi Catholic College in Pambula and the Sapphire Coast Anglican College in Bega, which are both smaller schools than Bega High.
A few students take a year or two off for home schooling but most of these have then started at high school in either Year 8, 9 or 10.
Generally, most of our children do very well at high school in all areas and across all learning areas, with a genuine love of learning and a desire to be part of a bigger community. A teacher from a local high school made the following comment, that students from Mumbulla School are “the heart and soul of our school”.
Does the school have any plans for going on to High School?
Not at the moment.
How will my child go moving from a Steiner School to a school in another system, either government or independent?
Generally, transitions to public schools are fine, when they are anticipated. Having said that, transitions in the lower classes, particularly between Class 1 and Class 4 should be considered very seriously because of the significant differences between the two curriculum styles and particularly in the timing of curriculum delivery.
How will my child go moving from a school in another system, either government or independent, to a Steiner School?
We have found that children adapt very quickly, especially the younger ones. Because the class they are entering is usually very stable, children find it easy to settle in. It is often the children from other systems who most appreciate the liveliness of the curriculum.
As a parent, how can I be more involved in the school?
Parents are encouraged to participate in many aspects of the school's life. For example, the Board of Directors at Mumbulla School consists of up to six teachers and six parents who have volunteered their time and energy as Directors.
Parents are encouraged to join our active Parents and Friends group. The P&F supports parents within the school, providing opportunities for education and inspiration through workshops and talks, raising money through fundraising activities such as our Spring Fair and a cafe at the annual Cobargo Folk Festival.
Parent volunteers provide invaluable support to our Literacy programmes, working bees and festivals.
Parents offer expertise in a wide variety of areas, enriching our community and our curriculum and the school is most grateful to them.
What is anthroposophy?
The term “anthroposophy” comes from the Greek, “anthropos” (human) and “sophia” (wisdom). Rudolf Steiner expanded an exacting scientific method by which one could do research for her/himself into the spiritual worlds. The investigation, known as Spiritual Science is an obvious complement to the Natural Sciences we have come to accept. Through study and practiced observation, one awakens to his/her own inner nature and the spiritual realities of outer nature and the cosmos. The awareness of those relationships brings a greater reverence for all of life. Steiner and many individuals since who share his basic views, have applied this knowledge in various practical and cultural ways in communities around the world. Most notably, Steiner schools have made significant impact on the world. Bio-dynamic farming and gardening greatly expand the range of techniques available to organic agriculture. Anthroposophical medicine and pharmacy, although less widely known are subjects of growing interest.
It should be stressed that while anthroposophy forms the theoretical basis of the teaching methods used in Steiner Schools, it is not taught to the students and teachers may or may not be anthroposophists themselves.
Anthroposophy has its roots in the perceptions, already gained,
into the spiritual world. Yet these are no more than the roots.
The branches, leave, blossoms and fruits of Anthroposophy
grow into all the fields of human life and action.
• Baldwin, Rahima: You Are Your Child’s First Teacher. Celestial Arts, Berkeley, 1989
• Barnes, Henry: An Introduction to Waldorf Education. Mercury Press, Chestnut Ridge, NY, 1985
• Childs, Gilbert: Steiner Education in Theory and Practice. Floris Books, Edinburgh, 1991
• Cusick, Lois: The Waldorf Parenting Handbook
• Davy, Gudrun: Lifeways: Working with Family Questions. Hawthorne Press, Gloucestshire, 1983
• Finser, Torin: School as Journey. Anthroposophic Press, New York, 1994
• Gorman, Margaret: Confessions of a Waldorf Parent. Rudolf Steiner College Publications, Fair Oaks, California, 1990
• Harwood, A.C.: Recovery of Man in Childhood. Myrin Foundation, New York, 1958
• Harwood, A.C.: Life of a Child. Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1979
• Harwood, A.C.: The Way of the Child. Rudolf Steiner Press, London
• Piening and Lyons: Educating as an Art
• Querido, René: Creativity in Education: The Waldorf Approach. Dakin, San Francisco, 1982
• Richards, M.C.: Towards Wholeness: Steiner Education in America. Wesleyan University Press, Irvington, NY, 1980
• Spock, Marjorie: Teaching as a Lively Art. Anthroposophic Press, New York, 1962
• Stebbing, Lionel: Understanding your Child. New Knowledge Books, Sussex, 1962
• Steiner, Rudolf: Kingdom of Childhood. Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1982
• Steiner, Rudolf: Education of the Child. Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1982
• Steiner, Rudolf: The Four Temperaments. Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1982