Subject Lessons 2
Initially when children are helped onto a horse they are a little apprehensive due to their distance from the ground and feeling the horse move. After a few lessons the learner gains trust in the horse and the instructor, and learns to take control. The riding sessions are thoroughly enjoyed along with the challenge of trying to do better each lesson. Each learner is individually assessed before attending for riding. The barn area is structured so as to provide a safe routine environment in which learners can feel secure.
Once the learner feels secure around the horses, teaching of Riding, Horse Care and Yard Duties commences. Learners ride in small peer groups (maximum of 4). Older children may progress to complete an NVQ diploma course in Riding and Horse Care.
As well as making use of our fields, woods and beautiful school grounds, the gardening department has half an acre of class allotments and beds, herb garden, soft fruit bushes, nut and fruit trees dotted around the school, and a wildlife area with a pond and wildflower meadow. Facilities include a classroom and store, a greenhouse, cold-frames and a large polytunnel.
The children begin their studies with nature observation and meadow walks, collecting seeds and berries. Each class soon has its own vegetable and flower plot, and later progresses to greenhouse work, cereal growing, plant propagation, tree planting and then more advanced horticultural activities. One year may be entirely devoted to the wildlife or herb garden.
In the lower school the pupils work mainly using gross and fine motor skills and explore the properties of clay. In the upper school ceramics also becomes part of the WJEC Entry pathways exam. At this stage the curriculum expands into the many different techniques used in ceramics.
Textile & Weaving
In a Rudolf Steiner school the pupils are taught to use their hands in a skilfull and artistic way. The activity stimulates the brain and helps fine motor skills and co- ordination. Both girls and boys are taught the same projects. The pupils work with wool and felt and embroider binka or plastic canvas. The projects include weaving on card looms, wool winding and crochet or knitting if they are able. They learn sewing by making felt animals or figures and embroider mats, key fobs and plastic canvas boxes.
When the pupils are fifteen they have the opportunity to move onto textiles as a part of the WJEC Entry Pathways exam. The pupils' experience of textiles is expanded to include weaving on various looms, silk painting, the use of electric sewing machines and printing. These activities develop independence skills and organising and planning their work and achievement in the Visual Arts.
In these lessons the children learn some essential DIY and woodwork skills in a creative way. They design unique woodcarving and sculpture projects that they execute with professional guided tuition. They can not only make practical objects such as a door sign, carved bowl, spoon, or sculpted wooden box but they are encouraged to dream up an exciting original design of a sculpture based on an understanding of the relevant aspects of contemporary art and craft. On request, three levels of NOCN qualifications are available in this subject or some children may choose to continue with practising the wood sculpture skills to Art GCSE/A Level.
Click here for booklet on Woodsculptures and Community Art
Cooking lessons are taught to all classes in the school, from the youngest to the oldest as one of the most important life skills needed for good health and future independent living. The students learn to cook seasonal meals using vegetables and fruit fresh from the school's garden. In the life of the school year, celebrating the festivals is important and the cookery lessons are always busy in preparation of delicious foods that accompany Christmas, Easter and other international festivals.
This weekly double lesson is open for all the children at Philpots. The children work together as a large class, merged from the voluntary participants of various classes and supported by a substantial number of assistants. The year starts with team and drama skills building improvisational exercises and games in a highly encouraging, supportive and fun-filled environment. Over the year, the Drama Lessons gradually transform and build a focus around the end of year play production that is traditionally showed on Open Day. In the past years our plays included musicals, such as the Wizard of Oz, Oliver, the Lion King and Pirates of the Caribbean - just to mention a few.
The yearly intensive week at Procorda (provided by an independent music and drama charity offsite) supports and enforces the children's progress in drama and performing skills.