|Holywood Rudolf Steiner School|
|Saralies House, 34 Croft Road, BT18 0PR, UK Holywood|
Tel. 02890 428029
The Holywood School opened in September 1975 in two rooms in Glencraig Camphill Community. At that time there were seven staff children and three from outside Glencraig. The four full-time members of staff were Saralies van der Briel, Margaret Rutherford, John McClean and David Boyd.
In the first eight months the school changed premises four times. By the end of the first year it had grown to 20 children and, in August 1976 it moved to its present site at 'Highlands' on the Croft Road, Holywood. The official opening of the school was celebrated at the end of the academic year in June 1977, with many guests.
Initially 'Highlands' was too big for the school and two families actually lived in the extra rooms. However this was soon to change and in 1978 we were planning a separate kindergarten. This building, completed in 1979, is now the school hall.
The Kindergarten marked the beginning of the development of the school site. Soon the upper school started and new class rooms were needed. As money was scarce we obtained a secondhand temporary building from Glencraig. This is now the woodwork room but began as Class 9's classroom
The new Kindergarten 1997
New classrooms 1993
More temporary buildings were erected on the site to accommodate the growing school and eventually we had seven such classrooms. However, it was not possible to obtain planning permission for more temporary buildings, so in December 1987 plans were made for 12 new permanent classrooms, a new Kindergarten and a hall. The construction was to be undertaken in phases as money was raised, and a building appeal was launched. The first two phases involving the construction of four classrooms was completed on 1993. In 1997 our new Kindergarten building was completed, funded by a generous grant
from the national lottery.
As the school buildings grew so did the academic life of the school extending to class 11. In common with other Steiner schools a compromise had to be reached concerning public examinations and it was decided to take them in class 11 to allow children as much of the Steiner curriculum as possible while ensuring that they could continue their education elsewhere.
Preparing for Life
||What do the young persons of today need in order not merely to met the challenges that life will present after school, but flourish there? We believe they need confidence, creativity, flexibility, responsibility and a sensitivity for the essentials in what they meet and a questioning attitude which allows them to investigate further and to treat life as a continuous arena for learning. They will also need to be able both listen to the views of others and to express their own articulately. The Steiner Waldorf curriculum aims to achieve these qualities and therefore the lessons and activities in our schools are a preparation for life.|
A Learning Community
||In common with most other Steiner Waldorf Schools, the Holywood school is fully comprehensive. It also has some claim to be the first fully integrated school in Northern Ireland since the troubles began as it has had children from different communities sharing their culture, gifts and abilities throughout the school's history. A class of children passes together through the whole school, building a cohesion which often outlasts the time at school by decades. The future scientist, carpenter, lawyer, systems analyst, sportsperson and artist all share their school life for many years learning mutual respect and support. This lays an invaluable foundation of security for their individual life ahead.|
Where do Holywood school pupils go when they leave school?
||As the school currently only extends to GCSEs most pupils move on to other local schools or colleges and following this broad spectrum of careers one would expect from an education committed to enabling individuals to realise their potential.|
The curriculum is developed by subject throughout the school from class 1 with the foundations laid in the early years. At the same time the topics of a given year are relevant to that age group. For the younger children there is a thematic programme including such elements as Building, Farming and Measurement for the 8 year olds. Later the subjects become more specific including areas such as Hygiene, Astronomy and The age of Discovery for 12 year olds.
The curriculum is also developmentally based with regard to the changing consciousness of the child. As an example, narrative move from fairy and folk tale to legend and myth, and then onto a wide sweep of history later becoming more individualised in biography and autobiography. Age 12 with it's developmental step of abstract thinking requires a more casual approach where documents, artifacts and technology are used to investigate the nature of those who created them and the societies in which they lived.
In Upper school students learn more of human ideas and the influence they have on how people describe and assess the world around them. This analysis of perspectives helps the student make their own decisions on principles and views they will meet in life.
The lower school begins in class 1 at the age of six. The children stay with the same class teacher for the next 8 years allowing a strong relationship to develop between class and teacher where the teacher knows the children, their educational needs and individual progress in a depth unattainable in situations where the teacher changes annually. The class teacher takes the class for the main lesson in the first part of each day and for other lessons according to expertise and the level at which the children are.
In these 8 years the children are given the main skills they need to understand the world. They develop literacy, numeracy and social skills and understand human beings in their historic, environmental and scientific context.
Method and content follow the chronological age of children based on an understanding of child development in general and how the curriculum can support this. Details are then tailored by the teachers to particular classes, groups and individuals. The aim is also to give a deep insight into history, the natural world and the achievements of human beings.
The curriculum seeks to awaken capacities in children by means of a thorough grounding in humanities, arts and sciences. The lower school curriculum is therefore aimed more at the achieving of certain qualities then learning a specific quantity of factual knowledge.
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