The education in Private Primary School “Prof. Nikolay Raynov” is carried out according to the principles of Waldorf education, and at the same time in line with the requirements of Ministry of Education in Bulgaria.
In the Waldorf schools the main subject of study for the day is called a main lesson. Its duration continues from an hour and a half to two hours, depending on children’s age.
The morning hours are the most productive learning time and this is when the main lesson is given. The teacher designs the lessons in the most creative way. The teaching methods include storytelling, play, painting, theater, singing so that the children use all their senses in acquiring the knowledge.
In the Waldorf schools, the learning process is organized in epochs. This means that in a period of 3-4 weeks every day the subject of the main lesson is one and the same – mother tongue, mathematics or history. This way the attention is focused on one subject only which gives the possibility for complete and continuous engagement with the subject and for developing a deeper interest into it. After a period of “saturation” that depends on children’s age, the main lesson is changed. It is time for the invisible internal process of forgetting. With the next epoch of the same main lesson, students work on it on a higher level. According to Steiner, changing the subject a few times a day does not allow students to connect with the learning content and develop a long-lasting deep interest.
Learning foreign languages is an important part of the Waldorf curriculum. In pre-school group and first grade children learn one foreign language (English) and in the second grade and afterwards a second foreign language is added (in our school the second language is currently German). Studying a foreign language helps children get acquainted with the world around them. Each language is related with the respective culture, history, habits. Studying it allows children to develop flexible thinking, be open to people coming from different environments and cultures, as well as expanding their own horizons.
In the beginning foreign languages are taught through songs, play, poems, mimics and gestures – techniques which allow the child to learn through its natural ability to imitate. They acquire communication skills through speaking. Later on, writing and reading are added. With time, more focus goes to grammar, vocabulary and punctuation.
Arts are also vital and highly leveraged element in Waldorf education. In painting classes kids work with wax and soft pastels, watercolors, charcoal and other materials.
In music classes kids learn to sing and play one or two musical instruments depending on their age. Starting from the pre-school group, children study Bulgarian folk dances. First-grade students start with pentatonic flute lessons and from second grade they study playing the recorder. Older students play also a second musical instrument. In fourth grade, students get also acting classes in their curriculum.
Eurhythmy is a Waldorf form of art which combines musical and speech rhythms and body movements. Except for being a beautiful visual art, it also helps children develop their sense of coordination, sense of rhythm, auditory and social skills.
Crafts teach children to focus on their tasks until their full completion and have a positive impact on their whole neurological system. They develop fine motor skills, which is very important for the correct writing of letters and numbers. Depending on the age of the children, they do felting, knitting, sewing, beeswax and clay modelling, sculpture and woodwork.
In our Green garden, which we created together with our students, parents and volunteers, children learn through experience. During the different seasons children participate in different bio-farming activities: seeding, planting, mulching, fertilization, watering, harvesting, etc. In the summer during the open classes in bio-farming, children learn a lot about biological balance for instance. Different elements from biology, math, and foreign languages are added.
Free play, excursions, sports, museums
Every day the curriculum includes open air time when children play at the school yard or they go to the park nearby. On Friday there are short excursions to Vitosha Mountain or tours to museums, exhibitions or theater.
Depending on the age of the students, there are also sports as part of the curriculum.