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Parents & Friends
Voluntary work for the school provides many an opportunity for people to make newer or deeper friendships within the school community and for the children to enjoy their parent’s involvement with the place they spend such a significant part of their days.
Here are some frequently asked questions from our parents and carers
How can parents become members of the school board?
Parents/carers can become members of the council or governing body of the school after they have been members for 12 months. Parents/carers may be part of subcommittees or task groups that are formed from time to time.
How can parents get involved with the school?
Being involved in the school’s community is a great way to meet like-minded and interesting people and Alice Springs Steiner School prides itself on its great sense of Community spirit. Parents/carers can participate in many class activities such as craft, school camps, working bees, fundraising, assisting in class and excursions. We always need parents to help organise and coordinate the annual Autumn Fair. Each class has a specific role or stall to organise and be rostered on, and there is a committee formed each year to coordinate the fair which is the school’s biggest fundraising event
How do I find out more about Steiner education and what my child learning?
Parents/cares attend class meetings in the 3rd week of each term where they can learn more about and experience the curriculum and class activities their child/ren are undertaking, discuss and share ideas and ask any questions they may have. We also send out a fortnightly school newsletter that details what each class has been learning. And you can always talk to your Class teacher, they will be more than happy to take the time to talk to you about your child
Do Steiner Schools teach the Australian Curriculum?
Steiner schools in Australia use the Australian Steiner School Curriculum which is recognised by Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). Australian Steiner Curriculum framework has content descriptors for each topic or subject which are mandatory in implementation, whereas the written content elaborations are diverse examples only and teachers may create different learning experiences for teaching the content.
As in the Australian Curriculum, teacher’s professional judgement about a particular cohort of student needs may vary the curriculum implementation one year before or after the designated staging. The Australian Steiner Curriculum Framework has some areas of different staging of content in comparison to the Australian Curriculum.
Are Steiner schools religious?
Steiner schools are grounded in understanding that the human being is comprised of body, soul and spirit, and that spiritual development is critical alongside physical, intellectual and social/emotional development.
Whilst recognising the spiritual dimension of the child, Steiner education does not include instruction in religious creeds, but draws instead on the diverse literary traditions associated with the world’s leading religions to inform the festival celebrations and the rich narrative elements of the broad based, culturally rich curriculum.
Do Steiner schools participate in the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) test?
It is a requirement for all Australian schools to offer NAPLAN. However, the broad national testing is out of step with the timing of delivery of the Steiner curriculum. Nevertheless, students at Steiner schools, as compared to students at all Australian schools, typically perform at the same level or better in all NAPLAN areas with the exception of Year 3.
NAPLAN measures numeracy and literacy skills which are ahead of our teachings in Year 3, but by Year 5 we are performing better than our mainstream counterparts.
Key highlights of Steiner students NAPLAN results include:
- In reading, in all years, Steiner students perform significantly better than their mainstream counterparts.
- In writing, by Year 9 Steiner students are performing as well as their mainstream counterparts.
- In spelling, at all years, Steiner students perform comparably to their mainstream counterparts and by Year 9 are performing in the top three NAPLAN bands.
- In grammar and punctuation, at all years, Steiner students perform as well as or better than their mainstream counterparts, with many Steiner students by year 9 performing in the highest three NAPLAN bands.
- In numeracy, by Years 7 and 9 Steiner students perform as well as or better than their mainstream counterparts, catching up with them from the primary years and then exceeding their performance.
What is a Main Lesson?
The first daily period of concentrated study every morning is known as the Main Lesson. This is an integrated thematic topic that is studied for 3-4 weeks. This system of study has many advantages. Children are able to study the subject in some depth. Within the Main Lesson period there will be a variety of experiences – recapitulation of previous work, oral, dramatized or written recounts of stories, skills practice, illustration and new material to absorb. Much attention is paid to oral work and collaborative learning.
What is the difference between a Steiner School and other schools?
The goal of Steiner schooling is to produce individuals who are able, in and of themselves, to impart meaning to their lives. We aim to educate the whole child: head, heart, and hands. The curriculum places specific emphasis on the need to balance academic subjects with artistic and practical activities. The use of artistic activities within the syllabus supports children’s engagement with their work. Some other features of Steiner education include:
- Class teachers stay with their students throughout the primary years.
- Certain activities which are considered extras at mainstream schools are central to Steiner schools: visual arts, singing, music, drama, dance, gardening and learning a foreign language to name a few.
- All children learn practical skills in Craft, including knitting, sewing, crocheting, copper work and woodwork.
- There is an emphasis on beautiful surroundings at Steiner Schools which enrich the children’s experience and support their learning.Landscaped and ecologically sustainable gardens, the rich cultural and aesthetic nature of the built environment, and the natural fibres and handmade toys in the kindergarten are all a reflection of what is embedded within the education system.
Do Steiner Schools use technology?
An important underpinning principle of Steiner education is that young children need to communicate and learn deeply without the mediation of complex technology. This ‘unplugged’ experience is seen as crucial for children to develop an uncluttered self-image and self-efficacy.
On the basis of their rich communication skills and ability to produce original creative work, students are well placed to master digital technologies in high school. Many of the skills children learn holistically are transferable to digital technology:
- How digital technologies work – sequential steps, algorithms, and data recording and analysis.
- Creative use of digital technologies – activities to meet challenges, communicating ideas, and technological safety.
- Research and analysis – creating complex patterns and representing that using pictures, charts and diagrams, and understanding how numbers and symbols can represent data.
The 21st century skills they learn in the Steiner primary curriculum are transferable to a digital world – critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and collaboration, for example. What this education avoids is the adverse impact that technology can have on early memory development – research demonstrates that calculators, spell-check, and Google search have been implicit in developing skills at the expense of memory. When students then enter high school education they embrace digital technologies effectively, creatively, and ethically.
The Alice Springs Steiner School runs a parent craft group that meet weekly during the school term. Many Steiner inspired crafts are learnt in a friendly relaxing environment. The craft that is made is sold at fundraising events and the funds are put back into the school. These craft items are also showcased at our annual fair and open day.
The working bees are great social events. Usually, parents come for several hours to use their muscles and enjoy a hot/cold drink and cakes. The results are remarkable and the improvements to the aesthetic nature of buildings and our beautiful grounds are a testimony to the value of working bees to the school
The school boasts a magnificent vegetable garden that provides produce all year round. All produce is grown biodynamically and organically. There are workshops and opportunities for parent involvement in the garden various times throughout the year and helping hands in the garden are warmly welcomed.