The Steiner Program at East Bentleigh Primary School began in 1991 and grew out of the initiative of a group of dedicated parents and teachers. Steiner/Waldorf education is a unique and particular approach to education that is internationally recognized.
Our Steiner Program has adapted the Steiner/Waldorf approach to suit our unique and progressive school and observes the theory of childhood development as espoused by Rudolf Steiner.
Our Steiner Program provides a holistic approach to educating the whole child – ‘head, heart and hands’. Our program brings a purpose-filled artistic approach to both learning and teaching with a strong emphasis on creativity, the arts, social skills and providing opportunities for academic excellence.
A Strong Oral Language Tradition
Much of the teaching in all subjects in the Steiner stream is done through a rich repertoire stories told by the class teacher. Recalling and discussing the stories in a natural spontaneous manner is an essential component of our program. The oral approach is used all through Steiner education, and mastering oral communication is seen as integral to all learning. Regular singing, poetry recitation and recorder playing from class one onwards, also dancing and rhythmic work taken each morning, all sharpen the powers of concentrated listening.
We provide an enriched approach to learning through a daily Main Lesson that considers a particular theme across a three to four week period. A main lesson can be seen as similar to an multidisciplinary, integrated unit of work. The overarching themes for the stories on which these main lessons are based, sees children begin with fairy and folk tales in the early years, then move into fables and mythology, and then to history. These themes are complimented through regular lessons in dance, drama, craft and Eurythmy.
The children in our Steiner stream participate in a drama performance each year. These wonderful performances bring the main lesson content alive for the children and parents alike to enjoy. The younger classes begin with choral and group speaking moving to individual performances in the Greek main lessons in class five.
Specialist Programs in the Steiner Stream
Children in our Steiner stream participate in both whole-school specialist and stream specific programs.
Sport - Our physical education teacher, John, takes each class for sport. The regular program has been adapted for the Steiner stream in the younger years to place less emphasis on competitive sports and more upon gross motor skill development.
French - Madame Carmen teaches French to all our classes. Find out more about Carmen's L.O.T.E. program here.
Creative and Performing Arts - Where this is a specialist program within the mainstream, the arts are integrated within the Steiner curriculum and taught by the class teacher. Painting, drawing, drama and music are all interwoven within morning routines, main lessons and weekly practice lessons.
Specialist programs specific to the Steiner stream include:
Craft – From class one children begin creating beautiful and purposeful items which are used throughout their primary school years. They build skills in sewing, knitting, crochet, weaving and tapestry to create bags, pencil rolls, toys, clothing and more. The activity they do in craft helps build fine motors skill, logical reasoning and self discipline. Great satisfaction is gained by the children on the completion of each project.
Eurythmy – Eurythmy is a particular form of movement that enhances coordination and strengthens the ability to listen. When children experience themselves like an orchestra and have to keep a clear relationship in space with each other, a social strengthening also results. Eurythmy aims to develop a sense of personal space, a healthy social sense and a feeling of empathy. It challenges children to consider ‘What can we create together?’.
String Music Program – From Class three to six, each child in the Steiner stream learns to play a stringed instrument and participates in a class orchestra.
Dance – The children participate in a variety of dance classes throughout the school years. These dances come from a wide cultural base including, early European, indigenous, Israeli and Greek, and link to the main lesson being taught. Our dance program builds cooperation, coordination and spatial awareness.
While children attending traditional Steiner/Waldorf Schools remain with their teachers for six to eight years from class one, our Steiner classes remain with their teacher for three years at a time – class one to three and class four to six.
Our Steiner program exists within the state funding model and reports to AusVELS, utilizing both the National Curriculum and Steiner National Curriculum Frameworks. Children in our Steiner Program engage in State literacy and numeracy assessments such as English and Maths Online Interviews as well as NAPLAN testing in years three and five.