All students at SVSS experience learning through a rich holistic curriculum. Based on the pedagogy of Rudolf Steiner it is an education of the whole child. The curriculum parallels the developmental stages of the child from Kindergarten to Class 12.
Steiner, in his first lectures on education, stated that teachers must ‘learn to understand the child, with no preconceived ideas’. He advocated observation as a primary tool for learning how and what support to offer the children. The aim is for each child to reach their highest potential. From their own observations, teachers may refer students to Learning Enrichment for closer observations, child studies and suggested supportive programs. From a deep understanding of child development, teachers collaborate with the Learning Enrichment specialists, designing programs to meet individual needs.
In the early years, most Learning Enrichment programs can be integrated into the daily class rhythms of the diverse school subject classes. Therapeutic movement exercises form the basis of support offered from Kindergarten to Class 4. These exercises are either embedded into class programs or may be offered to small groups. All Primary School classes receive regular support as required from classroom assistants who work together with the teachers and Learning Enrichment.
From Class 4, Learning Enrichment offers either 1:1 or small academic group work to enrich the children’s gifts and challenges. Some challenges may be temporary, needing only a brief period of support and adjustment, whilst other challenges may be more long term or ongoing. We have school-wide adjustment plans in place for the students with challenges to ensure that everyone who works with a student understands their needs and how to support them. Our aim is to provide a balance of support; too much can create a learned helplessness and a feeling of incompetency, whilst too little may result in a student underachieving.
Within our Learning Enrichment team, we have staff experienced in working with students with diverse needs, including staff experienced in undertaking assessments. Parent/carers have prior consultation before any screening takes place. However, some assessments are embedded in our teaching practices as per the curriculum assessment and reporting policy. All supportive and therapeutic work is underpinned by the philosophy of the whole child and the pedagogy of Rudolf Steiner.
Additional to in-class support and small group work, we also have a therapeutic centre called Boombana. Boombana is a First Nations’ word and means flowering tree. Boombana is a welcoming room of comfort for students. It is a quiet haven separate from the classrooms and offers short respite as well as individual and small group therapeutic activities in an alternative setting for those who need a more intimate space. Therapies offered at Boombana include therapeutic movement, sand therapy, art therapy, foot spas, guinea pig cuddling and modelling work. Around the school are many quiet outdoor working spaces, as well as tables where students can work independently or with teachers and assistants. The assistants working 1:1 or with small groups are supported and guided by the teachers and Learning Enrichment staff. The High School also offers a study room where students may work individually or in small groups under supervision.
It is school policy that in the Primary School, the class teacher will consult and inform the parent/carers if the child is receiving consistent additional support. In the High School, the Subject Teacher, Class Guardian or Learning Enrichment Coordinator will communicate with the parents/carers. It may happen that students receive occasional support without parent communication.
Teachers are always the first port of call for any questions. Students can be referred to our Learning Enrichment team by teachers, parents and carers, or outside school specialists. Our admin staff will be able to give you a referral form to fill out, but an online referral form is also available on the parent lounge. If parents or teachers do not have a referral form, they can also email directly to the Learning Enrichment/Wellbeing team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Across the school, our Learning Enrichment and Wellbeing team consults and collaborates each week in a Care Group meeting. At Care Group, students who have been referred by teachers or parents are discussed. Their gifts and challenges and any needs are identified, and possible support is discussed and arranged. The government now mandates the National Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD) of students with a disability in a school environment. This NCCD policy requires us, where relevant, to identify the level of student need in combination with categories such as social-emotional, cognitive, sensory or physical needs. Our aim is to offer support to enable every child to reach their highest potential within an inclusive environment.