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In a rapidly changing world we can be sure that the following attributes are essential if our children are to have healthy, positive and fulfilling lives:
• emotional stability
• intellectual flexibility
• sound judgement
• inner freedom
• social awareness
The education in each of the schools worldwide is based on the spiritual ideas of the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, formed into a rich and balanced curriculum for children of all ages. Because the ideas behind the education consider the developing child in all its aspects, the education affects the child in a profound way. There are currently over 1,200 Steiner schools worldwide and 2,000 Early Years settings in a total of 60 different countries, 38 in the UK & Ireland.
We believe that education should be a continuing process. Our task is to stimulate and develop the faculties and skills which will enable our pupils to learn :
• for life
• from life
• throughout life
Importantly we recognise that the child has a different consciousness from that of the adult. Children go through distinct phases of development which need to be met appropriately. During each of these phases particular faculties begin to emerge which can be consciously worked with in the educational process. In this way education becomes a confirming and affirming experience.
Assessment of Pupils
At the heart of the school lie the curriculum indications given by Rudolf Steiner. These provide guidance to the content of lessons that will meet the children at their different stages of development.
Teachers engage in a process of continuous assessment of all aspects of the children’s development. Observations are shared at weekly teachers’ meetings. In this way each child is supported by all the teachers at the school.
This continuity of collegiate responsibility helps to build a deeper picture of the individual child, in addition to his or her academic progress.
Within this framework we are able to anticipate the children’s needs without the need for formal testing.
Communication with Parents
The teachers’ observations about each child are shared with the parents in a detailed written report at the end of each academic year.
It is quite usual for the parents of an individual child to meet with the teacher for private conversations about their child’s progress. Such a meeting can be initiated by teachers or parents.
Class meetings are held twice a year. In these, teachers share with the parents their observations of the class as a whole and discuss curriculum and other matters of common interest.
The School as a Learning Community
The development of the education offered at the Iona School is the shared responsibility of the College of Teachers. However, this task would not be possible without the support and encouragement of the parents.
There are opportunities for parents to have a high level of involvement in the life of the school. Parental support finds its expression in tasks such as gardening, decorating, general repair work and fund raising.
The working together of parents, teachers and other supporters to create and maintain the educational environment develops a strong sense of community and works as an educative force for the children in our care.