Geography is one of the most important subjects in the Steiner Curriculum and encompasses many aspects of the world around us. It widens out as the children go through the school. In the earlier years the children are helped to become aware of their close surroundings, the kingdoms of nature, the elements, and the seasons.
In Class 3, aged 8 to 9, things broaden out and there are Main Lessons about farming, building and other local trades with as much hands-on experience as possible. The children learn about basic traditional work as well as modern methods – the horse-drawn plough and the tractor.
Local geography in Class 4 brings to the children a more concrete source of knowledge. In Brighton they are fortunate and can explore the downs and the beaches as well as many sites and activities in the city. They make models and draw simple birds-eye maps. Building on the local geography, in Class 5 the children study the British Isles. They become acquainted with maps, observing our position on the edge of the continent, and in the following year Europe is studied. This gives scope for the children to understand the huge and fascinating differences between the countries of this continent: their people, languages and occupations; the vegetation, rocks, the great rivers and the varied climates. They will learn the contrast between the flat Netherlands and Alpine Switzerland, for instance, or the lives and traditions of a land-locked country such as the Czech Republic compared with Norway, so connected with the sea.
In Classes 7 and 8, with the children entering their teenage years, the curriculum widens out to all the other continents. There will also be stories of the great explorers in the history Main Lesson which link with the study of the world. In the Upper School the aim is for the students to experience the world as a whole organism and to develop true ecological thinking; to cultivate a sense of responsibility for the earth and its intimate relationship to human life and economic activity.