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Class 8 Major Projects - The Long Focus.
The Alice Springs Steiner School Class 8 have been working all year on major, individual projects. These projects were presented to our community and interested students from our school. Each Class 8 student had to choose an area of interest that could be sustained for three full terms and shaped into a presentation in Term 4.
This project is traditional in many Steiner schools world-wide and involves many facets of learning appropriate for this age. Students are encouraged to venture into a “new” area of discovery or take something they are already interested in and investigate it in greater detail. The project involves working with a mentor. The mentor is a resource person that has a great deal of expertise in the field in which the student is interested (generally not a parent or their regular teacher).
The project work is completed at home, as a type of homework and focus for the student. This project is not seen as a competition nor as a talent showcase; rather, it is an opportunity for the students to learn from members of the community, and then present that knowledge back to the community.
This year’s class has chosen a typically diverse range of subjects, from training a parrot to publishing a book; from learning how to build a vertical garden to making ceramic pots; from constructing a wooden box with drawers and learning how to become a detective to building a hobbit house; designing and making a metal dragon sculpture.
Students keep a journal and record their processes, both the practical ones and the inner challenges. They reflect on their journeys and come to a summation on the night of the presentations. They speak the story of their year’s work. They talk of the highs and lows, the challenges, and achievements. Things like maintaining motivation or working out how to stay organised can have a profound impact on the students. Thinking of what they would have done differently can be a very useful process. These all come out on the night of the presentations.
They reflect on what they have learned along the way and come to see that they can meet difficulties and overcome them. These are real life lessons, and they can be very liberating and empowering for students. They realise they have strengths that may have been hidden up until now. They learn to value expertise and the way it is acquired over time and with practice. Finally, they learn to value the support they get from family and friends and can express gratitude for these gifts in a context that allows for expression of these deep sentiments.
The projects are a fitting endpoint to the early years and look ahead to a future that is partly of their own creation. They allow for a glimpse into a productive adult life and begin the development of the skills needed to get there. Congratulations to the Class 8 students of 2023.