The use of drawing, painting, music, movement, poetry, modelling and drama enhances the learning experience in all subjects. A high value is placed on play in the early years, imagination in the middle school and creative thinking at secondary level. This encourages a strong sense for the artistic and cultural life and is supported by an aesthetic teaching environment.
In most cases the children are with the same class teacher from age 6 to 14, supported by a range of subject teachers. Key subjects are taught in `Main lessons`: blocks of up to four weeks of the same topic, usually for two hours every morning, allowing for depth, integration and focus. The rhythms of the day, week, month and year give a context that is enhanced by seasonal celebrations.
There is a central place for structured movement, the out-door environment and learning through doing across the entire age-range. The school timetable may include traditional games, sports, eurythmy, gymnastics, drama productions and an extensive programme of hand crafts and the development of manual skills.
Social and emotional skills are fostered in a variety of ways: by by the recognition of childhood as a time of wonder, by the family-like environment of the extended Early Years, by the provision of clear adult authority and guidance and by the exploration of global and social perspectives at secondary level.
Whole class teaching is combined with individualised and differentiated learning. Imaginative engagement with the lesson material allows all learners, regardless of strengths, weaknesses and learning styles, to work at different levels within their class group.
The oral and narrative tradition is brought to life though recitation, drama and an extensive use of poetry, stories, myths and legends from all cultures, often told rather than read. Modern languages are taught, ideally two, from age six.
Not too soon, not too late. The lesson content and its method of presentation are linked to the children's emotional, social, physical and intellectual development. Formal education, which begins at age six, is introduced in a way and at a pace that respects the child's developmental journey.
The unique qualities of each child can be observed and described, but not always measured. The development of every pupil is closely monitored, mainly through ongoing formative assessment and in-depth study.
Every pupil is expected to give of their best across all disciplines, thus avoiding one-sidedness and early specialisation. Hard-work, determination and good teaching can always build on innate ability.
Steiner schools form the largest group of independent, non-denominational schools in the world. Many are state funded. The first school was opened in Germany in 1919, the first in the UK in 1925. There are currently over 1,000 Steiner schools worldwide and 35 in the UK. There are over 2,000 Early Years settings in a total of 64 different countries.