Our curriculum is well structured, broad and deep. It unfolds with the child’s development and nurtures his inner being. Artistic work enlivens intellectual work and often goes hand in hand with it in order to enrich and deepen the child’s understanding. It is a continuum where subjects emerge at the optimum time. Foundations are well laid and Main Lessons build upon each other in an ongoing way through the classes.
These strands are given focus in the Main Lesson blocks where new topics are opened and explored daily for perhaps three weeks. One has time to get immersed in the field, and time to cover much ground in a meaningful, integrated way, e.g. the Class 4 Fractions Main Lesson block opens with the need to share and record; perhaps it emerges from the Australian History block where the Governor must ration bread. Hands on exploration via the cutting of clay loaves to get the concept. Moving on to correct terminology, situations with mixed numbers, recording discoveries and working on tasks in the Main Lesson Book. At the end of the block students are able to solve simple fractional problems using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Intensive fulfilling work where each day’s experiences provide a platform for the next.
The Main Lesson Blocks rotate — during the next 3 weeks Class 4 may work on English, they might then move to a Botany Main Lesson block, and then return again after six or seven weeks to a new Maths topic. There are periods then for digestion and between blocks — a consolidation that takes place below the level of consciousness. Upon the return to a Maths Main Lesson the teacher notices a mood of expectancy, a heightened awareness in the mathematical realm and a will to work there with renewed purpose.
Main Lesson is entered via “circle time” where music, co-ordinative or speech activities awaken all and harmonize and ground the students before the concentrated Main Lesson work begins. Between the Main Lesson rotations basic skills in Literacy and Numeracy are consolidated and kept alive and perhaps extended in our Practice Time (11:15–12:15). Very often the Practice Time is entered by the Story Time in which the class community savours great Literature of the world.
Main Lesson strands emerge gradually, e.g. in Class 1 there are only three Main Lesson Strands that rotate each term — Literacy, Numeracy, Home Surroundings.
By Class 6 the field is wide. It may include Literacy, Numeracy, Geometry, History, World Geography, Geology, Human Biology, Physics, Civics.
The emerging strands may be worked as separate blocks, or they may at times be integrated.