Class teacher approach
Any classroom at The Waldorf School in the east of Pretoria resembles a family. In following the Waldorf Way a teacher stays with the same group of children throughout primary school. The same teacher who welcomes the new Class 1 learners on the first day of their school career will complete Class 6 and the primary school phase with his/her class.
Advantages of the class teacher approach:
- The class teacher and children develop a close and personal understanding.
- A long-term relationship and supportive atmosphere creates an ideal learning environment (on a farm in the East of Pretoria) in which a child can feel at ease and focus on the task at hand.
- The Waldorf School’s low teacher turnover rate augments a sense of continuity and stability in the classroom.
A distinguishing feature of The Waldorf School at Rosemary Hill is the breadth and depth of the curriculum. The Waldorf curriculum is designed to complement and mirror the various phases of a child’s development. The relationship between learner and teacher is therefore both crucial and dynamic in nature throughout childhood and early adolescence.
We teach the main subjects such as history, languages, arts, science and mathematics in main lesson blocks (3-5 weeks) of one to two hours per day.
The total Waldorf curriculum can be compared to an ascending spiral: subjects are revisited several times, but each new exposure affords greater depth and new insights into the subject at hand.
The typical Waldorf curriculum is likely to look as follows:
Primary Class 1 to 3
The Foundation Phase reads like an adventure story. It is filled with characters a child can identify with when learning to read, write and calculate. Even during free play, characters like “Minus” and “Divide” act out their roles.
- Pictorial introduction to the alphabet, writing, reading, spelling, poetry and drama.
• Folk and fairy tales, fables, legends, Old Testament stories and African tales.
• Numbers, basic mathematics processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
• Nature stories, house building and gardening.
Middle Classes 4 to 6
During the Intermediate Phase knowledge of numeracy, literacy, life skills and arts and culture are deepened and further enriched by artistic geometry, map drawing, geology, nutrition, gardening, building and construction, camps, outings, adventures, music, drama, movement and exploration.
- Writing, reading, spelling, grammar, poetry and drama.
• Norse myths, history and stories of ancient civilisations and African mythology.
• Review of the four mathematical processes, fractions, percentages and geometry.
• Local and world geography, comparative zoology, botany and elementary physics.
Senior Classes 7 to 9
The Senior Phase links up with the last phase of the CAPS-system of the GET (General Education & Training) band of the Gauteng Department of Education & Training.
- Creative writing, reading, spelling, grammar, poetry and drama.
• Medieval history, the Renaissance, world exploration, African and some European history and biographies.
• Geography, physics, basic chemistry, astronomy, geology, biology and mathematics.
Learning Areas Offered in Classes 7-9
Subjects are grouped and comply with the learning areas required by the Gauteng Department of Education & Training, namely the following:
- First and second language, literacy and communication.
• Mathematical literacy, mathematics and mathematical science.
• Design and Technology.
• Human and social sciences.
• Life orientation.
• Natural science.
• Arts and culture.
• Economics and management science.
Special subjects also covered (Class 1-9):
- Handwork: knitting, crochet, sewing, cross stitch, basic weaving, toy making and woodwork. Copper beating in Class 8.
- Music: choral singing, class music, recorder, drumming and some individual instruments, for instance piano or marimba if private tuition is available.
- Art: wet-on-wet water colour painting, form drawing, beeswax and clay modelling, perspective drawing.
Movement: Eurythmy, games, drama.