No one would argue that today our world landscape is uncertain and rapidly changing. So, it is no surprise that more families are evaluating the type of education they want for their children to help them meet the challenges of the future. As a result, Steiner education has seen increasing growth and popularity across the world, including here in Far North Queensland. University professors, vocational teachers and the professional community who interact with young adults who have completed a Steiner education often comment on their well-rounded nature, strong sense of self and curiosity to learn. These are the hallmarks of Steiner education, with more than 100 years of evidence-based research into the curriculum and teaching methods, as well as wonderful success stories of students going on to make a positive impact in the world.
What can you expect from a Steiner education?
A deep understanding of the different phases of a child’s development is embedded into the Steiner curriculum. As a result, learning meets the child in a natural way rather than it being put upon them.
While early years are play-based, home-like environments, the primary and high school years begin a journey through the ages. Just as human society has passed through great cultural periods that build on the previous stage, the development of the child mirrors the archetypal learning stages that reflect our entire human history. Rudolf Steiner saw the process of human development illustrated in the different stages of world history or the epochs. Learning about these epochs through the mythologies and imaginative pictures of history reflect the deep inner truths of life by which children’s learning is greatly nourished.
All subjects, from science, maths, literacy to music, are presented in a unique and engaging way that meets the development stages of the students; offering sensory, artistic, and intellectual nourishment. There is a strong emphasis on creativity, the arts, moral development, and academic excellence.
The teachers strive to create a supportive learning environment through a broad, integrated curriculum with a diverse range of experiences. This allows students to build upon and explore their inner strengths, talents, and passions whilst also developing the areas that challenge them. This rich learning experience supports students to become balanced, responsible, empathetic and self-aware citizens who can face and resolve problems and envision innovative ideas; the building blocks for successfully transitioning into adulthood.
A unique aspect of Steiner education is it’s unified and integrated approach to all the subjects. In addition, to all students studying maths, science and literacy, they also equally participate in music, gardening, soft and hard crafts, language studies and an outdoor education program. Steiner education goes a step further as the teachers deliver academic concepts through the arts in an exploratory manner. For example when the four maths processes (+,-, x, /) are introduced in Class 1, they are given human characteristics so that the children can directly relate to them. Each process takes on a character in a story to give an imaginative picture of the ‘work’ of the processes. The child works with these abstract concepts through painting, beeswax modelling, song, and dramatization to deeply embed them in a meaningful way. Steiner education takes students from practical experiences to mastery of concepts.
Steiner education places great emphasis on working with the imagination, which is such a powerful cognitive force in young people. This fostering of imagination in young people leads to the possibility of seeing alternative solutions in adult life, as well as developing their social and emotional resilience.
Graduate outcome research studies have shown a trend among Steiner graduates that they demonstrate a strong sense of self, a clarity around their life choices, and that they are able to contribute positively to their communities. Steiner graduates talk about the hands-on nature of their learning and those who teach these students at university describe a willingness among them to explore and experiment.
For teachers and parents alike, Steiner education is a profound and powerful experience that develops a shared understanding and striving between all community members with the focus being on the child’s needs at its heart.
‘My Steiner education has ensured that I approach my work with sincerity, perspective and, most importantly, play. Being able to accept and understand the wide range of motivations and value systems in society has helped me to conduct myself honourably in the professional sphere.
Daniel Beasley, Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School, Architect, Director, Stukel Architecture, Sydney
“My Steiner education allowed my imagination and creativity to flourish … it is this aspect of my education that I most value. My teachers impressed upon me a sense of inquiry and self-expression that I have retained to this day. During high school, my teachers encouraged me to think independently and not to be afraid to do so.”
Amber Parkes, Steiner graduate. Australian Agency for International Development – currently working in Thailand. Amber holds a Bachelor of Medical Science, a Bachelor of Arts in international studies, and a Master of Public Health.
“To be free is to be capable of thinking one’s own thoughts- not the thoughts merely of the body, or of society, but thoughts generated by one’s deepest, most original, most essential and spiritual self, one’s individuality” – Rudolf Steiner
CHSS is an independent school situated in Kuranda offering Kindergarten to Class 10, as of 2021. It is a co-educational and non-denominational school offering a Steiner curriculum based on the educational insights of Rudolf Steiner. From Class 10, the School is delivering the internationally recognised Certificate of Steiner Education that is an approved Queensland secondary schooling pathway. With each year from 2021 Cairns Hinterland will grow to deliver Class 12.