Education for the Journey of Life...
The Upper School in a Waldorf setting typically takes pupils from ages 14 to 18. Entering the Upper School is a new beginning and the school provides the pupils with new teachers, new subjects and new ways of working. The young adolescents now move from the care of the Class Teacher of the last 8 years to that of a Class Guardian who takes on their pastoral care, fostering the well-being of each pupil and liaising with the parents.
The pupils are entering a new phase of development: Building on the imaginative thinking of the earlier years, their thinking becomes more conceptual with greater clarity and independence, leading them more towards individual judgements. The intellect is beginning to predominate and a new stage in their education must begin. As the individuality of the adolescent now begins to emerge, appropriately challenging work will aim to develop independence of thought, an inner balance and a sense of moral responsibility.
The Steiner Waldorf Curriculum
Ringwood Waldorf School offers a broad range of Main Lesson subjects which are taught in 3-week thematic blocks, working with the International Steiner Waldorf curriculum.
The daily Main Lesson is generally two hours long so that a subject can be thoroughly studied. In Classes 9 and 10 Geology and Oceanography, Modern and Ancient History, Physics: Heat and Newtonian Mechanics, History of Drama, History of Art, Human Biology and Embryology, Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, English: Literature and Mythology, Epic and Lyric Poetry, Maths: Number Patterns, the Geometry of Conic sections, Projective Geometry and Trigonometry are all studied in Main Lessons.
We also offer a comprehensive range of daily subject lessons - including Maths, English, Drama, two Modern Languages, Music, Choir, Sports, Eurythmy, Bothmer Gymnastics, PHSE and Information Technology.
Indoor and outdoor afternoon workshops, some of which are related to Main Lessons, include:
- Clay modelling
- Copper work
- Green woodwork
- Hedgerow Basketry
- Mask making
- Wood carving
- Woodland Management
Many of these link directly into Main Lesson subjects, and run simultaneously throughout the same 3-week blocks. Some examples:
- Surveying links into Trigonometry
- Painting into History of Art
- Drama into English studies
- Bridge Building into Physics – Newtonian Mechanics
- Charcoal, soap and paper making into Organic Chemistry
- Costume, mask and head-dress-making into History – Ancient Civilisations
- Copper work into Maths – Conic Sections
- Perspective Drawing links closely to Projective Geometry
- Blacksmithing into Physics – Heat
We strongly believe that practical skill and craft-based learning is crucial to healthy adolescent development, particularly in our times when the intellect and the senses can be over-stimulated. In addition to these 3-week workshop blocks, we have whole-day, week-long workshops in the summer term of Class 9 in crafts such as Green Woodwork. In Class 10, we offer week long workshops in Green Woodwork Constructions, Green Willow Basketry and Bow-Making.
Under Construction - Building Work in Progress!
In the long term, we are hoping to extend the workshop block on the school site into a purpose-built two-storey upper school block of eight teaching spaces including a science laboratory, art room and library. Keir Polyblank, a former parent who has project-managed the building of the whole school complex, has produced provisional detailed plans for this and we are now seeking planning permission from the local planning authority.
What we are offering we believe to be dynamic and cutting-edge, the right education for our times for adolescents of all abilities. We hope it will inspire and nourish all those who participate.