Project Based Learning (PBL) is one of the education world’s latest acronyms, but it is nothing new to Steiner education. Beginning in Class Three, the children are asked to complete at least one major project out of the Main Lesson content each year (see separate article on Class Three housebuilding!). These are completed at home, independently, after the Main Lesson journey through a particular topic so that the children can go even more deeply and imaginatively into the work.
As part of the Class Five Ancient Egypt studies, the children had to choose a topic and conduct research, write a report, give a presentation to the class and submit an artistic work related to the topic. English lessons focussed on instruction in report writing, how to take notes from informational texts and the parts of a report such as introduction, conclusion and bibliography. Then the children had to work at home to weave their research notes into a well-presented report and develop a project using their own creative impulses. They love hearing each other’s presentations and are beaming with pride as they bring in the fruits of their labour.
Through these projects the children discover that learning is a long, continuous process, that there are so many ways to represent our ideas and connect with our learning and that it takes time and effort to make such projects but it is such a satisfying and rewarding experience. In other words, they develop the will and curiosity required to foster a lifetime love of learning.