One of the feature Main Lessons of the Chrysalis curriculum is underway in Class 7 this week. The Birthing Main Lesson is a brilliant example of the integrated Steiner Curriculum at it’s best. Weaving strands of PDHPE, art, story-telling, music and science together, the Birthing Main Lesson is an introduction to reproduction as a pathway to self-knowledge.
The content introduces Class 7 children, who are in their early adolescence, to the biology of reproduction, beginning with changes at puberty, bringing an awareness of the responsibility for, and science of, conception. The marvel of genetic imprint, the miraculous story of foetal development, the physical and emotional impact of pregnancy and the processes of birth and baby care.
Students at this age can approach the science of reproduction with an open mind and a willingness to learn as it is relevant to their past (beginning of life), immediate (puberty) and their future lives.
Based on their own birth story and their arrival into their family unit, each student gains an understanding of the importance of “self” within the wider family picture.
There is a opportunity to identify the unique qualities of each member of the class through the telling of the class birth stories, which in turn creates a bonding experience for the class. This is important at an age when the child is naturally individualising but under great peer pressure to conform. By encouraging listening skills through hearing each other’s stories, the children may develop empathy for others at a time when awareness can be self-centred.
It is an important period of emotional development for this age group. By identifying and talking about emotions, students understand how varied and subtle emotions are, both positive and negative ones, and that it is normal to be experiencing a range of emotions. This lesson teaches how to draw emotions in colour and abstract shape in preparation for a major art work. The development of artistic skills as a “language “comes at a time when self expression is very important. The drawing of the student’s birth story as a “mandala” which will be framed and presented to the family is a creative and an integrating process.
Through poetry, art, music and science, the students are truly immersed in the story of life. We are honoured to have Joie Vanrenen come into our school to deliver her signature main lesson again, as she has done for so many years. She brings decades of experience and inspiration to her work.