Lots of outdoor teaching and learning at Kildare Steiner School
Kildare Steiner School is an independent, multi-denominational school in County Kildare that receives no state funding. In Ireland, too, the pandemic led to increased unemployment and reduced income for many people - school fees could no longer be paid in the usual way. How a school day unfolded during this time was described by the school in a letter from spring 2021.
2020 was a difficult year for the school, the staff and the students, as the school campus had to be closed for parts of the year due to the various lockdowns. However, a major problem was posed by the fact that many families experienced financial difficulties. However, with the vital financial support of our friends at Friends of Waldorf Education, we were able to overcome many challenges.
During the times of school closures, we developed a Supported Home-schooling programme. For example, to help the students to escape the static feeling that came with restricted movement, we started a world geography epoch in Years 7 and 8. After looking at tectonic plates, climate zones and continents, we travelled to Africa and Asia. The students then worked on personal projects and chose one African and one Asian country each to study in depth. They researched their chosen country with its different physical and cultural aspects and presented this through written and artistic work. Since returning to the classroom, the students have engaged in a science main lesson exploring combustion in all its forms. At the end of the block, they roasted marshmallows over a bonfire to celebrate the coming of the Easter holidays!
Whenever curfew was relaxed and the children were allowed to go back to school, we moved as much of the lessons outside as possible: Classes 1 and 2 performed outdoor plays. Classes 3 and 4 learned how to build a fence with green wood and harvest potatoes. Classes 5 and 6 learned how to set up a business - in this case a car-wash service - and how to do woodwork. And Classes 6, 7 and 8 learned how to build a dome by teamwork (see photo).