French and German
From the Kindergartens, when songs and nursery rhymes reflect the mother tongues of the group, to the early classes, when languages are learnt by song and rhyme and games, to the mastery of grammar in the latter years, diversity of language and culture is at the core of our curriculum. At present French and German are taught at St Paul’s.
Manual dexterity is an essential part of developing the capacity to think, read and write. In the Kindergarten, before joining Class I, children begin to weave using simple frames they have made by themselves. From Class l handwork is taught as a specialist subject, with children first learning to knit on 2 needles, crochet, cross-stitch, knit on 4 needles, before moving on to more complex creative projects.
Music including Orchestra
Music and singing are woven into the day from kindergarten with finger games and songs through to Class I, when all children start to play the recorder, and onwards to Class III, when they are encouraged to take up a 2nd instrument and join the class or school orchestra. Every morning through out the school the day is started with movement exercises and singing. A class will grow from singing in unison at 7 years old to accomplished part singers in the later class years.
Eurythmy is an expressive movement art originated by Rudolf Steiner and Marie von Sivers. Pedagogically its purpose is to awaken and strengthen the expressive capacities of children through movement Steiner pointed out how the creative movements used in language and music are related to the creative forces active in both nature and the human body.
When doing eurythmy, the body becomes an instrument, making visible what otherwise is only audible, namely music and speech. It requires that we become inwardly mobile. When we hear sounds, we are taken along into continuous change, from high to low, from soft to loud. We are also carried along on the course of a melody, in changes of melody and melodic moods and in the subtleties of spoken language. In eurythmy these changes and their related inner movements are made manifest by movements of the body. This is done both individually and in groups.
The awareness of one’s own body is the beginning of self-knowledge. This awareness is acquired by being active, by moving. For children this means that through movement, they become aware of their own functioning. Through movement and activity they get to know their environment and become acquainted with the things around. In all their movements, in which they interact with their surroundings, their own body is the firm reference point.
While thinking, we move both physically and mentally. The inner movements we make while thinking can be compared to the outer movements we make while physically exploring something. In Steiner education these two processes are continually interconnected. Not just because children like to move, through which their motivation to attend school and learn is extended, but especially because learning processes backed up by movement obtain meaning. Thinking and doing are connected.
In eurythmy gestures we visualise the movement of the creative forces that precede language and music. We enter into the moment at which language and music are still incipient. When we sing we are able to sense this movement, while going from one tone to the next. Singing the first tone, we inwardly already move towards the following one. This is especially noticeable when we are still in the process of mastering a piece of music. We then perceive how the subsequent tone must first be found; the movement toward it must be discovered before that tone can sound in tune. These are the same creative movements as the ones we visualise with our entire body in eurythmy. During the eurythmy lessons the children have through their own movements entered into the creative movements of language and music.