Category Archives: Lower School Curriculum

Problem Solving

Pupils are set open-ended practical problems and given limited materials with which to solve these problems. They have to work collaboratively and learn from trial and improvement.

In the early years, classes 1-4, this will take the form of directed play. The children will learn through making and trial and improvement. They will not be asked to design the object first, but their learning will be guided by their hands-on interaction with the materials.

From classes 5-8 the element of design will become more prominent. As the children’s thinking capacities develop, they will be encouraged to design their solutions and to try to anticipate how these designs may work. They will then try them out and adjust their designs accordingly.


Handwork is an integral part of the curriculum for all children from Class 1 to Class 8. It provides a balancing element to the intellectual activities experienced elsewhere in the curriculum and is designed to aid the harmonious development of the child. The scheme of work is taken from Rudolf Steiner’s indications, which outline examples of activities that match the developmental stage of the child, ensure progression and are tailored to suit the needs of the teaching group. Examples of Handwork skills that are taught in the weekly lesson include sewing, knitting, crochet, weaving, tailoring, dyeing and felting, with importance placed on the use of high quality, beautiful and natural materials in order to enhance the artistic and creative development of the child.


Art is taught in an integrated way and as a separate subject. Artistic work is an integral part of the Main Lesson and is used in a wide variety of contexts. Pupils have opportunities to learn a wide range of art techniques in weekly art lessons. Care is taken to introduce good foundational skills. Top quality materials are used so that the children develop an intuitive sense of beauty,  harmony and aesthetics. In classes 1-5 the children work with colour, developing their sense of colour through watercolour painting, crayon and pencil drawing. In drawing outlines are avoided, instead, the children learn to work in planes of colour. Some drawings and paintings are guided, at other times the children work from their imagination often drawing the images from story content. In classes 1 and 2 paintings explore colour in its pure form without any figurative content. From class 3 paintings gradually become more figurative. Through this extended work with pure colour, the children develop an intuitive understanding of colour that they can bring to their own creations later on. In class 6 light and dark is studied in parallel with the physics block. Black and white drawing explores how form arises out of the interplay between light and dark, first through formal exercises and then through life study of simple geometric forms. In class 7, the children study the laws of perspective within the context of the renaissance, once mastered these laws can be applied to create elaborate and complex compositions. In class 8 life drawing now includes organic forms and objects. Layered painting is introduced. Modelling is also an important part of the art curriculum as it helps develop a sense of form. In classes 1-3 the children model coloured beeswax figures and animals from stories. From class 3 clay work is introduced. From class 6 lino printing is also explored.


A curiosity in the natural world is nurtured right from the Kindergarten years and much is learned through the children’s free interactions with the natural world and extended time spent within it.

  • Classes 1 and 2- Nature studies are introduced in class 1 and 2. Through stories and observation, children learn the phases of the moon, the rhythms of day and night and winter and summer, as well as becoming familiar with some common local flora and fauna.
  • Class 3 – Main Lessons on time explore the subject through hands-on experiences of different ways of measuring times: making sundials, understanding the roots of time in the relationship between the sun and the earth, making water clocks, and candle clocks.
  • Class 4 - There is a Main lesson on The Human Being and The Animal, when the class is presented with a project that focuses on the creatures that move in and around the earth. The children will learn about the special adaptations that animals have developed to help them master survival in their environment/habitat. This is contrasted with humans who are not masters of one thing like most animals but are open to learn many things and to transform their environment through language, uprightness, skilful hands and intelligence. Then the animal theme is continued looking at animals that are native to our islands. Each child will complete a project on an animal of their choosing and give a presentation to the class.
  • Class 5 - The focus in the science Main Lesson shifts one step closer to the earth itself with the study of the plant kingdom. An emphasis is on observing plants in their natural environment, the processes growth of flowering and fruiting. The focus is on a phenomenological approach as outlined in Goethe’s seminal work “the metamorphosis of plants that see plants as a living process through time. The evolution of plants from algaes, to mosses, ferns and flowering plants is also brought in a pictorial and age-appropriate fashion.
  • Class 6 – The scientific focus moves on to the earth itself, with a Main Lesson in Mineralogy. In these Main Lessons, the scientific approach stresses the activity of the senses rather than the activity of dissecting and analysing the parts, because children at this stage learn most through what they can see, hear, smell, taste or touch. The aim is to bring the children’s senses to life and school their ability to make observations about natural phenomena. In class 6 Physics lessons nurture the children’s ability to observe and question these phenomena. They will observe and take part in demonstrations to show the properties of light, heat, sound, magnetism and static electricity. The children are then encouraged to think for themselves about the observations that they have made and what conclusions might be drawn. They are then guided to build open concepts based on these experiences and conclusions. Erroneous conclusions might be corrected or adjusted through further observations. Through a highly experiential approach science lessons are full of fun, joy, wonder and questioning. Sexual education is also introduced in class 6 through a life cycles Main Lesson.
  • Class 7 - The five concepts above are revisited, now the relationship between electricity and magnetism is studied as is current electricity. Basic mechanics is also introduced: pulleys, the classes of levers and incline planes and the idea of mechanical advantage. There is a new emphasis on measurement and a quantative approach that reflects the child’s increasing objectivity. Biographies of the scientists who made these discoveries help to bring the subject to life and to provide a context. The first Chemistry lesson is on Inorganic Chemistry in class 7. It includes an exploration of the following: combustion, acids, bases, the lime cycle (through making lime in a lime kiln), oxygen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, Metals. They will also learn about Nutrition, the senses and the workings of the major organs of the human body and connect this with an understanding of how to keep their body healthy.
  • Class 8 - the main lessons for Science include Human anatomy, a particular emphasis is based on the study of the human skeleton and the human beings remarkable adaptations for bipedalism. Organic Chemistry focuses on a study of fats, proteins and carbohydrates and fermentation; their origins functions in the body and uses in industry and the food industry. This may be enhanced by the practical experience of making soap, paper, yoghurt, cheese and more. In Class 8 Physics a study of atmospheric pressure and Latent heat paves the way for an understanding of the steam engine in the industrial revolution.  In class 8 the pupils own practical scientific skills are honed.

The Natural Environment

The curriculum respects the restorative benefits of the natural world. We have our own Outdoor curriculum and Outdoor Classroom Teacher. The Outdoor programme includes outdoor crafts: pottery, green woodwork, basketry, (flint knapping and metal work lead by external providers). Children experience harvesting and purifying the clay as well as building kilns. It also includes outdoor games, practical outdoor activities linked to the Main lesson, bush crafts and nature walks, foraging, tracking, navigation, weather forecasting and expedition planning. Each class has an Outdoor day in which they spend from 11:15-15:00 outdoors. The Outdoor curriculum runs parallel to the Main Lessons following the same themes where possible and enriching and deepening the children’s experience of them. Craft and project-based lessons run in the school grounds, we also visit local Wildlife Reserves regularly. A range of field trips connected to the curriculum also form part of the Outdoor Curriculum.

Physical Education

There is both integrated and discrete physical education. Integrated physical education includes the movement exercises that come at the beginning of the Main Lesson to help the pupils to settle their focus for learning. The use of rhythm and movement may come into many lessons, such as maths where pupils, for example, may throw and catch beanbags as they recite times tables, or a foreign language, where pupils might follow a sequence of movements when learning parts of the body. Weekly games lessons include a wide range of team games. In the younger classes, games are often introduced with a story so that the physical activity has an imaginative focus. Around Class 5 the ancient Greek Olympic events are introduced: running, jumping, discus and javelin. Ball games are introduced with rules tailored to the age group. From Class 6 to class 8, formal sports are taught. This takes place at a local sports hall and introduces the pupils to a broad range of activities including football and badminton, basketball, handball and volleyball.



Intent of the Eurythmy curriculum

Eurythmy is a physical performance art that combines choreographed movement with music, poetry and grammar. It is non-competitive, and relies on co-operation, teamwork, social awareness and non-verbal communication. Eurythmy develops children’s proprioceptive skills and core strength, supporting them to learn to move with poise and grace. It includes a physical representation of poetry, creating cultural capital in movement and providing a concrete relationship to language. Children connect in a joyful and active way with the technical inner nature of poetry and music, allowing them to retain this understanding in their long term memory and apply it in other areas of their education.

Eurythmy can also be seen as a form of meditation through mindful movement. Children have to find an inner quietness in order to listen deeply to the poetry and music, but also to the body language of others, interpreting their unspoken intentions. Eurythmy supports self regulation – physically, emotionally and mentally. Children learn to manage their bodies, their feelings and their thoughts, culminating in the older classes with the confidence to choreograph a performance that shows something of themselves to the world.  

Accessibility and Transitions

For children with SEND, Eurythmy offers an alternative way to access areas of the curriculum, especially ambitious language, vocabulary and poetry. It is an excellent resource for children with dyslexia, developing their phonological awareness and sense of rhythm. The use of movements that cross the midline support children with a variety of learning differences, including dyslexia, dyspraxia, retained reflexes and ADHD, developing processing abilities and neurological organisation.

Eurythmy is also highly effective for EAL learners. The gestures and movements are accessible in any language, and children with EAL are able to imitate and join in the work of the group, even if they do not yet understand the finer detail of what is being asked.

When children join a Steiner school with no previous experience in Eurythmy, teachers will put in place a programme of introduction to the subject. This begins with asking the child to observe the class, and then carefully tailored scaffolding so that the child can join in. This might include pairing the child with the teacher or a more experienced peer, and the opportunity to observe more complex forms before attempting them. The teacher will be consciously aware of the new child and their needs, reassuring them that it is ok to make mistakes and watching carefully to see where they need support.

Challenge and support

Challenge is provided in a developmentally appropriate way. Children who master elements of the lesson more quickly may be asked to demonstrate exercises, lead choreography or support children who are struggling with particular aspects.


Where participants in an exercise perform different roles, the more difficult parts will be assigned to challenge the more able pupils. These children might also be asked to give constructive feedback to others in their group, or a group of high attaining children might be challenged to create elements of choreography from scratch.

Support for children who are struggling might be provided in similar ways to those outlined above for children new to the subject: observations, pairing with a more knowledgeable other, individualised support from the teacher. Sequencing and Planning

Sequencing and Planning

The planning and sequencing of the Eurythmy curriculum is multi-dimensional. As the child moves through the school, the exercises and forms that they are asked to attempt become increasingly complex, as do the requirements of musicality and grammatical understanding.

Simultaneously, each choreographed piece is developed from its introduction to its performance (although this may not be public); items within the choreography become more complex: teaching through repetition and practice lead to refinement, sophistication and finesse.

Children’s physical skills develop from the kindergarten, where they are beginning to become aware of their own bodies and to imitate simple shapes. Children start by controlling their own movements, and as they move through the school begin to work with partners and larger groups and with equipment such as rods. They develop their agility, spatial awareness and flexibility, alongside their concentration and persistence. Children’s musicality and understanding of rhythm and timing develops alongside their sense of artistry. Eventually, in the older classes, children are expected to move from imitation to independence and the creation of a performance of a work entirely of their own choreography.

Vitally important is children’s development of trusting relationships with both the teacher and their peers. As trust is built, especially through the self-conscious early teenage years, children grow to feel safe enough to be truly creative, despite a sense of exposure in both practice and performance. With their understanding of the needs of the class and individuals within the group, the teacher continually and consciously adapts the curriculum to provide appropriate support and challenge.

Cross-curricular impact

As with other techniques and art forms that use music, movement and mindfulness techniques, Eurythmy has a positive impact on children’s well being. The structured movement and physical and emotional self-regulation gives children a strong sense of health. The balance of movement and stillness, freedom and focus, allows children to assimilate their academic learning and enables them to be ready to learn.

In the lower classes, the tracing of forms across the floor develops children’s ability to visualise symbolic representations. Children’s cores are strengthened, as well as large muscles vital for writing: shoulder rotator cuffs, pectorals, trapezius’ and rhomboids. Emerging musical and linguistic literacy supports highly attuned phonological awareness. For the older children, their developing knowledge and understanding of grammar and syntax is expanded as they explore poetry in physical form, with particular movements being assigned to parts of speech and expressed through the choreography. Their drama and performance skills are also enhanced.

Children’s maths understanding is supported through the subdivision of the beat in increasingly complex ways, for example stepping two beats to the bar whilst clapping three beats to the bar. The geometrical nature of the Eurythmy forms challenges children to translate shapes from two dimensions to three, and they gain a conceptual understanding of the nature of shape, for example the differences between 5, 6 and 7 pointed stars.

Often curriculum content from the main lesson is echoed in the themes chosen for Eurythmy. Verses or music might be chosen around fairy tales in Class 1, Fables and Saints’ stories in Class 2, Creation or Farming in Class 3, Norse Myths or Man and Animal in Class 4, ancient epochs or botany in Class 5, the Romans (including poems in Latin) or Geology in Class 6, Explorers and Physiology in Class 7, and Anatomy or Revolutionaries in Class 8.

Religious Education

The moral and spiritual well-being of the children is nurtured by developing a strong sense of belonging for all children whatever their faith background. This is achieved through a calendar of seasonal festivals from around the world that the school celebrates together. A sense of reverence and an attitude of tolerance and respect towards each other is encouraged and modelled by the teachers and reinforced by verses said at the beginning and end of the day. Festivals from different religious traditions are celebrated, particularly when a child within the class is part of a religious community. World religions and the diverse cultures that embody them are studied during the Main lesson blocks including stories, songs and dances: Stories of holy people and Saints from diverse traditions in class 2, Judaism in class 3, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and Hinduism in class 5, Islam and Christianity in Class 6. Pupils develop a well-informed understanding of world religions and a strong sense of the value of community and of the wonder of the natural world. Through the Outdoor curriculum, we attempt to foster a deep connection and love of the natural world. The Rites of Passage curriculum which is part of our Outdoor Curriculum aims at guiding the child to a deeper sense of self-awareness and purpose and into exploring the bigger questions in life for themselves. It also encourages them to develop open and trusting relationships with their peers and to talk about personal and profound matters with them.

Technology and ICT

Pupils are introduced to a wide range of simple technologies through their practical creative work starting with cooking and sewing. As they get older this develops to include gardening, building, woodwork, pottery, flint knapping and metalwork. In these activities, they use an increasing range of hand tools and learn how mechanical tools function. E-safety is introduced in an age-appropriate manner from the Sunbeam year in Kindergarten. This continues and develops in the Lower School as pupils develop an understanding of a range of mechanical technologies in the broad context of other disciplines. From around Class 6 onwards the children are taught to use computers within the class as a research tool. Touch typing is also introduced.