Steiner Waldorf Education
"A new Education for new times"

Class 3 teacher assisting pupils in the library

Education has become a central issue in S.A. today. The well being of our children and the health of our society are greatly influenced by our schools. A child's development must be carefully and lovingly guided if he/she is to make a responsible contribution to society.
Emotional stability, intellectual flexibility, sound judgement and genuine independence will be qualities vital for their future.

Rudolf Steiner's insight and research into human nature enabled him to indicate ways in which Steiner Waldorf Schools can work effectively to develop such qualities.


The breadth and depth of the curriculum is a unique aspect of Steiner Waldorf Education. The entire 12 years of school are considered a unity, and apart from certain exams in the upper school, all pupils take all subjects.

Subjects introduced by the class teacher to 7 year olds become increasingly complex when re-introduced in subsequent years. Consequently, the pupils achieve through a thorough knowledge and understanding of the world. For example, nature studies and animal stories in the younger classes prepare the children for botany / zoology and astronomy further up in the school. Story-telling in the Kindergarten builds a foundation for language and the arts etc.

The curriculum is designed with the growing child in mind. Year by year, following the developmental stages of childhood, the curriculum mirrors the inner development of the child, thereby making the educational experience both relevant and satisfying.

PRE-SCHOOL: (Kindergarten) Imitation and Play
LOWER SCHOOL: (Primary) Imagination and Authority
UPPER SCHOOL: (High) Independent Thinking

Out of a matrix of purposeful activity and earnest emotional involvement, clear thinking crystallizes in the teenager. Class teachers give way to specialist teachers who lead the students through a rich and varied array of main lesson studies ranging from thermodynamics to Shakespeare, from trigonometry to the history of the modern world.

Writing, independent thinking and work habits are emphasized. The main lesson books are filled with essays and scientific observations which become increasingly sophisticated.

Central to upper school work is the experience and practice in the visual and musical arts, and a variety of craft lessons ideally suited to the young adult's stage of development. The performing arts are an integral part of the curriculum, thus providing the teenager with opportunity for creative expression, self-discipline and demanding activity.

Rather than provide developmental profiles for each Upper School class we have described educational aims for each age group. This seemed more appropriate given the increasing individual differentiation that occurs during adolescence. Nevertheless one can identify an overall progression through years of the Upper School that can be characterized as follows:

Naturally, any curriculum drawn up by educationalists will have broad areas of commonality since there is much intrinsic logic within a given field of knowledge. It would be surprising if there were not broad areas of overlap between different curricula. How and when an experience is brought to children, however, has to be an area of judgement by teachers who know their children.

The Waldorf Curriculum is essentially aimed at supporting the healthy balanced development of the individual. The outcome of this process is to equip the individual to participate in and contribute to society. It is not primarily driven by learning outcomes, which are merely subject or skills-orientated.

While the teaching approach can and should respond to individual needs, the curriculum content is aimed at peer groups. Since one of the crucial factors in human development is the role of social processes, no curriculum can be wholly individually orientated. Children learn with and from each other. Sharing experiences with others at broadly the same stage of development is more productive and enriching than learning alone. Thus Waldorf education's emphasis is on whole class mixed ability groups.


Sharing experiences with others at broadly
the same stage of development is more
productive and enriching than learning alone.

Each lesson and learning process requires a balance of primary experience, social interaction - through discussion, listening, working togther and so on - and working alone. Each of these elements is essential; their balance will depend on the given situation.

More about the high school...

Details of curriculum aims for classes 8 to 13
  Class 8  

This year is seen as a transition year into the High School with the culmination (or rounding off) of the primary School curriculum. It is the aim of the Class 8 teacher to bring the pupil "up to date" as regards world history and the progress of science in a manner which still engages the feelings.

Students have mostly been satisfied to know how it is, now they wish to know how we know "how it is". In other words they seek not only information but insight. Thus behind every question of what, is the question of how, of origins. How have things come to be as they are? Above all the students want to know how facts relate to them personally. This we call the Soul Question.


  Class 9  

THEME: What?
Ninth graders think in polarities; the world is black or white. Contrasts interest them and they seek to define, summarize and form opinions about the here and now of the modern world. They are fascinated with power and beauty, especially in their thinking.


  Class 10  

Class 10 THEME: How?
SOUL QUESTION: Balance; Process
Tenth graders' thinking capacities begin to loosen and become more flexible. They gain the ability to compare and find similarities where once they saw only differences. They grasp the process of transformation, and wonder how the world around them - language, laws, culture, the earth itself, and even their own capacity to think - developed into what they experience today.


  Class 11  

Class 11 THEME: Why?
SOUL QUESTION: Cultivate powers of analysis
and focus on identity
By the 11th grade the students are fully developed thinkers - quick to analyze and synthesize information and to utilize their power to reason. 11th graders want to know how things are . They need to know the intentions that lie behind the world in order to define themselves, their opinions and ideals. They are ready to think about what is invisible to the eye and transparent to thinking. They also begin to take responsibility for themselves, to explore and find their identities as individuals.


  Class 12  

Class 12 THEME: Who?
SOUL QUESTION: Ultimate powers of synthesis and focus on world consciousness.
12th graders gain perception in their thinking. From their new-found sense of individuality they are capable of finding their place within the community. Their consciousness of self expands into a world consciousness. They are able to use their powerful thinking to see the word from many vantage points and, at the same time, to recognize their own. As they begin to understand the complexity of the world, they seek to understand the individuals responsible for working with society's issues. In this way the students will define their own points of view, make judgements, and define their ideals.

The culmination of the Waldorf Curriculum is the Class 12 Play and then the Class 12 Project. Both of these are major undertakings and will occupy the first 6 to 9 months of the year.
The Projects will be of the learner's own choosing and can be on any topic / field of study. It will consist of 4 main parts:
1) The detailed research into the topic chosen.
2) The written component ( all their own work, including book binding etc.)
3) The practical work in the subject.
4) The presentation of the project to the class, the community and / or general public.


  Class 13  

The last quarter of the 12th year and the whole 13th year is then devoted to obtaining a Matric.
Roseway has a tutor to tutor the learners for their Matric. Six or seven subjects are chosen and a time-table drawn up. The KZN Education Dept. Matric exam will be written by the learners at the end of the 13th year at the school.
Subjects available are: English, Maths, Afrikaans, Physical Science, Biology, Physiology, Geography, History, Accountancy, Business Economics, Economics, Art, Drama, Music and Technical Drawing