Children make the important transition from the Kindergarten to Elementary Education where they begin structured learning.
We nourish the child’s holistic knowledge of the world, but at the same time, some valuable concepts are introduced to contribute to their understanding of living processes.
During this first year, the class acquires the good habits of classroom life and work, which will form the basis of their time together. Social skills and social competence are not subjects that appear in our timetable, but we cultivate them as a central aim of our philosophy. The ability to communicate clearly or empathize with others are some of the abilities that children need to develop throughout the curriculum and the daily experiences.
We start to strengthen students’ foundation for literacy, numeracy, and other essential disciplines but at the same time, our days are filled with fairy tales, folk tales, and nature stories, as well as circle games and movement. The stories that we choose during this stage of development reflect the changing relationship of the young child to the living world. We start going from the whole to the parts.
Art is one of the fundamental basis, and we teach and learn “artistically” which is much more than the practice of the different techniques. Art is essential in our method and practice, and that is why it is never something that just takes place separately from the daily lessons. Art is an organic part of the whole education in Waldorf Sevilla Girasol International School and so Painting, Music, Drama, and Eurythmy.
Science and Social Studies are approached through stories that personify nature and relate its processes and qualities in experiential terms that are meaningful. It is very representative of the essential curricular content of Elementary Education. It reflects with maximum clarity the Elementary meaning of the educational progression of the students in this stage, a sequence that comes from the subjective, experientially lived, to the socially shared, objective, and more global vision of the life.
We understand that this is an essential time for our students, and the whole community is involved and embraces this evolution. Families support this group by participating in school life and being present in extraordinary moments like in the Arch Ceremony that marks the beginning of the first class in our school this school year.
The main lesson is done first thing in the morning. During two hours, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., we work on it providing an in-depth exploration of contents. The main lesson is the central academic focus, and it provides intellectual learning about specific contents over four weeks. Approaches may vary, but learning always takes place through interacting with others. There is a main lesson book. It is a personal, creative and artistic culmination of the information presented throughout the entire lesson. It is usually made up of drawings and stories. It includes correct information about the contents we have worked, and it has to be beautifully presented, showing each student’s personality.
We promote an experiential learning approach to develop a nutrition education that increases knowledge about Healthy and Sustainable Food among Elementary students and, in general, in the community. That is why we work close to families to be sure children bring to school healthy breakfast and lunch (lunch just for those who stay at school after 2:00 p.m.). We taste breakfast together, inside our classroom, and after cleaning up, we go outside to play and enjoy about thirty minutes of free time.
Free play is itself a current topic and one of the most important areas on Waldorf pedagogy. It is a way to explore the environment, and a mean to understand children’s cultural background; it helps to control their movements, their balance. Imaginative and creative play is how children learn about the world. Free play enriches the language, social skills, emotional and cognitive development naturally and joyfully.
Although the free play is still an essential piece in our curriculum, at the beginning of the Elementary stage, contents appear more structured, and the subjects are included in the school timetable. We have Music, Eurythmy, English, and German as special subjects complementing the main lessons and being taught by specialist teachers.
We use specific, natural, high-quality materials, such as wood, wool, natural fabrics dyed with green tints, beeswax, cotton fabrics, silk, and also branches, fruits or stones, children take from the playground/garden. The materials we use in Waldorf Education are meant to nourish the senses and develop the whole child.
The Class Teacher often guides students through several years, she/he moves up with the class. This long-term relationship benefits by seeing the children through continuity of development, creating established routines, and providing stability for the students as they develop and transform. Classes of students grow together and form strong bonds. These threads of relationship create a social and human foundation from which the education grows. The class teacher is supported by a constellation of expert specialist teachers who go with the class through the years. Our student-to-teacher ratio in Lower Elementary Education is 1:20.
The Waldorf Sevilla Girasol International School reflects its local community. Our families represent many different professionals, cultural, ethnic, religious and economic backgrounds. Though diverse, we all share in the mission to inspire and educate our children, celebrate and protect childhood. Families are one of the most significant support in Waldorf education. This participation in the school life is based on the mutual respect and collaboration between families and teachers, but also on other practical tasks, such as maintenance, the organization of the monthly celebrations or organization of markets to raise funds for the school.