CRAFTS AT RAINBOW RIDGE SCHOOL
The more we take into account…that intellect develops from the movements of the limbs, from dexterity and skills, the better it will be.
This motto stands above not only the craft curriculum, but the curriculum generally. Learning through doing and learning through making are twin aspects of the same fundamental attitude towards education, that permeates the curriculum based on Rudolf Steiner’s indications.
Thinking and understanding arise out of activity and movement. Indeed living thinking is internalised movement. In view of the fact that modern life has deprived children of so many opportunities to imitate and practise meaningful movement through the activities of the hands, education has to compensate if children are to develop in a healthy way. Practical work harmonises the child’s soul faculties and thinking, feeling and willing, just as stories work down into the life processes and bodily rhythms in an equally harmonising way.
Obviously the craft and handwork curriculum has a crucial role to play in this experience of learning through doing.
Making is a creative process that develops skills and competence by engaging with ideas and materials. Knowledge and understanding acquired through ‘learning by doing’ allows young people to enjoy a sense of achievement which will sustain a life-long interest in the made world.
In handwork and crafts, the formative qualities of above/below, heavy/light, light/dark, inside/outside form the basis of the work for children of all ages. All the tasks are performed by both boys and girls. They are not done for their own sake but in order to develop the capacities of the children. They should always have a practical purpose and awaken a social awareness for the work of other people.
Respect for the source of the material and the final handling of worn, used and spent artifacts are, in addition, the first stages towards individual responsibility for the environment and resourcefulness. This means that the preliminary skills for craft work are best integrated throughout the curriculum.
Rainbow Ridge School has a craft teacher working in all classes in consultation with class teachers. All classes have craft lessons at least once per week and sometimes longer, for special projects, as well as class teachers integrating craft into their lessons.
Children engage in craft work across the areas of fibre, pottery and woodwork, with respect to their age and stage of development, and the indications contained within the Steiner framework.