Finding the perfect balance


Briar Hill Primary School is a state government school, and is mandated to teach a curriculum based on statewide standards, known as the

Victorian  Curriculum F-10.   It  provides a broad framework within which schools and teachers have some freedom to develop unique, high quality approaches to learning.


We recognise that our greatest asset is our children, and we actively foster opportunities for every child to thrive. Our innovative programs, which have a strong Steiner influence, enhance children's opportunities for authentic learning. Our school is continuing to develop whole school approaches which fulfil expected standards and reflect a clear focus on student learning. We are working together to ensure high quality curriculum delivery to support all students to be their best.

Currently the whole staff are mapping both the Victorian Curriculum F-10 English and Steiner Curriculum English to develop a balance of the two.

As the documents become available they will be uploaded to this website


Specialist programs


In addition to our core curriculum, Briar Hill Primary School currently offers a range of specialist programs that complement classroom programs. These include Environmental Science/Gardening, LOTE (German), Instrumental Music (Strings and Recorder), Circus,  Eurythmy and Extra Lesson.




The Environmental Science Program enables children to become actively involved with their learning as they develop 21st century skills.


The program centres on the permaculture garden from Prep to Year 6.
In the Early Years (Prep - Year 2), the learning focus is on building skills, exploring nature and its cycles, and basic botany.
In the Later Years (Years 3 - 6), although gardening is still practised, the focus extends to areas of sustainability, bio-diversity and physical sciences.





At Briar Hill Primary School  we introduce ICT at Year 3, and begin assessment and reporting against the Victorian Curriculum F-10 at the same year level.





All lessons and learning objectives come from the scope and sequence of the Victorian Curriculum, however where possible, any Steiner themes that allow for integration are also incorporated, which help in with keeping to the Steiner/State Curriculum approach that our school offers. The following is a summary that Catherine Menyhart has written as a document that will begin the process of articulating what Steiner Inspired means at our school.

Specifically, Catherine teaches as much as possible to the Steiner Class related themes, or epochs as they’re known by. The children all attend a one hour lesson with Catherine.

Prep/Class1 Fairy tales. These are taught through songs, art activities (with focus on learning German vocabulary/grammar within the theme) drama/plays, puppetry, dance and finger plays.


For example, Catherine would begin the fairy tale of Red Riding Hood, by introducing the major characters in German. Retell story many times, each time introducing new vocab which teaches common words, go eat, drink, body parts, colours, family names etc. Afterwards, children colour in the characters, reassemble of jigsaw puzzle, or interact kinaesthetically to certain language “Klopfte an die Tuer“ (knocked on the door) during retelling. Catherine retells the story through felt puppets (the children help with placement) then finally they enact the play sometimes using German phrasing and with me as a narrator.

Catherine covers the stories of Red Riding Hood, Three Little Pigs, Hansel and Gretel and Musicians of Bremen as “Fairytale” units of work over the 2 years, interspersed with other main stream literature for eg. The Hungry Caterpillar etc.

Class2 Animal /pets. Mostly Class 2 continues with the Me and My Family focus for Early Childhood LOTE learning. Catherine also introduces the German alphabet formally through an illustrated handmade ABC book, with focus on phonics (great for English comparison and reinforcement of sound/letters and handwriting). The Steiner theme is Celtic and with a strong animal element so Catherine also tell stories using Aesop’s Fables, and does a unit of work on Pets. Again, art and illustration is catered for (pictorial learning is a must in Steiner primary school) with singing and verses too.

Class3 House and Home. The Steiner theme for Class 3 centres around Jewish culture where Christian (moral) laws are explored. Class three deals in systems and structures (social and physical/nature world) and how man responds to and interacts with his environment in harmony: hence the Shelter/ building/farming themes.

Catherine re- introduces Hansel and Gretel, by teaching a traditional German folk song (3 verses). The children learn vocabulary for geometrical shapes, make 3D houses from nets of cubes and triangular prisms (These are meant to be Gingerbread Houses) and illustrate in mixed media the song. They weave a small wall hanging of a house, using triangle,square, rectangles as well as procedural words for over, under, cut, the colours etc. during their weaving activity. (Weaving is a structural based craft and good for the Steiner theme for this class.)  Children learn the names for furniture and rooms and their different functions (according to man’s needs), explain where they live, how. They also learn the names of clothing.

Class4 Nordic Epoch.

Catherine tries to relate this feisty era through learning about weather, months, seasons, and time (basic o’clocks, half and quarters) and birthdays. The children learn about cultural calendar year of Germany and focus on Fasching, a huge event in Germany. Adverbs of time (today, yesterday tomorrow, now, later etc) The children revisit clothing and relate it to the weather. The children learn the traditional folk song of the seasons and sing it in rounds and they write an individual poem about weather (some choose extreme) in the German poetic structure called Elfchen, and they do an art activity focused on this.


 Class 5 Foods

Here Catherine “Fills in the gaps” and refers to the Victorian curriculum. We revise all that is learnt and interact with online language games from DET Languages Online as practise/revision sessions. Children do maths lessons entirely in German using single/double/triple digit calculations to ground their German number knowledge. They fill out cross word puzzles and make a comic for conversational practise.

In Class 5 the children learn about Foods of Germany and mealtimes. Children learn the traditional song “Sag Mutter” where each day, over a week 21 new foods are introduced. They take notes while viewing a DVD on regional foods of Germany and write a report about it. They experience a German Breakfast and taste foods that are particular to Germany- this is done with parent help. The children cook pancakes, following procedural text in German (and compare this to English textype) and they also learn to sing Backe Backe Kuchen, a folk song.

Class 6 Steiner Craft.

As above: Catherine “Fills in the gaps” and refers to the Victorian curriculum. The children revise all that is learnt and interact with online language games from DET Languages Online as practise/revision sessions. Children do maths lessons entirely in German using single/double/triple digit calculations to ground their German number knowledge (really tests them!) They fill out cross word puzzle from various previous themes, play jeopardy like games in teams to answer specific questions of vocab grammar and culture learnt so far. The children create a profile of themselves in poster format. Catherine is hoping to work with children to develop a pen pal program with students from another school.

Buddy system in BHPS lends itself to enacting a cultural event of Germany. Children learn about school system in Germany, making comparisons. They make a Schultuete, a parcel of goodies to their Prep buddies. In Germany, this is done by parents and given on the first day of school. To incorporate Steiner Craft, children make dolls, puppets, pouches, and felt gnomes using textile skills, as well as making notebooks and welcome/greeting cards using water colour paints. They present these to their buddies, in collaborations with the Prep Teachers. Class6 teachers also help out with these craft sessions in their own classes and with presentations. The children often come in at lunchtimes for craft time too when Catherine sits with them to help out.

The major enquiry for Class 6 is to research a famous German inventor, through whole class research. Catherine chooses one herself and models a report text type and format to the whole class, then children then choose their own famous German to research. It’s an individual project so they can choose from famous inventors, sports stars, musicians/artists, which they then present.

Catherine does refer to the Victorian Curriculum for learning objectives and she really enjoys how the Steiner focus has broadened her teaching focus too.

Thank you Catherine for taking the time to share how you blend the two curriculums and present a unique, exciting German program to all of the students at Briar Hill. I hope everyone that reads this has an understanding of how LOTE is blended – it is a Steiner Inspired Victorian Curriculum program.