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The Bricks And Mortar Of Collaboration

9-year-olds learn the basic principles of architecture; experiencing both the practical consequences of their processes and of collaboration. In the same way that mortar (or in Class 3’s case – glue) binds bricks (moulded clay) into creative and strong structures, social capital matters beyond measure.



In Steiner education, Class 3 pupils learn about house construction through the ages, starting with early timber designs through to brick making and more recent construction methods. Over several weeks they have been working in pairs on a house-building project, which has brought some interesting spatial and social challenges.

The practical ‘doing’ of this project really brings the learning into the pupils hands and the 3-dimensional space. Some gems have been practiced – the hard way in some cases:

  • Always build on a solid foundation
  • Measure twice, cut once
  • Stagger the masonry, so the wall is stronger
  • A sturdy floor needs enough joists, so it isn’t what one pupil called “bouncy”



In addition to the clay brick walls and paper slated roofs, the houses have been framed-out, ‘plasterboard’ (card) added and decorated, as well as insulated with wool that gathered on their recent 3-day farming trip. Some even added landscaping, attic rooms, and handmade fixtures, fittings and homely comforts (wooden dining table and chairs, a croqueted rug, miniature books, even plasticine pets). In their Main Lesson books they drew floor plans and designed what their house would look like.


Constructing Class 3 Shelter Project


Accidents, competing commitments and differences of opinion have also happened. Exercising the ethos that all the skills and intelligence in the world mean little without the mortar in between, namely social capital, Teacher Mrs Gordon chose for pupils to work in twos on this shelter project to build their teamwork abilities.

These houses and their Main Lesson books – with floorplans and house designs – were exhibited in their various states of completeness on Thursday to peers and parents, who were invited to visit Class 3s classroom.


To learn more about the way this Main Lesson meets the child’s stage of development at this age, visit: Class 3 Exhibit Shelter Projects


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The Bricks And Mortar Of Collaboration

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