English Language and Literature

Language is our most important means of mutual understanding and is therefore the primary medium of education. It is also a highly significant formative influence in the child’s psychological and spiritual development and its cultivation is central to the educational tasks of Steiner Waldorf Education


Language has two primary forms within education, the spoken word and the realm of orality and all forms of literacy. It is the task of English lessons to cultivate both.

In the pre school years the emphasis is on language acquisition and is essentially concerned with oral language. With the introduction of writing and reading, a new form of linguistic consciousness emerges. Vital though this is to the developing of a human being, it needs to be based on spoken language and so the cultivation of oral skills always underpins literacy.

The relationship between movement and gesture, speech and thinking is a key to all aspects of language teaching. The task of language teaching in the Lower and Middle school is to expand the child’s repertoire of linguistic experience through usage. Making this conscious is essentially a task of the upper school where the stages of this metamorphoses can themselves be explored.

An example of how this might be done would be an exercise such as taking a soliloquy by Macbeth and analysing the movement of thoughts throughout the passage, observing the rhythms of the syntax, unwrapping the imagery of the analogies and finding the levels of meaning, feeling the effect of the sounds Shakespeare uses in a given phrase and ultimately expressing the whole as movement and gesture on the stage without words.