Children aged from 7 to 11-years-old
Pupils join The Brighton Waldorf Main School at age seven and stay with the same Class Teacher for eight years, which builds a strong and robust relationship of mutual respect.
It’s a big step to move from our Kindergarten to the Main School and the Class Teacher is on hand to guide each child through the next eight years of their learning journey.
At our School, academic learning is introduced in Class 1, and begins with Writing, then Reading and Numeracy. In our younger classes, all subjects are introduced through artistic channels, as we believe this engages pupils to greater effect. Languages are also important in our curriculum and Brighton Waldorf pupils are taught foreign languages, by native speakers, from the age of seven.
Unique to the Waldorf education, the Main Lesson forms the first part of each school day. Taught by the Class Teacher, the Main Lesson focuses on one academic subject – for example, Literacy, Numeracy, History, Geography, Music and Science in three to four-week modules. Pupils create their own textbooks in their Main Lesson workbooks, which become a record of their experiences and what they have learned. By creating their own workbooks, our pupils anchor knowledge more solidly than by simply reading a textbook. It is wonderful to see the enthusiastic pride our pupils take in creating their workbooks, it really demonstrates their true joy in learning.
At The Brighton Waldorf School, learning is a non-competitive activity. Grades are not given in the Lower School. Instead, the Class Teachers and Specialist Subject Teachers write detailed evaluations of each pupil at the end of the year and keep regular records of their progress.
Classes 1 & 2
Every morning to re-establish and anchor the classroom as a safe and secure place of learning, the Class Teacher greets each child as they arrive, thus reaffirming the relationship between pupil and Teacher. Once all the children are present, the day begins with the Class reciting a verse followed by singing, speech exercises, poetry reading, movement, rhythmic games and music.
During their time in Class 1, the children are introduced to numbers and their qualities by having fun counting with their fingers, acorns or small stones. The children also have fun doing lots of mental arithmetic and learning their multiplication tables.
The Class 1 Main Lesson finishes with story-time where a traditional tale is told by the Class Teacher. This is then recalled by the children the following day. In Class 2, the fables and legends of the saints are included.
The Four Arithmetical Processes (Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division) are taught up to 100 in Class 1 and 1000 in Class 2. The Main Lesson in Classes 1 and 2 focuses on writing and number work, with writing being taught before reading. Alphabet letters are introduced and presented through the imaginative use of pictures, which is followed by an associated story.
Once a week, the children enjoy a painting lesson and Specialist Subject Teachers come into class to deliver foreign language classes, Eurythmy (creative movement) and handwork. Gentle encouragement is also given to mastering tasks such as fastening shoes and coats, taking care of possessions and sharing with the other children.
Our curriculum for Class 3 pupils has been designed to meet the changing needs of the eight to nine-year-old child who is seen as ‘Crossing the Rubicon’ or going through an important transitional stage on their path towards adulthood.
From around the age of nine, a child becomes aware of him or herself as a separate identity and our curriculum recognises this delicate and sensitive stage and provides subject matter that is supportive, encouraging, reassuring and stimulating. Through the epic Old Testament stories such as the Creation; the Fall of Man and the Expulsion from Paradise, the concept of separation is explored to help the children put their inner emotional lives into perspective.
Class 3 English lessons focus on basic spelling and grammar, including elements of language composition. In Mathematics, practice is given to mental arithmetic and learning the times tables from one up to 12. The Four Number Processes are expanded upon and the children take a first look at economics, learning about the evolution of the Barter System to a monetary economy and handling money calculations, all of which link back to the Four Number Processes.
In Measurement classes, the children examine body measurement using feet, spans and thumbs. Standardised measurements (Imperial and Metric) and time measurement (the 24-hour clock, seasons, months, weeks, years and days) are also covered. During the Music Main Lessons, the Class studies the basic notations through a range of creative and imaginative reading and composing exercises.
During their time in Class 3, pupils study the historical development of farming. They learn how it links to the seasons, the practicalities of sowing, tending, harvesting and storing crops and the importance of working with nature. The Class Teacher arranges an exciting farm visit which gives the children the opportunity to see – first hand – animal husbandry and the basics of food production.
In the Building Main Lesson, historical building methods are studied alongside modern construction techniques such as laying foundations, brickwork, carpentry and roofing. To give the pupils an authentic and realistic building experience, the Class takes on a practical, hands-on project to build a small wooden house or Yurt in the School playground.
The Brighton Waldorf Class 4 Curriculum reflects the mid-point of a child’s journey through our Lower School. There is a gradual change during this year as the children continue with the imaginative and fantasy-led narrative in the form of history studies covering ancient cultures, myths and legends. However, the interactions of these mythical figures are now explored to understand how certain situations and events produce specific outcomes.
The children continue their learning journey and, through the exploration of grammar, discover how language’s living components are made, and the structures of the written word are learnt.
The emphasis on detail is expanded through the growth of local Geography and History. The mixture of these broad subjects lets the child find their own balance against the expanding back-drop of the world. In Mathematics classes, fractions, complex divisions and multiplications are taught.
The main theme for Class 5 is Ancient Civilisations which is complemented by a course in the language, writing and thoughts of Ancient Greece, taught by a Specialist Subject Teacher. Through studying these in order, the children experience the qualitative changes in the development of humanity that took place through these different cultural eras.
A new class – Botany – is introduced in Class 5. This subject forms part of an age-specific sequence that allows the children to understand how they themselves are related to the kingdoms of nature.
Other subjects covered in Class 5 include the geography of the British Isles, freehand writing, Geometry, grammar and the punctuation of recited speech.
In Mathematics, the principal focus is on decimal fractions and there is also a strong focus on athletics. This coincides with the study of the Greek Olympics and the children’s participation in an inter-schools’ Olympic event.
By the year-end of Class 5, pupils will have gained a robust foundation of learning and will be prepared to take on the growing complexities of the Waldorf Curriculum as they move up our School.
Come and see for yourself
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