The very different understanding with which a Steiner school approaches education gives a distinctive definition to the role of the Teacher. In addition to the thorough study and preparation of class content, the task of the Teacher is seen as a creative and spiritual one, requiring continuous personal renewal. At the Dandenong Ranges Steiner School, the Class Teacher commits to accompany her/his class for six years from Class One through to Class Six. Similarly, the child and family are asked to make this six-year commitment as well. This commitment between the Teacher and the child and his/her family is based on love, trust and respect. The relationship blossoms and deepens each year.
The Teacher works with the class as a whole, whilst the long-term nature of the relationship allows an intimate knowledge and understanding of each individual child. The Teacher and the children learn to care deeply for one another; supporting and encouraging positive behaviours. The child is held closely within this relationship; giving the child the security and freedom to learn and experiment. From this commitment, remarkable things develop. The depth of the relationship within the Class anchors children throughout their entire education.
During Class One, the parents and Teacher forge a partnership based on mutual respect and trust. As a time of transition to more formal learning, Class One works to come together as a group that can work and play as one. For most children, this is the first time they have been asked to sit at a desk for a large part of the day. This may not be easy for some and for many it is something to adjust to. At DRSS, the transition also involves a move to a new campus and although children often look forward to moving up to “the big school”, it too is also something to get used to.
The heart of the curriculum is the Main Lesson. The main lesson is taught by the Class Teacher each morning just after Morning Circle when children are alert and eager to learn. Each subject is addressed in depth using many different approaches, usually over the course of three weeks. Please see the curriculum page for each Class, One through Six, for more information on the main lesson.
At the Dandenong Ranges Steiner School, Class Six concludes with a Graduation Dinner. The Class Teacher, students and parents gather together to celebrate the completion of their journey together. It is a warm and wondrous celebration of gratitude for the contribution each has made to the other’s lives and learning. After completing the six-year cycle together, the children are ready to embark on a new learning journey at the secondary school of their choice. Having been held with love and brought an education that nourishes the whole child, children leave DRSS with a strong foundation that carries them throughout the remainder of their education.