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Steiner Education Australia VISUAL ARTS CURRICULUM K-10 www.steinereducation.edu.au Version: April 2015
STEINER EDUCATION AUSTRALIA
AUSTRALIAN STEINER CURRICULUM
VISUAL ARTS CURRICULUM
Kindergarten/Foundation to Year 10
The Australian Steiner Curriculum: Visual Arts was developed to meet the recognition and
equivalence given to alternate internationally recognised curricula by the Australian Curriculum
Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA, and follows their format and staging.
While this process is currently not available for the Arts, Steiner Education Australia has made
this curriculum available for Steiner Schools to use to meet state requirements based on the
SEA:ASCF VISUAL ARTS Curriculum Years K-10 Page 2 of 37 www.steinereducation.edu.au Version: April 2015
Revisions included in this document:
SEA:ASCF VISUAL ARTS Curriculum Years K-10 Page 3 of 37 www.steinereducation.edu.au Version: April 2015
When Nature begins to reveal her open secret to man, he feels an irresistible longing for her worthiest interpreter, Art.1
One of the most important tasks for the teacher, must be to awaken in the child their sense for beauty.
For centuries art has held up the mirror to nature and taught us how to see. However, it hasnt always
been that way, nor will remain so forever. Long before the wealthy began to have their portraits, estate
and family painted by artists, long before the deeds of kings and queens were memorialized through art,
art was in the service of God. Art was the means by which the great wisdom teachings of world religions
were taught, first esoterically in the temples and then exoterically in the churches. Art was sacred. In fact
the very architecture itself, its location, relationship to the four directions, its cosmological alignment to
the solstice and equinox were of significance, not just the symbols and images which decorated them. All
around the world, there are still sacred places and sanctuaries where art has been found, whose
meaning is still not known to us, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art which is largely
inaccessible to us due to its sacred teachings. However, for those initiated, art points towards the
transcendence of normal consciousness and union with the divine. Rock engravings from Newgrange in
Ireland, stone circles from Britain, cave paintings from Altamira and Lascaux in Spain and France,
hieroglyphs from Egypt, runes from Scandinavia, all express meaning in symbolic form. It was the first
written language, yet it did not pertain to this world but another. Is it so surprising to see early childrens
drawings exhibit these same remarkable qualities?
Since the Renaissance times, art has increasingly moved away from its sacred function and become
secularized. Today in the 21st Century we see an exciting mix of art forms, each in their own way
reflecting the modern culture and our relationship to it. Existential issues of our place in the universe is
not so much about strict adherence to religious art canons, as in earlier times, or such as we might see in
Buddhist mandalas or religious icon painting, but more about a personal quest to find meaning. Art and
creativity have become for many the new religion, the way in which we get in touch with ourselves, to find
our authentic voice; what our personal mark or signature is and what it is, which makes us uniquely who
If we were just to talk about meaning as regards subject matter, meaning may well be hard to define,
especially in modern abstract art. However, meaning can also be found within the context of a universal
language of art, where relationships of colour, shape and line, if not obscured by too much attention to
photographic likeness, can be understood. How has the colour been applied, what is conveyed through
the speed and direction of brush strokes, how has the subtle infusion of light created mood? Thus the
central idea may not be the subject matter, i.e. not what the artist has painted, but the how. It is the how
which speaks most directly to us. The degree to which we understand how the individual artist achieved
unity, brought about harmony or created colour balance, the artists opus or work, like in music, has to be
relived, or recreated to know the spirit or essence behind a particular work of art. As the person who
appreciates the work of art, we can participate in spirit with the creative achievement of the artist.
So it is with childrens art. Of course we are interested when a child shows an early disposition to draw
realistically, but is that all? Beyond the accurate depiction of the subject we could equally take an interest
in how warmly yellow shines, how soothingly blue calms, how gracefully the line moves, or how lovingly
the boy strokes his dog. In such ways can we engage children in meaningful conversations about their
art and point to the universal language of art, which is not about how accurate the drawing is, but how the
child has expressed meaning. It is this layer of meaning, which is inherent to all colour, form and shape,
which the teacher would like the children to discover. In the discovery of such meaning, the children
begin to learn to read in the language of art. This has a profound effect in how they will be able to see the
world, how they will appreciate and approach their own art and how they will learn to see beauty in the
curve of a birds wing or the colour of an autumn leaf.
SEA:ASCF VISUAL ARTS Curriculum Years K-10 Page 4 of 37 www.steinereducation.edu.au Version: April 2015
Students will discover new ways of seeing and explore creative ways of interpreting the world
and their experiences.
Students will learn how ideas and feelings can be communicated through art. They will learn how
to acquire the means, such as various techniques, skills, processes, materials and technologies,
to represent them.
Students will learn how to make aesthetic judgements based on their knowledge of the language
of art and design and reflect upon their own and other artists art making.
Students will learn to appreciate the work of artists through different cultural, social and historical
perspectives and the diverse roles artists play in society, from past as well as from current times.
Learning in Visual Arts
Learning in Visual Arts involves students making and responding to art works.
Students will gain confidence in expressing themselves in a variety of art materials and
They will explore creatively a range of themes and ideas from their own personal
experiences as well as the world of ideas.
They will acquire skills, techniques and processes, learn about materials and new
technologies and understand the contemporary nature of the interdisciplinary practices of
artists, craft people and designers.
Students will experience working collaboratively as well as individually.
They will learn safe practices, how to display their art and store their work.
They will learn how art education is not necessarily about becoming an artist, but will feel its
effects in many fields of industry, such architectural and town planning, industrial and interior
design, fashion and jewellery design, theatrical and costume design, technological,
graphic/media design, garden and landscape design and so on.
Responding to Art
Students will learn to reflect critically and appraise their own and other artists art making.
Through the language of art they will learn to articulate what they see and like and give
informed reasons for them.
They will learn to recognize that meaning is not just about the subject matter, but is
embedded in the way artists execute their work and the cultural and social milieu in which the
work has or is being made.
They will recognize how the arts contribute to community and society values through the role
artists play as social commentators, historically, culturally and spiritually.
They will appreciate how the arts bridge social and cultural barriers and inspire dialogue in
their role as social advocates for innovative thinking and change.
They will learn that every culture, past and present, has their own unique canons or
aesthetics of beauty and that valuing and respecting those differences, contributes to the
richness of artistic expression and life.
SEA:ASCF VISUAL ARTS Curriculum Years K-10 Page 5 of 37 www.steinereducation.edu.au Version: April 2015
Knowledge and Skills in Visual Arts
Age appropriate knowledge and skills are to be taught in accordance with the Australian
Steiner Curriculum Framework, Arts, which takes into account the developmental stages of
the students unfolding consciousness.
An artistic way of seeing is about recognizing the whole i.e. the unifying idea in a work of art,
which contextualizes and gives meaning to the individual parts. The skill to perceive