Sunday, 27 September 2009

Parents' evening and Hebrew...

There was parents night this week and Donna gave us a description of what Class Three goes through. I'll intersperse it with the photographs. Also the class is still doing the Creation - and learnt Hebrew at the same time. The other amazing thing is that almost everyone in the class has started to read. From the holidays where no reading was done to now - where the boys were reading bilboards, etc which they came across when i brought them to town.

The first two or three years of school still retain an echo of the age of imitation. The children do not yet have any strong desire to make a distinction between 'me' and the world; and there is as yet no sharp distinction between what is inanimate and what is alive.

Lessons therefore provide sufficient space for learning through direct experiencing. The period between 7 and nine is still characterised by strong forces of imitation and situation memory. From 9 onwards, the children increasingly stand back and question given authorities. Now the children notice a strong division between themselves and the grown-ups.

In class 3, through the themes of farming and house-building, the children's journey is brought literally down to earth. They carry out practical farming and building activities. Such practical activities, tailored to the children's age and capabilities contain long-term pedagogical elements that prepare them for later insight into economics and ecology. Learning how natural raw materials are transformed into products, which serve real needs in the world, sows the seed for  real experience of mutuality and service.

By class 3, reading progresses to a differentiation of material for different purposes,including understanding instructions and tasks, finding out information and reading timetables. Reading aloud is practised with an awareness of content and punctuation. Children are directed to a wide range of reading materials according to ability.

In class 3 the children write long, draw more complex compositions. Instruction and practice in formal letters, diaries and description of nature moods supplement this. Neat legible handwriting is encouraged. 

Measurement moves from oral realm, which is comparative, qualitative and contextual to the use of formal units. Starting with traditional measures based on body proportions, the children are introduced to standard units of linear, liquid, weight, time, money and music measurement and notation.

Donna also gave us the time table. Main lesson from 8.40 - 10.40 all days with breaks after that. Followed by music, cookery, reading, drama, german, handwork, art, eurythmy, gardening and games. 

With Oisin now reading and writing and doing maths so easily, i wonder what lesson there has been in here for myself. I must admit that i did use to worry, but now i find, what did i have to worry about? Childhood lasts for such a short, short time - why did i want to make him join the adult world through these skills so quickly? It will slowly but surely happen. With each child, it is different, but their world through the school is so rich and varied. 

This year they will focus on house building and farming. They will literally build houses and huts, as well as go onto farms and the school allotment to plant things which they will later eat. Many of the families in the school already do this, but that they do it with their peers gives emphasis to the work that is being done.

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