How are Children Taught to Read?
During the first three classes, great care is taken in laying a thorough foundation for writing and reading. Children learn to write before they read. Letters of the alphabet are learned in the first class in capitals, as they originated in the evolution of our culture. Man perceived, then pictured, and out of the pictures he developed signs and written symbols. The children, with their naturally pictorial thinking, do likewise, In the shapes of natural objects, children re-discover the shapes of the letters: M in a series of mountain peaks, V in the valleys between, S in a sinuous snake. The experience is deepened and widened through speech and movement. This method of approach develops a sense for the qualifies of the letters and makes them come alive so that they are remembered. Phonetics are treated thoroughly and the first experiences in reading centre around that which the children know well and have copied from the board. The first printed reader is introduced during the second year.
How is Number Work Introduced?
It is generally recognised that the first experiences of arithmetic are crucial, and here Steiner made some interesting recommendations. By starting with "two plus two equals four" the child meets (i) a completely abstract proposition, (ii) a reductionist view of the universe in which wholes are made up of parts, and (iii) a problem with only one answer. If he explores instead how to divide an apple or a cake and share it round the class, he starts from real life, from wholeness, and from a problem with several answers.

Arithmetic is taught to children not as a method for computing , but as a powerful process which is inscribed into the world around them. They can see oneness in the image of the sun, twoness in the contrasts of day and night, fiveness in flower petals and sixness in the legs of beetles. Always, there is a sense of the reality underpinning the world.

Numbers are taught in movement, and through music before anything is committed to paper. They can be modelled in plasticine, a clay or beeswax., together with the shapes in which they are found: the square, circle, pentagon and so on. Arithmetic tables are recited with much clapping and stamping, for unless the knowledge sinks deeper than the child's conscious memory, very little has been achieved. As in so much else, in their early years the children need to learn by heart before they learn by head.

Why is Art so Important?
Art is recognised as an important aid to learning. It permeates the curriculum as a medium of expression and enlivens all subjects. By teaching with imagination, movement, sound and much artistic activity, the whole nature of the child is aroused and involved, developing enthusiasm for the learning experience. Learning is transformed into a stimulating process with far-reaching results when enriched with art and movement, enabling the whole person to unfold.
What is the Main Lesson?

The Main Lesson system has proved to be one of economy and efficiency. One subject at a time is taught in depth for a period of 3 or 4 weeks in a way suited to the child's understanding and stage of development. Every morning for the first two hours of the day, the children are at their most receptive and greater concentration can be expected.

This system allows for integration of a variety of activities and intellectual and creative work based on the topic that is being taught at the time. Language, mathematics, history, geography and the sciences are taught during these periods and are all presented in a way that stimulates in turn the emotions, the thinking and the physical activity of the child. Thus the pupil experiences a deep involvement resulting in enthusiasm for the work. As he works more intensively, his powers of concentration are strengthened.

The later morning lessons are devoted to other languages, the practice of skills, music (each child learns to play the recorder), singing and eurythmy. Handwork, craft lessons, painting, modelling, gymnastics and games are scheduled at the end of the school day.

Memories of the involvement and enthusiasm gained during the morning are what should accompany the child into sleep. This is one of the reasons why we do not recommend the viewing of television as it lessens the effectiveness of the classroom experience.

Are the Main Lessons Continued in the High School?
Yes, indeed. The Main Lessons approach is a particularly helpful alternative in the High School to the conventional way of splitting lessons into 35-40 minute segments. In the Main Lesson curriculum, pupils experience a wide range of topics and creative opportunities not available in ordinary schools. It is an ideal way of incorporating the balance and wholeness inherent in Waldorf education.
Are Waldorf Pupils Adequately Prepared for the Real, Competitive Modern World?
As indicated above, Waldorf pupils are exposed to an education which balances social development and academic study. Their studies include many aspects of the modern world in Science, Technology, History, Literature, etc. The education is guided by the principle: the right thing at the right time. There is thus most definitely a place for computers, for instance, in a Waldorf School - but at the appropriate moment. Pupils who have proceeded from Waldorf High Schools to university have been found to be more than adequately prepared. In fact, the degree of independence, originality and confidence of Waldorf pupils has often been noted.
How is Discipline Handled?
In a Waldorf School, the approach to discipline is much more personally based. There are no abstract authorities like the headmaster and prefects, and respect must be won through personal contact. While a freer, more open atmosphere (including no uniforms) is encouraged, Waldorf schools are in no way neglectful of 'discipline'. Orderliness is inherent in the classroom and is demanded in behaviour, dress and the presentation of work. These qualities, as part of social development, are not imposed in the form of external coercion, but are developed more as an inward sense of duty. Generally it can be said that, when motivation and interest is high, when personal concern for the pupil is central to the teacher, the whole question of discipline eases.