The curriculum was given by Rudolf Steiner and founded on the developmental stages of the growing child. The curriculum is full of wisdom; it meets the child’s needs at each stage of the child’s development. It is based on three seven year cycles.
- From 0 to 7 years the major task of the child is to build the physical body. The young child does this through activities based on imitation.
- From 7 to 14 years the primary child learns through the feelings, which connect the child to the subject matter being taught. The authority of the class teacher is an essential pillar for the children in these years.
- From 14 to 21 years the young adult learns through clear thinking and is challenged intellectually.
Our kindergarten provides children with a warm and home-like atmosphere. Children are given an all-round education that supports their developmental stage. Children engage in painting, storytelling, music, poetry, hand crafts/handwork, nature walks, baking and indoor and outdoor free play. Children are encouraged to become creative and imaginative thinkers; this is the basis for their intellectual capacities later in life.
Children enter classes according to their age, and in Class One children are 6 years turning 7 years. In Class One formal learning begins. The child’s capacity for pictorial thinking is now beginning to come to the fore and the method of education responds accordingly. Movement and rhythmic activity remain strong aspects of Classes 1-3 (for example: skipping, clapping and stepping games) and these support the development of numeracy, literacy and artistically-presented work. New material is presented largely through picture thinking and stories. The archetypal images of fairy stories nourish the child.
In Class 2 skills are developed through artistic and imaginative work which fosters the growth of the child’s personal thought-pictures. Short fables, with their humorous one-sidedness, and stories of the saints, as an image of humanity, are delivered and recalled orally. This work leads into short written pieces.
In Class 3, around age 9, there are significant changes in the child’s soul life. Experiences are felt more strongly, and a growing sense of objectivity develops. Questions, doubts, aloneness and a tendency to criticism may emerge, changing behavior. The children begin, unconsciously, to question the authority of the teacher; they are guided through a time of change.
In classes 4 and 5 the child separates from his or her surrounding and the ‘I-You’ polarity strengthens. The child begins to understand and think independently and to formulate concepts. One sees the child beginning to learn to think and reason logically and the child shows eagerness to learn about the world. The child’s physical body gains strength and is well balanced, capable of beautiful movements, poised between levity and gravity. The transition from early childhood is complete, although the transition into puberty has not yet begun. Class 5 stands mid-point between Class 1 and 8, and midpoint between birth and maturity at the age of 21. Teaching needs to change during this period to take into account this process of distancing. The teaching moves from myth to history – from mythological time to earthly time and to learning the inter-relatedness of life through plant, animal and geography.
From Class 6 to 8 the limbs begin to lengthen and the child starts to experience a ‘fall’ into gravity. Pupils enter into puberty and the first birth pangs of individuality are felt. The child experiences a yearning for independence together with underlying anxiety, emotional vulnerability and mood swings. Authority is openly and critically questioned and parents and teachers are challenged accordingly. One sees the faculties of scientific, abstract, causal thinking come to the fore and the child develops a growing appetite for factual knowledge about the world around them. Teachers need to direct the pupils’ interest and attention strongly into the world and provide the pupils with new perspectives and opportunities to explore different ways of seeing the world. They are increasingly called upon to take greater initiative and responsibility for self-directed learning and individual judgment. Their powers of observation are developed to cultivate a sense for social responsibility.
“Our highest endeavour must be to develop free human beings who are able of themselves to impart purpose and direction to their lives. The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility—these three forces are the very nerve of education.”
by Rudolf Steiner
The class teacher remains with their class for as many years as possible, ideally 8 years. Each day starts with the Main Lesson which is a 2 hour lesson taught by the class teacher. Subjects are taught in blocks of approximately 4 weeks. While the child has other teachers for languages and other special subjects, the continuity of the main lesson teacher fosters a sense of trust, continuity and security in the child.
The primary subject lessons are: Mathematics, English, Kiswahili, French, swimming, handwork, music, traditional dance, art, religion (CRE), sports, computer and gardening. Mathematics, science, geography, history, nature studies, farming, botany, physics, chemistry, physiology are all introduced in main lesson blocks. In class 8 the children start to prepare for their KCPE exam and during their class 9 it is only exam preparation.
The school has a counselling programme given by the class teachers. Lessons are given throughout the primary classes. Outside counsellors are also invited in to speak to groups or individual children.
The games and sports curriculum in a Steiner Waldorf school, as with the academic subjects, supports child development. The games and sports played reflect the child’s gradual development from a group-centered consciousness in the early years to an individual consciousness that emerges in later years. There is a strong focus on athletics in Class 5, which coincides with the study of the Greek Olympics. In general, the emphasis is on co-operation and social development rather than focusing on individual victories.