Children may join Kindergarten from age 3, until they move to ‘Big school’ at around age 6. There, the work of a class teacher – who will stay with the class for up to eight years – is to hold the children as a family, caring for their individual needs, whilst also considering the group as a whole. This builds a sense of community throughout the school.
The Waldorf Curriculum
The natural rhythm of the morning starts with a morning verse, followed by ring time (which includes music and poetry) after which the main lesson starts. A main lesson focuses on a theme for several weeks, within the main lesson both literacy and numeracy are utilized, even if the theme is mathematical. The aim is for the children to experience the subject with their head, their heart and their hands. Building from one main lesson to the next, children form a complete picture.
The subjects chosen for study with each age group – from the imaginative world of the 7 year old, to studying anatomy, astronomy and physics with 14 year olds – stem from the work of Rudolf Steiner and the teachers of the first Waldorf school. They are taught by appealing to the creativity of the child, with drawings, practical activities and painting as well as written work.
The second part of the morning and the afternoon the children have subject lessons. At Nant-y-Cwm we provide a range of subject lessons from the academic: French, music, English and maths, to the practical: gardening, woodwork, handwork, games, gymnastics and the artistic: Eurythmy, painting, drama, clay modelling and drawing. Again these are taught in an artistic, holistic and imaginative manner. French is taught from Class 1 to Class 8. In Classes 1 to 3, this is achieved through games, poetry and song which actively and playfully involve children in language. Writing, reading and formal grammar are introduced from Class 4. In music all children learn the pentatonic pipe and the recorder through imitation and develop a musical ear before learning formal music notation. From the fingers to the brain, Handwork develops important neural pathways. In class 1 the children learn to knit and make soft animals, this continues further into dolls and socks. Through the years the children learn knitting, crochet, cross stitch, hand-and machine sewing, pattern making and many other useful skills.