Dr. Rudolf Steiner was born in what is now Croatia in 1861. He wrote and lectured on a wide range of contemporary issues including architecture, medicine, philosophy, science, economics and social reform as well as education. Steiner Waldorf schools, biodynamic agriculture and a variety of therapeutic and curative initiatives are amongst the most well-known practical applications of his work.
Steiner’s body of thought is known as Anthroposophy, literally, ‘human wisdom’, or ‘knowledge of the human being.’ Steiner maintained that the spiritual world could, by means of conscientious inner development, be investigated empirically in the same way that natural science can investigate the physical world and so contribute to the understanding of child development.
The kindergarten does not subscribe to the beliefs of a particular religious denomination or sect. The teachers work out of Anthroposophy, but there is no formal teaching of either religion or Anthroposophy. We welcome children and families from all cultures and faiths, and many who have no religious background.
We aim to encourage a sense of wonder and reverence for each other and the environment, and a trust in the goodness of the world which enables young children to grow in confidence and resilience. Our festivals are seasonal and are celebrated in a nature-based rather than a religious way, and seek to bring out in each one the symbols and images that speak to our common humanity.
There is no formal teaching of the three Rs in a Steiner kindergarten. Children learn by imitation and through their own creative play. The three Rs in our kindergarten are “rhythm”, “repetition” and “imitation”.
Children are not separated by age group and 3, 4, 5 and 6-year olds play together.
Teachers see themselves as facilitators rather than leaders of play. This enables children to use their own imagination and creativity.
Steiner education pays particular attention to the sense impressions of the young child and this is reflected in a carefully devised environment and the use of natural materials for play and craft equipment.
Eurythmy is an art of movement that seeks to bring to visibility the sounds of speech and the tones of music using the medium of the human body as an instrument. When adapted for educational purposes it helps to develop concentration, self-discipline, spatial and aesthetic awareness and sensitivity to others. Eurythmy sessions follow the themes of the curriculum, exploring sounds, rhyme, metre, story and geometric forms.
Many children stay in kindergarten until after their 6th birthday and join Year 1 of another Steiner school after that.
Some children join a mainstream school when they reach the age to enter Reception whilst others defer entry into a mainstream school until after they have completed kindergarten at age 6.
A small number of children will be home educated after leaving kindergarten.
Our experience with those children who move into mainstream schools on leaving our setting is that they cope very well with the transition. Their new teachers tend to report high levels of confidence and enthusiasm for learning, which balance out the fact that they have had less exposure to formal learning, and they usually acquire the academic skills quickly. The well-developed social skills fostered in kindergarten are also a great asset in moving to a new setting.